Marilyn Knowlden

Marilyn Knowlden (born May 12, 1926) is an American former child actress.

Marilyn Knowlden
Marilyn Knowlden

(1926-05-12) May 12, 1926
OccupationChild actress
Years active1931–1944


Marilyn Knowlden was born on May 12, 1926. At the age of 4, she made her acting debut in the 1931 Paramount Pictures film Women Love Once.[1] She continued to appear in thirty nine more movies throughout the 1930s and 1940s, playing alongside notable stars such as Irene Dunne, Katharine Hepburn, Tyrone Power, Bette Davis, James Cagney, Fredric March, Humphrey Bogart, Norma Shearer, Shirley Temple and Claudette Colbert. During this time, Marilyn received media coverage from newspapers like Shadoplay Magazine, Hollywood Filmograph, Photoplay Magazine and The Hollywood Herald.[2]

She retired from acting in 1944, to concentrate on her educational studies, and developing her musical and dramatic skills. She was attending Mills College, majoring in music and drama, when she met and married the World War II Army Captain, Richard Goates.[3] She accompanied her husband in his assignment in China and became a radio announcer in Nanking, which gave them better accommodations than the barracks. Leaving the military and returning to the states, Richard Goates enrolled at Stanford University while Marilyn supported him through school. He graduated in business, but not before they had their first child, Carolyn. He then attained his MBA, and they had two more children, Brian and Kevin.

Marilyn later became a very accomplished musician, songwriter and playwright, authoring a number of songs and musical plays. Then at the age of 70, she returned to the stage with a leading role in My Fair Lady and continued in a variety of roles. In 2011 she wrote an autobiography, Little Girl in Big Pictures, describing her experiences as a child actress in the golden years of Hollywood and telling "the rest of the story" about her life.[1]


Year Title Role
1931 Women Love Once Janet Fields
The Cisco Kid Annie
Husband's Holiday Anne Boyd
1932 The Conquerors Frances Standish
Call Her Savage Ruth (as a girl)
1933 The Mind Reader Little girl
Little Women Amy's classmate
The World Changes Selma (as a child)
1934 Imitation of Life Jessie Pullman (age 8)
As the Earth Turns Esther
1935 David Copperfield Agnes
Les Misérables Little Cosette
Condemned to Live Maria, the young girl
Metropolitan Little girl in tea room
1936 Show Boat Kim (as a child)
Anthony Adverse Florence Udney
A Woman Rebels Flora at age 9
Easy to Take Gwen Ferry
Rainbow on the River Lucille Layton
1937 Slave Ship Christener at launching
1938 Marie Antoinette Princesse Thérèse
Barefoot Boy Julia Blaine
Just Around the Corner Gwendolyn
Angels with Dirty Faces Laury (as a child)
1939 Hidden Power Imogene
1940 The Way of All Flesh Julie Kriza
All This, and Heaven Too Marianna van Horn
1944 Amor Amor Co-ed in drugstore


  1. Pfingsten, Tom (September 11, 2011). "Fallbrook resident recalls child-actress days in autobiography". U-T San Diego.
  2. "Marilyn Knowlden". Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  3. "Miss Knowlden to be bride". Oakland Tribune. July 27, 1946. Retrieved May 1, 2014.


  • Dixie Willson, Little Hollywood Stars, Akron, OH, e New York: Saalfield Pub. Co., 1935.
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