Marion Mack

Joey Marion McCreery Lewyn (April 8, 1902  May 1, 1989), best known by the stage name Marion Mack, was an American film actress and screenwriter. Mack is best known for co-starring with Buster Keaton in the 1926 silent comedy film, The General. After retiring from acting in 1928, she wrote several short screenplays and took up a career in real estate.

Marion Mack
Joey Marion McCreery

(1902-04-08)April 8, 1902
DiedMay 1, 1989(1989-05-01) (aged 87)
Costa Mesa, California, U.S.
Resting placePacific View Memorial Park
OccupationActress, screenwriter, real estate broker
Notable work
Annabelle in The General (1926)
Louis Lewyn
(m. 1924; died 1969)

Film career

Mack was born Joey Marion McCreery in Mammoth, Utah. After graduating from high school, she sent a letter and a photograph to director Mack Sennett expressing her desire to be an actress. Sennett's manager wrote back informing McCreery that they would give her an interview if she ever came to Hollywood. McCreery , her father and her stepmother traveled to Hollywood shortly thereafter and sneaked into Sennett's Keystone Studios. Much to her father's disapproval, Mack was hired by Sennett as a "bathing beauty" for $25 a week.[1] Her film debut was in On a Summer Day (1921).[2]

In films, McCreery initially used her own name. Between 1921 and 1922 she used the name Elinor Lynn in several short films directed by Jack White, co-starring with Lige Conley and Jimmie Adams.[3] By 1923 she had adopted the stage name Marion Mack.[3] After appearing in several short films for Sennett, she left Keystone and signed with Mermaid Pictures for $100 a week. While at Mermaid, she appeared in various comedy shorts and worked at Universal where she had roles in several Westerns. Mack returned to Mermaid after a year. In 1923, she co-wrote and appeared in a semi-autobiographical film, Mary of the Movies. Around the time, she adopted the stage name "Marion Mack". Mary of the Movies was a box office success and Mack went on to leading roles in the action/crime-drama One of the Bravest (1925) and the drama Carnival Girl (1926). In 1926 she was cast in her best known role as Annabelle Lee, the estranged girlfriend of Buster Keaton's character, Johnnie Gray, in the American Civil War comedy film The General.[4] The film was a moderate success but failed to make a profit because the budget was high. Mack appeared in her final film Alice in Movieland, in 1928.[5]

Mack gave up acting after appearing in Alice in Movieland because she found the strain of filming for such long periods to be too taxing (The General was shot over a six-month period in Oregon). After her retirement from acting, she began a career as a screenwriter and penned scripts for short films for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Bros. Mack's husband, producer Louis Lewyn, produced the films.[4][6] One of the films she scripted was directed by Keaton, the 1938 short Streamlined Swing.[7]

Later years

By the 1940s, short films began to fall out of favor and Mack's husband's health was declining.[5] In 1949, she took up yet another career as a real estate broker in Orange County, California.[5] Mack and her husband settled in Costa Mesa, California.[8] The couple also owned an estate in Beverly Hills and continued to socialize with people whom they met when they worked in the film industry, including Rudy Vallee and Clara Bow.[5]

In 1970, film historian Raymond Rohauer tracked Mack down at her Costa Mesa home due to renewed interest in The General.[9] While the film was not a commercial or critical success when it was first released, it later found an audience and has since become cited as one of Buster Keaton's greatest films.[5] To support the film, Mack attended screenings of The General at various film festivals until heart issues prevented her from traveling. In 1978, Mack suffered two heart attacks.[9] Mack appeared in the documentary series Hollywood (1980) in which she discussed her experience filming The General.[5]

Personal life

Mack met producer Lewis Lewyn after winning a beauty contest at the Thomas H. Ince Studios. They married in 1923 and had one son, Lannie.[1][10] Mack and Lewyn remained married until Lewyn's death in 1969.[5]

On May 1, 1989, Mack died of heart failure in Costa Mesa, California at the age of 87.[8] After a private funeral, Mack was buried in Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar, Newport Beach.


Year Title Role Notes
1921 On a Summer Day Farmerette Short subject
Credited as Joey McCreery
1921 Reputation Ingenue (stage sequence) Credited as Joey McCreery
1921 The Cowpuncher's Comeback Betty Thompson Short subject
Credited as Joey McCreery
1923 Mary of the Movies Mary Scenario
1925 One of the Bravest Sarah Levine
1926 The Carnival Girl Nannette
1926 The General Annabelle Lee
1928 Alice in Movieland Alice
1938 Streamlined Swing
Short subject
1940 Alice in Movieland Well-Wisher at Train Station Uncredited
1940 Rodeo Dough
Short subject
1942 Soaring Stars
Short subject



  1. "Fans rediscover star of early films". The Milwaukee Sentinel. September 26, 1979. p. 8. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  2. Internet Movie Database
  3. Massa, Steve. Slapstick Divas: The Women of Silent Comedy. BearManor Media. pp. 1653–1654.
  4. "Marion Mack , 87, Silent-Film Actress, Dies". The New York Times. Associated Press. May 15, 1989. Archived from the original on June 17, 2011.
  5. Vanderknyff, Rick (November 15, 1987). "Marion Mack—the Girl in Buster Keaton's Epic". Los Angeles Times. p. 2.
  6. O'Brien, Mike (August 16, 1973). "Leading Lady Recalls Buster". Eugene Register-Guard. p. 6C.
  7. Sweeney 2007, p. xxxii.
  8. "Silent-movie Actress Marion Mack Dead at 87". Bangor Daily News. May 15, 1989. p. 7.
  9. "Fans rediscover star of early films". The Milwaukee Sentinel. September 26, 1979. p. 6. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  10. Vanderknyff, Rick (May 14, 1989). "Marion Mack; Keaton Co-Star in 'The General'". Los Angeles Times.


  • Sweeney, Kevin W., ed. (2007). Buster Keaton: Interviews. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1-57806-962-0.
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