Marion Shilling

Marion Helen Schilling (December 3, 1910 – November 6, 2004) was an American stage and film actress.[1] She was one of the most famous "B" leading ladies of the 1930s.

Marion Shilling
Shilling in 1931
Marion Helen Schilling

(1910-12-03)December 3, 1910
DiedNovember 6, 2004(2004-11-06) (aged 93)
Other namesMarian Shilling
EducationCentral High School
Years active1928–1936
Edward Cook
(m. 1937; his death 1998)


Marion Helen Schilling[2] was born in Denver, Colorado in 1910.

Her family moved to St. Louis when she was young. She graduated from Central High School there in 1928.[3] She started her acting career as a stage actress, starring in stage plays such as Miss Lulu Betts and Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch. While playing in Dracula on stage with Bela Lugosi, she developed a blood-curdling scream so effective, when she was working in Hollywood, she was asked to dub screams for Constance Bennett and Shilling's idol Pola Negri.[4] In 1929 she received her first screen role in Wise Girls.[5] Shilling had good memories of her director E. Mason Hopper when interviewed in the 90's. "I can still remember some of his early suggestions. 'Keep your head above the tide.' 'Be on your toes.' 'Hold your head high.' 'Act like the queen of the studio.' Those were wonderful words to a new, green girl numbed by all that was suddenly happening to her."[6] After a couple of roles in other films, she starred opposite William Powell in the 1930 crime drama Shadow of the Law.[1] That movie springboarded her into roles as a B-movie heroine.

In 1931 she was one of thirteen girls selected as "WAMPAS Baby Stars", a list that included future Hollywood star Marian Marsh. From 1930 to 1936 she starred in forty two films, mostly westerns or mysteries. She often starred opposite Tom Keene and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams. In the 1934 film serial, The Red Rider, she starred opposite early western film legend Buck Jones, with a supporting cast that included William Desmond and football legend Jim Thorpe.


In 2002, Shilling received a Golden Boot Award for her contribution to Western films.[7]

Personal life

Shilling retired in 1936, to marry and have a family. She was married to Edward Cook from 1937 until his death in 1998. They had two children, Edward and Frances.[2]


She never returned to acting, and died from natural causes on November 6, 2004, in a hospital in Torrance, California, aged 93.[5]

Selected filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1929 Wise Girls Ruth Bence
1930 Lord Byron of Broadway Nancy
1930 The Swellhead Mamie Judd
1930 Free and Easy Singer and dancer Uncredited
1930 Shadow of the Law Edith Wentworth
1930 On Your Back Jeanne Burke
1931 Beyond Victory Ina
1931 Young Donovan's Kid Kitty Costello
1931 The Common Law Stephanie Brown
1931 June First Marion 21 min
1931 Sundown Trail Dorothy ′Dottie′ Beals
1931 Take 'em and Shake 'em 18 min
1931 Forgotten Women Patricia Young
1931 Easy to Get Marion 18 min
1932 Only Men Wanted 20 min
1932 Shop Angel Dorothy Hayes
1932 The County Fair Alice Ainsworth
1932 Rule 'Em and Weep Ramona 19 min
1932 Gigolettes 18 min
1932 A Man's Land Peggy Turner
1932 Niagara Falls 19 min
1932 A Parisian Romance Claudette
1932 The Heart Punch Kitty Doyle
1933 Curtain at Eight Anice Cresmer
1934 Fighting to Live Mary Carson
1934 The Red Rider Marie Maxwel
1934 Inside Information Anne Seton
1934 Thunder Over Texas Helen Mason
1934 Elinor Norton Publisher's Staff Uncredited
1934 The Westerner Juanita Barnes
1935 Blazing Guns Betty Lou Rickard (as Marian Shilling)
1935 A Shot in the Dark Jean Coates
1935 Stone of Silver Creek Martha Mason
1935 The Keeper of the Bees Louise
1935 Society Fever Victoria Vandergriff
1935 Captured in Chinatown Ann Parker
1935 Rio Rattler Mary Adams
1935 Gun Play Madge Holt
1936 Gun Smoke Jean Culverson (as Marian Shilling)
1936 I'll Name the Murderer Smitty
1936 The Clutching Hand Verna Gironda
1936 The Idaho Kid Ruth Endicott
1936 Romance Rides the Range Carol Marland
1936 Cavalcade of the West Mary Christman


  1. "Marion Shilling, 93; Leading Lady in 1930s B-Western Films". Los Angeles Times. December 3, 2004. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  2. Magers, Boyd; Fitzgerald, Michael G. Westerns Women: Interviews with 50 Leading Ladies of Movie and Television Westerns from the 1930s to the 1960s. McFarland. pp. 196–202. ISBN 9780786420285. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  3. "At the Movies". The Central News. Pennsylvania, Perkasie. May 25, 1932. p. 3. Retrieved April 26, 2017 via
  4. Ankerich, Michael G. The Sound of Silence: Conversations with 16 Film and Stage Personalities. McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, NC: 1998. p. 204.
  5. Lentz, Harris M. III. Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2004: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. p. 331. ISBN 9780786421039. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  6. Ankerich, Michael G. The Sound of Silence: Conversations with 16 Film and Stage Personalities. McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, NC: 1998. p. 205.
  7. "The Golden Boot Awards". Archived from the original on February 28, 2017. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
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