Marian Nixon: Star of the 20s and 30s

Screen actress Marian Nixon (Marian Nissinen, 1904-1983) was born on this day.

Nixon began as a teenage vaudeville dancer, before landing her first walk-on in The Shriek of Araby (1923) with Ben Turpin. She was a WAMPAS Baby Star in 1924, which moved her up to starring parts thereafter. Most of her films of the silent period were westerns, the most notable of which was Riders of the Purple Sage (1925) with Tom Mix, although she also appears in the comedy classic Hands Up! (1926) with Raymond Griffith. Silent Jazz Age melodramas like Jazz Mad (1928) and Red Lips (1928) gave way to musical talkies like Rainbow Man (1929) with Eddie Dowling; Say it with Songs (1929) with Al Jolson; and the all star The Show of Shows (1929). She’s the title character in the 1932 version of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and you can see her in Doctor Bull (1933) with Will Rogers. 

In the mid 30s, she married her third husband, director William Seiter and retired from the business. Seiter had directed her in What Happened to Jones (1926), Rolling Home (1926), Out All Night (1927), Chance at Heaven (1933), and We’re Rich Again (1934).

After Seiter died in 1964, Nixon and actor Ben Lyon had a December-December marriage (from 1972 until his death in 1979). Her previous husbands had included boxer Joseph Benjamin and department store magnate Edward Hilliman Jr. 

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2 comments

  1. William Seiter was previously married to Laura La Plante, and after she married Irving Asher in 1934 the four became best friends. They were super close until Bill’s death in the early 60s.

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