Today we introduce you to a stage and screen star who may well have been more consequential in the biz after her departure from the footlights. Marie Saxon (Marie Landry, 1904-41) was the daughter of a theatre manager in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and his performing wife. Marie was 16 when she joined her mom in the vaudeville act “Pauline Saxon and Sister”. Skilled at singing and singing, and standing 5’4″ in adulthood, Marie made it to Broadway in the original production of Battling Butler (1923) opposite Charlie Ruggles (soon to become a hit Buster Keaton film.) The following year, she married Sidne “Skiggie” Silverman, son of Sime Silverman, founder and publisher of Variety, one of the most powerful men in show business. She next two shows with Harry Puck (Eva Puck’s brother): My Girl (1924) and Merry Merry (1925), followed by Kalmar and Ruby’s The Ramblers (1926) with Clark and McCullough and Jack Whiting, and Ups-a Daisey with a young Bob Hope, Russ Brown, Buster West et al.
Saxon then starred in a musical for Columbia Pictures The Broadway Hoofer (1929) with Jack Egan and Louise Fazenda. Her next film was a western drama for Fox, Under Suspicion (1930) in which she played second fiddle to Lois Moran. In early 1932 her son, Syd Silverman was born, and Marie retired from show business. Sime died in 1933, and Sidne took over Variety. The Variety empire was pretty much the focus of her life after this. Her brother Robert J. Landry was to become its managing editor. Sadly, Saxon would not live to see her son Syd take over the family business in 1950. Tuberculosis killed her at the age of 37 in 1941.
To learn more history about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.