Margaret Livingston: The Woman from the City

Margaret Livingston (1895-1984), whose name was spelled with myriad variations over the years, is best remembered as the devastating temptress known as “The Woman from the City” in Murnau’s Sunrise (1927). Originally from Salt Lake, she started out with her sister Ivy Livingston in western stock companies before landing her first supporting screen role in The Chain Invisible (1916) at the age of 21. Throughout most of her career, she played bad girls in melodramas with provocative titles like Alimony (1917), What’s Your Husband Doing? (1920), Lying Lips (1922), Divorce (1923), Married Alive (1927), and The Office Scandal (1929).

In 1924, Livingston was one of the stars on the notorious Hearst yacht junket after which Thomas Ince mysteriously died. In 1929 she dubbed Louise Brooks’ voice in The Canary Murder Case. Other notable talkies include the 1929 version of Seven Keys to Baldpate, God’s Gift to Women (1931) with Frank Fay, Broadminded (1931) with Joe E. Brown. In 1931 she married the famous bandleader Paul Whiteman, who proved to be the focus of her life until his death in 1967. She made only two movies after this. Call Her Savage (1931) was the penultimate film for both Livingston and star Clara Bow. Her last was Social Register (1934) with Colleen Moore. She occupied herself with business ventures and raising four adopted children thereafter.

For more on early film history please read  Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.