Mae Marsh would have probably been greatly amused to be characterized as a diva. A plain, almost mousy girl wearing the most unattractive clothes imaginable, she seemed to go from adolescence to middle age with nothing in between. Yet in the right role she was an actress of rare power. Her work with Griffith is exceptional, for whom she specialized in innocent girls terrorized or devastated by events beyond their control. Her surviving later films are little known and little seen. She largely retired from films to devote herself to her family, appearing in bit parts when she felt like it, most notably for her friend John Ford. Her peers hadn't forgotten her, however, when they voted her one of the top five actresses of the pre-1925 period in an Eastman House Poll in 1955.
Marsh, Mae. Screen Acting. New York : F. A. Stokes Co., c1921. Available from Google Books
Lahue, Kalton C. Ladies in Distress. South Brunswick and New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1971. p. 179-185.
Franklin, Joe [and William K. Everson].Classics of the Silent Screen. New York : Citadel Press, 5th ed., 1971 (originally published 1959): p. 199-201.
©2001, by Greta de Groat . All Rights Reserved
Last revised November 27, 2008