Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Peggy Cartwright

Little Miss Peggy Cartwright. I mean, does it get any cuter than this? Talk about the perfect doll face for film, silent or talkie.

Peggy Cartwright was born Margaret Cartwright on November 14, 1912 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She was the second child and only daughter born to Dr. Conway Cartwright and Annie Dora Crawford. Her brother, Louis, was born a year earlier and sadly passed away at the age of 32 in a R.A.F. plane crash over India.

Around the age of five Peggy and her mother were both stricken with scarlet fever. At her father's urging the two moved to Los Angeles in order to heal in the warmer climate. Dr. Cartwright stayed behind to continue working in his practice. 

Louise Glaum and Peggy

On Saturdays, Peggy attended Eagan's Dramatic School to learn 'social behavior.' It was while here that she was spotted by a group of visitors that included Japanese actor, Sessue Hayakawa. The actors were looking for a young girl who resembled a mini Mary Pickford. Peggy was the little girl they chose, but Annie Cartwright was hesitant to allow her daughter to become a child actress. Lucky for her the part was eventually given to another girl, but Annie did decide to put Peggy's name forward for future acting roles and it wasn't long before she was snatched up. 

Peggy really wins for having the best film to make her debut in, the 1915 epic, The Birth of a Nation. At just three years old she was the youngest cast member. And the next year she appeared in D.W. Griffith's next epic, Intolerance. Not a bad start at all!

In 1919, Peggy appeared in From Hand to Mouth, which marked the first on screen pairing of Harold Lloyd and Mildred Davis. The film was directed by Hal Roach and it's my guess that this is where Hal decided to add Peggy to his Hal Roach's Rascals line-up.

Harold Lloyd and Peggy

Peggy made her Our Gang/Hal Roach's Rascals debut in the 1922 short, One Terrible Day. Her Our Gang career didn't last very long and she only appeared in three more shorts after her debut, Fire Fighters, Young Sherlocks, and A Quiet Street (all in 1922).

Right about the time her career was really starting to take off, her father decided to pull his daughter from the acting career path so that she could go back to school and continue her education. After she graduated, she moved to London with her mother to study acting and Russian ballet. She also had the opportunity to act on stage.

Peggy's final film appearance was 1941's Faithful Hearts. The film was made in London with British actors, however, the film distributors in the US thought that if they dubbed the British actors with American actors the film would be even more of a success! Not surprisingly, this little addition to the film did not help and the wonky dubbing just came off as comedic. 

Peggy passed away on June 13, 2001 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She was the last surviving member of the original Our Gang. 

She was buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California next to her husband who was an Army veteran. 

Peggy was married twice. Her first marriage was to comedian Phil Baker, who she married in 1932. They had two daughters and two sons: Margot Eleanor, Lisa, Philip, and Michael. During her marriage, Peggy lived the life of housewife and mother and stopped performing. However, after the couple divorced in 1941, Peggy began working in radio. 

Phil Baker and Peggy

Her second husband was African American actor William Walker. The couple married in 1962 and became one of the first interracial couples in Hollywood. They remained married until Walker's death in 1992.

No comments:

Post a Comment