Francis Marion, 1888-1973
Born in San Francisco and considered the most renowned female script writer of the 20th century, Francis Marion began her career as a European war correspondent during World War I, focusing on the contributions of women at the Front. She was the first woman to cross the Rhine following the Armistice. Afterwards, Marion moved to Hollywood, apprenticing as a director’s assistant for director-producer Lois Weber. Eventually transitioning into screenwriting, actress Mary Pickford was so impressed that Marion became her exclusive screenwriter. During their collaboration, Marion wrote the scripts that Pickford is best known for: Poor Little Rich Girl, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Marion would go on to win Oscars for The Big House (1930), and The Champ (1931). She maintained working relationships with Pickford and William Randolph Hearst, as well as screen wrote for Marion Davies, Marie Dressler, Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo, and Rudolph Valentino. Marion worked under the “Boy Wonder” of MGM Studios, Irving Thalberg. Many attribute the studio’s success to her talents, and Marion literally wrote the book about how to write and sell scripts in Hollywood. A prolific screenwriter, Marion wrote for over 300 films during her illustrious career before leaving Hollywood in 1946.