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On Making Lemonade When Life Handed Her Lemons: Marsha Hunt

Marsha HuntMarsha Hunt: Former MGM actress and social activist turns 95

Note from the editor: "Marsha Hunt: On Making Lemonade When Life Handed Her Lemons" was originally published on Dec. 7, 2007. The five-part Marsha Hunt article is being reposted in honor of Marsha Hunt’s 95th birthday yesterday, Oct. 17.

Producer Roger C. Memos is currently raising funds for the documentary Marsha Hunt: Sweet Adversity, about the former MGM actress’ life, film career, and humanistic social and political activism. You can contribute to Sweet Adversity at indiegogo.com. (Image: Marsha Hunt publicity photo ca. early ’40s.)

Marsha Hunt: On Making Lemonade When Life Handed Her Lemons

This past October 17, my dear friend, actress and social activist Marsha Hunt turned 90 years old. Her past few months have been a constant state of activity as the tributes to her seemed never-ending.

Turner Classic Movies honored Marsha Hunt with a tribute, showing eight of her films on her birthday. In Beverly Hills, the preservation group Hollywood Heritage held a screening of one of her favorite starring films, the 1946 MGM romantic comedy A Letter for Evie, ending with a party.

The following day she received the "Ambassador of Peace" award from the Women’s Federation for World Peace, USA in recognition of her groundbreaking work with the United Nations. And she has just returned from a doll convention in Pittsburgh where a collector’s edition doll created in her image and wearing copies of Marsha’s film costumes was introduced — and where more birthday greetings were lovingly delivered.

Then there are the book signings. She put together a one-of-a-kind coffee-table book called The Way We Wore: Styles of the 1930s and ’40s and Our World Since Then, a collection of movie and modeling stills from her career accompanied by stories of her life and films.

Also, Marsha has added the title "record producer" to her list of credits by producing her first CD. Called "Songs from the Heart" and featuring Tony London with the Page Cavanaugh Trio, it features songs from the American Songbook. A songwriter herself, Marsha wrote two songs that are featured on the CD. (Her good friends, legendary songwriters Ray Evans and Hugh Martin picked songs of theirs for Tony to perform on the CD.)

Marsha Hunt: New movie

But the biggest news of all is that Marsha has a film coming out in January, in which she plays a very dark film noir character.

The Grand Inquisitor is a film noir short set to premiere at the sixth annual Noir City Film Noir Festival in January in San Francisco. Marsha Hunt, the actress, will be gloriously rediscovered when The Grand Inquisitor is shown at film festivals around the world in 2008.

I am currently directing and co-producing, with Richard Adkins, a feature documentary on this ordinary woman who achieved the extraordinary in her life. Of all the projects I’ve worked on in this business, none has meant more to me than this one. Her story must be told. If I may, I’d like to give you the CliffsNotes version of her brilliant career and life achievements.

["On Making Lemonade When Life Handed Her Lemons: Marsha Hunt" continues on the next page. See link below.]

Continue Reading: Marsha Hunt Bio: Hollywood in the ’40s

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22 Comments to Marsha Hunt Actress Turns 95

  1. The Paragon Agency has re-released Marsha Hunt’s book: The Way We Wore.

    It’s a photographic book on the costume design of the classic era of film in the 30s and 40s. This by the actress who wore all the clothes in the photos and there are over 400 black and white photos. She now is 96 and we have decided to distribute her book.

    Her career started with a contract at 17 in 1935 with Paramount then ran into a career at MGM. She has starred in many films, acted in over 60, plus more than 40 TV shows including starring in over half a dozen series. This not to mention her recordings, radio, and theater work. What a gal.

    Production firms, clothing designers, photographers, even design schools need to see this; just turning the pages is an education. It’s really wonderful to look through and very addicting. It’s a visual encyclopedia of the Classic Film Era. The sets, the props, the actors, the clothes — nothing is missing here other that the word “Action.”

  2. john eger

    I just saw some of Marsha Hunt’s work tonight! Happy Birthday!
    John Eger

  3. Al Dattolo

    I HAVE JUST SEEN HER ON MY TREE SONS. IT IS GOOD TO KNOW THAT SHE IS STILL ALIVE AND GOING STRONG!

  4. I adore her! Grew up seeing her in “Pride & Prejudice” but love her starring in “Affairs of Martha” & “Letter for Evie” even more.
    I am so glad she’s a liberal too . Not just beautiful & talented, but smart. Hope she knows how much she’s appreciated.

  5. rebecca Noel

    I am a classics movie fan of TCM! I just looked up Ms. Marsha Hunt and was fascinated by her stamina and acting ability! Even tho she is not the “star” she could have been, due to the blacklisting of the 50′s, she is beautiful insided and out, and will always be a “star” to me! Thanks for posting her address, Roger.

  6. marsha

    I was named after Marsha Hunt..my mom was in a theater watching one of her movies (in 1948( and she really liked her, so here I am……

  7. Mary A. Gerth

    Dear Friend Marsha Hunt, We spent time with you on our cruise at Pearl Harbor for the 50th Anniversary.I looked you up on our computer and wish you many blessings for everything you have done for other people. My husband and I are 88 and 81 now and were married 63 years ago Sunday, Our friendship with you was so very special. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your movies were the greatest and I still see them On Turner Classics. Take care now. Much love, Del &Mary Gerth June 21,2011

  8. Marsha Hunt

    I too am named after this incredible woman (by my father). At age 59 and a liberal, I am thrilled to be her namesake. I am in awe of her. –Marsha Hunt

  9. Bob Barnes

    At 56 I have been a movie fan all my life.Being a man I cannot help but appreciate a beautiful woman when she appears on the scene. I thought I had seen most of the attractive actresses over the years,not at all impressed by the current plastic surgery crowd. I recently watched The Human Comedy and was swept off my feet by Marsha Hunt,what a beautiful woman,and good actress,she was so fun to watch,I cant believe I have not heard more of her from “movie” persons . It was very interesting and sad to read that she was caught up in the RED Scare nonsense.What an interesting and useful life she led even after being treated so badly,she must have been an extraordinary person. Cant wait to watch more of her movies.Too bad we dont have more like her! Bob

  10. Sylvia Webster

    I am glad I found this website. I have been a fan of Marsha’s since I read her book The way we wore:styles f the 1930′s and 40′s and our world since then. What she wrote about giving up gloves and hats as fashions changed made me feel for her. I am younger (wasn’t born when they were popular) but always wished these items were still in style. I have vintage gloves and hats I wwear them anyway! i am trying to watch every movie with Marsha that I can get my hands on!

  11. Marsha Kay Bristol Bretsch

    Hello, I was so surprised to see how many girls have been named Marsha because their Mom’s loved the movie star, Marsha Hunt. I thought it was unique to me. I started doing research on this movie star that I was named after. I feel honored to have been named after her, it makes me like my name even more.
    Marsha

  12. Frank A. Carroll

    My great grandparents were named Hunt from County Wicklow in Ireland & we were always told that we were related to the great filmstar Marsha Hunt.
    Is this possible ? Were Marsha’s family originally from Ireland ?

    I would love to know as we are building a family tree for our children & grandchildren.

  13. M. S. Anderson

    Happy Belated Birthday Pretty-Girl.

    Loved you in RAW DEAL and SMASH-UP with Susan
    Hayward. I thought you were prettier. KISS!

  14. Terry Hawkins

    Can’t believe I had not found this site earlier!
    I will always fondly remember meeting and visiting with Miss Hunt and consider every movie of hers that pops up on TCM the highlight of that day. She is a treasure!

  15. Marsha Hunt

    Hello Beautiful Woman…
    I Love YOU
    My Mother never watched T.V. in her life except for National Geografic and Loyld Robertson News but she had seen you in a movie and fell in Love with your Name and You. She was so impressed by you she named me and I just seen your movie like two weeks ago before your Birthday> Mom passed @ 90 fine years Classic Women just like you and me Thank-You for still being here John3:3 Love and Prayers XoXo… P.S. I’d love to follow World Peace in Your Memory Amen. I’ll make my mark to you!

  16. R.P. Harrison

    To me Marsha hunt is the embodyment of the term “charcter.” This young actress stood up to the bullying of the Congressional Committee in search of sensatonal publicity as they tore apart the established careers of great actors and directors. It was a shameful sight to see film super stars grovvel in front of the committee. Marsh stood her ground and told them to their face that what they were doing was un Constitunal.

    I have the greatest admiration for this woman.

  17. How wonderful to find this web site! I have always been a big fan and I am especially sympathetic in regards to the blacklist. It was a terrible time in this country and I am so sorry for the talented and bright people that suffered during it.

    It’s wonderful to see that Marsha Hunt thrived and stayed committed to all of her good work of helping others around the world. And she still looks fantastic. I guess that’s what comes from being beautiful inside and out.

  18. Marsha (Zarr)

    As the other two, my mother who was a veteran of WW2 (Navy) also named me after Marsha Hunt. After reading about her, I too, am honored.

  19. Hi Marsha

    So sorry that Marsha Hunt does not have an email address. But you can write to her at 13131 Magnolia Boulevard Sherman Oaks CA 91423.

    and to the other Marsha - yes!! Marsha Hunt is an INSPIRATION!! your mom picked a cool lady to name you after! happy new year to all!

    roger

  20. Hey Rog. What an extraordinary lady! I can see why you are building this documentary now. Keeo up the good work!

    Zach

  21. Marsha (Not Hunt)

    My mother named me after Marsha Hunt, it was my Mom’s favorite actress. What an honor to be named after Marsha Hunt.
    Gratefully yours,
    Marsha

  22. Mersha Owens

    I’m just learning about Marsha Hunt’s life, and I’m fascinated. I know I was named for her because my mother (deceased) was a fan. Is there an email address to which I could write her?
    Marsha Owens







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