skip navigation
E. G. Marshall

E. G. Marshall

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (2)

Recent DVDs

Tora Tora Tora ... Originally released in 1970. Directed by Kinji Fukasaku, Richard Fleischer,... more info $10.95was $15.99 Buy Now

George Marshall & the American... Directed by Ken Levis, Kenneth Mandel. Starring E.G. Marshall. more info $14.95was $19.95 Buy Now

The Defenders: Season One ... One of television's most respected dramas finally arrives on DVD with The... more info $35.36was $44.99 Buy Now

Also Known As: Edda Gunnar Marshall, Everett G. Marshall Died: August 24, 1998
Born: June 18, 1910 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Owatonna, Minnesota, USA Profession: actor, narrator, TV host, spokesman

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of New Yorkâ¿¿s premier actors and an original member of the storied Actorâ¿¿s Studio, E.G. Marshall earned his reputation on Broadway in "The Skin of Our Teeth" (1942-43), "Jacobowsky and the Colonel" (1944-45), and "The Iceman Cometh" (1946-47). Movie roles followed, but it would be a decade before he really made his name, thanks to films like "The Caine Mutiny" (1954) and, particularly, "12 Angry Men" (1957). The classic legal drama cast the actor as Juror No. 4, who provided the prime opposition to Henry Fondaâ¿¿s dissenting opinion in a murder case. One of Marshallâ¿¿s strengths as a performer was the intelligent authority he brought to parts and that quality was on display on "The Defenders" (CBS, 1961-65), where he and Robert Reed portrayed father and son attorneys who often took on controversial cases that challenged the television norms of the era. When the program finished its run, Marshall continued to act in motion pictures and was beloved amongst radio fans for his hosting duties on "CBS Radio Mystery Theater" (CBS, 1974-1982). While "The Defenders" had a comparatively short four-season run, it remained in the public consciousness to the point where Marshall was brought back for a...

One of New Yorkâ¿¿s premier actors and an original member of the storied Actorâ¿¿s Studio, E.G. Marshall earned his reputation on Broadway in "The Skin of Our Teeth" (1942-43), "Jacobowsky and the Colonel" (1944-45), and "The Iceman Cometh" (1946-47). Movie roles followed, but it would be a decade before he really made his name, thanks to films like "The Caine Mutiny" (1954) and, particularly, "12 Angry Men" (1957). The classic legal drama cast the actor as Juror No. 4, who provided the prime opposition to Henry Fondaâ¿¿s dissenting opinion in a murder case. One of Marshallâ¿¿s strengths as a performer was the intelligent authority he brought to parts and that quality was on display on "The Defenders" (CBS, 1961-65), where he and Robert Reed portrayed father and son attorneys who often took on controversial cases that challenged the television norms of the era. When the program finished its run, Marshall continued to act in motion pictures and was beloved amongst radio fans for his hosting duties on "CBS Radio Mystery Theater" (CBS, 1974-1982). While "The Defenders" had a comparatively short four-season run, it remained in the public consciousness to the point where Marshall was brought back for a pair of TV movie revivals almost four decades later. Widely respected for his work in four mediums, Marshall was both a commanding and enduring figure during the majority of his six-decade career and ranked among the more beloved character actors of all time.

Although he insisted in interviews that E.G. Marshall was his actual birth name, Marshall was actually born either Everett Eugene Grunz or Edda Gunnar Grunz on June 18, 1914 in Owatonna, MN. As with that bit of subterfuge, the details of his early life were also somewhat sketchy. Marshall reportedly had his first acting experience as a child in school and church plays and claimed to have attended the University of Minnesota and Carlton College. However, the historical record stated that Marshallâ¿¿s higher education experience was restricted to St. Paulâ¿¿s Mechanic Arts High School and he apparently did not stay long enough to earn a diploma. During the 1930s, he performed Shakespeare for a time with the American Art Theatre before heading to New York City in hopes of finding local acting work. After several lean years and various jobs â¿¿ including employment at the 1939 Worldâ¿¿s Fair â¿¿ Marshall made his first appearance on Broadway as an elderly seaman in the play "Jason" (1942) and also acted in "The Skin of Our Teeth" (1942-43) and "Jacobowsky and the Colonel" (1944-45). Summer stock also helped Marshall pay the bills and his perseverance and obvious ability eventually led to movie offers.

Marshall made his screen debut via an uncredited appearance in "The House on 92nd Street" (1945), which was filmed on the streets of New York City, but his main focus remained stage work, including a part in the Broadway hit "The Iceman Cometh" (1946-47). In 1948, Marshall was one of the earliest members of the Actors Studio, the New York-based group that emphasized "Method" acting and counted Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger amongst its distinguished alumni. Marshall next appeared in a quartet of Broadway plays with abbreviated runs, but like other veteran stager performers, he found many opportunities on the fledgling medium of television. In addition to appearing on several live dramatic anthologies, including "Actorâ¿¿s Studio" (ABC/CBS, 1948-1950), the groupâ¿¿s television offshoot, and "The Philco Television Playhouse" (NBC, 1948-55), he embodied such noteworthy figures as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington on the historical dramatic series "You Are There" (CBS, 1953-57). Additional stage work came Marshallâ¿¿s way with "The Crucible" (1953) and "The Gambler" (1953), but his motion picture career also began to flourish during this period and he graced such major pictures as "The Caine Mutiny" (1954), starring Humphrey Bogart, "Broken Lance" (1954), and "The Mountain" (1956).

In 1957, Marshall had his most famous big screen turn as Juror No. 4 in the classic courtroom drama "12 Angry Men." The superb ensemble cast included such other veteran New York thespians as Jack Warden, Lee J. Cobb and Martin Balsam, with Marshall providing the staunchest opposition to sole holdout Henry Fonda, who is convinced that the man on trial is innocent. The picture⿿s acclaim kept Marshall busy with movie assignments, including Anthony Quinn⿿s sole directorial outing "The Buccaneer" (1958) and the Leopold-Loeb murder thriller "Compulsion" (1959), which found him playing an attorney, a profession that would soon figure prominently on his résumé. Back on the small screen, Marshall landed yet another of his signature parts on "The Defenders" (CBS, 1961-65). Though the pilot did not perform well, CBS decided to greenlight the series, which soon found critical and audience support. Marshall starred with future "Brady Bunch" veteran Robert Reed as a team of father and son lawyers, whose cases sometimes involved hot-button social issues of the time, including abortion, censorship and euthanasia. Viewer controversy also arose from the use of female and African American judges in some episodes. During its successful four-season run, Marshall received a pair of Emmy Awards, though he stated later in the life that such prizes were really only important in that they boosted the program⿿s ratings.

After the show wrapped, Marshall restarted his film career with a starkly different assignment as a vicious racist in "The Chase" (1966) and was back on Broadway in the Neil Simon smash "Plaza Suite" (1968-1970) as a replacement for George C. Scott. However, it was not long before Marshall returned to series television duties in another time-honored profession as a regular cast member of "The Bold Ones: The New Doctors" (NBC, 1969-1973). In between his obligations on that program, he essayed military men in the large scale World War II actioners "The Bridge at Remagen" (1969) and "Tora! Tora! Tora!" (1970). During this time, he also began a multi-year stint as the host of the suspense program "CBS Radio Mystery Theater" (CBS, 1974-1982) and stepped in for original star Hume Cronyn in the Broadway hit "The Gin Game" (1977-78). In addition to various made-for-television features, Marshall tackled a diverse selection of film parts, making appearances in everything from the mostly unreleased "Billy Jack Goes to Washington" (1977) to Woody Allenâ¿¿s "Interiors" (1978) to playing the President of the United States briefly in "Superman II" (1980). The actor made his Broadway swan song in the title role of Henrik Ibsenâ¿¿s "John Gabriel Borkman" (1980-81) and entertained horror fans as a cleanliness-obsessed businessman whose sterile abode is invaded by an army of cockroaches in "Theyâ¿¿re Creeping Up on You," the closing segment of the E.C. Comics-inspired anthology "Creepshow" (1982).

He returned to the New York stage in "She Stoops to Conquer" (1984) and helped to elevate the uneven Richard Gere thriller "Power" (1986). Meanwhile, cable viewers were able to see him in Robert Altmanâ¿¿s keen political satire "Tanner â¿¿88" (HBO, 1988) as the disagreeable father of Michael Murphyâ¿¿s candidate. By now very accustomed to portraying military leaders, Marshall proved to be well cast as General Dwight D. Eisenhower in the blockbuster miniseries "War and Remembrance" (ABC, 1988). Parts also came for Marshall in more offbeat fare, including a turn as Chevy Chaseâ¿¿s father-in-law in "National Lampoonâ¿¿s Christmas Vacation" (1989), and he reunited with "Creepshow" director George A. Romero for the American/Italian co-production "Two Evil Eyes" (1990) In the final years of his life, Marshall briefly joined the cast of "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994-2000) and had supporting assignments in Oliver Stoneâ¿¿s "Nixon" (1995) and the Clint Eastwood thriller "Absolute Power" (1997), which turned out to be Marshallâ¿¿s last motion picture. His final onscreen acting credit was in "The Defenders: Choice of Evils" (Showtime, 1998), one of two "Defenders" revival features produced many years after the showâ¿¿s original run. Marshall succumbed to lung cancer on Aug. 24, 1998.

By John Charles

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Defenders: Choice of Evils, The (1998) Lawrence Preston
2.
 Defenders, The: Payback (1997) Lawrence Preston
3.
 Absolute Power (1997) Walter Sullivan
4.
 Miss Evers' Boys (1997) Senate Chairman
5.
 Nixon (1995) John Mitchell
6.
 Russian Holiday (1993)
7.
 Consenting Adults (1992) George Gordon
8.
 Two Evil Eyes (1991) Steven Pike ("The Facts In The Case Of Mr. Valdemar")
9.
 Ironclads (1991) Commodore Smith
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1932:
Began professional career on radio in St. Paul, Chicago, and Minneapolis
1933:
Left his home in Minneapolis to join the Oxford Players, a traveling Shakespearean company that toured the South and Southwest
:
Oxford Players settled in Chicago and became the hub of the classical wing of the Federal Theater
:
Moved to NYC and appeared in such Broadway productions as "The Iceman Cometh", "The Skin of Our Teeth", "Waiting for Godot" and "The Crucible"
1945:
Film debut, "The House on 92nd Street"
:
Featured in a radio production of Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh"
1946:
Featured performer on the radio series, "Theatre Guild on the Air"
1954:
First of four film performances for director Edward Dmytryk, "Broken Lance"
1956:
Appeared in the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation of "The Little Foxes" on NBC
1957:
Breakthrough feature supporting role, Fourth Juror in Sidney Lumet's "Twelve Angry Men"
:
TV debut as a series regular; starred as Lawrence Preston in the landmark CBS legal series, "The Defenders"
1966:
TV-movie debut, "The Poppy Is Also a Flower", an ABC drama produced by the United Nations to teach about the drug menace
:
Starred as Dr. Benjamin Craig in NBC-TV's "The Doctors", a rotating segment of "The Bold Ones"
1972:
TV debut as a host/narrator, "American Lifestyle", a syndicated documentary series; the first of 20 such credits in as many years
1981:
Played the recurring role of Henri Denault on the popular CBS primetime soap, "Falcon Crest" (date approximate)
1981:
Narrated seven episodes of "The Gangster Chronicles", an NBC miniseries
1982:
Starred in a segment of the anthology horror film "Creepshow"; first collaboration with horror auteur George Romero
1982:
Cast as Ward Frazier on "The Phoenix", a short-lived ABC sci-fi series
1988:
Portrayed the father of candidate Tanner in Robert Altman's HBO miniseries, "Tanner '88"
1994:
Appeared as part of the distinguished ensemble of "Chicago Hope", a CBS medical drama
1997:
Featured in "Absolute Power"; final film performance
:
Reprised his role as Lawrence Preston for two Showtime TV-movies based on "The Defenders"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Carleton College: Northfield , Minnesota -
University of Minnesota: - 1930 - 1932

Notes

Most sources give 1910 as the year of Mr. Marshall's birth but in a 1997 interview he insisted he was born in 1914 as did his family at the time of his death.

Mr. Marshall never publicly revealed what his initials stood for. Although reference books claim the 'E' was for Everett, Mr. Marshall's son-in-law was quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES obituary as saying that even family members were not sure what the initials represented. the London TIMES obituary (August 28, 1998) claimed his initials stood for Edda Gunnar; the first name from a Norse myth and the second after a Norse king.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Helen Wolf. Married on April 26, 1939; divorced in 1953.
wife:
Judith Marshall. Second wife; survived him.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Charles G Marshall. Telephone company employee.
mother:
Hazel Irene Marshall.
daughter:
Jill Marshall. Mother, Helen Wolf; survived him.
daughter:
Degen Marshall. Mother, Helen Wolf; survived him.
son:
Samuel Marshall. Mother, Judith Coy; survived him.
daughter:
Sarah Marshall. Mother, Judith Coy; survived him.
son:
Jed Marshall. Mother, Judith Coy; survived him.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute