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maggiebanks ( 2007-01-22 )
Source: Her private memorabilia; I am her great granddaughter and am in possession of these.
A classically trained singer whose varied career included serious opera, Broadway musicals, film and theater roles, and vocal recitals, Marguerite Namara was born Marguerite Banks in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 19, 1888. Raised in Los Angeles, she studied piano and voice from an early age. At 18, she began studying at the Milan Conservatory, debuting a year later in 1908 as Marguerite in Faust at the Teatro Politeamo in Genoa. She fashioned her stage name of Namara from her mothers maiden name, McNamara. During her career she sang with the Boston Opera, the Chicago Opera, and the Opéra Comique in Paris. Her 1916 Broadway debut came in a Franz Lehar operetta entitled Alone at Last. She later starred for the Shuberts in The Mikado and toured nationally and in Europe with leading orchestras. Close friend of Isadora Duncan, pupil of Jean De Reszke, Manuel da Falla, and Nellie Melba, the circle in which she moved included such interesting figures of the early twentieth century as Enrico Caruso, Valentino, Chaplin, Debussy, Rodin, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, Dos Passos, DAnnunzio, Eleanora Duse, and P.G. Wodehouse. During her years in Paris she also studied painting with Claude Monet. Stolen Moments was one of her only film projects, and it included a small part for her infant daughter Peggy as well. In 1932, she starred in the first musical film version of Carmen, a British picture entitled Gipsy Blood. Later films in which she played small parts included Thirty Day Princess (1934) with Cary Grant and Sylvia Sidney, and Peter Ibbetson (1935) with Gary Cooper and Ann Harding. In the 1930s, she began teaching voice lessons and appeared in the London cast of the Ivor Novello play, Party. Subsequent theatrical performances included supporting parts in Enter Madame, Claudia, and Lo and Behold. Married three times: from 1910-1917, to her manager Frederick H. Toye, with whom she had a son; from 1917-1926, to the playwright Guy Bolton, with whom she had a daughter; and from 1937 until her death, to landscape architect Georg Hoy. During the 1960s, she lived with her third husband in retirement in Carmel, California, where she recorded her last album at the age of 80. She died on November 5, 1974, in Marbella, Spain, two weeks shy of her 86th birthday.
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