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Margaret O'Brien

Margaret O'Brien

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Bad Bascomb ... An outlaw's heart is stolen by a cute little moppet in this captivating Western... more info $17.56was $21.99 Buy Now

Meet Me in St. Louis ... St. Louis 1903. The well-off Smith family has four beautiful daughters,... more info $29.25was $34.99 Buy Now

Tenth Avenue Angel ... The folks who live in the teeming tenements lining Manhattan's Tenth Avenue... more info $18.95was $21.99 Buy Now

Lost Angel ... A little girl named Alpha (Margaret O'Brien) looks like a typical six-year-old.... more info $18.95was $21.99 Buy Now

The Secret Garden ... Enormously popular child actress Margaret O'Brien (Meet Me in St. Louis) touches... more info $17.56was $21.99 Buy Now

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Also Known As: Maxine O'Brien, Angela Maxine O'Brien Died:
Born: January 15, 1937 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA Profession: actor, model, jewelry designer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This child star of the 1940s was best known for her natural, emotional style and her startling facility for tears. As Maxine O'Brien (her birth name), she first appeared in a civil defense film starring James Cagney, then in a bit in "Babes on Broadway" (both 1941). Sensing her potential, MGM signed her, changed her first name to Margaret and starred her in the tour de force "Journey for Margaret" (1942), as a terrified London war orphan who "adopts" reporter Robert Young. It was an adult, intelligent and slightly scary performance which made her an overnight star. She was loaned out to Fox for "Jane Eyre" (1944). O'Brien's next big showcase came with "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944). As Tootie Smith, the feisty but fragile little sister of Judy Garland, she was a bright point in a very good film, especially in her musical numbers with Garland and during a Halloween sequence in which she confronts a grouchy neighbor. For her performance, she was awarded a special juvenile Oscar. Her next two features, "Music for Millions" (1944) and the drama "Our Vines Have Tender Grapes" (1945) were also impressive. Two good roles came her way in 1949, as the tragic Beth in a remake of "Little Women" and as Mary...

This child star of the 1940s was best known for her natural, emotional style and her startling facility for tears. As Maxine O'Brien (her birth name), she first appeared in a civil defense film starring James Cagney, then in a bit in "Babes on Broadway" (both 1941). Sensing her potential, MGM signed her, changed her first name to Margaret and starred her in the tour de force "Journey for Margaret" (1942), as a terrified London war orphan who "adopts" reporter Robert Young. It was an adult, intelligent and slightly scary performance which made her an overnight star. She was loaned out to Fox for "Jane Eyre" (1944). O'Brien's next big showcase came with "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944). As Tootie Smith, the feisty but fragile little sister of Judy Garland, she was a bright point in a very good film, especially in her musical numbers with Garland and during a Halloween sequence in which she confronts a grouchy neighbor. For her performance, she was awarded a special juvenile Oscar. Her next two features, "Music for Millions" (1944) and the drama "Our Vines Have Tender Grapes" (1945) were also impressive. Two good roles came her way in 1949, as the tragic Beth in a remake of "Little Women" and as Mary Lennox in "The Secret Garden."

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Amy (1981) Hazel Johnson
3.
 Heller in Pink Tights (1960) Della Southby
4.
 Glory (1956) Clarabel Tilbee
5.
 Her First Romance (1951) Betty Foster
6.
 Little Women (1949) Beth [March]
7.
 The Secret Garden (1949) Mary Lennox
8.
 Big City (1948) Midge [also known as Mary Ellen Rachel O'Donnell Andrews Feldman]
9.
 Tenth Avenue Angel (1948) Flavia Mills
10.
 The Unfinished Dance (1947) [Margaret] "Meg" Merlin
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1954:
Miniature Oscar stolen from her
1981:
Returned to features with one shot appearance in "Amy" (released in 1984)
1960:
Filmed busted pilot "Maggie"
1944:
Had memorable role as Tootie in "Meet Me in St. Louis"; received honorary Oscar
1994:
Had supporting role in direct-to-video release "Sunset After Dark"
1958:
Played Beth in TV musical version of "Little Women"
1941:
Feature film debut, "Babes on Broadway"
1951:
First non-MGM film, "Her First Romance"
1942:
First starring role, "Journey for Margaret"
1960:
Last film for 11 years, "Heller in Pink Tights"
1949:
Played Beth in a remake of "Little Women"
1977:
TV miniseries debut "Testimony of Two Men"
1941:
Under contract to MGM
1941:
Made debut in civil defense film
1995:
Made headlines when stolen Oscar was returned to her after more that twenty years
1977:
Trust fund from childhood acting career turned over to her
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

O'Brien's miniature Oscar was stolen from her in 1954. Twenty-one years later it was returned to her when it was located in a swap meet.

On her life as a child star: "I had a wonderful time. I really enjoyed it. I took it like a job, took it seriously. I had a mother who was really watching out for me. I think it's what you make of it. It could be something horrible if that's the way you want to look at it, but it was not. . . My mother saw that I had friends to play with; kids who were not in the movies." --Margaret O'Brien quoted in Classic Images, August 1993.

"How they really got me to cry is kind of interesting. June Allyson also did a lot of dramatic films, we were known as The Town Criers of MGM. We were always in competition: I wanted to cry better than June, and June wanted to cry better than me. The way my mother got me to cry was if I was having trouble with a scene, she'd say, 'why don't we have the make-up man come over and give you false tears?' Then I'd think to myself, 'they'll say I'm not as good as June,' and I'd start to cry." --Margaret O'Brien quoted in Classic Images, August 1993.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Harold Allen Jr. Artist. Married in August 1959; divorced in 1968.
husband:
Ray Thorsen. Married in June 1974; divorced.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Lawrence O'Brien. Circus performer. Died before O'Brien was born.
mother:
Gladys O'Brien.
daughter:
Mara Thorsen. Born c. 1977.

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