Herbert Marshall


Actor
Herbert Marshall

About

Also Known As
Herbert Brough Falcon Marshall
Birth Place
London, England, GB
Born
May 23, 1890
Died
January 21, 1966
Cause of Death
Heart Attack

Biography

Depending on your taste in movies, you may know Herbert Marshall best as the suave star of one of Ernst Lubitsch's best movies, Trouble in Paradise (1932), the peace-loving diplomat with a secret in Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (1940), Bette Davis's husband in two films, The Letter (1940) and The Little Foxes (1941), a stand-in for writer W. Somerset Maugham in two adaptation...

Photos & Videos

Gog - Lobby Cards
Breakfast for Two - Scene Stills
Crack-Up - Lobby Card Set

Family & Companions

Molly Maitland
Wife
Model. First wife.
Edna Best
Wife
Actor. Second wife; married 1928, divorced 1940.
Boots Mallory
Wife
Actor. Fourth wife.
Dee Anne Kahmann
Wife
Fifth wife.

Biography

Depending on your taste in movies, you may know Herbert Marshall best as the suave star of one of Ernst Lubitsch's best movies, Trouble in Paradise (1932), the peace-loving diplomat with a secret in Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (1940), Bette Davis's husband in two films, The Letter (1940) and The Little Foxes (1941), a stand-in for writer W. Somerset Maugham in two adaptations of his work, The Moon and Sixpence (1942) and The Razor's Edge (1946), or the French police inspector in the sci-fi classic The Fly (1958). Even in the latter role, he seemed the epitome of British-ness, the proper gentleman who seemed to have been born with a stiff upper lip. That quality made him particularly popular among the many Anglophile producers in Hollywood's golden age, while his mellifluous voice and easy demeanor guaranteed continuous work in later years in film, television and radio.

The London born actor worked as an accounting clerk before breaking into the theatre, making his stage debut in 1911 at the age of 21. During World War I, he lost a leg to a sniper's bullet, but developed a careful, erect posture that disguised the fact that he had a prosthetic limb. When he moved into the movies, scenes that required climbing stairs were often done with a double.

Marshall made his Broadway debut in The Voice from the Minaret in 1921. He didn't try film until 1927, when he had the second male lead in the British silent Mumsie. Silents were hardly his medium, however, as they hid his beautifully modulated speaking voice. He returned to film for the early talkie version of The Letter (1929), playing the lover Jeanne Eagels kills at the film's start. Paramount filmed the picture at its studios in New York, where Marshall was scoring a Broadway hit in Frederick Lonsdale's comedy of manners The High Road, which co-starred his second wife, Edna Best (he had divorced first wife Mollie Maitland and married Best in 1928).

On his return to England, he landed the leading role in the early Hitchcock talkie Murder! (1930). He starred as a juror who has voted to convict a killer, then realizes there were holes in the Crown's case and starts investigating the crime on his own. The film was the first to use a voiceover recording of a character's thoughts. As sound technology was still primitive, however, instead of post-dubbing his thoughts, Marshall had to record them for playback during the scene in which he basically talks to himself.

Broadway brought Marshall back to the U.S. rather quickly. He starred in Phillip Barry's Tomorrow and Tomorrow in 1931 and co-starred with Best in John Van Druten's There's Always Juliet in 1932, both moderate successes. That also put him in place for another film shot at Paramount's New York studios, Secrets of a Secretary (1931), in which he co-starred with Claudette Colbert. After co-starring with Best in three British films, he moved to Hollywood to play Marlene Dietrich's long-suffering husband in Blonde Venus (1932), one of director Joseph von Sternberg's most outré films.

Then Lubitsch chose him over Cary Grant for the role of a sophisticated, seductive jewel thief in Trouble in Paradise. For fans used to Marshall's more reserved characters in later films, his performance is a revelation, particularly the scene in which he and fellow thief Miriam Hopkins flirt by stealing items from each other unobserved, including her underwear. The film was a big hit, but had to be taken out of circulation in 1935 with the arrival of strict Production Code enforcement.

As Marshall moved into his forties, he started getting roles as the solid man who can provide the leading lady with security but doesn't offer the excitement of the younger-looking leading man. In some cases, this meant losing the leading lady to a bigger star; in others it meant standing by understandingly as she almost strayed. He's a staid British lord whose marriage to Norma Shearer is threatened by playboy Robert Montgomery in MGM's Riptide and dealt with similar issues with Greta Garbo in The Painted Veil (both 1934). A trip to RKO meant taking a back seat to teen star Anne Shirley, who's out to get widowed father Marshall married, a sure ticket to disaster in Make Way for a Lady (1936).

In the '40s, Marshall started relaxing into character roles, though often in prestigious films. On the increasingly rare occasions that he received top billing, he was cast as established professionals or settled married men. In Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent, he even had a grown daughter, Larraine Day, with leading man Joel McCrea carrying most of the action in that tale of international intrigue at the start of World War II. He returned to The Letter, remade by Warner Bros., but this time played the male lead, as Bette Davis's husband. With William Wyler directing, it would be one of his best performances. He reunited with Davis and Wyler a year later for The Little Foxes, the film adaptation of Lillian Hellman's hit play about corruption in a small Southern town. This time Teresa Wright played his daughter. For MGM's remake of Rachel Crothers' hit play When Ladies Meet (1941), he was fourth billed as the married publisher whose flirtation with novelist Joan Crawford forces his wife (Greer Garson) to spring into action.

Perhaps Marshall's ideal casting in that decade was as writer Geoffrey Wolfe, a stand-in for original author W. Somerset Maugham, whose memories capture the adventures of rebellious painter George Sanders (in a character inspired by Gauguin) in The Moon and Sixpence. The film, which marked the directorial debut of screenwriter Albert Lewin, was hailed as one of Hollywood's most literate and sophisticated films, a status greatly aided by Marshall's intelligent reading of the narration.

In Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble (1944), Marshall was billed below the Hardy family, even though his role as Mickey Rooney's college advisor and romantic rival was more important. On radio, age was less of a problem. The same year as the Hardy film, he started a starring role as an American secret agent in The Man Called X. The series would run for eight years, even as Marshall continued playing supporting roles as a sympathetic friend of tortured lovers Robert Young and Dorothy McGuire in The Enchanted Cottage (1945), Maugham again, commenting on Tyrone Power's and Gene Tierney's tangled love lives in The Razor's Edge and Jennifer Jones's doomed father in Duel in the Sun (1946). He was the principal of many suspects in the murder of Robert Taylor's wife in the psychological thriller High Wall (1947), then moved into more benign territory as Archibald Craven, the owner of the estate in which orphaned relation Margaret O'Brien cultivates The Secret Garden (1949). Then it was back to villainy as a corrupt publisher contending with crusading reporter Dan Duryea in The Underworld Story (1950).

In the '50s, Marshall combined television work with a mixed bag of films, some prestigious like The Virgin Queen (1955), his third film with Bette Davis, and some scraping the bottom of the cinematic barrel, like Gog (1954), a science-fiction film starring Richard Egan. He was much better served on television, where he and daughter Sarah Marshall co-starred in an adaptation of J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls on Robert Montgomery Presents, played Dorothy McGuire's father in Best of Broadway's adaptation of The Philadelphia Story and brought his British bearing to the leading role of the failed teacher in the Lux Television Theatre version of Terence Rattigan's The Browning Version.

Marshall finished his career bringing gravitas to smaller roles in films like The List of Adrian Messenger, The Caretakers (both 1963) and his last film, The Third Day (1965). Even playing a paralyzed family patriarch who can no longer speak, he scored a solid emotional connection with leading man George Peppard as his amnesiac son-in-law. By that point, Marshall was in no physical condition to act further. He died of heart failure in 1966 at the age of 75.

TCM's Summer Under the Stars pays tribute to Herbert Marshall with 14 films -- The Letter (1929), Murder! (1930), Trouble in Paradise (1932), Riptide (1934), Make Way for a Lady (1936), Foreign Correspondent (1940), The Letter (1940), The Little Foxes (1941), When Ladies Meet (1941), The Moon and Sixpence (1942), Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble (1944), High Wall (1947), The Secret Garden (1949) and The Underworld Story (1950).

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Third Day (1965)
Austin Parsons
The Caretakers (1963)
Dr. Jubal Harrington
The List of Adrian Messenger (1963)
Sir Wilfred Lucas
Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962)
Prime minister
A Fever in the Blood (1961)
Governor Thornwall
Midnight Lace (1960)
Charles Manning
College Confidential (1960)
Henry Addison
The Fly (1958)
Inspector Charas
Stage Struck (1958)
Robert Harley Hedges
Wicked As They Come (1957)
Stephen Collins
The Weapon (1957)
Inspector MacKenzie
The Virgin Queen (1955)
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester
The Black Shield of Falworth (1954)
William, Earl of Mackworth
Gog (1954)
Dr. Van Ness
Riders to the Stars (1954)
Dr. Donald Stanton
Angel Face (1953)
Charles Tremayne
Anne of the Indies (1951)
Dr. Jameson
The Underworld Story (1950)
E. J. Stanton
The Secret Garden (1949)
Archibald Craven
High Wall (1948)
Willard I. Whitcombe
Ivy (1947)
Miles Rushworth
Duel in the Sun (1947)
Scott Chavez
The Razor's Edge (1946)
W. Somerset Maugham
Crack-Up (1946)
Traybin
The Enchanted Cottage (1945)
John Hillgrove
The Unseen (1945)
Dr. Charles Evans
Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble (1944)
Dr. M. J. Standish
Young Ideas (1943)
Michael Kingsley
Flight for Freedom (1943)
Paul Turner
Forever and a Day (1943)
Curate
The Moon and Sixpence (1942)
Geoffrey Wolfe
Kathleen (1942)
John Davis
The Little Foxes (1941)
Horace Giddens
Adventure in Washington (1941)
Senator John Coleridge
When Ladies Meet (1941)
Rogers Woodruf
The Letter (1940)
Robert Crosbie
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Stephen Fisher
A Bill of Divorcement (1940)
Gray Meredith
Zaza (1939)
Dufresne
Always Goodbye (1938)
Jim Howard
Mad About Music (1938)
Richard [Todd]
Woman Against Woman (1938)
Stephen Holland
Angel (1937)
Sir Frederick Barker
Breakfast for Two (1937)
Jonathan Blair
The Lady Consents (1936)
Dr. Mike Talbot
A Woman Rebels (1936)
Thomas Lane
Make Way for a Lady (1936)
Christopher Drew
Till We Meet Again (1936)
Alan Barclow [also known as Hans Teller and Franz Hoffman]
Girls' Dormitory (1936)
Dr. Stephen Dominik
Forgotten Faces (1936)
Harry Ashton
The Good Fairy (1935)
Doctor [Max] Sporum
Accent on Youth (1935)
Steven Gaye
The Flame Within (1935)
Doctor Gordon Phillips
If You Could Only Cook (1935)
Jim Buchanan
The Dark Angel (1935)
Gerald Shannon
The Painted Veil (1934)
[Dr.] Walter Fane
Outcast Lady (1934)
Napier [Harpenden]
Four Frightened People (1934)
Arnold Ainger
Riptide (1934)
Lord [Philip] Rexford
I Was a Spy (1933)
Stephan
Faithful Heart (1933)
Waverlay Ango
The Solitaire Man (1933)
Oliver [Lane]
Blonde Venus (1932)
Edward Faraday
Evenings for Sale (1932)
[Count] Franz von Degenthal
Bachelor's Folly (1932)
Michael and Mary (1932)
Michael Rowe
Trouble in Paradise (1932)
Gaston [Monescu, alias LuValle]
Secrets of a Secretary (1931)
Lord [Paul] Danforth
Murder (1930)
The Letter (1929)
Geoffrey Hammond
Mumsie (1927)

Cast (Special)

The Philadelphia Story (1954)
Seth Lord

Life Events

Photo Collections

Gog - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from Gog (1954). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Breakfast for Two - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from RKO's Breakfast for Two (1937), starring Barbara Stanwyck.
Crack-Up - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from RKO's Crack-Up (1946), starring Pat O'Brien and Claire Trevor. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Blonde Venus - Jumbo Lobby Cards
Blonde Venus - Jumbo Lobby Cards
Trouble in Paradise - Movie Poster
Here is a Window Card movie poster for Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise (1932), starring Mirian Hopkins, Kay Francis, and Herbert Marshall.
The Secret Garden - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from MGM's The Secret Garden (1949), starring Margaret O'Brien and Dean Stockwell.
Mad About Music - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from Universal Pictures' Mad About Music (1938), starring Deanna Durbin, Herbert Marshall, and Gail Patrick.
Mad About Music - Behind-the-Scenes Stills
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Universal's Mad About Music (1938), starring Deanna Durbin and Herbert Marshall.
Mad About Music - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from Universal's Mad About Music (1938), starring Deanna Durbin, Herbert Marshall, and Gail Patrick. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Mad About Music - Movie Posters
Here are a few movie posters from Universal Pictures' Mad About Music (1938), starring Deanna Durbin, Herbert Marshall, and Gail Patrick.
Mad About Music - Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos taken to help publicize Universal Pictures' Mad About Music (1938), starring Deanna Durbin, Herbert Marshall, and Gail Patrick. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
College Confidential - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from Albert Zugsmith's College Confidential (1960), starring Steve Allen and Mamie Van Doren. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Kathleen - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Kathleen (1942), starring Shirley Temple. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The Painted Veil - Movie Poster
Here is an American release movie poster for The Painted Veil (1934), starring Greta Garbo.

Videos

Movie Clip

Fly, The (1958) - The Gravity Of The Crime Vincent Price is Francois, a Quebec industrial scientist, Patricia Owens his sister-in-law Helene, acting serene but claiming to have squished his brother and partner in an industrial press, Herbert Marshall the incredulous Inspector Charas, interruption by an insect, in the original The Fly, 1958.
Letter, The (1940) - Just Out Of Prison On the evening of her acquittal, Leslie (Bette Davis) finds a dagger outside her bedroom, then is dragged into the party by Frieda (Dorothy Joyce), in William Wyler's The Letter, 1940, from W. Somerset Maugham's play.
Letter, The (1940) - Who Has The Letter Now? Acquitted killer Leslie (Bette Davis) and her lawyer and reluctant co-conspirator Howard (James Stephenson) finally tell her loyal husband Bob (Herbert Marshall) the truth in The Letter, 1940.
Crack-Up (1946) - Nothing Wrong With Your Mind Returning home after apparently losing his mind at the museum, military vet and art critic Steele (Pat O'Brien) with girl-friend Terry (Claire Trevor) and new Brit pal Traybin (Herbert Marshall), in Crack-Up, 1946.
Angel Face (1953) - Guilty On All Four Counts Not-seen stepdaughter Diane (Jean Simmons, title character) is the subject, as Catherine (Barbara O'Neil) hears out chauffeur Frank (Robert Mitchum) on his business idea, then chastises her father, also the spendthrift husband, Charles (Herbert Marshall) in Otto Preminger's Angel Face, 1953.
Angel (1937) - The Courage To Be Unpopular We’ve only just met Herbert Marshall (through a headline montage) as big British diplomat Barker, on his arrival home, we see he’s married to Marlene Dietrich, whose name hasn’t been revealed throughout the first two reels, then servants Edward Everett Horton and Ernest Cossart resume an earlier conversation, in Ernst Lubitsch’s Angel, 1937.
Painted Veil, The (1934) - Blithering Idiot Alone after her sister's wedding, Austrian Olga (Greta Garbo) with her former schoolmate, Brit doctor Walter (Herbert Marshall), in Richard Boleslawski's The Painted Veil, 1934, from the Somerset Maugham novel.
Trouble In Paradise (1932) - Moon In The Champagne Director Ernst Lubitsch's fascinating opening sequence from the 1932 romantic comedy Trouble in Paradise, features Herbert Marshall as the thief Gaston Monescu, posing as a Baron.
Trouble In Paradise (1932) - You Are a Crook! The "Countess" (Miriam Hopkins) and the "Baron" (Herbert Marshall) discover each other's games over dinner in Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise, 1932.
Trouble In Paradise (1932) - You Lost A Handbag? Madame Colet (Kay Francis) receives a radical (Leonid Kinskey) and the thief Montescu (Herbert Marshall) after advertising for a lost handbag, which Montescu stole, in Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise, 1932.
Razor's Edge, The (1946) - Mr. Maugham Herbert Marshall narrating as author W. Somerset Maughan, a device from the novel, visiting Templeton (Clifton Webb), and meeting his sister (Lucile Watson), her daughter Isabel (Gene Tierney) and friend Sophie (Anne Baxter), much talk about the unseen principal, Larry (Tyrone Power), opening The Razor's Edge, 1946.
Painted Veil, The (1934) - Men Ought To Be Different Opening scene from director Richard Boleslawski, bride Olga (Cecilia Parker), her sister Katrin (Greta Garbo), her suitor Walter (Herbert Marshall) and their parents (Jean Hersholt, Bodil Rosing), from The Painted Veil, 1934, from the Somerset Maugham novel.

Trailer

Wicked As They Come - (Textless Trailer) A ruthless woman (Arlene Dahl) takes advantage of gullible men to climb up the social ladder in Wicked As They Come (1957).
Foreign Correspondent - (Original Trailer) A camera with gun attachment, trick windmills and a mid-ocean plane crash are some of the predicaments facing Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (1940).
Crack-Up - (Original Trailer) An art critic (Pat O'Brien) risks his reputation and his life to track down a forgery racket.
Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble - (Original Trailer) In the 13th entry in the series, college boy Andy tangles with beautiful twins in Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble (1944).
Angel Face - (Original Trailer) Jean Simmons goes to the dark side playing an unscrupulous woman who murders her loved ones for profit in Otto Preminger's Angel Face (1952).
When Ladies Meet (1941) - (Original Trailer) A female novelist doesn't realize her new friend is the wife whose husband she's trying to steal in When Ladies Meet (1941).
Flame Within, The - (Original Trailer) Ann Harding is a psychiatrist who thinks she is remote from her patients' problems until she falls in love with one of them.
High Wall - (Original Trailer) Psychiatry provides the key to proving a veteran flyer innocent of his wife's murder in High Wall (1947) starring Robert Taylor.
Woman Against Woman - (Original Trailer) Now that her husband has re-married, Mary Astor wants him back, setting Woman Against Woman (1938).
Young Ideas - (Original Trailer) A widow's grown children try to break up her romance with a college professor in Jules Dassin's Young Ideas (1943).
Letter, The - (Original Trailer) Bette Davis pumps bullets into a man's body. Was it self-defense? Only The Letter (1940) can answer.
Virgin Queen, The - (Black-and-white, pan-and-scan trailer) Sir Walter Raleigh wins favor with the Queen (Bette Davis) in order to get financing for a proposed voyage to the New World in The Virgin Queen (1955).

Family

Ethel May Turner
Mother
Actor.
Percy F Marshall
Father
Actor.
Sarah Marshall
Daughter
Actor. Born in 1933 in London; mother, Edna Best.
Ann Marshall
Daughter
Born in 1942; mother, Lee Russell.

Companions

Molly Maitland
Wife
Model. First wife.
Edna Best
Wife
Actor. Second wife; married 1928, divorced 1940.
Boots Mallory
Wife
Actor. Fourth wife.
Dee Anne Kahmann
Wife
Fifth wife.

Bibliography