Margaret Sullavan


Actor
Margaret Sullavan

About

Also Known As
Margaret Brooke Sullavan
Birth Place
Norfolk, Virginia, USA
Born
May 16, 1911
Died
January 01, 1960
Cause of Death
Overdose Of Barbiturates

Biography

A petite brunette with large eyes dominating her small, attractively angular face, Margaret Sullavan made her stage debut with the University Players (which included James Stewart and Henry Fonda) in Falmouth, MA, and entered films in 1933. With her husky voice and unique, magnetic charm Sullavan was an immediate success, proving herself airy and delightful in comedy ("The Good Fairy" 19...

Photos & Videos

Cry 'Havoc' - Movie Poster
Back Street (1941) - Publicity Stills
Back Street (1941) - Scene Stills

Family & Companions

Henry Fonda
Husband
Actor. First husband; married on December 25, 1931, divorced.
William Wyler
Husband
Director. Second husband; married on November 11, 1934 (while he was directing her in "The Good Fairy"); divorced on March 13, 1936.
Leland Hayward
Husband
Producer, agent. Third husband, married on November 15, 1937 (while he was her agent); divorced in 1947.
Kenneth Arthur Wagg
Husband
Industrialist. Fourth husband; married from 1950 until her death in 1960; British.

Notes

"Acting in the movies is just like ditch-digging"--Margaret Sullavan

"I still hate making pictures! And I don't like Hollywood any better. I detest the limelight and love simplicity, and in Hollywood the only thing that matters is the hullabaloo of fame. If Hollywood will let me alone to find my way without forcing me and rushing me into things, I probably will change my feelings about it. But at present Hollywood seems utterly horrible and interfering and consuming. Which is why I want to leave it as soon as I am able."--Margaret Sullavan to "Photoplay" magazine after completing second film, "Little Man, What Now?" (1934)

Biography

A petite brunette with large eyes dominating her small, attractively angular face, Margaret Sullavan made her stage debut with the University Players (which included James Stewart and Henry Fonda) in Falmouth, MA, and entered films in 1933. With her husky voice and unique, magnetic charm Sullavan was an immediate success, proving herself airy and delightful in comedy ("The Good Fairy" 1935, "The Shop Around the Corner" 1939) and wistful and poignant in drama ("Only Yesterday," her 1933 debut; "Three Comrades" 1938). Her unstable temperament and her critical disdain for the Hollywood establishment, however, significantly reduced her screen output, facilitating her many returns to Broadway. She was married to Henry Fonda, William Wyler and producer-agent Leland Hayward. Sullavan suffered a number of mental health problems (including severe depression brought on partly by increasing deafness in middle age) and died of a drug overdose. A family memoir, "Haywire" (1977), was written by her daughter, Brooke Hayward.

Life Events

1928

Joined the University Players, community theater at Falmouth, M assachusetts (summer)

1928

Made social debut in Norfolk, Virginia (winter)

1929

Returned to University Players

1929

Made stage debut in summer touring production of Preston Sturges's "Strictly Dishonorable"

1929

Rejoined University Players in Baltimore for stock season; co-starring with Henry Fonda

1931

Broadway debut, "A Modern Virgin"

1933

First Broadway success as replacement for Marguerite Churchill in "Dinner at Eight"; signed by Universal on her terms ($1,200 weekly, three years, nonexclusive and with approval rights)

1933

Film debut, "Only Yesterday"

1936

On expiration of Universal contract, returned to Broadway in non-starring role in "Stage Door"

1947

London stage debut, "The Voice of the Turtle"

1948

Appeared on TV in first "Studio One" production

1950

Returned to films after an absence of seven years in "No Sad Songs For Me"

1956

Withdrew from hit comedy "Janus" for health reasons; disappeared on day scheduled to appear on TV in "The Pilot"; committed herself to a sanitarium for nervous exhaustion;

1960

Was appearing in out-of-town tryout of "Sweet Love Remember'd" in New Haven when she was found dead of a drug overdose

Photo Collections

Cry 'Havoc' - Movie Poster
Here is the original one-sheet movie poster for MGM's Cry 'Havoc' (1943), starring Margaret Sullavan, Joan Blondell, and Ann Sothern. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Back Street (1941) - Publicity Stills
Back Street (1941) - Publicity Stills
Back Street (1941) - Scene Stills
Back Street (1941) - Scene Stills
Back Street (1941) - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Back Street (1941) - Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Videos

Movie Clip

Cry Havoc (1944) - Story Of Thirteen Women Opening with narration, MGM’s successful adaptation of the unsuccessful play by Allan Kenward, introducing the three regular army principals at the struggling hospital on Bataan, Margaret Sullavan as Smitty, Fay Bainter as the captain, Marsha Hunt as Flo, in Cry Havoc, 1944.
Cry Havoc (1944) - I'll Take It Up With General MacArthur Smitty (Margaret Sullavan) brings in the Corregidor evacuees who are the new volunteer medical staff on Bataan, Ann Sothern as Pat, Ella Raines, Gloria Grafton, Diana Lewis, Fely Franquelli, Dorothy Morris, Heather Angel, Frances Gifford and Joan Blondell as Grace, in Cry Havoc, 1944.
Cry Havoc (1944) - It's Not The Cigarette New Bataan hospital volunteer Pat (Ann Sothern) tangles with Army nurse Smitty (Margaret Sullavan), then gets an explanation from veteran Flo (Marsha Hunt), as they take over the switchboard, in MGM’s almost-all female WWII drama Cry Havoc, 1944.
Cry Havoc (1944) - If One Of Us Dies... Bluer-blooded but sulky volunteer nurse Connie (Ella Raines) tries to make up with tougher Pat (Ann Sothern) after a tantrum, when Sue (Dorothy Morris) is rescued days after a raid, at a fictional Bataan hospital, in MGM’s Cry Havoc, 1944.
Shop Around The Corner, The (1940) - So She's Not So Very Pretty? Six months since the opening, Klara (Margaret Sullavan), still the junior clerk, joins senior clerk Alfred (James Stewart), with whom she tangles, before he tells Pirovitch (Felix Bressart) of his advancing anonymous pen-pal romance, in Ernst Lubitsch’s The Shop Around The Corner, 1940.
Shop Around The Corner, The (1940) - Poetry And Meanness Famous scene from director Ernst Lubitsch, Klara (Margaret Sullavan) waits in a Budapest cafe, a carnation in Tolstoy her signal, to meet her secret pen pal, and Alfred (James Stewart), her enemy at work, fired earlier that day, has found out it’s him, in The Shop Around The Corner, 1940.
Shop Around The Corner, The (1940) - Maybe You Could Use Me? In contemporary Budapest, boss Matuschek (Frank Morgan) fuming, so staff including Kralik (James Stewart) are lying low when Klara (Margaret Sullavan) makes her first appearance, reluctant to admit she’s looking for work, in director Ernst Lubitsch’s The Shop Around The Corner, 1940.
Shop Around The Corner, The (1940) - That's Why We're So Feminine The audience has deduced that feuding Alfred (James Stewart) and Klara (Margaret Sullavan) must be each other’s secret pen pals, both panicking because the boss wants them to work late, on the evening they’ve arranged to finally meet, in Ernst Lubitsch’s The Shop Around The Corner, 1940.
Shopworn Angel, The (1938) - The War's In France From director H.C. Potter's WWI mobilization-and-Broadway montage, to the introduction of musical star Daisy (Margaret Sullavan) and maid Martha (Hattie McDaniel), in MGM's 1938 remake of The Shopworn Angel.
Shopworn Angel, The (1938) - Pretend You're Calling Having cooperated in pretending for his pals that they're really dating, actress Daisy (Margaret Sullavan) finds herself growing interested in soldier Bill (James Stewart), headed to the war in France, in The Shopworn Angel, 1938.
Shopworn Angel, The (1938) - Ever See A Woman Before? Lovelorn Texan doughboy Bill (James Stewart), waiting to ship out from New York, stumbles into a meeting with harried Broadway star Daisy (Margaret Sullavan), early in MGM's 1938 version of The Shopworn Angel.
Mortal Storm, The (1940) - The Pacifist Vermin Only Martin (James Stewart), Freya (Margaret Sullavan) and teacher Werner (Thomas Ross) are not singing with Hitler youth leader Hall (Dan Dailey), irritating Fritz (Robert Young), in The Mortal Storm, 1940.

Trailer

Family

Cornelius Hancock Sullavan
Father
Broker.
Garland Sullavan
Mother
Brooke Hayward
Daughter
Actor, author. Born in July 1937; penned memoir of her family and events leading to her mother's death, "Haywire".
Bridget Hayward
Daughter
Born in 1939.
William Leland Hayward
Son
Born in 1941.

Companions

Henry Fonda
Husband
Actor. First husband; married on December 25, 1931, divorced.
William Wyler
Husband
Director. Second husband; married on November 11, 1934 (while he was directing her in "The Good Fairy"); divorced on March 13, 1936.
Leland Hayward
Husband
Producer, agent. Third husband, married on November 15, 1937 (while he was her agent); divorced in 1947.
Kenneth Arthur Wagg
Husband
Industrialist. Fourth husband; married from 1950 until her death in 1960; British.

Bibliography

Notes

"Acting in the movies is just like ditch-digging"--Margaret Sullavan

"I still hate making pictures! And I don't like Hollywood any better. I detest the limelight and love simplicity, and in Hollywood the only thing that matters is the hullabaloo of fame. If Hollywood will let me alone to find my way without forcing me and rushing me into things, I probably will change my feelings about it. But at present Hollywood seems utterly horrible and interfering and consuming. Which is why I want to leave it as soon as I am able."--Margaret Sullavan to "Photoplay" magazine after completing second film, "Little Man, What Now?" (1934)

"She was a willful, ambitious, feminine, honest, and warm actress whose talents were largely untapped by her second-rate tragic heroine screen assignments. She died from an overdose of sleeping pills when she could no longer cope with the almost total loss of her hearing". ("The MGM Stock Company")

"Eight days after her death it was revealed that she had been almost totally deaf, a disability she had been fighting since 1948". ("MGM Stock Company")