We were saddened to learn of the passing on September 7, 2022, of actress and humanitarian Marsha Hunt at the age of 104. Here are 10 things you should know about this remarkable woman, who enjoyed success on stage, in pictures and on television.
The lovely Marsha Hunt, born Marcia Virginia Hunt in Chicago, Illinois, is celebrating her 99th birthday today! Here are some MA Did-You-Knows:
- The daughter of an attorney and voice teacher, Hunt and her family moved to New York City when she was three years old. She took an interest in performing at an early age, appearing in school plays and performing at church functions.
- After graduating from NYC’s Horace Mann High School (at age 16!), she worked as a model and as a singer on the radio while studying drama at the Theodora Irvine’s Studio of the Theatre (where Cornel Wilde was one of her classmates)
- At 17 (and accompanied by her older sister), Hunt moved to Hollywood to pursue a career in motion pictures. She was quickly signed by Paramount Pictures and in 1935 made her debut in The Virginia Judge. She was relegated to mostly B pictures at Paramount and when her career failed to take off, she began to freelance at various studios, including many of the Poverty Row outfits.
- In 1939, Hunt signed with MGM, where she was given solid parts but rarely lead roles. Her association with MGM came to an end in 1945 and she began freelance again (it was during this period that she appeared as the “good girl” counterpart to Claire Trevor‘s “bad girl” in Anthony Mann‘s classic film noir Raw Deal (1948).
- In 1948, Hunt decided to give Broadway a try, debuting in Joy to the World. She appeared in a number of other shows as well, including a turn as Anna in a production of The King and I. She also appeared on Broadway with Johnny Carson, in a production called Tunnel of Love.
- Hunt was a lifelong liberal and in the early 1950s, some of her past political activities unfairly came back to haunt her. Although she was never called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, her name appeared in the infamous Red Channels pamphlet that purported to expose Communists and other subversives in the radio and television industries. She made just three films in the next eight years.
- Semi-retired thereafter, Marcia has devoted herself to humanitarian causes and organizations, among them UNICEF, The March of Dimes and The Red Cross.
- Hunt was named the honorary mayor of Sherman Oaks, California, in 1983 and still holds that “post” today.
- In 1993, Hunt published a book on fashion entitled The Way We Wore.
- In 1998, Hunt received the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award for her charitable and humanitarian activities.
Happy birthday, Marsha Hunt, and many happy returns of the day!
We don’t kid ourselves that our listeners and readers can subsist on Cladrite Radio alone.
Heck, no—after all, each of us occasionally finds ourselves without internet access, and what to do then, when you’ve got a yen to do a little reading about life as it was once lived?
Well, we know what we do—we reach for a copy of Zelda magazine, and our vintage itch is immediately scratched.
As is explained on the publication’s web site, Zelda is “inspired by days gone by and our goal is to share glorious tidbits of yesteryear while bringing you features on the best of what’s happening in the vintage-style culture today.”
We’ve read Zelda (heck, we’ve contributed to it), and the above sentiments aptly sum up what this winning biannual is all about. Take it from us, from interviews with the likes of Golden Era actress Marsha Hunt, former Zeigfeld girl Doris Eaton Travis, and Turner Classic Movies on-air host Robert Osborne to recipes (culinary and cocktail), fashion history and advice, music reviews, and so much more, Zelda’s got vintage culture covered from stem to stern.
And just to show we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is, we’re going to offer the first giveaway we’ve ever undertaken at Cladrite Radio. The first six people to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org will receive a copy of the current edition of Zelda (it’s issue #3, fyi), which boasts such fascinating features as a previously unpublished interview with the man once known as “America’s boyfriend,” actor, bandleader (and second husband to Mary Pickford) Charles “Buddy” Rogers; a profile of the once-best-selling (and not a little scandalous) but now largely forgotten author Ursula Parrott; an intoxicating drink recipe that updates the classic Manhattan cocktail while remaining true to the “spirit” of the original; a guide to the proper wearing of neckties; the sage advice of “Ask Mr. Burton”; and so much more (honestly, we’re just scratching the surface here).
So drop us a line, being sure to include your name and mailing address, and if yours is one of the first six entries we receive, we’ll get a copy of Zelda right off to you.
Such a deal!