- Category : Journalist
- Type : PSP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Contagion 4
Frances Marion (November 18, 1888 – May 12, 1973) was an American journalist, author, and screenwriter often cited as the most renowned female screenwriter of the 20th century alongside June Mathis and Anita Loos.
Born Marion Benson Owens in San Francisco, California, she worked as a journalist and served overseas as a combat correspondent during World War I. On her return home, she moved to Los Angeles and was hired as a writing assistant by "Lois Weber Productions", a film company owned and operated by pioneer female film director Lois Weber.
As "Frances Marion", she wrote many scripts for actress/filmmaker Mary Pickford, including Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and The Poor Little Rich Girl, as well as scripts for numerous other successful films of the 1920s and 1930s. She became the first female to win an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1930 for the film The Big House, she received the Academy Award for Best Story for The Champ in 1932, both featuring Wallace Beery, and co-wrote Min and Bill starring her friend Marie Dressler and Beery in 1930. She was credited with writing 300 scripts and over 130 produced films. She directed and occasionally appeared in some of Mary Pickford's early movies.
Marion's father Len D. Owens built the Aetna Springs resort in Aetna Springs, California in the 1870s. After her success in Hollywood, she often visited the resort using it as a retreat and drew several actors to the resort with her. She was married four times, first to Wesley de Lappe, and later to Robert Pike, both prior to changing her name. In 1919, she wed Fred Thomson, who co-starred with Mary Pickford in The Love Light in 1921. After Thomson's unexpected death in 1928, she married director George W. Hill in 1930, but that marriage ended in divorce in 1933. She had two sons—Fred C. and Richard (adopted). Fred earned a Ph. D. in English at Yale, taught there and later joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina. He became an editor of the writings of George Eliot, publishing editions of Felix Holt, the Radical in 1980 and later.
Later years and death
For many years she was under contract to MGM Studios, but, independently wealthy, she left Hollywood in 1946 to devote more time to writing stage plays and novels.
Frances Marion published a memoir Off With Their Heads: A Serio-Comic Tale of Hollywood in 1972. Marion died the following year of a ruptured aneurysm in Los Angeles.