Marion Leonard

Marion Leonard (June 9, 1881 – January 9, 1956) was an American stage actress who became one of first motion picture celebrities in the early years of the silent film era. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Marion Leonard began working in live theatre until the age of twenty-seven when she was signed by American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. She made her screen debut in the short film At the Crossroads of Life (1908) directed by Wallace McCutcheon, Jr. (1884–1928) from a screenplay by D. W. Griffith, who also appeared as an actor in this film. Within a year, she had leading roles, frequently directed by Griffith. At a time when screen credits were not given to actors, she and Florence Auer were the first star actresses to be billed by the studio as a "Biograph Girl". Of her films made at Biograph, thirty-two were with an up-and-coming young actress named Mary Pickford. While working for Biograph, Leonard met screenwriter/director Stanner E.V. Taylor and a personal relationship developed that led to marriage. The two would eventually leave Biograph to make films together for Universal Pictures and other studios and sometimes through their own production company.


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