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LINDSAY, Margaret

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Margaret Lindsay pretended to be English to begin her career in motion pictures.
Signed photograph.

LINDSAY, Margaret. (Dubuque, IA, Sept. 19, 1910--Los Angeles, CA, May 8, 1981). The daughter of pharmacist John Kies and his wife Bertha, Margaret is remembered as the Iowa girl who fooled Hollywood producers.

A graduate of ACADEMY OF THE VISITATION (THE) in 1928, Margaret was enrolled by her father in the National Park Seminary in Washington, DC. Interested in acting, she subsequently attended New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Unable to find work in New York, she traveled to England for further speech and acting study. Here Margaret made her professional stage debut and gained experience and confidence in such plays as "Escape," "By Candlelight," and "Death Takes a Holiday". (1)

Margaret began an acting career in London just as Hollywood producers developed a desire for foreign talent in the early 1930s. According to popular lore, while sailing back to America she practiced an English accent and then convinced movie producers she was from England. (2) Universal took an interest in the "British stage actress" and signed her to a contract. She made her debut in "Okay, America!" (1932) and then worked in a few minor roles before taking full advantage of her "English tea rose" reputation with a small but noticeable part in the "all-British" grand-scale epic film "Cavalcade" (1933). (3)

Warner Bros. picked up Margaret's option and she starred in three dozen films between 1933 and 1940 opposite such stars as Leslie Howard, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., George Arliss and Humphrey Bogart. (4) "Americanized" as a lead and second lead, she was able to drop the British pretense and appeared opposite James Cagney in "Lady Killer" (1933), "Devil Dogs of the Air" (1935), "Frisco Kid" (1935) and "'G' Men" (1935). The studio also had her work in such films as "Fog Over Frisco" (1934) and "Bordertown" (1935). Margaret supported Bette Davis in both her Oscar-winning "Best Actress" pictures -- "Dangerous" (1935) and "Jezebel" (1938). She also took on a Davis castoff role in "Garden of the Moon" (1938), a musical in which Margaret did not sing. (5)

Margaret's longstanding problem was that she was either involved in minor pictures that would do nothing to advance her career or was given secondary roles in "A" pictures in which she played the star's best friend, light romantic rival or socialite.

Following one of her best roles as Hepzibah in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The House of the Seven Gables" (1940), Margaret signed up with Columbia in the recurring "Ellery Queen" series (seven in all) as mystery writer Nikki Porter. Probably her best remembered role, this renewed popularity did not guarantee "A" pictures and she remained for the most part in second tier filming.

After she quit the Ellery Queen movie series, Margaret was again cast in a adaptation of a popular radio show "Crime Doctor" (1943), the first of a series. This venture became a success, but when her contract came up for renewal it was decided to drop her. (6) One of her more atypical roles came as a man-baiting saloon girl in "The Vigilantes Return" (1947). In the 1940s, she played secondary ladylike roles behind Joan Bennett in "Scarlet Street" (1945), Lana Turner in "Cass Timberlane" (1947) and Barbara Stanwyck in "B.F.'s Daughter" (1948). Margaret also sought work on television and on the stage in the next decade. Her final film was "Nurse Colman" in "Tammy and the Doctor" (1963). On television she appeared as Elly in "The Chadwick Family", an unsuccessful 1974 TV pilot with Fred MacMurray. (7)

Her sister Jane GILBERT had an acting career in the 1940s.

Film History (8)

Tammy and the Doctor (29-May-1963)

Please Don't Eat the Daisies (31-Mar-1960) · Mona James

Jet Over the Atlantic (4-Nov-1959)

The Restless Years (31-Oct-1958)

The Bottom of the Bottle (1-Feb-1956)

B.F.'s Daughter (24-Mar-1948) · Apples Sandler

Cass Timberlane (6-Nov-1947) · Chris Grau

Seven Keys to Baldpate (5-Jun-1947)

The Vigilantes Return (1-Jun-1947)

Scarlet Street (28-Dec-1945) · Millie

Club Havana (23-Nov-1945)

Adventures of Rusty (6-Sep-1945) · Ann Mitchell

Crime Doctor (22-Jun-1943) · Grace Fielding

Enemy Agents Meet Ellery Queen (30-Jul-1942)

The Spoilers (8-May-1942) · Helen Chester

Ellery Queen and the Murder Ring (18-Nov-1941)

Ellery Queen, Master Detective (28-Nov-1940)

The House of the Seven Gables (29-Feb-1940) · Hepzibah Pyncheon

British Intelligence (29-Jan-1940)

Hell's Kitchen (3-Jul-1939)

Garden of the Moon (23-Sep-1938) · Toni Blake

Jezebel (10-Mar-1938) · Amy

Gold Is Where You Find It (12-Feb-1938) · Rosanne

Back in Circulation (25-Sep-1937)

Slim (24-Jun-1937) · Cally

Green Light (12-Feb-1937) · Frances Ogilvie

Isle of Fury (10-Oct-1936) · Lucille Gordon

Public Enemy's Wife (8-Jul-1936)

The Law in Her Hands (16-May-1936) · Mary Wentworth

Dangerous (25-Dec-1935)

Frisco Kid (30-Nov-1935)

G Men (18-Apr-1935) · Kay McCord

The Case of the Curious Bride (13-Apr-1935)

The Florentine Dagger (30-Mar-1935)

Devil Dogs of the Air (9-Feb-1935) · Betty Roberts

Bordertown (23-Jan-1935)

Fog Over Frisco (2-Jun-1934) · Val

Merry Wives of Reno (12-May-1934) · Madge

Lady Killer (28-Dec-1933) · Lois

The House on 56th Street (2-Dec-1933) · Eleanor

The World Changes (25-Nov-1933)

Captured! (17-Aug-1933)

Baby Face (1-Jul-1933) · Ann Carter

Private Detective 62 (10-Jun-1933)

Cavalcade (5-Jan-1933)

Once in a Lifetime (2-Oct-1932)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW1X67HrzF8 Example: 40:12 Slide button to the right to end the movie



1. "Margaret Lindsay," http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0512267/bio

2. "List of Probable Suspects: Margaret Lindsay," EQ, http://queen.spaceports.com/List%20of%20Suspects_5_Lindsay.html

3. Seiffert, Deb, "Margaret Lindsay" from the book They Came From Dubuque by John Tigges, Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1983, p. 80

4. "List of Probably Suspects--Margaret Lindsay," Online: http://queen.spaceports.com/List%20of%20Suspects_5_Lindsay.html

5. "Margaret Lindsay."

6. EQ

7. Ibid.

8. Margaret Lindsay, http://www.nndb.com/people/122/000132723/