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Marjorie Main

Marjorie Main

Marjorie Main was an American character actress who was best known for her role as Ma Kettle in a series of ten Ma and Pa Kettle movies.

Born in Acton, Indiana as Mary Tomlinson, she attended Franklin College, in Franklin, Indiana. She adopted a stage name to avoid embarrassing her father, who was a minister. She worked in vaudeville on the Chautauqua and Orpheum circuits, and debuted on Broadway in 1916. Her first film was A House Divided in 1931.

She began playing upper class dowagers, but was ultimately typecast in abrasive, domineering, salty roles: her distinct voice was like chalk upon a blackboard.

She married Stanley LeFevre Krebs, who died in 1935.

She repeated her stage role in Dead End in the movie version of 1937, and was subsequently cast repeatedly as the mother of gangsters.

She again transferred a strong stage performance, as a dude ranch operator in The Women, to film in 1939.

She made six comedies with Wallace Beery in the 1940s.

She played Ma Kettle in The Egg and I in 1947 opposite Percy Kilbride as Pa Kettle. She was nominated for an Academy Award for the role, and repeated it in nine more films.

Her near-pathological fear of germs did not interfere with her career.

She died in Los Angeles, California, of lung cancer.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Marjorie Main Facts

Birth NameMary Tomlinson
BirthdayFebruary 24, 1890
BirthplaceActon, Indiana, USA
Date of deathApril 10, 1975 (age 85)
Height5' 7" (1m70)  How tall is Marjorie Main compared to you?

Selected Filmography

The Long, Long Trailer
Meet Me in St. Louis
Ma & Pa Kettle Complete Comedy Collection
The Women
Friendly Persuasion
Meet Me in St Louis
Abbott & Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures Collection
The Harvey Girls
Mr. Imperium
The Best of Abbott & Costello, Vol. 2
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