N/A (passed away May. 9th, 1968)
West Pittston, Pennsylvania, USA
Marion Lorne's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Marion Lorne (August 12, 1883 – May 9, 1968) was an American actress of stage, film, and television.
Lorne was born Marion Lorne MacDougall, she grew up in her native Pennsylvania, the daughter of Scottish and English immigrants. She trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, she appeared in stock shows, and was on the Broadway boards by 1905.
Lorne married playwright 'Walter C. Hackett' and performed in many of his plays throughout the 1920s and 1930s. They eventually settled in England where they founded the Whitehall Theater. It was there that she began to sharpen and patent her comedy eccentrics. Upon Hackett's death in 1944, she returned to the States and became a hit in such tailor-made stage shows as "Harvey".
After a career in theatre in New York City and London, Lorne made her first film in 1951, and for the remainder of her life, played small roles in films and television. Her recurring role, between 1964 and her death in 1968, as Aunt Clara in the comedy series, Bewitched (1964–1972) brought her widespread recognition, and for which she was posthumously awarded an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Sadly, Marion succumbed to a heart attack just ten days before the actual ceremony in 1968. The star of the series, 'Elizabeth Montgomery', accepted the award and gave a touching acceptance speech on her behalf.
The producers of Bewitched recognized that Lorne's performance as Aunt Clara could not be replicated by another actress. Comedic actress 'Alice Ghostley' was recruited to fill the gap as "Esmeralda", a different type of befuddled witch with wobbly magic whose spells often went astray. Coincidentally, Lorne and Ghostley had appeared side-by-side as partygoers in the iconic comedy-drama film The Graduate, made the year before Lorne's death.
Lorne made a definitive impression in her movie debut at age 60+ with 'Alfred Hitchcock' immortal suspenser Strangers on a Train (1951) as murderer 'Robert Walker' clueless, smothering mother. Surprisingly Hollywood used her only a couple more times after that auspicious movie debut, a grievously sad waste of a talented comedienne.
She quickly turned instead to TV and proved a dithery delight in such sitcoms as Mister Peepers (1952) and Sally (1957), gaining quirky comedy status as well her regular appearance on the The Garry Moore Show (1958).
Lorne appeared in twenty-eight episodes and was not replaced after she died of a heart attack in New York City just prior to the start of production of the show's fifth season, at the age of 84.
- She appeared in only three movies during her career. Coincidentally, in _The Girl Rush (1955)_ (qv) with 'Rosalind Russell' (qv), Marion played the role of Aunt Clara, the same name as her most famous character on TV.
- When she was still alive, most sources gave 1888 as her birth year. But after she died, the Social Security Death Index gave 1883 as her birth year. Her grave has 1885 on it, and to make it more confusing, 1886 is sometimes given.
- Marion's ashes are interred at Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, NY.
- Marion owned a collection of antique doorknobs, a fetish that was incorporated into her quirky Aunt Clara character on _"Bewitched" (1964)_ (qv). The props department often used some of her pieces on the show.
- Died 10 days before winning an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress Award in a Comedy Series (for _"Bewitched" (1964)_ (qv)).
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