Margaret O'Brien (born Angela Maxine O'Brien; January 15, 1937) is an American film, radio, television, and stage actress. Beginning a prolific career as a child actress in feature films for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer at the age of four, O'Brien became one of the most popular child stars in cinema history and was honored with a Juvenile Academy Award as the outstanding child actress of 1944. In her later career, she appeared on television, on stage, and in supporting film roles.
Margaret O'Brien in 1946
Angela Maxine O'Brien
January 15, 1937
San Diego, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Harold Allen, Jr. (1959–1968) (divorced)|
Roy Thorsen (1974–present)
|Children||Mara Tolene Thorsen (b. 1977)|
Margaret O'Brien was born Angela Maxine O'Brien; her name was later changed following the success of the film Journey for Margaret (1942), in which she played the title role. Her father, Lawrence O'Brien, a circus performer, died before she was born. O'Brien's mother, Gladys Flores, was a well-known flamenco dancer who often performed with her sister Marissa, also a dancer. O'Brien is of half-Irish and half-Spanish ancestry. She was raised Catholic.
O'Brien made her first film appearance in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Babes on Broadway (1941) at the age of four, but it was the following year that her first major role brought her widespread attention. As a five-year-old in Journey for Margaret (1942), O'Brien won wide praise for her quite convincing acting style, unusual for a child of her age. By 1943, she was considered a big enough star to have a cameo appearance in the all-star military show finale of Thousands Cheer. Also In 1943, at the age of seven, Margaret co-starred in "You, John Jones," a "War Bond/Effort," short film, with James Cagney and Ann Sothern (playing their daughter), in which she dramatically recited President Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address." She played Adèle, a young French girl, and spoke and sang all her dialogue with a French accent in Jane Eyre (1943).
Arguably her most memorable role was in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), opposite Judy Garland. As Tootie Smith, the feisty but fragile little sister of Judy Garland, she was a bright point in a very good film, especially in her musical numbers with Garland and during a Halloween sequence in which she confronts a grouchy neighbor. For her performance, she was awarded a special juvenile Oscar in 1944.
Margaret and June Allyson were known as "The Town Criers" of MGM. "We were always in competition: I wanted to cry better than June, and June wanted to cry better than me. The way my mother got me to cry was if I was having trouble with a scene, she'd say, 'why don't we have the make-up man come over and give you false tears?' Then I'd think to myself, 'they'll say I'm not as good as June,' and I'd start to cry." 
Her other successes included The Canterville Ghost (1944), Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945), Bad Bascomb (1946) with Wallace Beery, and the first sound version of The Secret Garden (1949). She played Beth in the 1949 MGM release of Little Women, but she was unable to make the transition to adult roles.
O'Brien later shed her child star image in 1958 by appearing on the cover of Life magazine with the caption "The Girl's Grown", and was a mystery guest on the TV panel show What's My Line?. O'Brien's acting appearances as an adult have been sporadic, mostly in small independent films and occasional television roles. She has also given interviews, mostly for the Turner Classic Movies cable network.
O'Brien gave television credit for helping her to change her public image. In an interview in 1957, when she was 20, she said: "The wonderful thing about TV is that it has given me a chance to get out of the awkward age -- something the movies couldn't do for me. No movie producer could really afford to take a chance at handing me an adult role."
On December 22, 1957, O'Brien starred in "The Young Years" on General Electric Theater. She played the role of Betsy Stauffer, a small-town nurse, in "The Incident of the Town in Terror" on television's Rawhide. She made a guest appearance on a 1963 episode of Perry Mason as Virginia Trent in "The Case of the Shoplifter's Shoe." In 1967, she made a guest appearance on the World War II TV drama Combat!. Also, in a 1968 two-part episode of Ironside, ("Split Second to an Epitaph," O'Brien played a pharmacist who (quite the opposite of her usual screen persona) was involved in drug theft and was accessory to attempted murder of star Raymond Burr's Ironside. Another rare television outing was as a guest star on the popular Marcus Welby, M.D. in the early 1970s, reuniting O'Brien with her Journey For Margaret and The Canterville Ghost co-star Robert Young.
In 1991, O'Brien appeared in Murder, She Wrote, season 7, episode "Who Killed J.B. Fletcher?".
While O'Brien was growing up, her awards were always kept in a special room. One day in 1954, the family's maid asked to take O'Brien's Juvenile Oscar and two other awards home with her to polish, as she had done in the past. After three days, the maid failed to return to work, prompting O'Brien's mother to discharge her, requesting that the awards be returned. Not long after, O'Brien's mother, who had been sick with a heart condition, suffered a relapse and died. In mourning, 17-year-old O'Brien forgot about the maid and the Oscar until several months later when she tried to contact her, only to find that the maid had moved and had left no forwarding address.
Several years later, upon learning that the original had been stolen, the Academy promptly supplied O'Brien with a replacement Oscar, but O'Brien still held on to hope that she might one day recover her original Award. In the years that followed, O'Brien attended memorabilia shows and searched antique shops, hoping she might find the original statuette, until one day in 1995 when Bruce Davis, then executive director of the Academy, was alerted that a miniature statuette bearing O'Brien's name had surfaced in a catalogue for an upcoming memorabilia auction. Davis contacted a mutual friend of his and O'Brien's, who in turn phoned O'Brien to tell her the long-lost Oscar had been found.
Memorabilia collectors Steve Neimand and Mark Nash were attending a flea market in 1995 when Neimand spotted a small Oscar with Margaret O'Brien's name inscribed upon it. The two men decided to split the $500 asking price hoping to resell it at a profit and lent it to a photographer to shoot for an upcoming auction catalogue. This led to Bruce Davis' discovery that the statuette had resurfaced and, upon learning of the award's history, Nash and Neimand agreed to return the Oscar to O'Brien. On February 7, 1995, nearly 50 years after she had first received it, and nearly 40 years since it had been stolen, the Academy held a special ceremony in Beverly Hills to return the stolen award to O’Brien. Upon being reunited with her Juvenile Oscar, Margaret O'Brien spoke to the attending journalists:
For all those people who have lost or misplaced something that was dear to them, as I have, never give up the dream of searching—never let go of the hope that you’ll find it because after all these many years, at last, my Oscar has been returned to me.
In February 1960, O'Brien was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for motion pictures at 6606 Hollywood Boulevard, and one for television at 1634 Vine St. In 1990, O'Brien was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star "Lifetime Achievement" Award recognizing her outstanding achievements within the film industry as a child actress. In 2006, she was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the SunDeis Film Festival at Brandeis University.
She has been married twice, to Harold Allen, Jr. from 1959 to 1968, and later to Roy Thorsen. The latter marriage produced her only child, Mara Tolene Thorsen, born in 1977.
|1941||Babes on Broadway||Maxine, Little Girl at Audition||Uncredited|
|1942||Journey for Margaret||Margaret White|
|1943||You, John Jones!||Their daughter||Short subject|
|Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case||Margaret|
|Thousands Cheer||Customer in Red Skelton Skit|
|Madame Curie||Irene Curie (at age 5)|
|1944||Jane Eyre||Adèle Varens|
|The Canterville Ghost||Lady Jessica de Canterville|
|Meet Me in St. Louis||'Tootie' Smith||Academy Juvenile Award|
|Music for Millions||Mike|
|1945||Our Vines Have Tender Grapes||Selma Jacobson|
|Three Wise Fools||Sheila O'Monahan|
|1947||The Unfinished Dance||'Meg' Merlin|
|Tenth Avenue Angel||Flavia Mills|
|1949||Little Women||Beth March|
|The Secret Garden||Mary Lennox|
|1951||Her First Romance||Betty Foster|
|1952||Futari no hitomi||Katherine McDermott||Girls Hand in Hand US title|
|1958||Little Women (CBS Musical)||Beth March|
|1960||Heller in Pink Tights||Della Southby|
|1963||Perry Mason||Virginia Trent||The Case of the Shoplifter's Shoe; Season 6, Ep. 13, aired Jan. 3, 1963|
|1965||Agente S 3 S operazione Uranio|
|Diabolique Wedding||aka Diabolic Wedding|
|That's Entertainment!||Herself and archive footage|
|1977||Testimony of Two Men||Flora Eaton||Television miniseries|
|1981||Amy||Hazel Johnson||aka Amy on the Lips|
|1991||Murder, She Wrote||Florence||Episode: "Who Killed J.B. Fletcher"|
|1996||Sunset After Dark|
|1998||Creaturealm: From the Dead||Herself||segment Hollywood Mortuary|
|2000||Child Stars: Their Story||Herself||aka Child Stars|
|2002||Dead Season||Friendly Looking Lady|
|2004||The Mystery of Natalie Wood||Herself|
|2009||Dead in Love||Cris|
|2009–2011||Project Lodestar Sagas||Livia Wells|
|2010||Elf Sparkle and the Special Red Dress||Mrs. Claus (voice)|
|2017||Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde||Ms. Stevenson|
|2017||Halloween Pussy Trap Kill Kill||Bridgette's Grandmother|
|2018||This is Our Christmas||Mrs. Foxworth|
|Year||Program||Episode||Airdate||Writer (original story)||Character Role||Notes||mp3|
|1943||The Screen Guild Theater||"Journey for Margaret"||5 April 1943||William Lindsay White||Margaret Davis (girl)||The Lady Esther Presents The Screen Guild Players. Related movie: Journey for Margaret.||mp3|
|1947||Philco Radio Time (with Bing Crosby)||28 May 1947||self (as guest)||mp3|
|1948||Lux Radio Theatre||"Bad Bascomb"||1 March 1948||Emmy (girl)||Western radio drama involving a Mormon emigrant wagon train. Related movie: Bad Bascomb.||mp3|
|1948||Philco Radio Time (with Bing Crosby)||"St. Patrick's Day Program"||17 March 1948||self (as guest)||Saint Patrick's Day special.||mp3|
|1948||Suspense||"The Screaming Woman"||25 November 1948||Ray Bradbury||Margaret Leary (girl)||Thanksgiving themed radio drama.
Agnes Moorehead as the screaming woman.
Considered one of the best episodes of Suspense and old-time radio overall.
|Academy Award||Juvenile Award for Outstanding Child Actress of 1944||Honored|||
|Hollywood Walk of Fame||Star of Motion Pictures – 6606 Hollywood Blvd.||Inducted|||
|Star of Television – 1634 Vine Street.||Inducted|
|Young Artist Award||Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award||Honored|||
For a time O'Brien was voted by exhibitors as among the most popular stars in the country.
The Academy Juvenile Award, also known informally as the Juvenile Oscar, was a Special Honorary Academy Award bestowed at the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to specifically recognize juvenile performers under the age of eighteen for their "outstanding contributions to screen entertainment".The honor was first awarded by the Academy at the 7th Academy Awards to 6-year-old Shirley Temple, for her work in 1934. The Award continued to be presented intermittently over the next 26 years to 12 child actors and actresses. The last Juvenile Oscar was presented at the 33rd Academy Awards to Hayley Mills, one day shy of her 15th birthday, who received the child-size statuette for her performance in the 1960 film Pollyanna.The trophy itself was a miniature Academy Award statuette that stood approximately 7 inches tall, roughly half the size of the standard Oscar trophy measuring 13.5 inches.Bad Bascomb (film)
Bad Bascomb is a 1946 western film starring Wallace Beery and Margaret O'Brien. The movie was directed by S. Sylvan Simon. The supporting cast features Marjorie Main, J. Carrol Naish, Frances Rafferty, Marshall Thompson and Henry O'Neill.Commonweal (magazine)
Commonweal is a liberal American Catholic journal of opinion, edited and managed by lay Catholics, headquartered in The Interchurch Center in New York City. It is the oldest independent Roman Catholic journal of opinion in the United States.Dermod O'Brien, 2nd Baron Inchiquin
Dermod McMurrough O'Brien (died 1 May 1557) was the 2nd Baron Inchiquin. He was the son of Murrough O'Brien, 1st Earl of Thomond and Eleanor FitzGerald. O'Brien married Margaret O'Brien, daughter of Donough O'Brien, 2nd Earl of Thomond (a nephew of Murrough O'Brien, 1st Earl of Thomond).
He died at Ennis Abbey in 1557. The title passed to his son Murrough McDermot O'Brien, 3rd Baron Inchiquin.Donough O'Brien, 2nd Earl of Thomond
Donough O'Brien, 2nd Earl of Thomond (Irish: Donnchadh Ó Briain; died 1 April 1553), also known as "the fat", was the son of Connor O'Brien, King of Thomond and Annabell Burke. He inherited the earldom from his uncle, Murrough O'Brien, by special remainder.O'Brien married Helen Butler, daughter of Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormonde and Lady Margaret Fitzgerald. He died on 1 April 1553, after being attacked by his brothers at the family seat of Clonroad. O'Brien's brother Donald was named king of Thomond by the Dalgais, but O'Brien's son, Connor, allied himself with the English and regained control of his lands.Children of Donough O'Brien and Helen Butler:
Margaret O'Brien (d. 1568) married Dermod O'Brien, 2nd Baron Inchiquin
Connor O'Brien, 3rd Earl of Thomond (c. 1534 – 1581)
Donal or Daniel
Honora married Teige MacnamaraO'Brien also fathered an illegitimate daughter, Mary, who married Theobald Burke, son of William Burke, 1st Baron Bourke of Castleconnell.Glory (1956 film)
Glory is a 1956 musical film directed by David Butler. It stars Margaret O'Brien and Walter Brennan.Heller in Pink Tights
Heller In Pink Tights is a 1960 Technicolor western film adapted from Louis L'Amour's novel, Heller with a Gun. It stars Sophia Loren and Anthony Quinn and was directed by George Cukor.The movie is noted for its lavishly ornate costumes by Edith Head and its impressive photography and use of Technicolor. Though not a commercial success, Heller In Pink Tights is thought by some film historians to be George Cukor's most lavishly visual film.
Cukor never had been pleased with the "look" of most westerns, and he hired George Hoyningen-Huene, a famous Russian-born fashion photographer and 1920s illustrator who was an expert at art and design. The final result is a unique film that looks like a cross between a Frederic Remington painting and a Toulouse-Lautrec rendering of music hall performers.
Heller in Pink Tights co-stars Margaret O'Brien, Ramon Novarro and Eileen Heckart. It also marks Loren's lowest weight on film. The normally voluptuous and full-figured actress lost almost 20 pounds at Cukor's request and donned a blonde wig.
As is the case in L'Amour's novel, there is no character in the film named "Heller".Jane Margaret O'Brien
Jane Margaret O'Brien is a professor of chemistry and president emerita of St. Mary's College of Maryland. She served as president from 1996-2009. "Maggie", as she was called by students at St. Mary's, received her B.S. in biochemistry at Vassar College in 1975, and her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Delaware in 1981.Lost Angel (film)
Lost Angel is a 1943 drama film directed by Roy Rowland, starring Margaret O'Brien as a little orphan girl raised to be a genius. James Craig plays a reporter who shows her the world outside the Institute of Child Psychology.Margaret O'Brien (politician)
Margaret O'Brien (born November 20, 1973) is a former member of the Michigan Senate and former member of the Michigan House of Representatives. She is a Republican. Her district was based in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
O'Brien has a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University. Prior to her election to the state house in 2010, she served as a real estate agent at RE/MAX Advantage and served on the Portage City Council from 2003-2010. From 1995-2003, she worked as a social worker with Catholic Family Services. She lives in Portage with her husband and four children.
While in the House of Representatives, O'Brien twice was unanimously elected as Associate Speaker Pro Tem. She often presided over sessions of the House. In the State Senate, O'Brien was unanimously elected as Assistant President Pro Tem where she again frequently presided over session.
During her career, O'Brien tackled a wide variety of issues. In the House, she was active in representing private property rights, education reform and direct access to physical therapy. While in the Senate, O'Brien partnered with many colleagues to ensure the rights of those with service animals, to provide state ID's to the homeless, to protect victims of domestic violence, to enact safe passing distance of vulnerable roadway users, to train caregivers of seniors and those with disabilities along with many other issues. O'Brien was most known for her work to change sexual assault laws in the aftermath of the Larry Nassar scandal. She advocated for those who had been harmed and was able to improve the laws in Michigan. Partnering with her included many nationally known names including Rachael DenHollander, Aly Raisman, Amanda Thomashow, Sterling Reithman and Larissa Boyce.
In 2014, O'Brien ran against and defeated Democratic Party nominee Sean McCann and Libertarian Party nominee Lorence Wenke for the 20th district seat in the Michigan Senate.In 2018, she lost to Democratic Party nominee Sean McCann for the 20th district seat in the Michigan Senate. In January of 2019, she was elected as Secretary of the Michigan State Senate, only the 2nd woman to have held that post. She is the 4th person from Kalamazoo County to hold this position.Meet Me in St. Louis
Meet Me in St. Louis is a 1944 American Technicolor musical film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Divided into a series of seasonal vignettes, starting with Summer 1903, it relates the story of a year in the life of the Smith family in St. Louis, leading up to the opening of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (more commonly referred to as the World's Fair) in the spring of 1904. The picture stars Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, Tom Drake, Leon Ames, Marjorie Main, June Lockhart, and Joan Carroll.
The film was adapted by Irving Brecher and Fred F. Finklehoffe from a series of short stories by Sally Benson, originally published in The New Yorker magazine under the title "5135 Kensington", and later in novel form as Meet Me in St. Louis. The film was directed by Vincente Minnelli, who met Garland on the set and later married her. It was the second-highest grossing picture of the year, only behind Going My Way. In 1994, the film was deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
Garland debuted the standards "The Trolley Song", "The Boy Next Door", and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", all of which became hits after the film was released. Arthur Freed, the producer of the film, also wrote and performed one of the songs.Murrough McDermot O'Brien, 3rd Baron Inchiquin
Murrough McDermot O'Brien (c.1550 - April 20, 1573) was the 3rd Baron Inchiquin. He was the son of Dermod O'Brien, 2nd Baron Inchiquin and Margaret O'Brien and inherited his title in 1557 on the death of his father. He married Mabel Nugent, daughter of Christopher Nugent, 6th Baron Delvin; Murrough O'Brien, 4th Baron Inchiquin was their son and heir. He was murdered in 1573 by Dermot O'Shaughnessey, supposedly at the instigation of Ulick Burke, 3rd Earl of Clanricarde.Music for Millions
Music for Millions is a 1944 musical comedy film directed by Henry Koster and starring Margaret O'Brien, José Iturbi, Jimmy Durante, June Allyson, Marsha Hunt, Hugh Herbert, Harry Davenport, and Marie Wilson. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1946.Our Vines Have Tender Grapes
Our Vines Have Tender Grapes is a 1945 American drama film directed by Roy Rowland, and starring Edward G. Robinson and Margaret O'Brien.Peter Steinfels
Peter F. Steinfels (born 1941) is an American journalist and educator best known for his writings on religious topics.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, and a lifelong Roman Catholic, Steinfels earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University and joined the staff of the journal Commonweal in 1964. He served as a visiting professor at Notre Dame in 1994–95 and then as visiting professor at Georgetown University from 1997 to 2001. From 1990 to 2010, he wrote a column called "Beliefs" for the religion section of The New York Times.He has also been a professor at Fordham University and co-director of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture. Steinfels has written several books, including The Neoconservatives: The Men Who Are Changing America's Politics (ISBN 0-671-41384-8) and A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America (ISBN 0-684-83663-7).
He has argued in favor of the ordination of women as priests and deacons, and has suggested that this could eventually lead to the creation of female cardinals.Sean McCann (politician)
Sean McCann (born September 21, 1971) is the Senator for the Michigan Senate's 20th district. He is a former member of the Michigan House of Representatives, who represented the 60th district. He is a member of the Democratic Party.Tenth Avenue Angel
Tenth Avenue Angel is a 1948 American film directed by Roy Rowland and starring Margaret O'Brien, Angela Lansbury, and George Murphy. It chronicles the life and family of Flavia Mills (Margaret O'Brien) in the late 1930s. Filming took place 11 March–15 May 1946, with retakes in April 1947. However, the film was not released until February 20, 1948.The Unfinished Dance
The Unfinished Dance is a 1947 drama film directed by Henry Koster and starring Margaret O'Brien and Cyd Charisse. It is set in a ballet company, and is a remake of the 1937 French film Ballerina, based on a short story by Paul Morand. It won two awards at the 1948 Locarno International Film Festival.Three Wise Fools (1946 film)
Three Wise Fools is a 1946 film directed by Edward Buzzell. It is an adaptation of Austin Strong's Broadway play of the same name. A young Irish orphan girl (portrayed by Margaret O'Brien) softens the hearts of three hardened old bachelors (played by Lionel Barrymore, Lewis Stone, and Edward Arnold) who were once unsuccessful suitors of her grandmother many years before.