Marion Crane

Marion Crane (known in the original novel as Mary Crane), also under the alias Marie Samuels, is a fictional character created by American author Robert Bloch in his 1959 thriller novel Psycho; portrayed by Janet Leigh in the 1960 version of Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock. She is also portrayed by Anne Heche in the 1998 version of Psycho, and by Rihanna in the television series Bates Motel (2017).[1][2] For her performance in Psycho, Leigh was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in the Academy Awards and won a Golden Globe Award in the same category.

Marion Crane
Psycho character
Marion Crane.jpg
Janet Leigh as Marion Crane in Psycho (1960).
First appearancePsycho (1959)
Created byRobert Bloch
Portrayed byJanet Leigh (Psycho (1960))
Vera Miles (Psycho trailer)
Anne Heche (Psycho (1998))
Rihanna (Bates Motel)
In-universe information
FamilyLila Crane (deceased sister)
Mary Loomis (deceased niece; film canon only)
Significant otherSam Loomis (deceased boyfriend/brother-in-law)

Fictional character biographyEdit

In the film Marion lives in Phoenix, Arizona as a secretary and is unhappy in her relationship with Sam Loomis (John Gavin), a divorcé who is in too much debt to marry her. Marion rejects his idea to take the afternoon off and rushes back to her storefront real estate office. Her boss of ten years, George Lowery (Vaughn Taylor), arrives shortly afterward with Tom Cassidy (Frank Albertson), a wealthy customer who is buying the Harris Street Property, one of Lowery's houses on the market for $40,000 as a wedding present for his daughter, making cash payment in full, which causes mild alarm to Lowery. However, instead of depositing Cassidy's money in the bank, Marion, wanting to pay Sam's debts in order to marry him, impulsively goes on the run with the money. She drives to the (fictional) small town of Fairvale, California, where Sam lives, and pays California Charlie (John Anderson), a used car salesman, to trade her car for a new one after a highway patrol officer (Mort Mills) checks her license plate. She turns off the main road without realizing it, and arrives at the Bates Motel. She checks in with the proprietor, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), who shyly invites her to have dinner with him. After wrapping the remaining money inside a newspaper, Marion overhears a heated argument between Norman and his mother about letting Marion into the house.[3]

During dinner, Marion has a conversation with Norman, who says that he is trapped by his obligation to his mentally ill mother. She realizes that she, too, is stuck in a "private trap", and can only escape it by taking responsibility for stealing the money. She gently suggests to Norman that he put his mother in a mental hospital, which he heatedly refuses to do. She bids him goodnight, and returns to her room. There, she undresses while Norman watches through a peephole hidden in the wall of his office. Resolving to make amends to her employer, Marion makes a few calculations based on how much the escapade has cost her. She then takes a shower. Suddenly, a mysterious figure enters the bathroom — shadowy through the shower curtain — and stabs Marion to death. Believing his mother has committed the murder, Norman puts the naked corpse and shower curtain — and, unknowingly, the money — in the trunk of Marion's car and sinks it in a nearby swamp.

The climax of the novel and film reveals that Norman murdered Marion while under the control of an alternate personality—one taking the form of his mother, whom he had murdered ten years before. The psychiatrist who examines Norman explains that, when Norman felt attracted to Marion, the "Mother" personality became jealous and killed her. In the final scene, Norman — now completely controlled by the "Mother" personality — is institutionalized for killing Marion.

Differences between the film and novelEdit

In the novel, she is named Mary Crane, originates from Dallas, Texas, and dies after Norman decapitates her; in the film, "Mother" stabs her repeatedly. Her name was changed to Marion in the film because of a then real life Mary Crane residing in Phoenix, Arizona. In the novel, she is Norman's first victim; in the film, Norman had murdered two young girls prior.

Appearances and references in the rest of the seriesEdit

Psycho's first sequel, 1983's Psycho II, starts off with a flashback to the shower scene. Marion's sister, Lila Crane (Vera Miles), now Lila Loomis, is on a crusade to keep Norman locked up. The film introduces Mary Loomis (Meg Tilly), Lila's daughter with Sam and Marion's niece. Both are killed in the film; Lila is stabbed by a woman who looks like him in his "Mother" guise (later revealed to be Emma Spool, portrayed by Claudia Bryar), and Mary is shot by police when she attempts to kill Norman.

In the second sequel, 1986's Psycho III, the shower scene appears again in a flashback, this time when Norman sees Maureen Coyle (Diana Scarwid) who reminds him of Marion. "Mother" tries to kill Maureen in exactly the same room and bathroom of the Bates Motel where Marion died, only to find that Maureen slit her wrists in a bathtub filled with water in an attempted suicide. Later, after being rescued by Norman, "Mother" kills Maureen by pushing her down the same stairs of the Bates house where private investigator Milton Arbogast died.

Marion makes no appearance in the final sequel, 1990's Psycho IV: The Beginning. She is merely referred to a few times as "the girl [Norman] killed in the shower".

Comic booksEdit

Marion appears in the 1992 three-issue comic book adaptation of the 1960 film Psycho, released by Innovation Publishing.


Marion was played by Janet Leigh in the 1960 film Psycho and by Anne Heche in the 1998 remake. Leigh was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. Heche was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress.

Rihanna portrayed Marion in the fifth and final season of the TV series Bates Motel, a contemporary prequel to the 1960 film Psycho, set in the present day. This version of the character is a contemporary take on the role.[4] In this continuity, she is a notary public living in Seattle, Washington. She is in a long-distance relationship with Sam Loomis (Austin Nichols), who, unbeknownst to her, is married. She meets him at the Bates Motel for a tryst, and the proprietor, Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore), spies on them through a peephole as they make love.[5] Sam tells Marion he is in too much debt to marry her. Marion rushes to her real estate office and asks her boss George Lowery (Raphael Sbarge) for a promotion and a pay raise, but he refuses. Desperate, Marion steals $400,000 from Lowery so she and Sam can get married. She drives to Sam's hometown of White Pine Bay, Oregon and tells him to meet her at the motel.[6] She meets Norman, who tells her that Sam is using her and gives her his address. At Sam's house, she sees him arguing with his wife and realizes he has made a fool of her; enraged, she takes a lug wrench to his car and smashes it. She returns to the motel and seeks comfort from Norman, who fears that his "Mother" personality will take control and kill her. To save her, he urges her to leave and never come back. She drives away with the money to begin a new life, while Norman kills Sam, who came to the motel to find her; in a nod to the original film, Norman stabs Sam to death in the shower.[7]






  • Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, (1992)


  1. ^ "Marion Crane". Comic Vine. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Hitchcock's leading ladies". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  3. ^ Haggstrom, Jason (June 16, 2010). "Marion, Norman, and the Collision of Narratives in Psycho". Reel 3. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  4. ^ Saclao, Christian (February 17, 2017). "'Bates Motel' Season 5 Spoilers: EP Talks Rihanna's Performance As Marion Crane". International Business Times.
  5. ^ "Dark Paradise". Bates Motel (TV series). Season 5. Episode 1. February 20, 2017. A&E.
  6. ^ "Dreams Die First". Bates Motel (TV series). Season 5. Episode 5. March 20, 2017. A&E.
  7. ^ "Marion". Bates Motel (TV series). Season 5. Episode 6. March 27, 2017. A&E.