Marjorie White

Marjorie White (born Marjorie Ann Guthrie, July 22, 1904 – August 21, 1935) was a Canadian-born actress of stage and film.

Marjorie White
White in 1930
Marjorie Ann Guthrie

(1904-07-22)July 22, 1904
DiedAugust 21, 1935(1935-08-21) (aged 31)
Years active1929–1935
Spouse(s)Edwin J. Tierney (1924-1935; her death)


Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada,[1] she was the first-born child of a grain merchant,[2] Robert Guthrie, and his wife,[3] born in Simcoe, Ontario. She entered show business at age 8 or age 10, as one of the Winnipeg Kiddies, a troupe of child performers who toured Canada and the United States. She danced and sang with the troupe until too old to continue; then at age 17, in December 1921, she went to San Francisco and joined Thelma Wolpa in amateur vaudeville comedy.

Teamed for a time with Thelma Wolpa as Wolpa and Guthrie, Little Bits of Everything, the duo act became 'The White Sisters' in New York City. Both women kept the name White after the act broke up.[citation needed] White married Eddie Tierney on August 10, 1924 in Greenwich, Connecticut.[2] She appeared on Broadway in several musicals between 1926 and 1929, when she and her husband moved to Hollywood. In accordance with studio tradition, four years were knocked off her birth date and she was supposedly born in 1908. Early biographies of James Cagney, the Marx Brothers and Bing Crosby typically gave birthdates occurring five years after the actual event.[citation needed]

She began getting parts in pictures, starting with leading roles in Happy Days (1929) and Sunny Side Up (1929). The same year she was required by executives of the Fox Film studio to lose four pounds in order to secure a role in The New Orleans Frolic. White was diminutive to begin with, weighing only 103 pounds and standing 4'10" tall. The part called for a woman who weighed less than 100 pounds.[4] She returned to Broadway for a musical, Hot-Cha, in 1932, but came back to Hollywood thereafter.

She will also be recognized by fans of "Charlie Chan" films in a prominent, if brief, uncredited role in the 1931 Fox film The Black Camel starring Warner Oland and featuring Bela Lugosi and Robert Young in what may have been his first leading role.[5][better source needed] Marjorie appeared as a forward, and rather sarcastic, young woman among the usual group of suspects held waiting upon the conclusion of Charlie's investigation.

In 1933, White had a featured role in the Joseph Mankiewicz-scripted political satire Diplomaniacs starring the team of Wheeler and Woolsey. Marjorie is Dolores, a femme fatale custom-ordered by the film's villain (she arrives wrapped in plastic from a chute in the wall) to seduce Willy (Bert Wheeler) and steal secret plans from him. Wheeler and White's duet "Sing For Me" is performed while the tiny White physically assaults Wheeler because he is reluctant to sing to her in a send-up of the typical boy-girl romantic song scenes of the era.

She also appeared with Joan Crawford in "Possessed" in 1931. She was also in the Fox feature films Just Imagine and New Movietone Follies of 1930 (both 1930).

White is best remembered for her co-starring role in the first Three Stooges short made at Columbia Pictures, Woman Haters (1934), in which she played the new wife of Larry Fine, who he needs to keep secret from his fellow Woman-Haters Club members (who are both "pitching woo" at her behind Larry's back). The entire comedy short is done in rhyming verse. Woman Haters was her last film.


On August 20, 1935, White was a passenger in a car driven by Marlow M. Lovell on the Roosevelt Highway near the Bel Air Beach Club, in Santa Monica, California. It sideswiped the car of a couple who had been married only an hour before, and overturned. A coroner's jury decided that the reckless driving of Lovell was to blame for the accident. White was riding with Lovell in the open car because another member of the party, Gloria Gould, was without a wrap. Gould was following Lovell's car in another vehicle with White's husband. White was the only person seriously injured. She died of internal hemorrhaging the next day, August 21, 1935, at a Hollywood hospital.[6]

She was buried at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery (now Hollywood Forever Cemetery). She was survived by her husband, her parents Robert and Nettie, and siblings Orville, Morley, Stewart, and Belva.[7][8][9]


Year Title Role Notes
1929 Happy Days Margie
1929 Sunny Side Up Bea Nichols
1930 The Golden Calf Alice
1930 New Movietone Follies of 1930 Vera Fontaine
1930 Just Imagine D-6
1930 Oh, For a Man! Totsy Franklin
1931 Charlie Chan Carries On Sadie
1931 Women of All Nations Margie aka Pee Wee Uncredited
1931 The Black Camel Rita Ballou Uncredited
1931 Broadminded Penny Packer
1931 Possessed Vernice LaVerne
1933 Diplomaniacs Dolores
1933 Her Bodyguard Lita
1934 Woman Haters Mary Short, (final film role)


  1. ^ Manitoba's Vital Statistics website, Birth Certificate registration #1904,006829
  2. ^ a b "Marjorie White". Films of the Golden Age (96): 59–60. Spring 2019.
  3. ^ "City actress succumbs to car injuries". The Winnepeg Tribune. Canada, Winnepeg, Manitoba. August 21, 1935. p. 1. Retrieved September 11, 2019 – via
  4. ^ "Small Actress Has To Reduce Further", Los Angeles Times, October 4, 1929, p. A10
  5. ^ Full cast and crew for The Black Camel at IMDb
  6. ^ "Actress' death in crash laid to reckless driving". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. August 24, 1935. p. 19. Retrieved September 11, 2019 – via
  7. ^ Winnipeg Free Press, 22 August 1935.
  8. ^ Variety, 28 August 1935
  9. ^ "Actress' Death In Crash Laid To Reckless Driving", Los Angeles Times, August 24, 1935, p. A3

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