LAUREL & HARDY’S ‘FIRST MISTAKE’
Born Marjorie Jean Campbell in Los Angeles in 1932, Margie (as she was always known) had an older sister who was trying to break into the film industry of Hollywood.
One day her mother was picking up her sister, pushing Margie in her pram. Producer Hal Roach was walking across the MGM movie lot when he came across the mother and baby.
He was looking for a baby to appear in a new Laurel and Hardy film he was producing. He was very taken with Margie’s fair hair and dark eyes – and cast her in the film.
It was called ‘Their First Mistake’. Stan Laurel convinces Oliver Hardy that his relationship with his wife (played by Mae Busch) would be improved if they adopt a baby. They do…but little goes to plan.
Margie’s dimples and her gurgling laugh made her an instant movie star.
Her next film was ‘Life Begins’ (a.k.a ‘The Dawn of Life’). Loretta Young played a convict who gives birth to a baby in a prison hospital.
Then she moved to Fox Studios and was in the film ‘Tess of the Storm Country’, starring two major Hollywood romantic leads, Charles Farrell and Janet Gaynor.
Her next feature was in 1933 in a film called ‘Secrets’. It was to be the final film of the ‘Golden Girl’ of Hollywood, Mary Pickford. But before the film was shot it was being criticised. Pickford played a New England socialite who goes into the American West to help her husband make a fortune. People felt the storyline too outdated for modern tastes.
There was great tension on set with many arguments – and this transmitted itself to baby Margie. She cried excessively – until Pickford demanded she be removed from the set.
Her film career was over, aged one. She later joked, “I quit Hollywood as I was afraid of being typecast.”
Actually, her career wasn’t totally finished. She went to Hollywood Professional School where fellow classmates were Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney and Betty Grable.
She then began picking up minor parts. She played Elizabeth Taylor’s pig-tailed school friend in ‘National Velvet’ (1944).
She was uncredited in ‘A Stolen Life’ starring Bette Davis (1946).
She then became a regular understudy for various different studios and for many films.
But when she got married, she left the film industry. With two daughters, she became a full-time home keeper.
Her husband died in 1988.
After that, she started appearing at Laurel and Hardy conventions, festivals and fan clubs. She was in great demand and appeared alongside, Edith Fellows, ‘Lassie’ Lou Ahern and Tommy ‘Butch’ Bond – all of whom had appeared in a Laurel and Hardy movie.
Her final appearance was at the 2014 ‘Sons of the Desert’ convention.
It is thought Margie is the last surviving person to appear on film with Laurel and Hardy.
RIP – Re-living Innocent Performance