(1) Gordon Barry Thomson (Feb
15. 1934 -
George Zachary (Oct 5, 1939 -
Bud Collyer (aka Clayton Johnson
- Sep 8.1969, his dead)
Collyer (Mrs. John Zavitz) ('39-40),
Michael C. Collyer
('42-43) All children are from Bud's first marriage to
Heloise Law Green.
Born Marion Metier Shockley
in Kansas City, Missouri to Percy Ambrose Shockley, a lawyer, and Lottie
As graduate of Northeast High School
and the University of Missouri (majoring in
proud possessor of a Kappa Alpha Theta pin, she especially took to theatre
and was one of the chief attractions
of the International Players at the Vancouver theatre.
She was offered an audition whilst on a vacation to Los Angeles and
her acting career began.
She claimed to be the only girl in Hollywood's history who walked into a
movie studio with a pass on a sight-seeing tour and come out with a signed
From 1930 until 1934 she played in some 19 B-movies.
She appeared with Alice White in "Sweethearts On Parade"
for Columbia and also in a number of Vanity two-reelers for Educational
which included her screen debut "The Freshman's Goat"
co-starred as Tim McCoy's leading lady in the serial "Heroes
of the Flames" and Bob Steele's in
"Near the Trail's End"
(1931), directed by Wallace Fox.
the last of eight Westerns Steele did for low-budget company Tiffany
and the only feature film to co-star Marion Shockley. The
shorts were a series of Torchy movies... with titles such as "Torchy's Two Toots"
(1932) with Ray Cooke. She
is more known for her work in comedy shorts and radio.
Offered an acting job with a Denver stock company, she performed in
plays as "Believe me, Mr. Xantippe" (March 1934) and "Three
Cornered Moon" (1934) in which she played the role Claudette Colbert
played in the movie.
Shockley was the Wampas baby star in 1932.
The WAMPAS Baby Stars was a promotional campaign sponsored by the Western
Association of Motion Picture Advertisers in the United States, which
honored thirteen young women each year who they believed to be on the
threshold of movie stardom. They were selected from 1922 to 1934 and honored
at a party called the WAMPAS Frolic. Those selected were given extensive
media coverage. The awards were not given in 1931 and 1933 and ended after
1934 due to objections from the movie studios because of its independence.
Miss Shockley and Gordon Barry Thomson married on Feb 5, 1934 in Whatcom,
WA, divorcing soon afterwards.
debuted in Broadway in
George M. Cohan's
"Dear Old Darling"
The story suggested melodrama. Wealthy, retired Calvin Miller had been
hounded by a sweet girl 'Jane Mayo' (Marion Shockley) in her twenties, whom he met on
shipboard and who has sent a photograph inscribed "To my dear old darling,
with all the love of my heart and soul." Her mother (Theresa Maxwell
Conover) appears soon enough, and the two gals prove to be blackmailers.
This presents numerous problems for Miller, not the least that he has been
courting the Widow Collins (Ruth Shepley). Matters are put in order only
just before eleven o'clock. But the play was no melodrama. Indeed, it was
billed as "A Comic Experience" but had to settle for a fortnight's stay.4
In 1938 she played the lead in "Censored" at
the 46th Street Theater, a melodramatic comedy by Conrad Setter and Max
Marcin and presented by Al Woods. Opposite Frank Lovejoy, Marion played
'Millicent Redmond'. According to one critic she played a girl who has gone
tremendously wrong and prompted the following comment: "As a bad girl she is
After appearing in several shows
which came off bruised by bouts with dramatic critics and the public, she
grew disenchanted. "I decided," she says, "that no one but
children of wealthy parents could afford to work in the theater. I went into
She was an immediate success. Within hours after her first audition, at CBS,
she was cast opposite Chester Morris in a dramatic skit on a Kate Smith
show. Parts came thick and fast afterward.
In 1939 she was added to Phil Baker's stooge ranks on "Honolulu
Bound" otherwise known as "The Phil Baker Show," a radio
musical comedy which also featured the Andrew Sisters.
Confining her acting effort more to radio she was heard on "Abie
Irish Rose", "The
Guiding Light", "Aunt Jennie", "Kate Smith Hour",
"Road of Life" and "My True Story" when in 1939, at CBS,
producer Zachary was gathering his team
for the radio version of "The Adventures of Ellery Queen". In
order to attract a more female audience, Dannay, Lee and Zachary added a new
character to the stories: Ellery's secretary Nikki Porter.
George Zachary, then the director of the show, didn't want Marion. George
argued that Marion just wasn't right for the part, but three other Network
officials outvoted him and the Shockley girl got the role, thus becoming the first actress to portray Nikki Porter, Ellery's secretary and
low-key love interest. In the "Gum-Chewing Millionaire" she's a blonde
professional typist who gets asked to work on Ellery's manuscripts. She then
applies for the job of personal secretary.
Marion and George Zachary, the radio series' producer, were
married on October 5,
1939, and Zachary made sure that Nikki was written out of the scripts during
the weeks the newlyweds were off on their honeymoon.
She played Nikki both opposite
Hugh Marlowe and
Only when, in 1942, Zachary left "Ellery Queen" to
become the program chief for the radio bureau of the Office of War
Information they acknowledged their marriage.
Playing Carol Carroll in "Manhattan at Midnight"
(NBC-Blue, Aug 1940)
Marion played a young stage performer who learns about dramatics and love
from a dramatic critic.
In July 1943 she was reportedly "an expecting mother", however she and
George were not blessed with a child.
She also had a movie role in "Stage
and on radio she
also had a role in "The Adventures of the Falcon'
first marriage ended
soon after the war and
she was remarried to Clayton 'Bud' Collyer.
(Jun 18. 1908 - Sep
radio star who starred in
Together they'd appeared in
"Road of Life" and
the longest running soap
"The Guiding Light".
The couple settled down in the big stone house in Greenwich,
Connecticut. In the 50s she made the
transition to TV.
Collyer as announcer both appearing on radio and TV. His task reading out advertising
Marion appeared in the 1951 print ads for Blue Bonnet margarine and
made her television debut on Hallmark Hall of Fame: "The Other Wise Man"
airing 5 April 1953. She would retire from acting that same year.
After her husband died
she took up various humanitarian
causes and at one time served on the board of The Spence-Chapin
Marion passed away Dec 14, 1981 in Los Angeles.