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arion Shockley (Oct 10,1908 – Dec 14,1981)


A picture of a young Marian Shockley (1920s)

Name: AKA Marian...
Birth: some sources 10 Oct 1911 or 10 Oct 1910
Height:
5' 1" (1.55 m)
Eyes: brown
Hair: Titian
Husbands:
 
(1) Gordon Barry Thomson (15 Feb 1934 - ?, divorced)
(2) George Zachary (Oct 5, 1939 - ca.1945, divorced)
(3) Bud Collyer (aka
Clayton Johnson Heermance, Jr.
     (1946 - Sep 8.1969, his dead
)
   
Children:
 Patricia Collyer (Mrs. John Zavitz) ('39-40),
    Cynthia Ann
 Collyer ('40-41) and Michael C. Collyer
   
('42-43) All children are from Bud's first marriage to
    Heloise Law Green.


Born
Marion Metier Shockley
in Kansas City. As graduate of Northeast High School and the University of Missouri (majoring in history) and 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 contract.

A comedy short "Twisted Tails" for Culver Pictures, Marion Shockley and famous 'drunk' Arthur Housman

From 1930 until 1934 she played in some 19 B-movies. She appeared with Alice White in  "Sweethearts On Parade" (1930) for Columbia and also in a number of Vanity two-reelers for Educational which included her screen debut  "The Freshman's Goat" (1930). She 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. This was 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.

Back, left to right:  Toshia Mori, Boots Mallory, Ruth Hall, Gloria Stuart, Patricia Ellis, Ginger Rogers, Lillian Bond, Evalyn Knapp, Marion Shockley. Front left to right: Dorothy Wilson, Mary Carlisle, Lona Andre, Eleanor Holm, Dorothy Layton

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. She debuted in Broadway in
George M. Cohan's "Dear Old Darling" (1936). 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 charming."

Hugh Marlowe and Marion ShockleyFrom an enactment of 'The Scorpion's Thumb' by members of the radio cast. Marion as Nikki leads a character to a chair...
Marion Shockley as Nikki PorterMarion Shockley (Nikki) opposite Carleton Young as Ellery Queen  in a photo for episode 92 "The Midnight Visitor" (1942)

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 secretly 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 Carleton Young. 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.

 'Marian' Shockley on the cover of Radio Mirror (May 1943) Bud Collyere and his wife Marion Shockley

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.
She also had a movie role in  "Stage Door Canteen"
(1943) and on radio she also had a role in "The Adventures of the Falcon' (1945). Her first marriage ended soon after the war and in 1946 she was remarried to Clayton 'Bud' Collyer.  (Jun 18. 1908 - Sep 8. 1969) the radio star who starred in "Superman". Together they appeared in "Road of Life" and in the longest running soap "The Guiding Light". In the 50s she made the transition to TV. Collyer as announcer both appearing on radio and TV. His task reading out advertising lines. 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
(1969) she took up various humanitarian causes and at one time served on the board of The Spence-Chapin Adoption Agency.

Marion passed away Dec 14, 1981 in Los Angeles. 
 

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References
(1) Wikipedia
(2) IMDb

(3) Marian S. Collyer, an Actress And Widow of TV Personality NYT, Dec 18, 1981
(4) American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, Gerald Bordman,
     1930-1969

Additional video & audio sources
(1) Movie Stage Door Canteen Full Movie, 1943
(2) Stars Tom Brown, Dorothy Layton, Marion Shilling, June Clyde and Marian
     Shockley complete a giant jigsaw puzzle at Universal City in California

     Short Movie, Mar 20, 1933

Latest update August 24, 2016
  

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