Peggy Conklin, noted stage actress of the 1930’s through the ’50s who performed opposite Humphrey Bogart in the Broadway production of “The Petrified Forest,” died March 18 in Naples, Fla. She was 96.
Born in Dobb’s Ferry, NY and raised in poverty, Margaret Eleanor Conklin left for New York City after high school to pursue acting. She landed her first Broadway role in 1929 and became a staple of the New York stage, performing a variety of comedic and dramatic roles in two dozen Broadway shows, usually as the prototypical “girl next door,”
She was already a vet of nine shows when she landed the female lead in “The Petrified Forest.” The show, and the movie version that followed, launched Humphrey Bogart to stardom, but Conklin’s part went to Bette Davis in the film.
Conklin did have a short stint in Hollywood during the ’30s in which she made five films, including “The President Vanishes,” without much personal aclaim.
She returned to the stage and continued to work on Broadway into the 1950s, including such notable productions as “The Wisteria Trees” with Helen Hayes and Joshua Logan’s 1953 production of “Picnic.”
She also originated the popular role of Pam North, one half of the husband wife detective duo of 1941’s “Mr. and Mrs. North.” The character would endure for decades on radio and television.
She is survived by a son, daughter, and three grandchildren.