Actress Marian Marsh Henderson, the doll-faced 1930s star perhaps best known as the teen milkmaid Trilby mesmerized by John Barrymore in “Svengali,” died Nov. 9 in Palm Desert, Calif. She was 93.
The wide-eyed actress appeared in more than 40 motion pictures in the 1930s and early 1940s, starring in mostly damsel-in-distress roles opposite actors like Edward G. Robinson, William Powell and Boris Karloff.
Her movie credits included “A Girl of the Limberlost” in 1934, “Crime and Punishment,” “The Black Room,” “Unknown Woman” and “In Spite of Danger” in 1935, “Come Closer, Folks,” “The Man Who Lived Twice,” “Counterfeit” and “Lady of Secrets” in 1936 and “Saturday’s Heroes,” “Youth on Parole,” “The Great Gambini” and “When’s Your Birthday?” in 1937.
Born Violet Ethelred Krauth on the island of Trinidad, she moved to California during World War I with her mother and three siblings and followed her sister Jeanne Fenwick into show business.
She was selected to star in “Svengali” after Barrymore said she resembled his wife. She married businessman Albert P. Scott in 1938, then retired several years later to raise their two children. The couple divorced in the late 1950s.
In 1960, she married aviation pioneer Clifford Henderson, who founded the community of Palm Desert. She founded the nonprofit Desert Beautiful conservation group to promote environmental and beautification programs and was known as Mrs. Palm Desert.
She is survived by a daughter, a son, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.