Friday, December 28, 2012
Stars of Public Domain: Marjorie Riordan in Pursuit to Algiers, South of Monterey and The Hoodlum
Born in D.C. but raised in Milwaukee, WI, Marjorie Riordan did a bit of modeling before being awarded a featured role in the women-at-war melodrama Parachute Nurse(1942). She then played Lon McAllister's girl in the narrative section of the all-star extravaganza Stage Door Canteen (1943), earning a contract with independent producer Sol Lesser for her troubles. Lesser turned right around and sold her off to Warner Bros. where she was cast as Bette Davis' daughter in Mr. Skeffington (1944), quite a studio debut, really, for a novice ingenue. But then the powers at be failed to provide a follow-up and she was much busier at the real-life Hollywood Canteen, where starlets and movie stars alike entertained the servicemen. She met a marine major there, fell in love and got married. Warner did not take kindly to this act of rebellion, however, and let her go. She did Universal's Pursuit to Algiers (1945), a sea-faring edition of the studio's now patented Sherlock Holmes series, in which she played the ingenue and got to sing no less than threee songs, proving once and for all that Hollywood never did right for our Marjorie. It was supporting roles thereafter and she was briefly in the way of evil tax collector Harry Woods in South of Monterey (1947), a Cisco Kid entry from Monogram. Then there was The Hoodlum (1951), where she played a bank clerk conned into spilling the beans of the bank's activities to charming would-be robber Lawrence Tierney. Marjorie earned prominent billing but had merely a couple of scenes and her screen career had reached a dead end. Not that she seemed to have cared all that much; instead of toiling in lower-bracket crime thrillers and television series fare, she went back to gradate school to study speech therapy and clinical psychology, later becoming a licensed therapist. Marjorie Riordan succumbed to breat cancer in May of 1972, leaving her second husband and their young son. She was 64.