Actress Marian Marsh Henderson, Nov. 9 Marian Marsh Henderson, a Hollywood leading lady who played Trilby opposite John Barrymore's Svengali in the early 1930s and later founded the nonprofit Desert Beautiful organization in Palm Desert, died at her home there on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2006. She was 93. "All Paris desired her, but Svengali owned her!" So went a tag line for Svengali, the 1931 screen version of Trilby, George Du Maurier's classic 1894 novel about a sinister music teacher who uses his hypnotic powers to transform a milkmaid who can't sing into a great diva. Henderson had appeared only in comedy shorts and had played several bit parts in features when at 17 she landed the coveted role under the stage name Marian Marsh. "She is the epitome of Du Maurier's doomed heroine," Gregory William Mank wrote of Marsh in his book Women in Horror Films, 1930s. Warner Bros. paired her again with Barrymore in The Mad Genius, in which she played a ballerina who runs afoul of Barrymore's evil puppeteer turned impresario. At Warners, she appeared in Five Star Final and The Road to Singapore and at Columbia in the mid-1930s in the cult horror classics The Black Room and opposite Peter Lorre in Crime and Punishment. She's shown here with Barrymore in a scene from Svengali.
AP/ The A.J. Flogge Performing Arts Collection