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Marsha Hunt Turns 93 Today, and Recalls Early Studio City

An actress for more than 75 years, Marsha Hunt also worked for the homeless and has lived in the Valley most of her life. This is a birthday tribute to her, because she turns 93 on Oct. 17.

Marsha Hunt turns 93 today. Happy birthday!

She has served as the Honorary Mayor of Sherman Oaks, and formed the Valley Mayor's Fund for the Homeless, but long before that she owned property in Studio City and worked at Republic Pictures.

On Nov.14, there will be a tribute to Marsha which will be held next door to the first homeless shelter in the Valley which Marsha was instrumental in helping to open in 1985. (See more information below.)

In the video above, she will talk about her co-star Richard Carlson, and how they bought property together in Studio City before WWII and lived next door to each other.

She also discusses her friendship with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz before they moved to the San Fernando Valley.

Now, she is the subject of a documentary called Marsha Hunt's Sweet Adversity being compiled by filmmaker Roger Memos.

Trivia about Marsha:

* She was the first person to spell her name M-A-R-S-H-A. Her mother changed her name to Marcia, but she re-spelled it and so, everyone who is spelling their name Marsha, it's due directly because of her.

* She performed from the age of 3.

* She attended Franklin D. Roosevelt's birthday when he was president in 1937 and Robert Taylor and Jean Harlow were the other Hollywood representatives.

* She married Hedda Hopper's nephew Jerry, who was working at Paramount, in 1938.

* She divorced Hopper in 1943 and three years later married screenwriter Robert Presnell Jr., and they lived in the Valley until his death in 1986.

* Because she and her husband signed numerous liberal causes, she was blacklisted and their careers both suffered.

* She went with John HustonHumphrey BogartLauren Bacall and Danny Kaye and others to Washington D.C. to protest the actions of Congress and when she returned to Hollywood three days later, things had changed. She was asked to denounce her activities, but she refused, because she felt strongly about Freedom of Speech and privacy.

* She was told by David O. Selznick that she had the role of Melanie in Gone With the Wind, but was devastated when the next day in the papers it was announced that Olivia de Havilland had the part.

* She did a USO tour of Canada and Alaska and she worked as a sergeant in the Women's Ambulance and Defense Corps of American in the North Hollywood troop.

* Tony London and the Page Cavanaugh Trio have a CD called "Songs From the Heart" which has a forward by Marsha on it (and which Marsha produced), reading that she is "loving the timeless melodies and lyrics from the era. ... You'll find some old favorites, a few overlooked gems, a couple that swing and even a couple of my own songs."

* She worked for the United Nations.

On Sunday,  Nov. 14, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., non-profits from the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles, many of which Marsha has supported over the years will participate in an "activism" fair to help raise community awareness about volunteer opportunities with their organizations. The event is to be held next door to the first homeless shelter in the Valley which Marsha was instrumental in helping to open in 1985.  This event is hosted by L.A. Family Housing, an organization which helps families transition of homelessness and poverty through housing enriched with supportive services. (www.lafh.org)  .

The event is scheduled for thSydney M. Irmas Transitional Living Center, 7817 Lankersheim Blvd. in North Hollywood. 

Happy Birthday Marsha, you're a true American hero, right her in our midst in the Valley.

 

 

allan hunt August 08, 2012 at 07:58 AM
What a wonderful, remarkable lady! Still beautiful, still perceptive, still informed, still a tribute to Hollywood and still a caring, compassionate member of the human race.
Robert Dorff March 29, 2013 at 02:48 PM
MARSHA HUNT was originally signed to play Jimmy Dean's mother, in "Rebel Without A Cause." I know this because my wife Beverly Long told me Marsha was at a full reading of the script. ANN DORAN replaced her. Another example of "un-American activities." We haven't forgotten you, Marsha.

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