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SNOW, Marguerite

Thanhouser Career: Actress (1910-1915)

Marguerite Snow in a portrait, circa 1914. (Courtesy of Donald Collins)

Thanhouser Career Synopsis: Marguerite Snow was one of the most important Thanhouser players. She appeared in many leading roles and was widely featured in advertising. Among her more memorable roles was the second or "heavy" lead in the 1914 serial, The Million Dollar Mystery. At one time she was the wife of Thanhouser actor James Cruze.

Biographical Notes: Marguerite Snow was born on September 9, 1889 (some accounts say 1891 or 1892; she kept moving her birth date forward) in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Some listings give Savannah, Georgia; a 1916 listing in Motion Picture News Studio Directory gives her birth date as September 9, 1892, in Atlanta; an obituary in The Los Angeles Examiner, February 19, 1958, gave Denver as her natal city.) Her father was William G. Snow, a long-time minstrel comedian and half of the Snow and West act. Her mother, the former Marguerite West, was the other half of the act.

Miss Snow spent her childhood in Denver and was educated there at the Loretta Heights Academy. Her stage career began in 1907 with James O'Neill in The Count of Monte Cristo. Later, her managers included Henry W. Savage, J.W. Gates, Delamater and Norris, and Walter Lawrence. As a member of the Belasco Theatre stock company in Washington, D.C., she had leads in Peter Pan, Old Heidelberg, The Christian, The Devil (in which she played the heiress), The Road to Yesterday, and other productions. In 1908 she appeared on stage in the Garden Theatre, New York City, in The Devil. Miss Snow played the title role in The College Widow under the management of Henry W. Savage, and in a 1914 biographical sketch was noted as "the only brunette that ever played that part." On the West Coast she was a success in Mrs. Temple's Telegram.

With Thanhouser: Her screen career began at Thanhouser in 1910, where her first role was in Baseball and Bloomers, released on January 6, 1911. Soon she became the leading lady in numerous pictures. However, in the summer of 1911 she returned to the stage for a short time, after which she acted in films for Kinemacolor for two months. Returning to Thanhouser, Marguerite Snow eventually became one of the New Rochelle studio's best known actresses. She married James Cruze, Thanhouser's most famous actor.

The Photoplay Arts Portfolio of Thanhouser Moving-Picture Stars, 1914, told of her beginning with the company: "Her introduction to moving pictures was in a sense an accident. While witnessing a production of a play at the Thanhouser Film Corporation at New Rochelle, she was asked to play an incidental part. A few days later one of the directors requested her to play the heroine in a feature film. This was done so successfully that she later appeared in Lucile, East Lynne, Jess, and She…."

By autumn 1911 she was sufficiently well known to finish second, after Florence E. Turner, in the popularity contest for movie actresses staged by the New York Morning Telegraph. The edition of December 17, 1911 credited Miss Turner, of Vitagraph, with 135,000 votes, Miss Snow with 97,950, and the third-place winner, Mary Pickford, of Majestic, with 64,007. Others among the top finalists included: Octavia Handworth, Pathé, 44,853; Mabel Normand, Vitagraph, 34,049; Kathleen Williams, Selig, 33,224; Kitty Price, Vitagraph, 28,656; and Julia M. Taylor, Thanhouser, 25,114.

Motherhood: The Moving Picture World, January 17, 1914, told of Miss Snow's "vacation" away from the studio: "Miss Marguerite Snow, the popular leading woman of the Thanhouser Company, has just returned to the studio after an absence of six months, during which time she has been taking life easy. Miss Snow had been with the Thanhouser Company three consecutive years before she had taken a vacation. The rest has been greatly beneficial to her, and she feels able to do even better work than heretofore…."

Her hiatus extended from about May to November 1913, however the real reason for her absence was to prepare for the birth of her daughter, Julie Cruze, on October 24, 1913. In November she was back on duty at the New Rochelle studio, working on Peggy's Invitation, in which she played the title role. However, a note in February 1914 issue of The Motion Picture Story Magazine informed readers that "Marguerite Snow has been ill for some time," possibly a belated and incorrect commentary about her earlier pregnancy.

A Fan Club Forms: The Moving Picture World, August 15, 1914, told of her admirers: "Miss Marguerite (Peggy) Snow, leading woman of the Thanhouser films, who is doing exceptional work as Countess Olga in The Million Dollar Mystery, had quite an honor conferred upon her by some of the photoplay fans of America, who love to see her on the screen. Recently a letter came from Miss Kathryn Temple, Northboro, Massachusetts, asking 'Peggy' to accept the honor of honorary president of the 'Peggy' Snow Club, a gathering of young women admirers who follow her work closely on the screen; who adopt so far as possible, clothing patterned after those worn by the best dressed women in the 'movies,' and meet once a month to plan for the present and future welfare of the club. Miss Snow was prevailed upon to accept the honor, and promised to send a letter of greeting once each month to the 'Peggy' Snow Club, and sent, also, a large photograph in one of her best poses for the club to retain, with the admonition that it be framed and be held in the custody of the president until her successor was elected, when the portrait would pass into the keeping of the new president."

Exit New Rochelle: Miss Snow was a prominent Thanhouser player until the spring of 1915 and was seen in many films. By early 1915 her ambition had faded, and to her friends she expressed a desire for a change of scene. The last Thanhouser film in which she acted was The Patriot and the Spy (released June 7, 1915), which was produced during the first week of May 1915. Her Guardian Auto, released June 11th, was filmed earlier. She left the East for California with her infant daughter Julie, on Sunday, May 16, 1915.

With Metro: While she was a leading lady for Metro, she maintained addresses in California with her husband, James Cruze (who was also with Metro at the time), and in the East at 220 West 98th Street, New York City. Most of her work was done in the East. She appeared in nine Metro productions, among which were Rosemary, The Upstart, A Corner in Cotton, His Great Triumph, The Half-Million Bribe, and Notorious Gallagher.

The October 1916 Motion Picture News Studio Directory noted that Miss Snow was 5'5" tall, weighed 109 pounds, and had brown hair and brown eyes. Her hobbies included motoring, horseback riding, and golf. An advertisement in the same directory noted she "may be secured upon application" and was being represented by Ouida Bergere, of the Players Engagement Department of the American Play Company, Inc. (33 West 42nd Street, New York City). The 1918 edition of the Motion Picture Studio Directory gave her home address as 220 West 98th Street, New York City. By June 1916, Miss Snow had moved to Ivan Films (Ivan Abramson), where her first release was The Faded Flower (August 1916).

Activities in 1917: In January 1917 it was announced that Miss Snow was with Artcraft Pictures Corporation, playing opposite George M. Cohan in his first motion picture, Broadway Jones. She was later seen in the Astra-for-Pathé film, The Hunting of the Hawk (April 1917), the Astra-for-Pathé film, The First Law (August 1918), and the 1919 Metro release, In His Brother's Place, among other films.

The 1920s and Later: James Cruze divorced her in 1922. Their daughter, Julie, remained in the family home with her mother. Later, Marguerite Snow married Neely Edwards (the stage and screen name of Cornelius Limbach; life dates: September 16, 1889—July 10, 1965). Marguerite Snow played in films through the 1920s. During the late 1930s Miss Snow was in contact with James Cruze, and with Julie she visited his home on numerous occasions. Marguerite Snow died of kidney complications at the Motion Picture Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, on February 17, 1958. Services were held on February 20th at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. At the time of her death she and her husband, Neely Edwards, maintained their residence at 1930 Stewart Street, Santa Monica, California.

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