Filled Under: Marla English
Marla English was a motion picture actress from San Diego, California who appeared in several movies during the 1950s.
Marla English was born Marleine Gaile English on January 4, 1935 in San Diego, California to Bertha Lenore and Arthur H. English. Marla was a nickname given to her by friends of the family who took care of her when her mother fell ill in 1939. English started modeling bathing attire for leading advertising agencies at the age of twelve. During her teen years English enters several bathing beauty contests and each time emerges a winner. During her sophmore year in high school she became a member of San Diego’s Globe Theatre and played roles in their productions of “Mad Woman of Chaillot” and “Cricket on the Hearth” while continuing her modeling career. Upon graduating high school in 1952 English was signed to a contract by Paramount Pictures after winning a San Diego beauty pageant. Paramount brought English along slowly, putting her in bit parts in such films as “Red Garters” (1954) with Rosemary Clooney, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” (1954) with James Stewart and Grace Kelly, and “Yankee Pasha” (1954) with Jeff Chandler and Rhonda Fleming. In 1955 English starred opposite John Ireland in “Hell’s Horizon” and with Ralph Meeker in “Desert Sands”.
English received a major break in 1955 when she was cast opposite Spencer Tracy in “The Mountain” (1956), a film which was to be made in France. English was given a smallpox vaccine before leaving to go on location and quickly developed a raging fever and decided to pull out of the movie. As a result Paramount suspends English and replaces her with Barbara Darrow. Parade Magazine was purportedly told that English had fallen in love with Paramount actor Larry Pennell and had became enraged when the studio would not give Pennell a role in the film so they could travel to France together and that was why she had pulled out of the movie. In a September 1955 interview with Parade, English admits pulling out of the film was a very dumb move and she was unsure why she decided against making “The Mountain”.
After Paramount dropped her contact English starred in mostly B-movie films throughout the rest of her Hollywood movie career. Some of these include “Three Bad Sisters” (1956), “Runaway Daughters” (1956), “The She Creature” (1956), and “Flesh and the Spur” (1956). English gave up her acting career in 1956 when she became engaged to San Diego businessman A. Paul Sutherland. English was just twenty-one at the time. Her final film role came in American International’s horror flick “Voodoo Woman” which was released in 1957. The couple married in 1956 and remained together until her death in 2012. English and Sutherland had four sons together and a daughter, Ann, from his previous marriage.
Marla English died December 10, 2012 in Tucson, Arizona after a four-year battle with cancer. English is survived by her husband of fifty-six years, her five children, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.