Filled Under: Peggy Ann Garner
Peggy Ann Garner was born February 3, 1932 in Canton, Ohio to English-born attorney William H. Garner, who served as a U.S. Army officer during World War II and his wife Virginia. With their marriage failing, the strong willed Virginia moved to Hollywood with her daughter Peggy Ann. There Garner made her first film appearance (uncredited) at the age of six in “Little Miss Thoroughbred” (1938). Over the next few years Garner appeared in several more films, including “Jane Eyre” (1943) and “The Keys of the Kingdom” (1944). In 1945 she showed she could also handle comedy by giving a fine performance in “Junior Miss”. Peggy Ann Garner reached the height of her success at the age of thirteen in “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” (1945), winning an Academy Juvenile Award largely for this performance. Bob Hope presented Garner her Oscar on March 7, 1946 at the 18th Academy Awards held at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
After years of separation and estrangement, her parents were divorced in 1947. Garner, who had a falling out with her mother, went to court to have her father appointed as her guardian. Unable to make a successful transition into adult film roles Garner moved back to New York to study with the Actor’s Studio and try her talents on Broadway. She appeared on stage with Dorothy Gish in “The Man” in 1950, “A Royal Family” in 1951, “Home is the Hero” in 1954, and was in the road company of “Bus Stop” in 1955. Garner received Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Award for Woman of the Year in 1956 given by the Hasty Pudding Theatricals society at Harvard University to performers deemed to have made a “lasting and impressive contribution to the world of entertainment.”
During this time Garner also guest-starred steadily in television roles from the early 1950s through the 1960s. Among her many television roles included appearances in “The Ford Theatre Hour”, “Lux Video Theatre”, “Schlitz Playhouse”, “Robert Montgomery Presents”, “Zane Grey Theater”, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”, “Bonanza”, and “The Outer Limits”. Garner was also a regular panelist on the NBC television series, “Who Said That?”, along with H. V. Kaltenborn and Boris Karloff. In 1978, Garner surprised film audiences after a decade away from any feature film when she appeared as the pregnant aunt of the bride ‘Candice Ruteledge’ in the critically acclaimed Robert Altman film, “A Wedding” (1978). Her final screen performance was a small uncredited role in a 1980 made-for-television feature “This Year’s Blonde”.
Peggy Ann Garner was married three times. Her first marriage was to singer/game show host Richard Hayes. They were married on February 22, 1951 and divorced October 13, 1953. Her second marriage was to Albert Salmi on May 16, 1956. Garner and Salmi had one child together, a girl, Catherine Ann Salmi. The couple divorced March 13, 1963. Garner’s final marriage was to Kenyon Foster Brown on August 7, 1964. After a few years, that marriage also ended in divorce in 1968.
Peggy Ann Garner died from pancreatic cancer on October 16, 1984 at the age of 52.