A petite brunette with large eyes dominating her small, attractively angular face, Margaret Sullavan made her stage debut with the University Players (which included James Stewart and Henry Fonda) in...
Returned to films after an absence of seven years in "No Sad Songs For Me"
Made stage debut in summer touring production of Preston Sturges's "Strictly Dishonorable"
On expiration of Universal contract, returned to Broadway in non-starring role in "Stage Door"
First Broadway success as replacement for Marguerite Churchill in "Dinner at Eight"; signed by Universal on her terms ($1,200 weekly, three years, nonexclusive and with approval rights)
Was appearing in out-of-town tryout of "Sweet Love Remember'd" in New Haven when she was found dead of a drug overdose
Joined the University Players, community theater at Falmouth, M assachusetts (summer)
Appeared on TV in first "Studio One" production
Withdrew from hit comedy "Janus" for health reasons; disappeared on day scheduled to appear on TV in "The Pilot"; committed herself to a sanitarium for nervous exhaustion;
Worked at the Harvard Cooperative Bookstore (for ($18 a week) while at drama school
London stage debut, "The Voice of the Turtle"
Returned to University Players
Made social debut in Norfolk, Virginia (winter)
Rejoined University Players in Baltimore for stock season; co-starring with Henry Fonda
Film debut, "Only Yesterday"
A petite brunette with large eyes dominating her small, attractively angular face, Margaret Sullavan made her stage debut with the University Players (which included James Stewart and Henry Fonda) in Falmouth, MA, and entered films in 1933. With her husky voice and unique, magnetic charm Sullavan was an immediate success, proving herself airy and delightful in comedy ("The Good Fairy" 1935, "The Shop Around the Corner" 1939) and wistful and poignant in drama ("Only Yesterday", her 1933 debut; "Three Comrades" 1938). Her unstable temperament and her critical disdain for the Hollywood establishment, however, significantly reduced her screen output, facilitating her many returns to Broadway. She was married to Henry Fonda, William Wyler and producer-agent Leland Hayward. Sullavan suffered a number of mental health problems (including severe depression brought on partly by increasing deafness in middle age) and died of a drug overdose. A family memoir, "Haywire" (1977), was written by her daughter, Brooke Hayward.
Second husband; married on November 11, 1934; divorced on March 13, 1936
E E Clive's Copley Theatre Dramatic School
St George School
Chatham Episcopal Institute
Denishawn School of Dance
Norfolk Tutoring School
"Acting in the movies is just like ditch-digging"--Margaret Sullavan
"I still hate making pictures! And I don't like Hollywood any better. I detest the limelight and love simplicity, and in Hollywood the only thing that matters is the hullabaloo of fame. If Hollywood will let me alone to find my way without forcing me and rushing me into things, I probably will change my feelings about it. But at present Hollywood seems utterly horrible and interfering and consuming. Which is why I want to leave it as soon as I am able."--Margaret Sullavan to "Photoplay" magazine after completing second film, "Little Man, What Now?" (1934)
"She was a willful, ambitious, feminine, honest, and warm actress whose talents were largely untapped by her second-rate tragic heroine screen assignments. She died from an overdose of sleeping pills when she could no longer cope with the almost total loss of her hearing". ("The MGM Stock Company")
"Eight days after her death it was revealed that she had been almost totally deaf, a disability she had been fighting since 1948". ("MGM Stock Company")