This daughter of noted critic and author Gilbert Seldes and niece of pioneering journalist George Seldes began her career as a dancer with the American Ballet. By her late teens, however, the tall, lithe brunette had decided to switch to acting, making her stage debut in a bit role supporting Judith Anderson in "Medea" in 1947. After apprenticing with Katharine Cornell (and supporting that legendary leading lady in NYC stage venues), Marian Seldes made her feature film debut in "The Lonely Night" (1952). By her own admission, her tony upbringing had instilled in her the notion that ambition was not necessarily a good thing, so consequently, her film career proved sporadic. After a flurry of roles, most of which wasted her unique presence, in films like "The True Story of Jesse James" (1957) and "The Light in the Forest" (1958), the actress returned to the East Coast and resumed her stage work.