Peggy Ann Garner

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Peggy Ann Garner
Peggy Ann Garner in Jane Eyre (1943)
Born (1932-02-03)February 3, 1932
Canton, Ohio, US
Died October 16, 1984(1984-10-16) (aged 52)
Woodland Hills, California, US
Cause of death Pancreatic cancer
Occupation Actress, Real estate agent, Fleet car executive
Years active 1938-1984
Spouse(s) Kenyon Foster Brown (1964–div.1968)
Albert Salmi (1956–div.1963)
Richard Hayes (1951–div.1953)
Children Catherine Ann Salmi (1957-1995)

Peggy Ann Garner (February 3, 1932 – October 16, 1984) was an American actress.

As a child actress, Garner had her first film role in 1938. She won the Academy Juvenile Award for her work in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945). Featured roles in such films as Black Widow (1954) did not help to establish her in mature film roles, and although she progressed to theatrical work, she made relatively few acting appearances as an adult.

Life and career

Born in Canton, Ohio, Garner was pushed by her mother into the limelight and entered in talent quests while still a child. By 1938 she had made her first film appearance, and over the next few years appeared in several more films, including Jane Eyre (1943) and The Keys of the Kingdom (1944). She reached the height of her success at the age of 13 in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), winning an Academy Juvenile Award largely for this performance. In the same year she showed she could handle comedy by giving a fine performance in Junior Miss (1945).

Like many child performers, Garner was unable to make a successful transition into adult film roles. She guest-starred steadily in television roles from the early 1950s through the 1960s. She was a regular panelist on the NBC television series, Who Said That?, along with H. V. Kaltenborn and Boris Karloff. In the summer of 1960, she was cast as Julie in the episode "Stopover" of David McLean's NBC western series, Tate. In 1960 and again in 1962, she was cast in the episodes "Once Around the Circuit" and "Build My Gallows Low", respectively, of the ABC series, Adventures in Paradise, with Gardner McKay.

After her film career ended, she ventured into stage acting and had some success but also worked as a real estate agent and fleet car executive between acting jobs in order to support herself. In 1978, she 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 ensemble Robert Altman film, A Wedding (1978). (Garner had worked with Altman before; he directed a 1961 episode of Bonanza, "The Rival", in which she appeared as a girl being courted by Hoss Cartwright.) Her final screen performance was a small part in a 1980 made-for-television feature This Year's Blonde.

Personal life

Garner married singer/game show host Richard Hayes, and they divorced in 1953. She married the actor Albert Salmi on May 16, 1956, and they divorced on March 13, 1963. Garner's final marriage was to Kenyon Foster Brown. After a few years, that marriage, too, ended in divorce. Her only child, Catherine Ann Salmi, died in 1995 at the age of 38 from heart disease.


Garner died from pancreatic cancer in 1984 at the age of 52. Garner's mother outlived both her only child and her only grandchild.


Year Film Role Notes
1938 Little Miss Thoroughbred Praying orphan uncredited
1939 Blondie Brings Up Baby Melinda Mason
In Name Only Ellen Eden
1940 Abe Lincoln in Illinois (film) little girl (uncredited) Spirit of the People UK title
1942 The Pied Piper Sheila Cavanaugh
Eagle Squadron Child
1944 The Keys of the Kingdom Nora, as a girl
Jane Eyre Jane Eyre (younger)
1945 Nob Hill Katie Flanagan
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Francie Nolan Won: Academy Juvenile Award
Junior Miss Judy Graves
1946 Home, Sweet Homicide Dinah Carstairs
1947 Daisy Kenyon Rosamund O'Mara
Thunder in the Valley Maggie Moore
1948 The Sign of the Ram Christine St. Aubyn
1949 The Lovable Cheat Julie Mercadet
The Big Cat Doris Cooper
Bomba, the Jungle Boy Pat Harland
1951 Teresa Susan Cass
1954 Black Widow Nancy 'Nanny' Ordway
1965 The Probe (Outer Limits Episode) Amanda Frank
1966 The Cat Susan Kilby
1978 A Wedding Candice Ruteledge
1978 Betrayal Mrs. Carol Stockwood TV Movie - Final film before her death due to pancreatic cancer.

Further reading

  • Grabman, Sandra. "Plain Beautiful: The Life of Peggy Ann Garner." Albany: BearManor Media, 2005. ISBN 1-59393-017-8.
  • Grabman, Sandra. "Spotlights & Shadows: The Albert Salmi Story." Albany: BearManor Media. 2004. ISBN 1-59393-001-1. Second edition 2010, ISBN 1-59393-425-4.

External links