Petite Hal Roach comedienne Marion Byron was born March 16, 1911, in Dayton, OH, attending schools in that city, as well as Denver and Detroit. Her real name was Miriam B elinken and her parents, Louis and Bertha Dubine were Russian immigrants. She was the third of four sisters -- two older sisters Ann and Pauline, and a younger sister, Rose. She had her stage debut at age 13 in "Patsy," a very successful Los Angeles production, and followed that by an engagement with Fanny Brice in the Hollywood Music Box Review. This was the show in which Hal Roach discovered Lupe Velez. At age 15, she played the lead in the coast production of "Tip Toes," and later appeared in "The Cradle Snatchers" and "The Strawberry Blonde" in Los Angeles. As a result of her stage work, Buster Keaton signed her as his lead for "Steamboat Bill Jr." (1928) when she was only 16 years old. Reportedly, Hal Roach traveled across country seeking a certain type of comedienne -- "a piquant, small, somewhat devilish leading lady" -- without success when he saw "Steamboat Bill Jr." and discovered exactly what he was looking for. She starred in another feature film in 1928, "Plastered in Paris," and then appeared in a series of Hal Roach shorts such as "Feed 'Em and Weep" (1928) and "A Pair of Tights" (1929), both paired with Anita Garvin. Between 1929 and 1938, she appeared in over 30 features, many of them in uncredited roles, and none of which were major motion pictures. Her last film was "Five of a Kind" (1938) which starred the Dionne Quintuplets. She had met her future husband, screenwriter Lou Breslow, while working on "Plastered in Paris" (1928). (Breslow later wrote scripts for such TV shows as "My Three Sons" and "The Red Skelton Show.") They were married in 1932 and had two sons, Lawrence (Larry) Samuel who was born in 1939, and Daniel Robert was was born in 1944 (he died in 1998). The couple remained married until Byron passed away on July 5, 1985, after a long illness in Santa Monica, Ca. She was survived by Breslow, her two sons, four grandchildren and two sisters. Her son, Larry, was a film editor at Paramount.
(Thanks to Susan Hatch for her assistance with this biogaphy.)
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