Peggy Ann Garner

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 (1964div.1968)
Albert Salmi (1956div.1963)
Richard Hayes (1951div.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).(Whether the award was given specifically for her work in that film is debatable. The Official Academy Awards Database lists the award as "outstanding child actress of 1945," without mentioning a specific film.[1] The Inside Oscar reference book about Academy Awards refers to "Peggy Ann Garner of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Junior Miss" in citing the award.)[2]

Featured roles in such films as Black Widow (1954) did not help to establish her in mature film roles, although she progressed to theatrical work and she made quite a few acting appearances on television as an adult.

Early years

James Dunn and Peggy Ann Garner in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)

Born in Canton, Ohio, Peggy Ann Garner was the daughter of William H. Garner,[3] an attorney,[4] and Virginia Craig Garner.[5] She was pushed by her mother into the limelight[4] and entered in talent quests while still a child. Her parents divorced February 26, 1947.[5]

Garner was a model for still photographers for two years before she began working in films.[6]


In 1949, Garner starred in Peg O' My Heart at the Famous Artists Playhouse in Fayetteville, New York.[3] In 1954, she toured with a troupe in several states, performing in The Moon Is Blue.[7] Garner headlined the national tour of the William Inge hit Broadway play "Bus Stop" beginning in 1955. She starred opposite Albert Salmi, who later became her husband. Garner also appeared opposite Dick York in the touring production.

Garner's Broadway credits include Home Is the Hero, First Lady, The Royal Family, and The Man.[8]


By 1938, Garner had made her first film appearance, and over the next few years she 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).[9]

Like many child performers, Garner was unable to make a successful transition into adult film roles.

Radio and television

In 1950, Garner starred as Esther Smith in the radio comedy Meet Me in St. Louis. The program ran two months on NBC.[10]

Garner was a panelist in two television programs, Leave It to the Girls on ABC and NBC[11] and Who Said That? on NBC. In 1951, she starred in a comedy, Two Girls Named Smith, on ABC.[11]:1121

In the summer of 1960, a 1958 episode of General Electric Theater, 'The Unfamiliar,' was repeated as an episode of Producer's Choice,[12] and 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.

Later years

After Garner's film career ended, she ventured into stage acting and had some success but also worked as a real estate agent[13] 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 and she appeared in an episode of Combat! (Off Limits in 1963) also directed by Altman .) 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 February 22, 1951,[14] and they divorced in 1953. She married the actor Albert Salmi on May 16, 1956, and they divorced on March 13, 1963. (Another source says that Garner and Salmi were married May 18, 1956.)[15] 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 Title Role Notes
1939 In Name Only Ellen
1939 Blondie Brings Up Baby Melinda Mason
1942 Pied Piper, TheThe Pied Piper Sheila Cavanaugh
1943 Jane Eyre Jane Eyre as a child
1944 Keys of the Kingdom, TheThe Keys of the Kingdom Young Nora
1945 Tree Grows in Brooklyn, AA Tree Grows in Brooklyn Francie
1945 Nob Hill Katie Flanagan
1945 Junior Miss Judy Graves
1946 Home Sweet Homicide Dinah Carstairs
1947 Thunder in the Valley Maggie Moore
1947 Daisy Kenyon Rosamund O'Mara
1948 Sign of the Ram, TheThe Sign of the Ram Christine St. Aubyn
1949 Bomba, the Jungle Boy Patricia Harland
1949 Big Cat, TheThe Big Cat Doris Cooper
1949 Lovable Cheat, TheThe Lovable Cheat Julie Mercadet
1951 Teresa Susan Cass
1954 Black Widow Nancy "Nanny" Ordway
1966 Cat, TheThe Cat Susan Kilby
1978 Wedding, AA Wedding Candice Ruteledge


Year Title Role Notes
1949 Ford Theatre Beth March "Little Women"
1950 Prudential Family Playhouse, TheThe Prudential Family Playhouse Catherine Hilton "Call It a Day"
1951 Two Girls Named Smith Barbara "Babs" Smith TV series
1952 Lux Video Theatre Judy "Salad Days"
1952 Robert Montgomery Presents Claire Ambler "Claire Ambler"
1952 Westinghouse Studio One Honey Weber / Frances Weston "Plan for Escape"
1954 Eight Witnesses Helen Hildebrand TV film
1955 Best of Broadway, TheThe Best of Broadway Kaye Hamilton "Stage Door"
1955 Climax! Nora Wallen "The First and the Last"
1955 Westinghouse Studio One Jenny "Strange Companion"
1955 Stage 7 Miranda Abbelard "The Time of Day"
1957 Dupont Show of the Month, TheThe Dupont Show of the Month Lena Anderson "Beyond This Place"
1958 Kraft Television Theatre Jane Bell "The Velvet Trap"
1958 General Electric Theater Janey "The Unfamiliar"
1958 Westinghouse Studio One Katey "Man Under Glass"
1959 United States Steel Hour, TheThe United States Steel Hour Frances Barclay "Wish on the Moon"
1959 Lineup, TheThe Lineup Yvonne "Thrills"
1960 Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre Sarah Malloy "Deception"
1960 Tate Julie "Stopover"
1960 One Step Beyond Laura Perkins "Tonight at 12:17"
1960 Adventures in Paradise Deborah Baxter "Once Around the Circuit"
1961 Naked City Edie Brewer "Button in the Haystack"
1961 Bonanza Cameo Johnson "The Rival"
1962 Have Gun – Will Travel Virginia "Ginger" Adams "Dream Girl"
1962 Adventures in Paradise Lorrie Hamilton "Build My Gallows Low"
1962 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Madeline Drake "Victim Four"
1962 Untouchables, TheThe Untouchables Margaret Radick / Margaret Wilson "Elegy"
1963 Alcoa Premiere Bernice Meredith "Impact of an Execution"
1963 Perry Mason Letty Arthur "The Case of Constant Doyle"
1963 Combat! Nurse Lt. Amelia Marsh "Off Limits"
1963 Untouchables, TheThe Untouchables Barbara Sultan "The Giant Killer"
1963 Patriots, TheThe Patriots Patsy Jefferson Randolph TV film
1964 Eleventh Hour, TheThe Eleventh Hour Myra Hopp "Who Chopped Down the Cherry Tree?"
1964 Man from U.N.C.L.E., TheThe Man from U.N.C.L.E. Anne Donfield "The Project Strigas Affair"
1965 Outer Limits, TheThe Outer Limits Amanda Frank "The Probe"
1967 Batman Betsy Boldface "Ring Around the Riddler"
1968 Big Valley, TheThe Big Valley Mrs. Whittaker "The Prize"
1978 Betrayal Mrs. Carol Stockwood TV film
1979 Lou Grant Dixie Collins "Kids"
1980 This Year's Blonde Father's Wife (Stepmother) TV film


  1. "Peggy Ann Garner". The Official Academy Awards Database. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  2. Wiley, Mason; Bona, Damien; MacColl, Gail (Ed.) (1996). Inside Oscar: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards (10th ed.). New York, New York: Ballantine Books. pp. 155–156. ISBN 0-345-40053-4.
  3. 1 2 "'Peggy Ann Garner Week' in Syracuse As Teen-Ager Appears in Plays, Films". The Post-Standard. New York, Syracuse. August 1, 1949. p. 16. Retrieved May 6, 2016 via
  4. 1 2 Katz, Ephraim (1982). The Film Encyclopedia. New York, New York: Perigee Books. p. 469. ISBN 0-399-50601-2.
  5. 1 2 "Parents of Actress Peggy Ann Garner Divorced in L.A.". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. Associated Press. February 27, 1947. p. 1. Retrieved May 6, 2016 via
  6. Mara, Margaret (June 17, 1946). "Beauty Alone Doesn't Make Child A Model Photographers Will Like". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. p. 9. Retrieved May 6, 2016 via
  7. "Saucy Comedy Coming To Va.". The Progress-Index. Virginia, Petersburg. February 28, 1954. p. 20. Retrieved May 6, 2016 via
  8. "Peggy Ann Garner search". Playbill. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  9. "(photo caption)". The Anniston Star. Alabama, Anniston. October 28, 1945. p. 28. Retrieved May 6, 2016 via
  10. Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4. P. 223.
  11. 1 2 Sies, Luther F. (2014). Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, 2nd Edition. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-5149-4. P. 591.
  12. "Top Viewing Today". Independent. California, Long Beach. June 13, 1960. p. 39. Retrieved May 6, 2016 via
  13. Aylesworth, Thomas G.; Bowman, John S. (1987). The World Almanac Who's Who of Film. New York, New York: World Almanac. p. 166. ISBN 0-88687-308-8.
  14. "Peggy Ann Garner To Be Married Today". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. Associated Press. February 22, 1951. p. 1. Retrieved May 6, 2016 via
  15. "Peggy Ann Garner Married To Actor". The Cumberland News. Maryland, Cumberland. May 19, 1956. p. 1. Retrieved May 6, 2016 via

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