Illustration by Maria Manhattan.
Frances Marion was born on November 18, 1888 in San Francisco, California and was a descendent of Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, better known as The Swamp Fox. At nineteen, she began her writing career as a cub writer for a San Francisco newspaper, distinguishing herself early as one of the few female correspondents to cover battles in World War I. Arriving in Hollywood in 1913, Marion quickly demonstrated versatility: acting, editing, handling publicity, and writing. She became friends with Mary Pickford and wrote some of Pickford’s most successful films. Over a period of four decades, she authored more than 120 produced screenplays, moving effortlessly from silent films to talkies. Marion would go on to win the second and third Oscars ever awarded to the craft of screenwriting, for The Big House, 1930 and The Champ, 1931.