Caren Marsh Doll
Caren Marsh Doll
Caren Marsh Doll in April 2014
(1919-04-06) April 6, 1919
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Residence||Palm Springs, California, U.S.|
|Education||Hollywood High School|
|Years active||1937-1956 (actress); 1956-present (dancer, entertainer)|
( m. 1950; died 1979)
Caren Marsh Doll (born April 6, 1919), born as Caren Morris, and credited also as Caren Marsh, is an American stage and screen actress and dancer, specialising in modern dance and tap, who was Judy Garland's dance stand-in for The Wizard of Oz (1939) and a Ziegfeld Girl in 1941. For over two decades, she appeared in motion pictures with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film Studios. Her younger sister was television and film actress Dorothy Morris.
The Wizard of Oz
Although not a credited cast member, she is one of a few known surviving personnel to have worked on the MGM film The Wizard of Oz along with professional football star Ambrose Schindler, who was Jack Haley's stunt double. She has appeared at Wizard of Oz film festivals, conventions, and reunions.
She was born in Hollywood, California. Her father was a Hollywood stockbroker. She and her family were active in the Methodist church. In 1937 she graduated from Hollywood High School and wanted to become an actress. Her parents did not approve of this choice and preferred she pursue a college education. They compromised by telling Caren that unless she could land an acting job she would be sent to school.
She auditioned for a role in Rosalie (1937), starring Nelson Eddy and Eleanor Powell but did not win the role. She later re-auditioned for that movie and got the part. She was hired as Judy Garland's dance stand-in for The Wizard of Oz. She was hired largely mostly because she was similar in height and build to Garland and even received her own pair of ruby slippers. She served as a stand-in for Garland a second time with Ziegfeld Girl (1941). According to Marsh, when she wasn't filling in for Garland in The Wizard of Oz she would be across Hollywood at Selznick International Pictures working as an extra in Gone with the Wind (1939).
In film credited under her maiden name Caren Marsh she appeared in films such as That Night in Rio (1941 ), Hands Across the Border (1944), Wild Harvest (1947), Girl Crazy (1943), Best Foot Forward (1943), Seven Sweethearts (1942), and Night and Day (1946). She did appear in speaking parts in films as Secrets of a Sorority Girl (1945) and Navajo Kid (1945).
In 1947, she was named Miss Sky Lady of 1947 and began appearing in fewer films to focus on her new interest in dance. After appearing in an airshow as Miss Sky Lady, she took flight instruction classes, learned to fly and later dropped leaflets of her acting profile on various movie studios in Hollywood. She made also an appearance on The Gabby Hayes Show. She left acting in 1956, to become a dance instructor.
1949 Plane crash survival
On July 12, 1949, Marsh was aboard Standard Air Lines Flight 897R, when the C-46E crashed. The flight had left Albuquerque, New Mexico at 4:43 am. While on approach to the Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank, California at 7:40 am, the twin engine plane, flying too low, hooked a wingtip on a hill and crashed near Chatsworth, California, and Marsh was one of the 13 people who survived. Marsh was pulled from the wreckage by another passenger named Judy Frost. Marsh was hospitalized at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital for several weeks, and nearly had her left foot amputated. Marsh's doctors told her that she would likely never dance again, but after careful exercise she was able to heal and continue in her dancing.
She moved to Palm Springs, California, in 1957 and married Bill Doll, (died 1979) a press agent to theatre and film producer Mike Todd. The Dolls had one son. Her sister actress Dorothy Morris, became her neighbor when Marsh retired in 1971. The sisters lived next door to each other until Dorothy's death on November 20, 2011.
Autobiography and 'Oz' festivals
In November 2007, Marsh published her autobiography, Hollywood's Babe, in which she discussed her life in Hollywood, and her love affair with "The Wizard of Oz". In 2011 she served as the Grand Marshal of the Oz-Stravaganza Parade in Chittenango, New York.
Once a month on the first Monday, Marsh volunteers as a dance therapy instructor at the Palm Springs Stroke Activity Center where the styles taught range from themes like ballroom dancing, country, Hawaiian, and belly dancing. She is an active member of The Palm Springs United Methodist Community Church.
- The Gabby Hayes Show, Episode: Navajo Kid (1956)
- Adventures of Don Juan (1948)
- Luxury Liner (1948)
- Wild Harvest (1947)
- Welcome Stranger (1947)
- Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947)
- Night and Day (1946)
- Navajo Kid (1945)
- Secrets of a Sorority Girl (1945)
- Hands Across the Border (1944)
- Best Foot Forward (1943)
- Seven Sweethearts (1942)
- Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
- The Wizard of Oz (1939)
- Gone with the Wind (1939)
- Rosalie (1937)
- Kirst, Sean. "Dorothy's stand-in: A miracle or two along the Yellow Brick Road". syracuse.com. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
- "Handprint Ceremony Slated Friday". The Times. 2007-09-13. p. 172. Retrieved 2017-11-06 – via Newspapers.com.
- Gunson, Victor (1948). "Don't Try to Crash Film Studio Gates, Just Fly Over Them If You're Seeking Screen Chance--Caren Marsh's Recipe". The Journal News. p. 2. Retrieved 2017-11-06 – via Newspapers.com.
- Phillips, Brent (2014-10-24). Charles Walters: The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance. University Press of Kentucky. p. 65. ISBN 9780813147239.
- Harrison, Scott (2011-01-27). "Crash survivor keeps dancing". Retrieved 2012-03-31.
- Kondo, Annette (1999-08-02). "Memories of Survival". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
- "Movie Starlet Relates How Woman Saved Life in Crash". The Dispatch. 1949-07-13. p. 20. Retrieved 2017-11-06 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Bill Doll, Press Agent; Handled Mike Todd, Other Famous Figures". 3 March 1979. Retrieved 7 June 2018 – via NYTimes.com.
- Doll, Caren-Marsh Hollywood's Babe BearMedia Manor, November 1, 2007, page 279