Peggy Ann Garner – A Biography
Child star Peggy Ann Garner
Born in Canton, Ohio, little Peggy
Ann Garner would have a normal, happy life for only six years.
That’s when mother Virginia packed their suitcases and took the
child to Hollywood, determined to make her a star.
Combine Peggy’s talent with her mother’s cleverness,
and what do you have? Peggy Ann Garner starring in In Name Only,
Jane Eyre, Junior Miss, and most importantly A
Tree Grows in Brooklyn. For the latter, she received a special
Oscar, which immediately became her “favorite boyfriend,”
as she would say later with a smile.
Life was good. Everywhere Peggy
and Virginia went, they were welcomed by an adoring crowd. They just
couldn’t get enough of their little darling. To the child who was
accustomed to being shunted aside in favor of her prettier friend,
Peggy became a role model with inner strength and a cheery disposition.
To adults, she was the daughter they wished they had.
So why didn’t Peggy continue starring in big-budget productions?
The studio system changed almost overnight and many of their most beloved
players were out on the street. Peggy was among them.
Not one to mope around, Peggy took to the stage, performing in plays
around the country and on live-TV broadcasts. The talent was still there,
and she did her work well.
Now nineteen, Peggy was crazy about
singer Richard Hayes. They married, had a couple good years, then
divorced. ‘We were just too young,’ says Richard. A few
years later, she met actor Albert Salmi when they were taking the Broadway
hit Bus Stop on the road. During the eleven months they worked
together, Peggy fell in love with Albert. They married shortly after the tour
ended and, within a couple years, her longtime dreams had come true: She
was happily married, lived in a lovely California home, and had a baby girl
of her own. They named the infant Catherine Ann Salmi, putting her initials
together to form the nickname “Cas.”
For reasons that would later seem unimportant, Peggy divorced Albert
after seven years of marriage. Soon after, she married real-estate man
Kenyon Foster Brown. This was a very troubled marriage and lasted only a
few years. She never married again, although indications were that she
deeply regretted having divorced Albert.
Putting on a lovely smile, she
brushed herself off and got on with life, learning the real estate business
and becoming an agent. A few years later, her love of cars gave her another
career opportunity – that of fleet car executive for an automobile
dealership. Peggy happily accepted the position and did so well in it that
she got promoted. This was work she really enjoyed; but she still kept in
touch with her other agent, the one who got her cast in television shows
now and then and an occasional movie.
Acting was Peggy’s true love and always would be.
Thank goodness for that! Peggy’s inclusion in a
production’s cast meant quality entertainment for us and supreme
happiness for her.
Tune into Sandra’s YouTube channel for
a video about
Plain Beautiful: The Life of Peggy Ann Garner ~
Plain Beautiful: The Life of Peggy Ann
Garner, by Sandra Grabman, is available in both print and
audio formats. Read by the author herself, the unabridged audiobook
runs 6 hours and 6 minutes.
Print edition ~