Brenda Marshall, an exotic leading lady in several swashbuckling films of the 1940s who left acting a few years after marrying actor William Holden, has died in Palm Springs, it was learned this week.
Carolyn Clark Beedle, a longtime family friend, said the raven-haired star of "The Sea Hawk," "South of Suez" and "Whispering Smith" was 76 when she died July 30 at Desert Hospital of the complications of throat cancer.
Miss Marshall was born Ardis Ankerson in the Philippines, where her father was an importer who was imprisoned there when World War II started. She was raised in San Antonio. After her family lost most of its money during the Great Depression, she worked in the Federal Theatre Project, which led to several screen tests.
Warner Bros. put her under contract and she made her first picture, "Espionage Agent" in 1939.
In 1941, she and Holden married in Las Vegas. They had two sons before divorcing in 1971. She helped the late actor found the Mt. Kenya Safari Club, devoted to protecting African wildlife.
She made her last film, "The Iroquois Trail," in 1950 and had lived in Palm Springs the past several years.
In addition to sons West and Scott from her marriage to Holden, she is survived by a daughter, Virginia, from an earlier marriage to actor Richard Gaines.