Marion Shilling, 93, a 1930s leading lady who appeared opposite Buck Jones, Hoot Gibson, Tim McCoy and other B-movie heroes, died of natural causes Nov. 6 at Torrance Memorial Medical Center.
The Denver-born Shilling launched her film career in 1929 in MGM's "Wise Girls." A year later, she co-starred with William Powell in "Shadow of the Law." But after brief contracts with MGM, Paramount and Pathe, Shilling lost career momentum and began working for Allied Artists, Monogram and other independent studios.
She co-starred in 10 B-westerns, most notably the 1934 serial "Red Ryder" with Jones. Awkward on horseback, she practiced riding during breaks in filming. She later recalled that when Jones saw her practicing, he burst out laughing: "That is the best example I've ever seen of a horse riding a girl!" Jones went on to coach Shilling, and she eventually became an accomplished rider.
After appearing in 40 films, Shilling left the business in 1936 at age 25. A year later, she wed Edward Cook, a Philadelphia real estate owner, with whom she remained married until his death in 1998. In 2002, she received a Golden Boot Award from the Motion Picture and Television Fund for her contributions to the western genre.