Maxine Jennings

Maxine Jennings was a haute couture model that achieved a varied career in a variety of professions. While her movie career might be a little slim, she did appear in 40 movies and later successfully worked in radio, the stage. She then married rich, but that was not the end! She went into totally other venues, like yard sales and writing cookbooks! Let’s learn more about her!

EARLY LIFE

Maxine Leah Jennings was born on March 9, 1909 in Portland, Oregon, to Phillip Bliss Jennings and Hannah Mai Henderson. She was the youngest of four children – her older siblings were Louise Bliss (born in 1900), Don R. (born in 1906) and Jack (born in 1908). Her father was a medical doctor who had his own practice in Portland.

 Maxine Jennings, also a promising member of the group, started her career by winning several swimming and diving championships in Portland. In 1923 she made her theatrical debut in the local production of Showboat. A few years later, in 1926, Maxine won a beauty contest in her native Oregon, following which she was second to “Miss America” at the annual Atlantic City contest. She made her first foray into Hollywood about this time, but it was unsuccessful, and she returned to New York to become a model. Then she went to Paris and became a haute couture model. In Paris she worked for prestigious fashion houses like Jean Patou, and became a household name.

Her beauty and poise won her recognition in Hollywood, and she was engaged her as a training instructor for girls in the picture, “Roberta“, and not long after she was cast for a part in the same musical.” From that assignment she went on to parts in pictures, a starlet with a future and a motion- picture contract followed.

CAREER

Maxine made quite a bit of movies (40) unlike most of the actresses I profile, so I won’t bother with it, it’s just too much movie to write about and her bio is big even without the extensive filmography. But she had some good movies in it, and was even credited! Worth checking out for sure!

PRIVATE LIFE

Since Maxine was a fashion model, she had intimate knowledge of haute couture, and her knowledge was well regarded in Hollywood, as this article can attest:

Maxine Jennings, the girl who leads carefully chosen mannequins in the lavish fashion show in the film, was once a model for the house of Patou, and gave the producers valid pointers on the details of the great couturiers’ do their fashion. The designer was obliged to order certain beautiful garments directly from France because the ones available for sale this season had already been used in last season’s smart clothes. These materials were woven to order and then sent to Hollywood, Six pieces were purchased, ranging in price from $12 to $5 a yard, and to secure them the whole bolt of 33 yards had to be ordered.

She also gave a beauty hint for freckles:

Maxine Jennings, RKO Radio starlet, considers buttermilk the best remover of freckles. She says a weekly application of this liquid will keep the skin clear and white even if freckles don’t have the habit of popping out here and there

And another for party food:

For a hearty and delicious Sun day night snack, Maxine Jennings places half an avocado on each plate and fills the hollow with scrambled eggs in which canned button mushrooms have been stirred. 

Maxine married her first husband, Steven K. McNulty, on January 13, 1930, in Clark, Washington. Little is known about McNulty, except that he was born cca. 1902. What exactly happened remains a mystery, but the marriage was effectively over by the time Maxine went to Hollywood in 1935, and Mr. McNulty was history!

Then came time for some fun! Maxine made newspaper headlines when, Following a courtship of less than a fortnight, she was betrothed to Tony Browne, who was on a furlough from India where he served with His Majesty’s Bengal Lancers. The pair first left for Washington to visit Maxine’s parents, with the promise that the wedding date will be set upon their return to Hollywood.

As soon as they returned to Hollywood, pre-nuptial parties began to dot the social calendar of the younger cinema social set. And how! Browne was a scion of a socially prominent family of London had spent many years In India. Their wedding was to be solemnized in the fall, without a fixed date by then.

 Maxine and Tony left for Europe that summer, having a time of it on the concessions at Venice. However, something happened on the trip, and by July they were bust. Both went on to date other people right of the bat.

And Maxine sure didn’t’ waste any time! Two months after breaking up an engagement, she married another man! The lucky man: Rudolf Ising, time and date: Las Vegas on September 26, 1936. Rudolf Carl Ising was born on August 7, 1903, in Kansas City, Missouri, to Henry and Mary Ising, the youngest of four children. He was a famous cartoonist and co-owner of the Harman-Ising animated cartoons. Here is a great summary of his career on the New York Times obituary:

Mr. Ising was working at a photograph-finishing laboratory when he was hired by Mr. Disney, who advertised in a local newspaper for a cartoonist when he was starting out in the early 1920’s in Kansas City, Mo. Mr. Ising helped to ink the drawings in the first animated Disney films, the “Newton Laugh-o-Grams.”

The operation moved to California, and Mr. Ising followed. But soon he and another Disney employee, Hugh Harman, broke away to create their own cartoons. Synchronizing Dialogue and Action

Their initial production, “Bosko the Talk-Ink Kid,” in 1929, was a breakthrough as the first talkie cartoon, synchronizing dialogue on the soundtrack with the action on screen. Disney’s earlier “Steamboat Willie” had music and sound effects but no dialogue.

The Bosko cartoon was also notable for its sign off, “That’s all, folks,” which became Porky Pig’s stammered trademark.

In 1930, the two men were hired by Warner Brothers, for which they devised the “Looney Tunes” label, a takeoff on Disney’s “Silly Symphonies” series.

In 1934, they joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where they created Barney Bear, the ancestor of Yogi Bear. The inspiration for the lethargic Barney came from Mr. Ising’s habit of dozing off in staff meetings.

While Mr. Harman specialized in “Looney Tunes,” Mr. Ising developed “Merrie Melodies,” which emphasized the musical element. His strength was in writing and producing rather than illustrating.

Both cartoon series became staples of the nation’s movie-theater programs. Winning an Academy Award

In 1940, Mr. Ising’s “Milky Way,” a cartoon about three kittens, won an Academy Award, the first non-Disney cartoon to capture an Oscar. Mr. Ising was also honored in 1976 by the International Animation Society.

Interesting man, very important for the golden age of cartoons. Sadly, he and Maxine didn’t’ click long term, and they were divorced in 1940. He married actress Cynthia Westlake, had a son, Rudolf Jr., and died on July 18, 1992.

Maxine then married Edward Byron, owner, producer and director of radio shows, on June 18, 1940 (overlap in beaus? Don’t know but the facts speak for themselves). In “Mr. District Attorney,” “Pot of Gold” and “What’s My Name?” Edward Armour Byron was born on October 20, 1905, in Newport, Kentucky, to Armour and Cecelia Byron. Living in Ohio, Kentucky and New York, he was in the radio trade for a long time, since the 1920s. He was married once before to Gertrude Dooley, in 1931, but they divorced a couple of years later.

By this time Maxine gave up on movies and switched to radio, playing the leading feminine roles in her husband’s shows. Then, for a year and a half she was in the Ziegfeld Follies and New York stage and for a short time she was again a photographers’ model. She and Byron divorced in about 1944.

Maxine met her next husband, Philip Saltonstall, in 1945. He’d been married twice, too, and was awaiting a decree in Las Vegas, Nev., when she went there as a witness in the divorce case of a friend, Sheila Darcy. The chance meeting led quickly to romance. Philip Saltonstail, a first cousin of United States Senator Leverett Saltonstall, a world traveler and a agent in Europe of the Motion Picture Association of America, received his divorce decree in October, 1945. In February, 1946, he and Maxine were married in Mexico, and a few weeks later went through another marriage ceremony in Los Angeles. Saltonstall, a Harvard graduate and a noted polo player of his time, was a former member of a New York Stock Exchange firm. His first marriage to Katheryn E. Lapharn, a Boston society belle, united two of Massachusetts’ wealthiest families, her father heading a steamship line and a brokerage house. Three children were born to them and the marriage lasted from 1921 to 1933. A year later, Saltonstall’s mother announced his second marriage. In London he had married Paula Ponce de Leon. This was the marriage that was ending when Saltonstall and Maxine met in Las Vegas.

Their marriage was very stormy, with the birth of their daughter Lee Bliss, on March 23, 1947, was a very joyous moment for the couple. However, it didn’t help matters long-term, and by 1948 they were in the divorce court. Here is an article from that time:

SOMETIMES it seems to the friends of piquant, dark-haired Maxine Jennings, who twice was named Miss Portland (Ore.), that they never will be able to guess what role, on stage or in a real life drama, she will choose next. Every time they say, “That’s fine, now she has a new husband,” or “That’s wonderful, she’s out of pictures and in radio,” she isn’t. She’s already briskly beginning a new phase. Three husbands, a future as a model, a career in ‘Hollywood, a period in radio, a chance on the New York stage–these are in her past. Now she has a new role. It is a delicate one. If ever she needed finesse, she does now.

In Reno, she recently divorced her latest husband, Philip Leverett Saltonstall, of the Massachusetts clan, and five days later he remarried. But she is determined to bring up their daughter in the certainty that her father is above reproach. She charged mental cruelty but only “mild” cruelty instead of the customary “extreme” and she is going to prove to little Lee Bliss Saltonstall that her divorced father is as fine a Saltonstall as any of the highest of appraisals. “I know this will take some doing,” she said a little while ago. “Explaining to your daughter that you divorced her father, and yet that her father’s all right, it won’t be easy.” She won’t shirk it, she said. “I’m going to teach the baby that he’s one of the finest and grandest of men,” she said. “She’s going to think of her daddy as tops.” Maxine, herself, appears to have no trouble in thinking of Mr. Salton-stall in this favorable light. She found the climax of her divorce proceedings by no means unhappy. Emerging from the Court House, decree in hand, she was asked whether she got what she wanted. “Yes, right on the nose,” she said. “Money, that is.” Fancy free again, she’s resuming her Hollywood career now, with a contract to appear in Westerns. Her beauty and poise won recognition in Hollywood, and all engaged her as a training instructor for girls in the picture, “Roberta.” From that assignment she went on to parts in pictures, a starlet with a future. From pictures she turned to radio.

While Maxine was in Reno, waiting to obtain her divorce, she was a devoted mother. “Fishing and riding and caring for my baby, that’s what I do,” she said. Questioned about the possibility of a fourth marriage, she answered quickly. “I’d better not say,” she said. “I don’t want any more complications, and there’s no one in sight for the immediate future.” “How about the distant future?” she was asked, “It will certainly be some one, if it does happen, who’ll be good to my child,” she answered. “That’ll be my main object from now on.”

But the drama had only begun! First there were some money squabbles:

Actress Maxine Jennings, 35, today sought to have the Nevada divorce of her former husband, sportsman Philip Leverett Saltonstall. set aside so she can get a California decree. Saltonstall, 51, a cousin of Senator Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts, has since married Mrs. Beatrice Fenton Merrill, 44, of Pasadena,. Calif. He received a Nevada decree in 1947 and at that time Miss Jennings accepted a $20,000 cash settlement and $150 a month support for their daughter. Lee, 2. Miss Jennings said in her petition filed in Superior Court yesterday that she was coerced into permitting Saltonstall to get the uncontested divorce by threats of harm and that he would cut her off without a penny.

More of the same:

Mrs. Maxlne Saltonstall, 35, former actress, went to court to upset a financial settlement with her former husband. Philip ‘Leverett Saltonstall, 51, Massachusetts sportsman. Mrs. Saltonstall, the former Maxine Jennings, was ready to tell her story in Superior Judge William R. McKay’s court but Saltonstall’s attorneys interposed a demurrer, contending that her suit did not meet .legal requirements. Objects to Settlement The one-time actress contended that she wa3 in ill health and under complete domination of her then husband when she signed the settlement in which she accepted $20,000 In lieu of alimony and $150 a month for support of her daughter, Lee Bliss, now 2. Mrs. Saltonstall also asks now for a California divorce, asserting that the decree she obtained in Reno, Nev., July 21, was invalid. She sued through Atty. Isidore Lindenbaum. Saltonstall’s lawyers maintain that the settlement was fair and that Mrs. Saltonstall had independent legal advice when she signed it. They asked that the court throw her suit out without requiring testimony.

Maxine went on to date a new beau, Frank Clark, who won a chest-ful of medals during the war. In the late 1940s, Maxine decided to change habitats, and moved to Mexico City for a few years, effectively separating her daughter from her father. This caused major friction between the former couple, and in the end escalated to this, in 1957:

 A five day jail sentence Was given to sportsman Philip Leverett Saltonstall of La Jolla, Calif., today for flagrant and continuing contempt of court in refusing to relinquish custody of his 10-year-old daughter to her mother. His divorced wife, actress Maxine Jennings Saltonstall wept as she hurried into, the chambers of Superior Court Judge Wallace L. Ware. Since October, when the child was ordered returned to Mrs. Saltonstall, there have been writs, continuances and other delays. Her lawyer, E. Loyd Saunders, told Judge Ware that Saltonstall, a cousin of Sen Leverett Saltonstall (R-Mass) , has used every legal trick that money can buy to thwart the court order. . Judge Ware commented: Hi knowledge and ability to comply with the order constituted a specific, flagrant contempt. This was Just another way of making’ Jest’ of justice. f , Led away by a sheriff deputy, Saltonstall said through his attorney that he would appeal the sentence. Mrs. Saltonstad had custody of her daughter from the time of the divorce in 1947 until last summer, when she returned from Mexico City and asked for an increase in support payments. Saltonstall, resisting her petition, said he objected to his daughter having lived in Mexico for six years, and obtained a temporary order giving him custody. 

And the result:

A five-day Jail sentence was given’ to ‘ sportsman Philip Lev ere tt Saltonstall of La JoLIa, Calif., yesterday for “flagrant and continuing contempt of court” in refusing to relinquish custody of his 10-year -old daughter to her mother. His divorced wife, actress Maxine Jennings Saltonstall has been trying for 10 months to obtain custody of the girl. Since last October, when the child was ordered returned to Mrs. SattanstalL there have been stays of execution, appeals, writs, continuances and other delays. Her lawyer, E. Loyd Saunders, told a superior judge that Saltonstall, a cousin of Senator Leverett Saltonstall (Rep), Massachusetts, has used “every legal trick that money can buy” to thwart the court order. Saltonstall said he would appeal from the sentence

This can be a very serious matter or just inflated drama, I can’t know for certain. But the tendency of rich white males to casually flaunt their power and abuse it, harming their former wives or other people, is a gross injustice, and is happening right now. I hope that Maxine wasn’t in it just for the money and that she managed to somehow get a happy ending with this whole sad situation and that her daughter was also okay.

Maxine was long over Hollywood by this time, and it was time to try out other venues. So, Maxine became a cookbook author in the 1960s. Some of her books were: First you take a leek, Dining in Hawaii, Ova easy: egg recipes you’ll flip over. She was also active in the furniture scavengering business in Florida and hosted many yard sales in Palm Beach.

Sometime in the late 1950s Maxine moved to Hawaii and lived there for quite a long time. She remarried on January 5, 1982 to Paul Dwinel Hersey. Hersey was born in Nebraska on August 27, 1911 to Dexter and Isabel Hersey. He was married Phyllis Marie Loudon in 1940 and they had one child. The Herseys returned to California in the late that same year, but unfortunately divorced in 1984. Maxine continued living in California from then on. Paul Hersey passed away on June 15, 1998 in Marin County, California, USA.

Maxine Leah Saltonstall died on January 11, 1991 in Riverside, California.

Gwenllian Gill

Gwenllian Gil 5

Gwenllian Gill was a pretty Scottish lass that landed in Hollywood with much PB hubaloo, as  winner of a international “Search for beauty” contest. This shenanigan did give wind to her movie-aspiration-wings – she signed a contract, started acting right away, even had a leading role that same year… But, ultimately, Gwen preferred being back home and left it all to work in the UK movie industry. It’s a interesting twist of fate that more than 10 years after the fact, she returned to Tinsel town and this time she was there to stay. Or not? Let’s learn more about her!

EARLY LIFE

Gwenllian Mary Gill was born on December 11, 1915, in to Fredrick Gill and his wife, Flynn Gill, in Hartlepool, Durham, England. Her family was predominantly of Scottish origin. Her father was a construction engineer who specialized in dock construction. She had an older sister, born in the early 1910s.

Gwen grew up in Hartlepool and her first dramatic experience was in a school version of David Copperfield in which she played Betsy Trotwood. Gwen became very fond of acting and continued to do thespian work here and there, but with no clear plans for a future in showbiz.

At some point Gwen’s dad was put in charge of the new coaling dock works at Edinburgh, and the family moved there permanently. After graduating high school, Gwenllian worked as a window dresser in the city and went to an odd beauty contest here and there, without much thought of becoming an actress- But how life surprises us!

Then Paramount came to UK with a Search for beauty gimmick, looking for fresh and beautiful youngsters all around Europe to appear in the eponymous movie. Gwen’s sister secretly sent them her photo, and she was given a screen test. In the end, Gwen, at only 17 years old, who was chosen by Paramount to travel to Hollywood and had been offered a contract with the company tor six months. She took part in the production of a film, the purpose of which was to find “stars” of the future, and she has been awarded a bonus of 1000 dollars for the best female performance. Still a minor, she promptly cabled to Edinburgh for her father’s consent. Luckily, Frederick was very forthcoming, and replied congratulating his daughter and giving his full approval if she wished to accept. Gwen’s elder sister (who got her into this mess in the first place :-P) went go to Hollywood as her chaperone.

And her career started!

CAREER

Gwen’s career can be divided into three stages – early Hollywood career, UK career and later US career.

Meet Gwenllian Gill, your future motion picture stir. Selected as Scotland’s representative In Paramount’s international beauty contest, the winners of which appear in “Search for Beauty” coming Friday to the Palace theater, she was awarded a long term contract for her excellent work in that film.

Her first movie was, logically, Search for Beauty. So what’s all the fuss about? Ida Lupino and Buster Crabbe play athletes who are duped to serving as editors of a new health and beauty magazine which is only a front for salacious stories and pictures. This is putting it nicely – salacious stories. You very well know what we mean… Yes, sex sells! This movie is pure over-the-top everything! And so many pretty girls and boys in it, many, like Gwen, winner of the search for beauty contest. And it’s a proper Pre-Code movie – as one reviewer notes, there is “a jaw-dropping scene where Gertrude Michael zeroes in with binoculars no less on Crabbe’s crotch while he’s competing in the Olympics.” Whauza, some pretty heady stuff! This isn’t a movie to make you think, but to make you feel a bit giddy and naughty, and it does that in spades!

Gwen continued in similar vein, playing dancers/chorus girls in a string of movies. She was in Come On, Marines!Murder at the Vanities, Shoot the Works, Here Is My Heart they are all happy-go-lucky, upbeat musicals/comedies, sometimes with a top notch cast (Here is my heart features the greatest crooner of all – ladies and gentleman, Bing Crosby! while Shoot the works and Murder have some B tier actors, like Jackie Oakie, Arline Judge, Gertrude Michael, Dorothy Dell…).  But that was not all!

Gwenllian GillGwen did more elegant fare with The Notorious Sophie Lang, a witty, sparking heist comedy with Gertrude Michael as the titular Sophie Lang, a cat burglar who nicks jewels all around Europe and the US. The police know her name but not her face, and Paul Cavanaugh plays a suave former jewel thief hired to find the elusive Sophie. You can probably guess the rets of the story, but who doesn’t like a lively, glamorous movie like this, especially with such an outstanding female lead!  More serious and thriller in tone but with the same cast was Menace (Gertrude Michael, Paul Cavanagh). The plot is typical manor murder mystery – Ray Milland (in one of his earlier roles) plays an engineer was persuaded (to put it mildly) to play cards with a merry group of socialites instead of managing his dam during a storm. When the dam bursts, he crashes his plane on purpose and dies. Or does he? Bottom line, a few years later, the same merry group gets together at a mansion and a maniac starts killing them, allegedly the brother of the deceased. It’s a fast paces, very tight little movie, fun to watch. Another mystery movie was Father Brown, Detective, one of the first adaptations of the story about the famous literary priest. Your enjoyment of the movie hinges on the answer to this question – does Walter Connolly make a good father Brown? Some find him great, some dismal and unable to compare with Alec Guinness (who played the same character 30 years later).

Gwen also appeared in two serious dramas, You Belong to Me and Behold My Wife!. The first is a completely forgotten drama about difficulties a child is having in accepting a new stepdad (with the very interesting Helen Mack as the female lead), and the second one is… well, a weird movie. Listen to the plot (taken from a review at IMDB): Gene Raymond’s elitist family doesn’t want Ann Sheridan (in one of nineteen screen appearances that year) to marry him, so they tell her he’s gone to Europe and hand her a check. She throws herself out of a window. Raymond gets in his car and goes on a drunken spree that ends in Arizona with a bullet in his shoulder, with Sylvia Sidney as his buck-skinned nurse. To gain revenge on his family, he marries her and takes her back to New York. Whoa, did you get that? While you can understand that the movie has some good intentions it’s somehow clumsy in execution, plus Sylvia Sidney playing an Indian woman? But that’s old Hollywood for you! Most reviewers were a bit aghast but still admitted to watching the movie out of sheer curiosity.

Gwenllian Gill2Gwen played her long sought leading role in Shock, a sadly forgotten WW2 drama. Gwen got some major coverage because of this role, and a large bulk of newspaper articles mention her solely because of her role here. There is a complicated, convoluted plot with switched identities, war trenches, amnesia, fiancée theft… But for a over the top drama it’s okay. Just don’t’ expect too much realism! The cast I b tier good (Ralph Forbes, Monroe Owsley…). Gwen plays the girl that the two main actors bicker over, and I have to say she looks very pretty and fresh in the photos, so I can understand their motivations. Too bad it seems nobody has watched the movie in ages!

Gwen returned to the UK, and made a string of quota quickies (The White Lilac, Flame in the Heather, King of Hearts, False Evidence, Murder Tomorrow, Irish and Proud of It) which are completely forgotten today and not much information can be found about them. it seems that the critics were not overtly enthusiastic about the movie either. Then the war started and Gwen concentrated her efforts on other things.

Gwen returned to Hollywood cca. 1951, and I suspect that many of her credits were not listed in IMDB. What we do have, however, are three movies and a couple of TV shows. Gwen’s first movie in her renewed US career was  Flight Nurse, a 1950s part chick flick, part war propaganda movie about a nurse that ferried wounded men in the US-Korean war. Like most 1950s movies, it’s over the top-orderly and clean, and not quite realistic, but it’s got Joan Leslie, always an endearing actress, and Forrest Tucker (don’t’ really know the guy, never watched him). Some reviews like the movie, some don’t, but overall I think it’s not a bad affair.

Gwen then appeared in two other women’s movies – The Best of Everything, a movie about the lives of working women in 1950s corporate America. This one I generally liked after watching it. It’s a grown up sister of fluff like Three coins in a fountain and The pleasure seekers. Mind you, it’s still not a realistic portrayal of women in the workforce (50s were not at all for realism, I am afraid), but it doesn’t shy away from some pretty serious issues. And the cast, while not outstanding, is pretty good – Hope Lange (don’t’ like her, have to admit), Suzy Parker( beautiful but can’t really act), Stephen Boyd (love the man! Now here’s a true charmer), Joan Crawford (always an ace!). Gwenllian Gill 4

Gwen’s last movie was Midnight Lace, a woman in peril film with Doris Day in the lead. A loose remake of Gaslight, Doris plays an American living in London with husband, played by Rex Harrison. She starts being stalked and getting phone calls by a man saying he’s going to kill her. Since this is a movie produced by Ross Hunter, one thing can be expected – glamour! The guy who resurrected Lana Turners career and brought back melodrama into the mainstream hold sure knows how to do stuff on a grand scale! Doris looks gorgeous and hands incredible outfits, as does the rest of he cast. But all the extravaganza aside, it’s s solid thriller, with Doris proving she can play a women on the verge of  mental breakdown very well. And the supporting cast is a treat! Myrna Loy, Roddy McDowall, Natasha Parry, John Gavin, are all in top form!

That is it from Gwen!

PERSONAL LIFE

When Gwen only arrived in Hollywood, she was hailed as a girl that “takes” in still photographs a likeness closely resembling Joan Crawford. Gwenllian also gave a beauty hint for the readers, which goes like this:

When the girl with the high forehead plucks her eyebrows to a thin line, the breadth and depth of the forehead are emphasized and the effect unbalanced. She, therefore, should allow her brows to grow more or less naturally, plucking them very lightly, and only to keep them from presenting a badly groomed appearance.

When she first came to Hollywood, Gwen didn’t have it easy. She suffered from a bad case of homesickness. and was advised to return to Scotland for a visit with her family to help with the transition. She was also a very down-to-earth and thrifty person, riding the bus to work and saving money from the 1000$ she won as a part of her contract.

Gwenllian Gill 3There was a funny story (coincidence) in Gwen’s life. One day Gwen walked out of the studio restaurant and ran smack into a man who wanted to enter. She was first annoyed and then puzzled. She took a second look. That man turned out to be none other than Lionel Tregellass who made the screen test  in England that resulted in her winning the contest and arriving in Hollywood. He was working at the studio” as technical director on Gertrude Michael’s picture, “Father Brown, Detective.” Also, while in Hollywood Gwen appeared on the stage in “ Double Door ” and “ The Milky Way”, both of which plays were later shown in film form

Ultimately, Gwen returned to the UK in December 1934 and stayed there for 10 years. She worked in the UK movie industry.  Here is an interesting newspaper article about Gwen from that period:

Allegedly Gwenillan got her first part on account of her sour tongue People who have spoken to this charming young actress will find this hard to believe She admits however that she dislikes very hearty people and the kind of folk who are boisterously cheerful in the face of minor disasters — not so difficult to understand for most people prefer a sort of restrained sympathy when the toast is burnt or when you miss your putt Perhaps it is an indication of a super-conscientious outlook that she liked working all the time at high pressure and is restless and fidgety when in her dressing room She feels she should be on the set and when not actually acting she is usually to be found trying to find out things about cutting and the reason why things are done by the cameraman and technical staff She spends practically all her leisure time seeing pictures and except for an occasional game of squash she thinks of little else Miss Gill confesses that she was very unpopular at school because of a tendency to argue but she never commits the cardinal sin of arguing with her film director “ If there is any difference of opinion as to how a part should be interpreted I consider the artist should always give way to the director” she says Miss Gill’s views on temperament are interesting Temperament just for mere sake of it she says is practically unknown but it is quite a different matter when conscientious artists fluff their lines They are naturally upset as any good craftsman would be when good work is spoiled The kind of parts Miss Gill likes best are strongly emotional roles and “ tough ” women Her pet aversion is ingenues although she has even appeared in this type of characterization with success.

Gwen appeared in quota quickies, and there met the man she would marry – director Donovan Pedetly. A seasoned quota-quickie churner, Donovan was a able tradesman who could make a movie in 7 days, but hardly an artist nor indeed even concerned with such things. He was born on July 28, 1903, in Tynemouth, England, Pedetly entered the world of movies ads as a PR, and worked as PR man to famous actress María Corda. Later he became a talent scout for Paramount and ultimately a London stage director and movie director. He was married once before, to Evelyn Hooper, in 1923, and their son Michael John was born on January 29, 1934.

While I can’t say for certain what happened and what the situation was, it seemed that it is possible that Gwen and Donovan met before he was divorced from Evelyn and fell in love. They could not marry, hence the obvious reasons, but remained in touch even after their work obligations were finished.

The war started in 1939, and changed the global scene and lives of almost everybody, including Gwen and Donovan. Any career or other plans put on hold, Gwen gave up her acting work to volunteer with the British army. After the war ended, Gwen was summoned to the US as a British Information officer, went there in February 1946, stayed for a time in Palm Beach, California and later lived and worked in Seattle. She and Pendently married in 1949 in the US. In 1951, the couple moved to Hollywood where Gwen tried to resurrect her career, and Donovan became a Hollywood correspondent for several newspapers and a frequent contributor to British fan magazines

The Pendetlys lived the sunny California life until 1979 when they moved to Eureka Spring, Arkansas, where they worked at the Great passion Play, Gwen as a actress and Donovan as a director. Gwen later ventures into other trades, working in a antique store and a print shop. She retired in 1987 to take care of her ailing husband.

Donovan died in 1989. Gwen continued living in Eureka Springs.
Mary Pedetly died on January 24, 2004, in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.