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1930s & Earlier / Our Gang - Mary Kornman
Pretty Mary Kornman was the first notable female star of the Our Gang comedies. When Hal Roach announced in 1922 his intention to produce a series of films starring ordinary kids, six-year-old Mary was suggested by her parents. (Mary's father was one of Roach's photographers.) The cute blonde replaced Peggy Cartwright as the most noteworthy female cast member. She appeared in more than 40 Our Gang shorts in the silent era, often as the heartthrob for smitten boys. This photo was taken in 1924 when Mary was nine. She was dropped from the troupe before her eleventh birthday in 1926 when she was judged to be too old--and was replaced as the lead female by Jean Darling. Mary's younger sister, Mildred, had several non-speaking roles in Our Gang movies from 1926 through 1935. Mary kept acting until 1940. One role had Mary playing the female lead opposite John Wayne in one of his early low-budget westerns. She returned to do two Our Gang shorts in the sound era. Mary appeared as herself, along with a few other Our Gang 'old-timers,' in Reunion in Rhythm (1937). She also played the role of the school teacher in 'Fish Hooky' (1933), which is considered one of the best Our Gang films. Mary died of cancer in 1973 at the age of 57.