Marjie Millar Profile

Marjie Millar
Marjie Millar
Photo of Marjie Millar
Photo gallery
(Marjorie / Marjie Joy Miller)
10 August 30 is born in Tacoma, Washington, to George W. and Eunice Miller. Her father is an automobile distributor, who changed his surname from Millar to the American “Miller." She has a brother, George W. Miller, Jr.
4 April 35 along with 200 other local girls, she is entered in the Shirley Temple look-alike contest at Tacoma’s Roxy Theater. In addition to a facial resemblance, the winning contestant is required to have the same measurements as the child star--or as close as humanly possible. After she is weighed, measured, and compared, she wins. The prizes include dance lessons at the Harter Dance Studio.
35 is selected as the first Shrine drum majorette for the Afifi Temple and gets nation-wide notice. A University of Southern California batoneer travels to Tacoma to teach her the twirling technique.
Mid-30s to Late '40s attends Ann Wright Seminary, Washington Grammar School, Mason Junior High School, and Stadium High School, in Tacoma
June 38 she is photographed for the Tacoma Times marching in front of drum major Tom Richards. She practiced leading the parade before heading south to Los Angeles with her mother for the Shriners Golden Jubilee Convention. She is the official mascot drum major of the Afifi Temple band and patrol and will participate in the Pasadena Rose Bowl parade.
3 September 38 she appears in a front-page picture in the Tacoma Daily Ledger sitting on a horse with actor Leo Carillo at the Shriners convention in Los Angeles. Over 280 members of the Afifi Temple Shriners traveled on a special train from Tacoma to Los Angeles for the convention.
41 the eleven-year-old helps entertain soldiers at Fort Lewis. They name her “Sweetheart of the 41st Division.” She logs 7,000 hours entertaining troops until it is time for her to enroll in college. Later she will say, “I really loved the work, but my parents were smart. They would not allow me to make a childhood profession of it, much as I liked it. They allowed me to be a child, to play with the other children, to choose my fun, my subjects, and my college.”
15 August 47 is part of the Elks Majorettes and is photographed for the local paper. The group performed at the baseball game between Tacoma and Yakima at Tiger Park. They recently placed second at the National Elks convention in Portland, Oregon. The Yakima Stars beat the Tigers 10 to 10 in a slug fest.
16 September 47 is on the committee for the school newspaper, Club of Hearts. They are meeting to plan their annual formal Fireside tea, which is to be held on September 21 at the home of Patricia Black at 4118 North 38th Street. Also in attendance are members Marjorie Ludwig, Marjorie Graves, Patricia Black, Margaret Matthew, and Lorraine Bottinger.
4 December 47 is a majorette at Stadium High School. She, Alice Edwards, and Donalda Moncrieff have their batons in hand and are photographed by the local paper for the big game on Saturday. Their Stadium High Tigerannas will perform at the big football game between Tacoma’s fire department and police department. The game proceeds will benefit the high school band uniform fund.
14 January 48 in a Little Theatre review, Tacoma News Tribune’s Virginia Langdon predicts a bright future for her. "The delineation of all the fine performances is in order, but space does not permit, so suffice to mention just a few: It is the considered opinion of myself and others that Marjie Miller, with proper handling and the proper 'breaks' will compare favorably with another Stadium gal (alumna that is) Warner Brothers star Janis Paige."
17 January 48 a full-length shot of her appears in the Tacoma Times Beauty-of-the-Week section while she is performing in the Tacoma Little Theatre production of Janie.
25 December 48 the Club of Hearts holds their 16th annual Christmas dance in the Crystal Ballroom of the Winthrop Hotel, 773 Broadway. Four of the “Tacoma Belles” in attendance are Shirley Larson, Patricia Perella, Rosemary Tollefson and Marjie Joy. Marjie and Rosemary are home from Stephens College for winter break.
49 graduates from Stadium High School, where she was named May Queen and starred in many school entertainments. While in high school, she sang with name dance bands, among them Elliot Lawrence's.
11 August 49 appears in the Tacoma Times modeling sportswear for the Alma Ayres clothing store. The outfit by “Star Maid of New York” is a suede jersey blouse with a gray plaid English skirt. Alma Ayres offers Tacoma women the latest fashions.
49-51 attends Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, where she carries a double major in radio/drama and psychology. There she is associated with Alpha Epsilon Rho, national radio honorary, and National Collegiate Players. She racks up an honor rating despite the heavy scholastic load.
while at Stephens, she comes under the inspirational influence of the great actress Maude Adams. She stars in school productions and does the choreography for a number of the school musicals. She also appears in school shows with professional Broadway actors, who do the Stephens shows during the seasonal hiatus. She handles choreography for the college Playhouse musicals, does a great deal of radio work, both acting and directing, at KSD in St. Louis. She writes and directs a radio program called "Musical Silhouettes," which is bought by a network.
upon graduation from Stephens College, she joins the staff of the college to program original television shows and appears professionally in Missouri.
? meets James Sidney Rollins, Jr., while attending Stephens College in Missouri
22 May 50 marries James Sidney Rollins, Jr., at Bresemann Park, Washington. He’s 26; she’s 19. The ceremony is performed by a justice of the peace.
51 returns to Tacoma and to the Lewis Harter Dance Studios, where she teaches a charm course, song styling, ballroom dancing, tap and ballet. She also does radio work over Northwest stations KMO, KVI, KIBI, KTRO, and works at the Tacoma Little Theatre and an optical company. She doesn't say when she sleeps.
52 goes to Los Angeles on a visit and decides to stay. She keeps busy modeling and doing radio shows. Her first important break comes when she is hired by the nationally known Rita La Roy agency. Her picture appears in national advertisements in Life magazine, in Vogue, drugs ads, and many others. Currently she is doing a series of pictures for a steamship line that includes a trip to the islands with a handsome salary and all expenses paid.
while she is a guest at a Saturday-night Clifton Webb house party and pouring coffee, her petticoat falls to the floor. A kindly woman shows her to another room where repairs are made. The next Monday morning, she receives a call to the office of producer Darryl Zanuck. Mrs. Darryl Zanuck, it turns out, was the kindly woman who rescued her Saturday night and was impressed with her naturalness. The meeting leads to a screen test at 20th Century-Fox.
? divorces Rollins, who will remarry twice and die at age 69 in 1994
February 52 gets her first important television break. She is cast in "Fireside Theatre." So-and-so of Blackouts also sees her. He makes her an offer, personally calls her to appear in his New York television show, which she turns down. Paramount offers her a seven-year contract, which she also turns down. At present, another major studio is very interested. but that is another story.
March 52 is named "Miss Hollywood Star of 1952." She won the honor from a field of 94 girls and became the first girl mascot of a ball club. The club officials attempt to locate her and notify her of the choice, she is not to be found. She is finally discovered in, of all places, a Hollywood hospital, recovering from an appendectomy. Los Angeles newspapers think it good story; every one of them gives it a story and a two-column picture.
September 52 she and fellow actor Donald Houston, on stage in Great to Be Alive, will make it official in Hollywood when they wed at the Little Brown Church of the Valley. The pair says their roles in Great to Be Alive call for them to portray ghosts and to go through a make-believe marriage ceremony during each performance, making a total of 36 ceremonies in the show. She's 24; he's 26.
October 52 she and Casey Adams attend Don Loper’s party for the Nash Cartons. Among the guests are Angela Greene and Stuart Martin, Diana Lynn and John Lindsay, Lena Horne and Lenny Hayton, the Jack Elisses, the Harry Jamisons, Greg Bautzer, Myrna Dell, Byron Palmer, and Denise Darcel.
53 co-stars with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in Money from Home. That came about, according to her Tacoma dance teacher, Lewis Harter, when Paramount scouts saw a screen test that she made for 20th Century-Fox, a test for which Harter set her dance routine and for which he got screen credit.
lives in Hollywood with model Nancy Hadley and airline hostess Boni Buehler. Boni and Marjie were roommates at St. Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.
April 53 is the bride-to-be of actor Casey Adams. Adams is minus 20 pounds, which he says he dropped at her insistence. They are expected to make the altar march in June.
June 53 her scheduled marriage to Casey Adams may never come off
17 August 53 her 23-year-old roommate Buehler, who had hoped for a career in the movies, loses her left arm and a leg in a speedboat accident at Lake Arrowhead, California. Boni fell from a speedboat owned by Conrad Hilton, the hotel operator. The backwash dragged her into the propeller. The only witness to the accident is Geary Steffen, former husband of actress Jane Powell, who is behind the boat on water skis. The Santa Anita Hospital reports that her condition is "excellent considered the extent of her injuries."
September 53 stays at the Santa Anita Hospital with her ill-fated girlfriend since her accident
is crowned one of Hollywood's new deb stars by Hollywood hair stylists. The others are Kathleen Hughes, Marilyn (Kim) Novak, Pat Crowley, Anne Francis, Joan Weldon, sara Shane, Doe Avedon, Elaine Stewart, Barbara Darrow, and, from TV, Joan O'Brien and Dona Cole.
December 53 with Geary Steffen’s initiative, she and Buehler get to rent a Pacific Palisades house with four bedrooms, a swimming pool, and a cook for a moderate sum
21 January 54 appears in person this Thursday evening at 8 as guest star on George M. Spray’s fifth annual polio benefit, “Thanks a Million” variety revue, in the Puyallup High School auditorium. She is home on emergency leave from Paramount Studios because of the serious illness of her mother, Eunice Miller.
25 March 54 at the Academy Awards, she and actress Sara Shane model costumes nominated for Oscars
54 lives in a small English cottage in Santa Monica, which she shares with college classmate Boni Buehler
Summer 54 signs a 3-year contract as leading lady for Ray Bolger, one of the nation’s top dancers, in a series of television shows now in preparation. Entitled “Double Life,” the series, carrying a light-hearted plot, will start September 15. Playing opposite Bolger, she does lots of dancing, some singing, some acting—just about everything she has liked to do since she first began appearing before Tacoma audiences when she was no more than half a dozen years old. Lewis Harter, who returned to Tacoma last week from Hollywood, where he attended a 10-day session of the National Association of Dance and to whom she owes much of her training, brought back first-hand accounts of her work. “Under this contract with Bolger, Marjie Joy is guaranteed 10 shows out of each 13 weeks. The first show was shot July 24 before a live audience of about 500 persons. All of the persons I talked to thought it was a good show.”
July 54 she and John Florea, her friend Boni Buehler, and Pat Dorian enjoy Freddie Slack’s piano at Sip N’ Surf at the beach
August 54 Shirley Booth cannot attend the Hollywood opening of About Mrs. Leslie, so attention is focused on Marjie, with many film celebrities offering personal congratulations. The film is expected to premier in Tacoma in early September.
19 December 54 at home on vacation from Hollywood, a Sunday evening gathering of former schoolmates and other friends of hers in the home of her parents, was the setting for the announcement of her engagement to John Florea of Los Angeles. He’s 38; she’s 24. Florea is a television producer and magazine and motion picture photographer, and member of the American War Correspondents Association. He is the son of Mrs. Elizabeth Gonea/Ganea of Los Angeles. More than two score friends were present at the open house to congratulate the engaged couple and hear of their spring wedding plans in Tacoma. A center piece replica of a television camera denoted the professions of the couple. “Marjie and John” was written on the film that unrolled onto the table from the camera. She leaves on January 1 with her mother for a 10-day vacation in Hawaii, then returning to California. She will be in Tacoma about March 1, when the Ray Bolger television show, in which she stars, is over.
16 April 55 is honorary grand marshal of Tacoma’s Daffodil Parade. It is the first time that a woman has served as grand marshal. She should feel right at home. She first appeared in the parade at the age of 4 as a majorette for the Afifi Shrine entry.
23 April 55 marries Florea at Immanuel Presbyterian Church by Dr. Harold B. Long, officiating minister, in a double-ring ceremony. Her brother, George W. Miller Jr., is best man; her good friend Boni Buehler is maid of honor. The reception is at the home of bride’s parents on Fairveiw Drive. The couple plans to return home to Pacific Palisades after June 8 on their return from a trip to Acapulco, Mexico.
June 58 while driving her convertible down a freeway/on Sunset Boulevard, a car hurtles toward her from the oncoming lane. She swerves across several lanes, deliberately aiming for a dirt bank that offers a less deadly impact. Her car overturns/she drives up an embankment and smashes into a tree. It takes nearly a half hour to get free from a piece of wreckage pinning her to the front seat. She crawls out the rear window. She is bruised from head to foot and there is a pin-sized scratch on her left ankle. She is quickly sent home from the hospital. She reports to the “Dragnet” set for shooting the next day. The makeup man skillfully hides the bruises.
Mid-June 58 her husband, Florea, is mystified. She is divorcing him, but she doesn’t show up in court for the hearing. She went home to mother in Washington.
August 58 awakens in the early hours. Her left leg is swollen monstrously; she has a fever. She is barely able to move and does not have the strength to lift the telephone; she lies helpless for two days. Finally, a neighbor becomes suspicious of the accumulation of milk bottles and newspapers at her door and finds her. She is taken to the hospital where, in the beginning, it is a matter of trying to save her life, of trying to keep the gangrene that had developed from the tiny scratch in her ankle from spreading from her leg into the rest of her body. Newspapers send out an appeal for blood. Years later she will say, “Without that and the wonderful response,” she said, “I never would have made it. I needed so much, and had to replace each pint with two.” It is thought that her leg will have to be amputated at the knee. In an attempt to avoid this, a pedicle cast is applied over a graft at the ankles, connecting her healthy leg to the ailing one. The cast will be left on about three months. She is told she will walk with a limp for the rest of her life and never dance again.
divorces Florea because he "showed no love or affection for more than a year." A property settlement gives her $400 monthly alimony. Florea will die at age 84 in 2000 in Los Angeles.
58-61 a long series of surgical operations follow, most of them intricate plastic surgeries, none successfully mending the damage her leg suffered. For this time she is either in a wheelchair or on crutches. She learns to paint while in the hospital.
60 in a wheelchair, with her suitcases packed, she is waiting for a taxi to take her to a Los Angles-area hospital for her 16th leg operation when the phone rings. It is her father, “Punk, you’ve given those people down there enough chances to fix you up. Why don’t you come home and see what the old hometown can do for you?” “At first I laughed,” she said, “But Father finally convinced me that I should give his idea a try. Instead of directing the cab to the hospital, I had it take me to the airport. Father had arranged the trip for me.”
May 60 makes her way on crutches to the studio of her old dancing teacher, Lewis Harter. He is teaching a little girl to dance, just as he once had taught her. Attracted by the music and the familiar dance step, she hobbles over to stand behind them. The familiar steps spark her and, before she knows it, she is dancing, too. “I can dance! Look! I can really dance!” she exclaimed. “It was the biggest thrill of my life,” she will say two years later.
June 60 in Tacoma, she instructs students (from ages 4 to 78) in dance, drama, modeling, and song styling
60 earnestly believes that she is a “much better person” as a result of the ordeal following her accident. “I think I’ve grown up a lot, am more sensitive and tolerant of others,” she said.
2 June 60 gives a newspaper interview in Tacoma, which followed a little exhibition for the camera. It was something she had done countless times before—before she was told “never again.” She danced. She also walks now without a limp.
60 credits a Tacoma plastic surgeon and a physical therapist for her recovery. “I just couldn’t get used to the idea of going through life with a limp. I can’t stand people having to feel sorry for me. I was determined to walk right and dance again. And…well…it happened.”
61 fellow Tacoman John McCallum is writing a book about her and the courage she showed during her recovery. Doing research for it, he interviews many of the persons who were her friends during the period of her illness. One of these tells him, “Her high spirits all the while had a curious effect on you while you were in the room with her. You felt ashamed for feeling sorry for her.” McCallum is the author of 12 books, among them The Grace Kelly Story and Six Roads from Abilene. While preparing the book, he falls in love with her.
marries John McCallum in a private home in Port Angeles, Washington. John’s sister Doris and her husband Lloyd attend.
62 when asked what helped her most to endure the situation, her answer reveals that there had been an ironic twist of fate in the lives of two girls who have been long-time friends: “Remember Boni Buehler, the girl who lost an arm and leg in a speedboat accident on Lake Arrowhead? She was my roommate at the time of her accident, as she had been in college. It was remembering her courage through her terrible ordeal that helped me. Now she is happily married, too, and has children.”
for young hopefuls aspiring to careers in the exciting field of entertainment, she advises: “Work hard and grab every opportunity here. Then, when an opportunity takes you elsewhere, follow it. I have great respect for theater in Seattle, and especially the work of the University of Washington School of Drama. I believe, and I know many persons who agree with me, that the future of theater is moving out of New York and that its future home is right here in Seattle. You have to have extreme ability and extreme willingness to work and work. If you don’t love the work for itself, you don’t belong in it. The other advice is, be yourself—don’t be a phony."
she and her husband do a five-a-week television show in Tacoma, “The Voice of the Sound,” which she produces and in which he stars. Occasionally, she joins him when a show-business personality is to be interviewed. “Both John and I enjoy doing local TV and believe it is important.”
the Western Lecture Bureau of Seattle schedules both her and her husband for national lecture tours. She largely will appear before conventions speaking on “Hollywood—A Detached View,” and on television “from the inside.” Together in another series, she and her husband will appear before junior high schools, high schools, and colleges, for the most part. McCallum will talk about the famous personalities who have been the subjects of his biographies. Under negotiation are appearances by her in television and on another network series.
? divorces McCallum
? marries former Stadium High School classmate Lt. Commander Charles Candoo
she and her husband return to San Diego after his year-long tour of Navy duty in Japan
16 April 66 as Marjie J. Candoo, she dies at age 35 at Coronado Hospital, San Diego County, from cirrhosis of the liver. Approximate interval between onset and death is estimated at 5 years. Another significant condition contributing to death but not related to the terminal disease is chronic pancreatitis. Her parents had traveled to San Diego when they learned of her hospitalization.
her husband signs her death certificate and lists her last occupation as housewife. They had resided in San Diego for the past four months, but the "Last Usual Address" listed on her death certificate is 4124 North Huson in Tacoma, Washington. Her husband is listed at the address, too.
is cremated at the Cypress View Crematory
69 her ex-husband John McCallum dedicates his book Going Their Way "To Marjie--a Very Special Memory"
June 12 her former sister-in-law, Doris Goodwin, sister of John McCallum, remembers her as “a beautiful person inside and out” but “a heavy drinker”
Tom Hanover, Van Nuys News, Oakland Tribune, Pottstown Mercury, The Lethbridge Herald, The Sheboygan Press, Nevada State Journal, Tri-City Herald, Redlands, Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, Syracuse Herald Journal, The News Tribune, Tacoma Times, The Seattle Times, Tacoma Daily Ledger, Directory to TV Stars, Fallen Angels by Kirk Crivello, TV Personalities Biographical Sketch Book,, Death Certificate
Recommended Books:
Fifties Blondes by Richard Koper