Mary Eaton ~ The Tragic Sister

 Mary Eaton

Mary Eaton was a Ziegfeld Follies dancer who became an alcoholic and died young.

She was born Mary Elizabeth Eaton on January 29, 1901 in Norfolk, Virginia. During her childhood she took dance lessons and performed with her siblings as one of The Seven Little Eatons. At the age of ten Mary appeared in the fantasy play The Blue Bird. She starred in several Broadway shows including Follow Me, The Royal Vagabond, and Over The Top with Fred Astaire. Her performances won rave reviews and she became a popular performer. In 1920 the beautiful blonde was asked to join the Ziegfeld Follies as a featured dancer. She would spend four seasons with the show. Two of her sisters, Doris Eaton and Pearl Eaton, also danced in the Follies. Mary made her film debut in the 1923 drama His Children's Children directed by Sam Wood. Then she replaced Marilyn Miller in the Broadway show Kid Boots.

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Mary Eaton Nude
Mary posing semi-nude

She costarred with the Marx Brothers in the 1929 comedy Coconuts. That same year she had a starring role in the musical Glorifying The American Girl. Mary married the film's director, Millard Webb, on September 1, 1929. Unfortunately both she and her husband were alcoholics. Tragically Millard died in 1935 from an intestinal ailment. She married Charles Avery, rancher, in 1937. The couple divorced five years later. By this time her stage career was over. Her last professional job was a bit part in the 1942 film We'll Smile Again. Mary tried to give up drinking many times but she always relapsed. In 1944 she married actor Eddie Laughton. They moved into a modest home on Fuller Avenue in Los Angeles. Tragically on October 10, 1948 she died from cardiac failure caused by her chronic alcoholism. She was only forty-seven years old. Mary was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.


Mary Eaton Death Certificate
Mary's death certificate

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Mary appeared in:
Ziegfeld Follies of 1920 (Jun 22, 1920 - Oct 16, 1920)
Ziegfeld Follies of 1921 (Jun 21, 1921 - Oct 01, 1921)
Ziegfeld Follies of 1922 (Jun 05, 1922 - Jun 23, 1923)
Ziegfeld Follies of 1923 [Summer Edition] (Jun 25, 1923 - Sep 15, 1923)