Partner Dorothy Arzner

Queer Places:
Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520
Arzner-Morgan House, 2249 Mountain Oak Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068, USA
Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks & Mortuaries, 1712 S Glendale Ave, Glendale, CA 91205, Stati Uniti

Marion Morgan (January 4, 1881, New Jersey – November 10, 1971, Los Angeles, CA) was a choreographer and motion picture screenwriter and the longtime companion of motion picture director Dorothy Arzner. Arzner lived for the last 40 years of her life with Morgan.

Marion R. Cahill was born on January 4, 1881 in Paterson, New Jersey,[1] to Emily and John F. Cahill, who was an attorney.[2] [3] She married Matthew A. Morgan in 1900.[4] The couple had a son, Roderick in 1901, before separating by 1905.[5] By 1910, Morgan and her son had relocated to Long Beach, California,[6] where Morgan was employed at Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, as a physical education teacher. When she was hired for the summer program at the University of California, Berkeley, as a dance instructor, she began recruiting girls for a dance troupe to work the Orpheum Circuit and in 1915 staged a publicity dance in the snow in Manhattan′s Central Park.[7] Initially, Morgan featured six young women who had studied together in California. The group then grew to up to twenty-five members, and at times would employ a male dancer. They performed interpretive dances, bare-armed and sometimes bare-footed, in filmy costumes, with a repertoire based on Egyptian and classical Greek and Roman themes.

Morgan had specific requirements for her dancers to remain fit. They were required to be vegetarians, at one point all were practicing Christian Scientists, and they all had to study classic literature to understand their roles.[8] The group toured all over the country, creating a sensation whenever they appeared.[9] [10] [11] In 1921, Morgan met Dorothy Arzner on the set of the movie ''Man-Woman-Marriage'' directed by Allen Holubar. The meeting prompted a passionate personal relationship which would later blossom into a business relationship as well. After more than a decade of performances on the vaudeville stage, Morgan began to create choreography for movies, such as ''Paris at Midnight'' (1926).[12] She also created choreography for movies like ''A Night of Love'' (1926), ''The Masked Woman'' (1927), and ''Up in Mabel’s Room'' (1926), in which the Mabel Morgan Dancers performed.

Azner and Morgan first worked together in 1927 on the set of ''Fashions for Women'', when Azner in her directorial debut film, hired Morgan to choreograph the fashion show. That same year in Azner’s ''Get Your Man'', Morgan created a tableaux featuring her dancers in a wax museum, which ''Variety'' called the highlight of the film. In ''Manhattan Cocktail'' (1928) the couple paired again, with Morgan choreographing the opening prologue with the tale of Ariadne and Theseus, which her dancers had previously performed on stage.In 1930, the couple moved into a house they named "Armor", giving nod to Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbank's "Pickfair", which was located on Mountain Oak Drive in the Hollywood Hills.

During the 1930s, Morgan frequently traveled to the East Coast and Europe and in 1934, she graduated from the Yale School of Drama. In the mid 1930s, Morgan teamed with George B. Dowell and wrote several short stories. Mae West co-scripted both ''Goin' to Town'' (1935) and ''Klondike Annie'' (1936) with the duo.[13] In 1951, the pair moved to the desert of Palm Springs, where they lived until Morgan's death.

Yale University, New Haven, CT

Morgan died on November 10, 1971, at Los Angeles.[14] Morgan is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale) together with her son, Roderick D. Morgan (1901–1929).

Her dance archives are preserved at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.


  1. ^ cite web|title=Passport Applications: Marion R. Morgan|url=|website=FamilySearch|publisher=National Archives and Records Administration|accessdate=22 July 2017|location=Washington, D. C.|date=24 February 1919|id=NARA microfilm series M1490, Roll 710, image #206–208
  2. ^ cite web|last1=Fluker|first1=Kit|title=Marion Morgan papers 1909-1930s|url=|website=Archives: The New York Public Library|publisher=Jerome Robbins Dance Division|accessdate=23 July 2017|archiveurl=|archivedate=5 April 2015|location=New York City, New York|date=2014
  3. ^ cite web|title=Passport Applications: Emily Cahill|url=|website=FamilySearch|publisher=National Archives and Records Administration|accessdate=22 July 2017|location=Washington, D. C.|date=14 August 1919|id=NARA microfilm series M1490, Roll 780, image #80–81
  4. ^ cite web|title=1900 U. S. Census: Paterson, Passaic County, New Jersey|url=|website=FamilySearch|publisher=National Archives and Records Administration|accessdate=22 July 2017|location=Washington, D. C.|page=4A|date=6 June 1900|id=NARA microfilm series T623, roll 992
  5. ^ cite web|title=1905 New Jersey State Census: Paterson, Passaic County, New Jersey|url=|website=FamilySearch|publisher=Department of State|accessdate=22 July 2017|location=Trenton, New Jersey|page=6A|date=June 1905|id=FHL microfilm #1688623
  6. ^ cite web|title=1910 US Census: Long Beach Ward 4, Los Angeles County, California|url=|website=FamilySearch|publisher=National Archives and Records Administration|accessdate=22 July 2017|location=Washington, D. C.|page=4B|date=19 April 1910|id=NARA microfilm series T624, roll 85, image 8
  7. ^ cite news|title=Morgan Dancers|url=|accessdate=22 July 2017|publisher=''The Pittsburgh Daily Post''|date=30 October 1916|location=Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania|page=9|via = open access
  8. ^ cite news|last1=Boyden|first1=Eddie|title=Art? It Means Work, Mostly, if You're a Dancer Here's Formula for a Terpsichore in Training|url=|accessdate=22 July 2017|publisher=''The San Francisco Chronicle''|date=4 September 1921|location=San Francisco, California|page=5|via = open access
  9. ^ cite news|title=The Marion Morgan Dancers Have a Masterpiece this Season|url=|accessdate=22 July 2017|publisher=''The Baltimore Sun''|date=30 September 1917|location=Baltimore, Maryland|page=18|via = open access
  10. ^ cite news|title=The Marion Morgan Dancers Have a Masterpiece this Season|url=|accessdate=22 July 2017|publisher=''The Lincoln Star''|date=17 December 1922|location=Lincoln, Nebraska|page=30|via = open access
  11. ^ cite news|title=Marion Morgan Dancers in Greatest of All Spectacles Tops Orpheum Theater Bill|url=|accessdate=22 July 2017|publisher=''The Salt Lake Telegram''|date=6 December 1922|location=Salt Lake City, Utah|page=10|via = open access
  12. ^ cite news|title=Good Picture To Be Shown At the Yazoo Theatre Wed.|url=|accessdate=22 July 2017|publisher=''The Yazoo Herald''|date=19 October 1926|location=Yazoo City, Mississippi|page=5|via = open access
  13. ^ cite news|last1=Senwald|first1=Andre|title=The Paramount Presents Mae West in 'Goin' to Town'—'Bride of Frankenstein', at the Roxy|url=|accessdate=22 July 2017|publisher=''The New York Times''|date=May 11, 1935|location=New York City, New York
  14. ^ cite web|title=California Death Index: Marion R Morgan|url=|website=FamilySearch|publisher=Department of Public Health Services|accessdate=23 July 2017|location=Sacramento, California|date=10 November 1971