Many terrific women in Hollywood are gifted screenwriters and write beloved movies and television shows, although they often don’t get the credit or praise they deserve.
Do you know who one of the first successful female screenwriters in America was?
It was Frances Marion, a legendary screenwriter who made over 130 films during Hollywood’s silent film era and paved the way for other women in the industry.
Frances was born Marion Benson Owens in 1888 in San Francisco, California. She had a creative passion and excelled in writing and sketching at a young age. She was sent to the Mark Hopkins Art Institute in San Francisco and began selling her work, consisting of art pieces, poems, and stories, to different magazines by the time she was a teenager.
Frances married her first husband, Wesley de Lappe, in 1906 and began working a series of different jobs, which included working as a telephone operator. Then, she began working as an illustrator and became a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner after getting a divorce from Wesey in 1911.
In 1912, Frances married businessman Robert Pike, and they moved to Los Angeles together, where she began falling in love with Hollywood and the film industry. Frances began to meet other people in the industry and make connections through actress Marie Dressler, whom she had interviewed during her days as a reporter.
She decided she wanted to work in Hollywood and began working under the director Lois Weber, which was when she decided to change her professional name to Frances Marion. She worked various off-camera jobs, including cutting film, writing press releases, moving things around sets, etc.
During her early days in Hollywood, Frances developed a love for making movies and eventually became passionate about writing them. Through her connections, she started writing for the famous Players-Lasky studio, which would later be known as Paramount Pictures. Then, she moved to New York to write for World Films and began earning $200 a week, making her the highest-paid writer in the industry.
Unfortunately, Frances went through another divorce around this time, but it did not stop her from succeeding.