Marjorie Main was a successful character actress who fell in love with actress Spring Byington.
She was born Mary Tomlinson on February 24, 1890 in Acton, Indiana. When she was three her family moved to Indianapolis where her father was a minister at Hillside Christian Church. Marjorie attended Hamilton School of Dramatic Expression in Lexington, Kentucky. After graduating she got a job as a dramatics instructor at Bourbon College in Paris, Kentucky. She started her acting career touring with Shakespearean repertory company. Then she performed in vaudeville and starred in several plays. In 1916 she made her Broadway debut in Cheating Or Cheaters. Marjorie also appeared in the Broadway shows The Wicked Age, Salvation, and Burlesque with Barbara Stanwyck. She married Dr. Stanley Krebs, a fifty-seven year old psychologist in 1921. The couple had an unconventional marriage and spent a lot of time apart. At the age of thirty-nine she made her film debut in the musical short Harry Fox and His Six American Beauties. During the 1930s she had supporting roles in Dead End, The Women, and Stella Dallas. After her husband died of lung cancer in 1935 Marjorie began a serious romance with actress Spring Byington.
MGM offered her a seven year contract in 1940. She was teamed with Wallace Berry in numerous films including Wyoming, Bad Bascomb, and Barnacle Bill. Because of her age and her raspy voice Marjorie was usually cast as a domineering, abrasive woman. In 1947 she played a hillbilly farmer named Ma Kettle in the hit comedy The Egg And I. Her performance earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Audiences loved her as Ma Kettle and she would reprise the role in nine more films between 1949 and 1957. She said "Ma Kettle is a once in a lifetime role. I hope it makes a lot of people happy". Marjorie costarred with Judy Garland in Summer Stock and with Lucille Ball in The Long Long Trailer. Her final acting role was in a 1958 episode of Wagon Train. Marjorie retired and lived a quiet life in California where she owned three homes. She and Spring Byington remained devoted to each other until 1971 when Spring passed away. On April 10, 1975 Marjorie died from lung cancer at the age of eighty-five. She was buried at Forest Law Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.