Peggy Shannon ~ The Alcoholic Redhead

Peggy Shannon

Peggy Shannon was a beautiful redheaded actress whose career was destroyed by alcoholism

She was born Winona Sammon on January 10, 1907, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Peggy attended Catholic school where she became friends with child actress Madge Evans. While visiting New York City in 1923 the sixteen year old was discovered by producer Florenz Ziegfeld. He immediately hired her as a chorus girl in The Ziegfeld Follies. During this time posed nude and appeared on the cover of several art magazines. She married actor Alan Davis in 1926. The following year she starred in Earl Carroll's production of What Anne Brought Home. In 1930 she made her film debut in the vitaphone short The Gob. Then producer B.P, Schulberg offered her a contract at Paramount studios. When Clara Bow suffered a nervous breakdown Peggy replaced her in the 1931 drama The Secret Call.

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Peggy Shannon Magazine

With her beautiful face and long red hair the studio decided to promote her as "the new Clara Bow". She hated the comparisons saying "I am as much like Clara Bow as onion soup is like a fine day." Peggy made four more films at Paramount including The Road To Reno and This Reckless Age. She was often forced to work sixteen hours a day and she developed a reputation for being difficult on the set.  After leaving Paramount she signed a contract with Fox in 1932. Peggy co-starred with Spencer Tracy in The Painted Woman and with Lowell Sherman in False Faces. Unfortunately by the mid-1930s her career had stalled and she had a serious drinking problem. She returned to Broadway in 1934 to star in Page Miss Glory. In 1935 she was fired from the play The Light Behind The Shadow because of her drinking.

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Peggy posed nude when she was a Ziegfeld Girl

Peggy Shannon

Peggy continued to appear in low budget movies like Youth On Parole, Girls On Probation, and Cafe Hostess. She was involved in a serious car accident in 1938 and it was rumored alcohol was to blame. Her final film was the 1940 western Triple Justice. Peggy's marriage to Alan ended in 1940. That same year she married cameraman Albert G. Roberts. The couple moved into a modest apartment in North Hollywood. Tragically on May 11, 1941 she died from a heart attack at the young age of thirty-four. Her autopsy revealed that she had a serious liver ailment caused by her alcoholism. Just three weeks after her death her husband Albert committed suicide. She was buried at Hollywood Forever cemetery in Hollywood, California. The epitaph on her tombstone says "That Red Headed Girl, Peggy Shannon".

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