Marjorie Lee Eaton (December 5, 1901 – April 21, 1986) was an American painter and film and television character actress.
Eaton was born in Oakland, California, and raised in the San Francisco suburb of Palo Alto.
She attended the Katherine Delmar Burke School and graduated in 1920. She studied at The Art Institute of Boston, in Florence, Italy, and in Paris.
In 1925, Eaton’s stepmother, Edith Cox Eaton purchased the historic Palo Alto house of Juana Briones de Miranda and ran it as an art colony of sorts: artist Lucretia Van Horn and sculptor Louise Nevelson spent significant periods of time there, as did Marjorie.
Marjorie Eaton had taken painting classes with Hans Hofmann at the Art Students League of New York and afterwards shared a studio with Louise Nevelson whom she met at the League.
Though trained in the Stanislavsky method of acting, Marjorie Eaton’s initial career choice was to work as either an architect or commercial artist.
Prior to acting, she had joined the art colony in Taos, New Mexico, from 1928 to 1932, and again from 1934 to 1937, and had worked with Diego Rivera on locations in northern Mexico.
She gained “a reputation for modernist figural work with bold lines, strong color, and Cubist influenced.”
Her painting “Taos Ceremony” was exhibited in December 2008 as part of a retrospective exhibit “Colorado and the Old West”, which showcased 19th and 20th century artworks related to Colorado and New Mexico.
However, she found it impossible to make a living as a woman artist, so she gave up painting entirely and turned to acting.
Eaton appeared both in film and on stage, performing in a number of Broadway plays. She made her (uncredited) film debut in Anna and the King of Siam in 1946.
Later roles included Hester Forstye in That Forsyte Woman (1949), Madame Romanovitch in Night Tide (1961),
the starring role of Hetty March in the low-budget, science fiction B movie Monstrosity (1963), Miss Persimmon in Mary Poppins (1964), and Sister Ursula in The Trouble with Angels (1966).
In March 1986, she suffered a stroke. On April 21, 1986, she died in her sleep at her childhood home in Palo Alto.
After the memorial services, her cremated ashes were scattered in two places: half over the property where she grew up, and half in Taos where she spent years as an artist.
Eaton’s Broadway credits include Merchant of Venice, Bell, Book and Candle in 1950, In the Summer House in 1953, and One Eye Closer in 1954.