Strikingly beautiful Ena Gregory was one of the first Australian actresses to make a career in Hollywood. She was the daughter of Arthur and Jessie Gregory, who married in 1901. Ena's birth was registered at St Leonards, Sydney in 1907. Internet sources invariably give her date of birth as 18 April 1906, which is curious.
By 1915 the Gregory family were living at 'Sans Souci', 48 Sydney Road, Manly, on the block between Birkley and Parkview Roads. Ena may well have attended Manly Village School. her father journeyed overseas on business, including to California. Ena, a precocious child talent, followed in his footsteps. She made an impression on Hal Roach, who cast her in numerous two-reel features, including a very early Stan Laurel movie, The Soilers, in 1923, when she can only have been 15 or 16. Success came with The Calgary Stampede (1926), which was advertised in Australia as featuring "Ena Gregory of Manly". She then appeared in The Bushranger (1929), the first "all-Australian" movie to be made in Hollywood, which also involved the brothers Frank and Snowy Baker. However this film was widely panned.
She was advised to change her name, and became 'Marion Douglas', the name a blend of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, two of the most powerful figures in Hollywood. Movies in which she appeared as Marion Douglas included Shepherd of the Hills (1928) and Aloha (1931).
She featured in a diminishing number of movies in the early 1930s. In a turbulent personal life she married and divorced twice. She quit the business, and became a real estate agent instead.
She died at Laguna Beach, California, on 13 June 1993.
Labels: Australian film actresses, Ena Gregory, Marion Douglas