Anne Gwynne

The actress known as Anne Gwynne was born Marguerite Gwynne Trice in Waco, McLennan County, Texas on December 18, 1918. Her parents were Jefferson Benjamin Trice and Pearle Guinn Trice. Her father was in a number of businesses, but seems to have worked as a traveling salesman from time to time. They lived at 1308 N. 15th Street in Waco, just outside of the downtown business district.

She moved with the family from place to place, residing for several years in San Antonio while she went to high school. While she was a good student, she also won recognition as a dancer. In addition, she had been encouraged by her mother to take ballet and piano lessons. Anne and a cousin would attend movies together and as children would act out scenes from the films. After high school graduation, she attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. Anne began studying toward a law degree, but was drawn to the stage as she took drama instruction from Maude Adams. Her parents had a tradition of taking vacations in California during the summer and after some time in college, Anne decided to relocate there. Upon moving to California, she found employment as a swim suit model and worked in “little theater” and drama school productions in Hollywood and Pasadena. At one point, she was offered a film contract and immediately signed it. She was a natural beauty and began to appear in films, credited and uncredited, as early as 1939.

Forwarding to 1940, a Paris, Texas headline read “San Antonio High Girl Now Taking Over in Movies,” with the sub heading “Anne Gwynne, 22, Crashes Hollywood With No Experience.” The article continued to say that Ms. Gwynne was a former swim suit model and had been cast by Director Henry Koster in his next feature film, “Spring Parade” for Universal studios featuring Deanna Durbin. Gwynne was to play Durbin’s best friend, a bakery shop girl who gains the attention of all the patrons. A bit of personal information followed to include that Anne played the violin, loved horseback riding, tennis, bowling and swimming and that her prized possessions included a pair of heirloom earrings and a 125 year old family Bible.

In 1943, Anne was cast by Universal studios in a film with Texas connections, Walter Wanger’s production called “We’ve Never Been Licked” about former cadets of Texas A&M College, now known as Texas A&M University. The film promoted the wartime roles of former students of the school during World War II. At that time, it was primarily an all male college of 7,000 students. She and Martha O’Driscoll played two female students. After a reservation mixup, the two actresses arrived for the local filming at Bryan-College Station to a virtually empty train station and carried their own bags a mile to their hotel. For more than a day, no one knew who they were, but the word spread and they were greeted in a large rally on the campus parade ground. The film centered around the former cadets and their experiences during the war. In addition to O’Driscoll and Gwynne, it starred a young Robert Mitchum, Noah Beery, Jr., William Frawley (probably best known as Fred Mertz on “I Love Lucy”) and included many Aggie students as extras. Actor Fess Parker was very briefly a student at the college and also claimed to be an uncredited extra in the film.

Publicity photo for “Ride ‘Em Cowboy” (1942) – Image credit; IMDB

Anne went on to appear in many films, finding a niche in westerns and early thriller/chiller/horror films along side Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Lon Cheney, Jr. She appeared in a number of early television series and continued to secure film roles until around 1960.

Anne married Max Gilford in 1945 and had two children. Gregory (Greg Max) Gilford is a composer and musician and Gwynne Gilford is an actress. Gwynne married actor Robert Pine and the couple had two children, both actors, Katherine and Chris Pine. Anne passed away in Woodland Hills, California in 2003 from complications of a stroke.

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