Peggy Ann Garner
Garner in Jane Eyre (1943)
Born(1932-02-03)February 3, 1932
DiedOctober 16, 1984(1984-10-16) (aged 52)
Years active1938–1980
(m. 1951; div. 1953)
(m. 1956; div. 1963)
Kenyon Foster Brown
(m. 1964; div. 1968)

Peggy Ann Garner (February 3, 1932 – October 16, 1984) was an American child actress.

As a child actress, Garner had her first film role in 1938. At the 18th Academy Awards, Garner won the Academy Juvenile Award, recognizing her body of contributions to film in 1945, particularly in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Junior Miss.[1][2]

Featured roles in such films as Black Widow (1954) did not help to establish her in mature film roles, although she progressed to theatrical work and she made acting appearances on television as an adult. In 1961 she starred next to Richard Boone in the episode "Dream Girl" on Have Gun - Will Travel.

Early years

Peggy Ann Garner was born on February 3, 1932, at Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio. She was the daughter of 26-year-old William H. Garner,[3] an attorney,[4] and 19-year-old Virginia Craig Garner; they were married in Toledo, Ohio on April 7, 1931.[5] She was pushed by her mother into the limelight[4] and entered in talent quests while still a child. Her parents divorced on February 26, 1947.[5]

Garner was a child model for still photographers for two years before she began working in films in 1938.[6]


James Dunn and Peggy Ann Garner in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)

By 1938, Garner had made her first film appearance, and over the next few years she appeared in several more films, including Jane Eyre (1943) and The Keys of the Kingdom (1944). She reached the height of her success at the age of 12 in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), winning an Academy Juvenile Award largely for this performance. In the same year, she showed she could handle comedy by giving a fine performance in Junior Miss (also 1945).[7]

In 1947, Garner appeared as herself in a promotional trailer forMiracle on 34th Street.[8]

Like many child performers, Garner was unable to make a successful transition into adult film roles.

Garner with Frank Sinatra, 1946


In 1949, Garner starred in Peg O' My Heart at the Famous Artists Playhouse in Fayetteville, New York.[3] In 1954, she toured with a troupe in several states, performing in The Moon Is Blue.[9] Garner headlined the national tour of the William Inge hit Broadway play Bus Stop beginning in 1955. She starred with Albert Salmi, who later became her husband. Garner also appeared with Dick York in the touring production.

Garner's Broadway credits include Home Is the Hero, First Lady, The Royal Family, and The Man.[10]

Radio and television

In 1950, Garner starred as Esther Smith in the radio comedy Meet Me in St. Louis. The program ran two months on NBC.[11]

Garner was a panelist in two television programs, Leave It to the Girls on ABC and NBC[12] and Who Said That? on NBC. In 1951, she starred in the comedy Two Girls Named Smith on ABC.[12]: 1121 

In summer 1960, Garner appeared in "The Unfamiliar," an episode of Producer's Choice,[13] and she was cast as Julie in the episode "Stopover" of David McLean's western series Tate. In 1960 and again in 1962, Garner was cast in the episodes "Once Around the Circuit" and "Build My Gallows Low", respectively, on the ABC series Adventures in Paradise, with Gardner McKay. Garner appeared as Edie Brewer in the 1961 Naked City episode "Button in the Haystack," alongside Albert Salmi, to whom she was married at the time, and in which the couple played husband and wife onscreen. During the early 1960s, Garner also appeared in one episode each of Bonanza ("The Rival") and Combat!, both under director Robert Altman (see next section).

Later years

After Garner's film career ended, she ventured into stage acting and had some success but also worked as a real estate agent[14] and fleet car executive between acting jobs in order to support herself. After a decade away from work in feature films, she appeared as the pregnant aunt in the critically acclaimed film, A Wedding (1978), directed by Robert Altman, whom she had worked with on television in the early 1960s. Her final screen performance was a small part in a made-for-television feature This Year's Blonde (1980).

Personal life and death

Garner married singer/game show host Richard Hayes on February 22, 1951;[15] the couple divorced in 1953. She then married actor Albert Salmi on May 16, 1956; they divorced on March 13, 1963. (Another source says that Garner and Salmi were married May 18, 1956.)[16] Garner's final marriage was to Kenyon Foster Brown. After a few years, that marriage also ended in divorce.

In 1984, at age 52, Garner died from pancreatic cancer in the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Los Angeles.[17] Her only child, Catherine Ann Salmi, died of heart disease on May 17, 1995. She was 38 years old.[18] Peggy's mother, Virginia, outlived both her only child and only grandchild.



Year Title Role Notes
1939 Little Miss Thoroughbred Praying Orphan Uncredited
In Name Only Ellen
Blondie Brings Up Baby Melinda Mason
1940 Abe Lincoln in Illinois Little Girl Uncredited
Eagle Squadron Child
1942 The Pied Piper Sheila Cavanaugh
1943 Jane Eyre Jane Eyre as a child
1944 The Keys of the Kingdom Young Nora
1945 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Francie Nolan Academy Juvenile Award
Nob Hill Katie Flanagan
Junior Miss Judy Graves
1946 Home Sweet Homicide Dinah Carstairs
1947 Thunder in the Valley Maggie Moore
Daisy Kenyon Rosamund O'Mara
1948 The Sign of the Ram Christine St. Aubyn
1949 Bomba, the Jungle Boy Patricia Harland
The Big Cat Doris Cooper
The Lovable Cheat Julie Mercadet
1951 Teresa Susan Cass
1954 Black Widow Nancy "Nanny" Ordway
1966 The Cat Susan Kilby
1978 A Wedding Candice Ruteledge


Year Title Role Notes
1949 Ford Theatre Beth March "Little Women"
1950 The Prudential Family Playhouse Catherine Hilton "Call It a Day"
1951 Two Girls Named Smith Barbara "Babs" Smith TV series
1952 Lux Video Theatre Judy "Salad Days"
1952 Robert Montgomery Presents Claire Ambler "Claire Ambler"
1952 Westinghouse Studio One Honey Weber / Frances Weston "Plan for Escape"
1954 Eight Witnesses Helen Hildebrand TV movie
1955 The Best of Broadway Kaye Hamilton "Stage Door"
1955 Climax! Nora Wallen "The First and the Last"
1955 Westinghouse Studio One Jenny "Strange Companion"
1955 Stage 7 Miranda Abbelard "The Time of Day"
1957 The Dupont Show of the Month Lena Anderson "Beyond This Place"
1958 Kraft Television Theatre Jane Bell "The Velvet Trap"
1958 General Electric Theater Janey "The Unfamiliar"
1958 Westinghouse Studio One Katey "Man Under Glass"
1959 The United States Steel Hour Frances Barclay "Wish on the Moon"
1959 The Lineup Yvonne "Thrills"
1960 Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre Sarah Malloy "Deception"
1960 Tate Julie "Stopover"
1960 One Step Beyond Laura Perkins "Tonight at 12:17"
1960 Adventures in Paradise Deborah Baxter "Once Around the Circuit"
1961 Naked City Edie Brewer "Button in the Haystack"
1961 Bonanza Cameo Johnson "The Rival"
1962 Have Gun – Will Travel Virginia "Ginger" Adams "Dream Girl"
1962 Adventures in Paradise Lorrie Hamilton "Build My Gallows Low"
1962 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Madeline Drake "Victim Four"
1962 The Untouchables Margaret Radick / Margaret Wilson "Elegy"
1963 Alcoa Premiere Bernice Meredith "Impact of an Execution"
1963 Perry Mason Letty Arthur "The Case of Constant Doyle"
1963 Combat! Nurse Lt. Amelia Marsh "Off Limits"
1963 The Untouchables Barbara Sultan "The Giant Killer"
1963 The Patriots Patsy Jefferson Randolph TV movie
1964 The Eleventh Hour Myra Hopp "Who Chopped Down the Cherry Tree?"
1964 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Anne Donfield "The Project Strigas Affair"
1965 The Outer Limits Amanda Frank "The Probe"
1967 Batman Betsy Boldface "Ring Around the Riddler"
1968 The Big Valley Mrs. Whittaker "The Prize"
1978 Betrayal Mrs. Carol Stockwood TV movie
1979 Lou Grant Dixie Collins "Kids"
1980 This Year's Blonde Father's Wife (Stepmother) TV movie (final appearance)


  1. ^ "Peggy Ann Garner". The Official Academy Awards Database. Retrieved 7 May 2016.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Wiley, Mason; Bona, Damien; MacColl, Gail (Ed.) (1996). Inside Oscar: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards (10th ed.). New York, New York: Ballantine Books. pp. 155–156. ISBN 0-345-40053-4.
  3. ^ a b "'Peggy Ann Garner Week' in Syracuse As Teen-Ager Appears in Plays, Films". The Post-Standard. New York, Syracuse. August 1, 1949. p. 16. Retrieved May 6, 2016 – via Open access icon
  4. ^ a b Katz, Ephraim (1982). The Film Encyclopedia. New York, New York: Perigee Books. p. 469. ISBN 0-399-50601-2.
  5. ^ a b "Parents of Actress Peggy Ann Garner Divorced in L.A." The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. Associated Press. February 27, 1947. p. 1. Retrieved May 6, 2016 – via Open access icon
  6. ^ Mara, Margaret (June 17, 1946). "Beauty Alone Doesn't Make Child a Model Photographers Will Like". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. p. 9. Retrieved May 6, 2016 – via Open access icon
  7. ^ "(photo caption)". The Anniston Star. Alabama, Anniston. October 28, 1945. p. 28. Retrieved May 6, 2016 – via Open access icon
  8. ^ Crow, David (2020-12-20). "Why the Studio Kept Santa Claus Being in Miracle on 34th Street a Secret". Den of Geek. Retrieved 2023-06-13.
  9. ^ "Saucy Comedy Coming To Va". The Progress-Index. Virginia, Petersburg. February 28, 1954. p. 20. Retrieved May 6, 2016 – via Open access icon
  10. ^ "Peggy Ann Garner search". Playbill. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  11. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 223.
  12. ^ a b Sies, Luther F. (2014). Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, 2nd Edition. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-5149-4. P. 591.
  13. ^ "Top Viewing Today". Independent. California, Long Beach. June 13, 1960. p. 39. Retrieved May 6, 2016 – via Open access icon
  14. ^ Aylesworth, Thomas G.; Bowman, John S. (1987). The World Almanac Who's Who of Film. New York, New York: World Almanac. p. 166. ISBN 0-88687-308-8.
  15. ^ "Peggy Ann Garner To Be Married Today". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. Associated Press. February 22, 1951. p. 1. Retrieved May 6, 2016 – via Open access icon
  16. ^ "Peggy Ann Garner Married To Actor". The Cumberland News. Maryland, Cumberland. May 19, 1956. p. 1. Retrieved May 6, 2016 – via Open access icon
  17. ^ Peggy Ann Garner obituary,; accessed December 14, 2017.
  18. ^

Further reading