When Marjorie Lord completed her long-run opposite Danny Thomas in the hit CBS comedy series "Make Room for Daddy", she looked forward to accepting the other television assignments that would come her way as a result of the series' immense popularity. Given the thinking that often prevails in television, all the offers were copies of the 'loyal wife with a roast in the oven' she had played on the Danny Thomas show.
Rather than submit to typecasting, Marjorie Lord returned to the theatre. "I didn't want to do the roles offered me in television, but in the theatre I could play anything", Miss Lord explained.
Miss Lord's commitment to the theatre is no accident. It was in the theatre that she first launched her career. She made her Broadway debut in The Old Maid with Dame Judith Anderson at the age of sixteen. It was in the theatre that she first attracted the attention of Hollywood. At the age of seventeen Miss Lord was signed with RKO Studios.
While performing in Los Angeles in Springtime for Henry with Edward Everett Horton, Henry Koster saw her and immediately signed her to a contract with Universal Studios. Miss Lord then went on to star in six feature films for the studio. James Cagney later then signed her with his own company, where she appeared opposite him in Johnny Come Lately.
It was the theatre that was responsible for her television stardom. Danny Thomas saw her in the west coast production of Anniversary Waltz, which she had also played on Broadway, and signed her to play his wife in "Make Room for Daddy".
And it was to the theatre that she returned following the run of the series appearing in two short lived plays on Broadway and touring the country in various hit shows.
About this time dinner theatres were becoming very popular around the country, and a new career as an actress-director began to open up to her. "I was so intimately acquainted with the plays I was touring in, having done them so often on the road that producers began asking me to direct my own companies." Among them, Forty Carrots, Finishing Touches, Mary Mary and others.
These productions did so well that Miss Lord soon found herself in demand as a director. She directed numerous touring productions of such plays as Sunday in New York and significantly-Anniversary Waltz, and won acclaim for her direction of Peter Schaffer's Black Comedy and Murray Schisgal's The Tiger at Claremont College.
However, Miss Lord longed for the satisfaction of directing a new play. It's exciting helping to develop a new property to shape and find the substance of a work that's never been seen before, which she did with author/actor Mark Miller's play Ginger in the Morning.
During this period, however, a radical change took place in Miss Lord's personal life. Her husband, theatrical producer Randolph Hale, became ill and six months later she was widowed. The two following years she kept busy acting and directing around the country but much of the spark had gone out of the work when she no longer share her experiences with Randy who had always been so supportive of everything she attempted to do.
In 1975 Miss Lord met banker Harry Volk, then Chairman of Union Bank. A year later they were married. Mr. Volk's extremely active business life required a great deal of travel and it seemed impossible to sustain two careers as both required a total commitment.
Miss Lord decided it was time to be willing to open new doors, go with the changes and a new way of life. It was not always easy to adjust and in order to place her creative drive she encouraged a dear friend who had recently retired from teaching school to join her in writing scripts.
Miss Lord, in the supporting role of Mrs. Harry Volk then became active in other areas. She has served on the board of the Amazing Blue Ribbon, The Joffrey Ballet, Friends of USC Library, the Muses - a group supporting The Museum of Science and Industry, and is a member of The Friends of Banning House - who are active in the restoration and preservation of the marvelous old California Banning Residence in Wilmington.
Along with her marriage, Miss Lord inherited eleven grandchildren plus four of her own, and her days are filled with supportive activities in their behalf as well.