MARLA ENGLISH, ‘FAIREST OF THE FAIR’ AND ACTRESS, DEAD AT 77
By Caroline Dipping
Jan. 12, 2013
Not long after a 16-year-old Marla English was crowned the Del Mar Fair’s youngest
Fairest of the Fair in 1951, Hollywood came calling. Signed to a seven-year contract
with Paramount Studios and earning $150 a week, the raven-haired beauty appeared in
several B-movies including “Living It Up,” “Shield for Murder” and “Hell’s Horizon.”
Three years into her career, Ms. English was poised for stardom when she was cast
opposite Spencer Tracy in a movie set in the French Alps. She walked away from the
project, marrying prominent San Diego businessman A. Paul Sutherland a short time later
and living the rest of her life as a virtual recluse.
“She was to have been Paramount Studio’s answer to Elizabeth Taylor,” said her son
Stephen Sutherland. “Her star was rising and as things were really going for her, she
bailed out. Her desire was to marry and have children.”
Ms. English died of cancer on Dec. 10 in Tucson, Ariz. She was 77.
Her earlier films also included “Desert Sands,” “Three Bad Sisters” and “Strange
Adventure.” Toward the end of her Hollywood days, she acted mainly in such horror films
as “The She Creature” in 1956 and her last film, “Voodoo Woman,” in 1957.“She was the beautiful screamer,” Sutherland said of his mother’s work in the horror
Marleine Gaile English was born Jan. 4, 1935 in San Diego, the only child of Arthur and
Bertha English. She graduated from Hoover High School.
She was 20 when she was cast with Tracy in “The Mountain.” Before leaving for Europe to
film on location, Ms. English fell ill from a smallpox vaccination and pulled out of the
movie, prompting Paramount to suspend her and replace her with Barbara Darrow.
In 1967, Ms. English left San Diego with her family to lead a more private life away
from autograph seekers and interviews. After living for several years on a ranch in
rural northern Nevada, she ultimately settled with her husband in Arizona, tending her
beloved rose garden and raising animals.
Ms. English is survived by her husband of 56 years, A. Paul Sutherland of Tucson;
daughter Ann Sutherland of San Diego; sons Allen Sutherland of Prescott, Ariz., Stephen
Sutherland of Albuquerque, N.M., Tim Sutherland of Tucson, and David Sutherland of Palm
Desert; mother Bertha English of San Diego; eight grandchildren; and five great-
ENGLISH, Marla (Marleine Gaile English)
Born: 1/4/1935, San Diego, California, U.S.A.
Died: 12/10/2012, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.
Marla English’s western – actress:
Flesh and the Spur – 1957 (Wild Willow)