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Everyone's a Critic

The Observer's culture blog

Friday, September 17, 2021

ANN ARBOR's FORGOTTEN MOVIE STAR, by Tim Athan

Mickey Rooney was marred eight times. He quipped, “Always get married early in the morning. That way, if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t wasted a whole day.”

His third wife, the model and actress Martha Vickers, was born in Ann Arbor in 1925. Her marriage to Rooney lasted two years and they had one child.

Her father, James MacVickar, was born in Ypsilanti in 1894 and spent his childhood there, living with his grandparents. After serving in the field artillery during WWI he worked as an automobile dealer, moving with his family to multiple locations – Martha didn’t remain in Ann Arbor long.

Described as a “raving beauty,” she appeared in a number of Hollywood films. In 1946 ,Vickers played Carmen Sternwood, the promiscuous, drug-addicted younger sister of Lauren Bacall’s character in "The Big Sleep." She also starred in a musical, "The Time, the Place and the Girl." She had two more brief marriages and two more children before dying of esophageal cancer at age forty-six.


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