Marcia Mae Jones, who launched her career in Hollywood as a child actress and appeared in films of the 1930s such as "The Champ," "Heidi" and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," has died. She was 83.
Jones died of complications of pneumonia Sunday at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, said her son, Tim Chic.
Born Aug. 1, 1924, in Los Angeles, Jones grew up in the movies. Her mother, Freda Jones, became an extra and actress. Her two brothers, Macon and Marvin, got into the business as stuntmen and actors when they were teenagers. None, however, were as successful as the wholesome, auburn-haired Marcia Mae, who made her screen debut as an infant in the 1926 silent melodrama "Mannequin" and appeared in nearly 50 movies over the next two decades.
Throughout the '30s, she worked with child stars such as Jackie Cooper ("The Champ"), Jane Withers ("Gentle Julia"), Bonita Granville ("These Three" and "The Garden of Allah") and Tommy Kelly and Jackie Moran ("The Adventures of Tom Sawyer").
With Shirley Temple, Jones played the disabled girl Klara in "Heidi" and Lavinia in "The Little Princess." "There's a scene in 'The Little Princess' where Shirley Temple dumps a load of ashes over her head," Tim Chic said. "She hated that because Shirley wanted to do it again -- and did."
Jones reportedly was originally cast to play Becky Thatcher in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," the 1938 film starring Kelly as Tom and Moran as Huckleberry Finn. But after a growth spurt, the studio deemed her too tall to play Tom's love interest and recast her as Tom's cousin, Mary.
After moving to television in the 1950s, Jones appeared in episodes of shows such as "Life With Buster Keaton," "I Married Joan," "The Cisco Kid," "My Three Sons," "Peyton Place," "Mister Ed," "Barnaby Jones" and "Cannon." After playing a small role in the 1973 film "The Way We Were," she made a few more television appearances in the '70s. She retired in the early '80s after playing a small, recurring role on "General Hospital."
Jones was married twice: to Robert Chic, a sporting goods company sales representative, with whom she had two sons, Bob and Tim; and to TV writer Bill Davenport. In addition to her sons, she is survived by her brother Marvin and two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Sept. 16 at the Motion Picture and Television Fund Country House. Instead of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund.