As I read through the list of Golden Globe and Academy Award winners, I realized that even though I was quarantined for the better part of last year, I somehow still missed so many movies and television shows. It seems as though 2021 will be another yearlong binge-a-thon. The papers of Margaret Tallichet Wyler document the life and career of a Texas gone Hollywood actress, one who reminds me of the golden age of cinema.
Margaret Tallichet was born March 13, 1914 in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1935 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. Following graduation she wrote for the society pages and completed film reviews for the Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas Morning News. When she was not writing, she was performing in plays for the Arden Club and Dallas Little Theatre.
In 1936 Tallichet left home and moved to California. Shortly after arriving she befriended actress Carole Lomdbard while working in the publicity department at Paramount Studios. Carole introduced Tallichet to producer David O. Selznick, who gave Tallichet her screen test for the coveted role of Scarlet O’Hara. Margaret had a small-uncredited role in the 1937 hit A Star is Born, and stared on the picture A Desperate Adventure, opposite Ramon Novarro.
She married movie director William Wyler in 1938 and together the couple had five children: Catherine, Judy, David, Melanie Ann, and William Jr. The Margaret Tallichet Wyler papers comprise publicity shots, press clippings, correspondence, interview transcripts, family genealogy, programs and playbills, contracts, yearbooks, diaries, and photographs documenting Margaret’s life, and acting career. Included in the collection is a transcript of a Southern Methodist Oral History interview conducted by Ronald Davis on July 19, 1982. Margaret details her experiences on campus at SMU working as a student assistant to Lon Tinkle in the French Department, her travels to Hollywood, dinners with stars like Clark Gable, screen tests, family, travel, and life as a Hollywood actress.
Margaret died of cancer on May 3, 1991 at the age of 77.
Contact Samantha Dodd, curator of the Archives of Women of the Southwest for additional information or assistance with accessing these materials. The DeGolyer continues to expand our digitization efforts, adding new content weekly. We have thousands of items digitized and searchable in our digital collections. Be sure to browse our holdings to find more letters, photographs, manuscripts, imprints, art, and audio/video.