The first born of a grain merchant, Marjorie Ann Guthrie was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on July 22 1904. Showing an early interest in performing, White capitalised on the huge success of vaudeville by joining the Winnipeg Kiddies troupe aged about 10. The group toured around Canada and the United States during the war years, with White reportedly being one of the standout singers and dancers of the troupe.
When she reached 16, White went to San Francisco and met Thelma Wolpa who would later become her vaudeville partner. After touring for a time, they pair changed their last names to White and became a successful duo act named, "The White Sisters". Thelma also went onto to have film successes most notably as Mae in the exploitation drama Reefer Madness (1935). Coincidently, after both Thelma and Marjorie become actresses, fan magazine claimed both were biological sisters.
White hit the big time in her following film, co-starring with Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell in Sunnyside Up (1929). Gaynor was just coming off an Oscar win for her collective work in 7th Heaven (1927), Street Angel (1928) and Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) and was a major global icon. Not to be outdone by the more popular star, critics and audiences alike commended White’s performance. She was described by fan magazines as a "sensational find" as well as a "rare comedienne, with a dynamic personality that marks her as a real actress". Another continued:
One of the most promising of the younger talent, Marjorie White, who made a snappy Bee in Sunnyside Up, and brought in her basket full of chortles in Happy Days. Marjorie prefers to do comedy parts and apparently has no hankering after drama.
Her star on the rise, White scored major roles as Vera Fontaine in New Movietone Follies of 1930 (1930) and as D-6 in the quirky futuristic comedy/ musical Just Imagine (1930).
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