Peg Fenwick

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Peg Fenwick
Born Margaret Fenwick McCray
November 9, 1907
New York, New York, USA
Died November 5, 1987
Fulton, Missouri, USA
Occupation Screenwriter, playwright
Spouse(s) Saul K. Padover (m. 1957)

Margaret "Peg" McCray (also known as Peggy Thompson, Peg Fenwick and Peg Padover) was an American screenwriter and playwright who worked in the U.S. and French film industries, best known for writing the scripts for Whirlpool of Desire and All That Heaven Allows.[1]

Early life and education

McCray was born in New York City[2] in 1907, daughter of Edward McCray, a lawyer, and his wife Anna Royce Carr.[3] When McCray was six years old, her mother died, and her father died in 1914 when she was seven.[3] McCray and her younger brother were adopted by Ellen Dustin Thompson and her husband William S. Thompson in 1917,[4] and added the surname Thompson to their names.[4] She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri,[2] where she attended the Sacred Heart Convent School and the Mary Institute.[5][6] She studied at the University of California at Los Angeles for a year,[2] then left and worked as a secretary for Hollywood director Rowland Lee.[2][6]


McCray worked at Paramount Pictures studio in New York, for four years.[5][6] She did no original writing during that time, but did some continuity writing.[5][6] She moved to Paris, France, in about 1931.[5] Using the name Peggy Thompson, she worked for the Vandor Company on the English version of Don Quixote (1933).[5][7] She also wrote the story on which the film Template:Ill (1935) was based.[5][7][6] Her original title for it was A Kiss in the Dark,[8][9] and she sold it for $5,000.[10] The film had made about $2,000,000 by the end of 1939, and McCray expressed regret that she had not sold it for a percentage of its earnings.[10] During 1935, she worked in England with Basil Dean at Associated Talking Pictures, Ealing.[6] There, she wrote the scenario for Midshipman Easy and assisted with the adaptation of Eleanor Smith's novel Ballerina for the screen[6] (its film title was The Men in Her Life). She also wrote skits for Gracie Fields.[6]

Remous was released in the US in 1939 as Whirlpool of Desire[7][11] after American film censors had banned it over several years.[10][12] By that time, McCray had worked on two films in the US, including King of the Newsboys (1938), and a French film about Alpine life and sports,[10] which contained "no more sex".[10] She reportedly found it embarrassing to see billboards proclaiming, "See Peggy Thompson's 'Whirlpool of Desire' - hotter even than Ecstasy." [10]

Personal life

She married Saul K. Padover, a professor and author, in 1957.[7][13] She also worked as an activist in Brooklyn Heights to improve sanitation in the area in the 1970s.[7]


Meet the World (1950) was called "an impressive stage event" by the Los Angeles Times,[14] in which Fenwick showed "considerable understanding of present-day international problems ... in the parallel she drew with the founding of the United States."[14] The play starred Jeff Chandler and celebrated accomplishments of UNESCO.[14]

Fenwick adapted Ben Lucien Burman's novel Blow for a Landing. The film, retitled Mississippi Landing, was to star Audie Murphy, though the project was ultimately shelved.[15]

The Evening Sun of Baltimore described her script for All That Heaven Allows (1955) as "shrewdly and urbanely intelligent."[1]

Selected works


  • Rebound (1958) (TV)[17]


  • The Rebellious Franklins (1959)[19]

External links


Template:Authority control

  1. 1.0 1.1 Kanour, Gilbert (12 January 1956). "On the Screen". The Evening Sun. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Sutherland, Henry (2 Jun 1937). "Writer Contends Screen Play Is Inoffensive". Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York): p. 13. Retrieved 15 October 2019. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Edward Hill McCray". Hartford Courant (Hartford, Connecticut): p. 9. 3 June 1914. Retrieved 15 October 2019. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Millionaire Sued for Divorce by Wife". The Buffalo Enquirer (Buffalo, New York): p. 1. 4 January 1914. Retrieved 15 October 2019. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Clark, Olga (29 May 1934). "Peggy Thompson, Former St. Louis Girl, Writes Scenarios for French Films". St. Louis Globe-Democrat (St. Louis, Missouri): p. 1, section 3. Retrieved 15 October 2019. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Mathews, Edith L. (21 February 1936). "Acclaimed Abroad - Now Hollywood Calls Her". The St. Louis Star and Times (St. Louis, Missouri): p. 11. Retrieved 15 October 2019. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 "Subtle Ways Win" (in en). 28 Oct 1970. 
  8. Bessy, Maurice; Chirat, Raymond (1988) (in French). Histoire du cinéma français: 1929-1934. Pygmalion. p. 502. ISBN 9782857042747. Retrieved 15 October 2019. 
  9. Gréville, Edmond T. (1995) (in French). Trente-cinq ans dans la jungle du cinéma. Institut Lumière. pp. 121, 356. ISBN 9782742701797. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Othman, Frederick C. (28 Dec 1939). "Girl Writes Sexy Movie That Earns $2,000,000". The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio): p. 8. Retrieved 15 October 2019. 
  11. The New York Times film reviews, 1913-1968, Volume 3. The New York Times. 1970. p. 1738. Retrieved 15 October 2019. 
  12. Coons, Robbin (21 December 1939). "Hollywood Sights and Sounds". The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, Colorado): p. 12. Retrieved 15 October 2019. 
  13. Asbury, Edith Evans (1981-02-24). "Dr. Saul K. Padover, Author, Dead at 75" (in en-US). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 "'Meet the World' Proves Impressive Stage Event". The Los Angeles Times. 31 March 1950. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Vestuto, Kathleen (2018-07-26) (in en). The Lives of Justine Johnstone: Follies Star, Research Scientist, Social Activist. McFarland. ISBN 9781476631318. 
  16. Cohen, Harold V. (16 January 1956). "The New Film". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  17. Library of Congress. Copyright Office. (1958) (in English). Catalog of Copyright Entries 1958 Dramas Etc. Jan-Dec 3D Ser Vol 12 Pts 3-4. United States Copyright Office. U.S. Govt. Print. Off.. 
  18. "Horner to Design Sets for New Play About X-Bomb" (in en). 18 Mar 1950. 
  19. (in en) Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third series. 1959.