Classic Movie Travels: Mary Kornman
Mary Kornman was born Mary Agnes Evans on December 27, 1915, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Her parents were David Lionel Evans, a railroad manager, and Verna Comer. Eugene Kornman, cameraman for Hal Roach, married Verna and adopted Mary.
Soon enough, Kornman found herself a leading actress in the Our Gang series, working in over 40 shorts. Kornman’s first appearance in the series was in Young Sherlocks (1922). Kornman’s little sister, Mildred, also worked in the series as a regular but did not have a speaking part.
As Kornman grew and was phased out of Our Gang, she and fellow former Our Gang actors Scooter Lowry and Johnny Downs performed as a vaudeville act. During this period, she also attended Beverly Hills High School.
In 1934, she married cameraman Leo Tover in Yuma, Arizona. She appeared alongside former Our Gang actor Mickey Daniels in the teenaged version of the series entitled The Boy Friends. She and Tover divorced in 1938.
Kornman continued her acting career in several Bing Crosby shorts in addition to films like Flying Down to Rio (1933), The Desert Trail (1935) as a love interest to John Wayne, and Queen of the Jungle (1935) serial. In Flying Down to Rio, she has several brief lines. Among them is, “What have these South Americans got below the equator that we haven’t?”
In 1940, Kornman retired from acting and married horse trainer Ralph McCutcheon. They met when she purchased a horse and was looking for a trainer to teach it some tricks. Their love for animals brought them together and they were married until her passing. McCutcheon’s ranch was named Rancho Maria in honor of Kornman. They enjoyed living on their ranch and Kornman kept in touch with friends from her Hollywood days.
Kornman passed away on June 1, 1973, in Glendale, California, from cancer. She and McCutcheon are buried at Linn Grove Cemetery in Greeley, Colorado.
Today, there are few points of interest pertinent to Kornman’s life. In 1920, she lived with her mother and step-grandfather, Wilbur Fowler, before her mother married Eugene Kornman. The home was located at 5452 Romaine St., Los Angeles, California. This home no longer stands.
In 1930, she lived at 215 S. Hamilton Ave., Beverly Hills, California, with her mother, sister, and lodger Pauline Brown. This home stands today.
In 1940, she resided at 1321 Alta Vista Blvd., Los Angeles, California, which also stands.
Rancho Maria remains at 25933 Sand Canyon Rd., Santa Clarita, California, and has been the site of numerous film and television shoots.
–Annette Bochenek for Classic Movie Hub
Annette Bochenek pens our monthly Classic Movie Travels column. You can read all of Annette’s Classic Movie Travel articles here.
Annette Bochenek of Chicago, Illinois, is a PhD student at Dominican University and an independent scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She manages the Hometowns to Hollywood blog, in which she writes about her trips exploring the legacies and hometowns of Golden Age stars. Annette also hosts the “Hometowns to Hollywood” film series throughout the Chicago area. She has been featured on Turner Classic Movies and is the president of TCM Backlot’s Chicago chapter. In addition to writing for Classic Movie Hub, she also writes for Silent Film Quarterly, Nostalgia Digest, and Chicago Art Deco SocietyMagazine.