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MARSH, W. WARD

MARSH, W. WARD (12 Aug. 1893-23 June 1971), PLAIN DEALER movie critic for half a century, was born in MacLean, Pa., to Elmer W. and Emma (Davis) Ward. He attended Edinboro State Teachers College, Erie Business College, and Adelbert College at Western Reserve University (see CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY) before joining the Plain Dealer in 1915 as police reporter, religion editor, and copy editor. He married coworker Mabel Boyes on 22 Jan. 1920. He served in France during WORLD WAR I. In 1919 Marsh wrote his first of 23,000 movie reviews for the Plain Dealer. Marsh numbered Joan Crawford and Ross Hunter among his friends, and made a cameo appearance in Clark Gable's film Teacher's Pet in 1957. As the area's movie trivia authority, Marsh wrote and produced a local television movie quiz program in the 1950s called "Lights, Camera, Question." He also taught "The History, Enjoyment, and Criticism of the Movie" course at Western Reserve's Cleveland College. In the 1960s Marsh fought a losing battle against the screen's increasing sexual permissiveness. His scathing review of a film called The Lovers in 1959 contributed to the prosecution of its exhibitor, Nico Jacobellis of the Heights Art Theatre, for obscenity. In a landmark censorship ruling in 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the film was not obscene. Marsh died less than a year after his retirement, survived by his wife. Roger Marsh, their only child, died in 1967. Marsh's collection of movie memorabilia, including 3 personally bound copies of scripts presented to him by Cecil B. DeMille, was donated to the CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY. He was buried in Markillie Cemetery in Hudson.