Mary Agnes Kornman (December 27, 1915 – June 1, 1973) was an American child actress who was the leading female star of the Our Gang series during the Pathé silent era.
Born as Mary Agnes Evans, the daughter of Verna Comer, who appeared in several films, and David Lionel Evans. Her stepfather, Hal Roach′s still-photo cameraman Eugene Kornman adopted Mary after he and Mary's mother were married in 1921. After Peggy Cartwright, who appeared in only four or five Our Gang episodes, Mary became the leading lady of the series, appearing in more than 40 episodes. Kornman was one of the series′ biggest stars during its early years between 1922 and 1926. After outgrowing the Our Gang series, she and fellow Our Gang alumnus Johnny Downs spent several years performing as a team on the college and vaudeville circuits.
Her younger sister, Mildred (born July 10, 1925) was also a child actress. Mildred was featured as a regular in Our Gang from 1926–28, and made further appearances until 1935. She had no speaking roles and appeared when many children were needed for a scene such as a classroom. She later achieved a degree of fame as an adult fashion model known as Ricki VanDusen.
When asked in 1960 what she thought of being part of Our Gang, Mildred Kornman replied "It was fun being a gang member. It was play. I have no regrets...We didn't have to be talented, which is natural for kids ... I think we had a privileged childhood working in those films."
Later years and death
Mary continued working with Our Gang co-star Mickey Daniels into adulthood, as evidenced by some publicity shots from the era. She appeared with Mickey in the teen version of Our Gang, The Boy Friends. In 1934, she married Leo Tover, a cameraman, but divorced approximately five years later.
Throughout the 1930s, she continued to appear in features such as, Queen of the Jungle (1935) and The Desert Trail (1935), starring John Wayne, until she retired from the screen in 1940.
She later married Ralph B. McCutcheon, a horse trainer on some of her Western films. Mary spent the rest of her life devoted to him. They had no children. They both spent their remaining years on their ranch with the horses. She kept close with her Hollywood acquaintances and friends. When asked if Mary was as kind and genuine a person as she appeared to be onscreen, her sister Mildred replied, "She was all of that and more."
Mary became gravely ill in the early 1970s and was eventually diagnosed with cancer. She died on June 1, 1973, aged 57. Her widower died two years later. They are interred at Linn Grove Cemetery, Greeley, Colorado.