Corinne Griffith, the silent film star known as the "Orchid of the Screen," and the former wife of the late George Preston Marshall, millionaire owner of the Washington Redskins, died Friday at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif. She lived in Los Angeles.
Miss Griffith, who had suffered a stroke two years ago, was vague about her age. Motion picture reference books list her date of birth as either 1898 or 1899. But in 1966, in divorce proceedings from her last husband, she said she was "approximately 51." Her authorized biography lists her date of birth as 1912.
In her heyday as a silent screen star, she was paid $12,500 a week. With her proceeds she amassed a considerable private fortune.She owned a los Angeles real estate firm and athletic club for men, as well as considerable property, including all four corners of the intersection of South Beverly Drive and Wilshire Boulevard, for which she turned down an offer of $2.5 million in 1950.
According to a 1952 United tpress biography, Miss Griffith was born in Texarkana, Ark. She, however, maintained her place of birth was Waco, Tex.
Her official biography says she was the daughter of John Lewis Griffith, son of a Virginia Methodist minister, and Ambolyn Ohio, a dainty Texan of Italian descent.
Miss Griffith was a professional dancer before becoming an actress, and began as a silent film extra in about 1918. She first worked for Western Vitagraph, where she made "The Last man," "Love Watches," "Miss Ambition," and "The Garter Kid."
She then made "Six Days" for Sam Goldwyn and "The Common Law" for David Selznick. Her most famous roles, however, were in "Black Oxen," "Mademoiselle Modiste" and "Outcast." Her only "talkie," "Lily Christine," was made in 1931, after which she retired from the screen.
Her first marriage, to movie producer Walter Mitchell Morosco ended in divorce in 1934. Two years later she married Mr. Marshall. She met him while touring here in the play "Design for Living."
In 1936 when she married Marshall, the Washington Redskins were the Boston Redskins. The team came to Washington the following year.
Miss Griffith had a considerable and lasting influence on the team. She wrote the lyrics for "Hail to the Redskins," for which Barnee Breeskin, president of the Circus Saints and Sinners, wrote the music. She also designed the team's maroon and gold uniforms, and it was said, was instrumental in moving the franchise from Boston to Washington.
She introduced "show business" to the redskin games of that era - a 55-piece band to play before the games, a 19-piece swing band to provide background music during the games, smoke pouring from a teepee at half-time to the throbs of a tom-tom, and a 93-piece band in Indian dress, playing "Hail to the Redskins."
In about 1962, she divorced the Redskin owner, who died in 1969. Her 35-day marriage to performer Danny Scholl ended in 1966.
In between her acting career and advising the football team, she wrote a number of books, including "My Life With the Redskins," "Papa's Delicate Condition" (later made into a movie starring Jackie Gleason), "I Can't Boil Water," published in 1963, and, in 1965, "Truth Is Stranger." Her secretary said she continued writing until about three years ago.
Miss Griffith also spearheaded a national campaign to eliminate the federal income tax, which she called legalized thievery.
In 1952, with the later actor Charles Coburn and three others, she founded the Organization to Repeal Federal Income Taxes. Four years later she quit the organization, saying she preferred to speak against the income tax as an individual.
Although retired from the screen for many years, she appeared in her last film, "Paradise Alley," a Hugo Haas production, in 1958.
There are no immediate survivors. CAPTION: Picture, CORRINE GRIFFITH, 1966 Photo