Marguerite Chapman, 81, an actress who starred in a series of World War II movies and later as a secretary in Marilyn Monroe's film the "The Seven Year Itch," died Aug. 31 at a hospital here. The cause of death was not reported.

From 1940 to 1943, Ms. Chapman appeared in 18 movies, including Charlie Chan comedies and armed services booster films as a member of the singing and dancing Navy Blues Sextet at Warner Bros. She was eventually cast as a leading lady in "Destroyer" with Edward G. Robinson and Glenn Ford and in "Appointment in Berlin" opposite George Sanders.

After the war, she continued to win leading roles in such films as "Relentless" opposite Robert Young and "The Green Promise" with Walter Brennan. But by the 1950s, she had slipped into supporting roles, notably as a secretary in "The Seven Year Itch" in 1955.

Ms. Chapman had top billing again in her final film, "The Amazing Transparent Man" in 1960, but the film was critically panned.

As her film career waned, she made guest appearances in television series including "Richard Diamond, Private Detective," "Rawhide," "Perry Mason," "Hawaii Five-0" and "Marcus Welby, M.D."

She was asked to try out for the role of the elderly survivor in the 1997 hit "Titanic," but was too ill. The role eventually went to Gloria Stuart.

Her career has been recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Ms. Chapman began her working life not as an actress, but as a typist and switchboard operator in White Plains, N.Y. She gave up the job in the late 1930s and went to New York at the urging of friends, who praised her beauty. She graced the covers of numerous magazines as a John Powers model, catching the attention of Hollywood studio executives who invited her to be in movies.