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There’s Something About Alison

by Elaine Weeks (photos supplied by M. Aston)

Alison Lohman, Marion’s Hollywood granddaughter

One of Marion Aston’s ten grandchildren, Alison Lohman, is a
rising young Hollywood actress. She recently starred in “White
Oleander,” a movie about a young girl (played by Alison) who must go into foster care when her single mom, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, kills her boyfriend.

Given the opportunity her grandmother Marion would have loved to have gone into acting. When she was a little girl, she and her younger sister put on plays in their backyard. Their audience was the neighbour kids who were charged 5 cents admission.

“I was the queen, princess, snow white, etc.” recalls Marion. “I made my sister Dopey. At one point my mother came out and said that wasn’t fair. She insisted that I let my sister be the queen. I was devastated!”

Many years later when she was married to Curt, Marion and her husband were at a big affair in Los Angeles. As Marion was returning to the bar from the ladies’ room a woman approached and said Mr. So and So would like to talk to her.

“Well, I didn’t know who Mr. So and So was,” says Marion with a smile, “and I told her that. The woman explained that he was a director and would like to interview me about a war movie he was making. I walked over and met him and he said he was interested in having me play a nurse in his movie.”

After remarking how interesting that was since she really was a nurse, the director gave her his card and asked her to call. When Marion talked to her husband about what had happened, he said “Absolutely not!” So she didn’t pursue it. Instead she took a John Roberts Powers modeling course. “I had to do something other than stay home all the time,” she explains. “I did some modeling for many years just for fun.”

Marion’s daughter Diane
(Alison’s mother) & husband Gary Lohman

When Marion left San Diego for Florida, her baby grand piano was passed on to her daughter Diane. That was when six year-old Alison began to show her many talents. Not only did she excel in playing, it became apparent she could sing too.

“Alison became a fabulous singer with an absolutely beautiful voice,” says Marion. “When she was 10 she sang at Frank Sinatra’s birthday. She was fine as long as she didn’t look at him.”

Alison began to do theatre in Palm Springs and even as a child, she captivated the audience. “She was shy but she would get on the stage and become a completely different person,” recalls Marion. “She would look at that audience and she would just come alive!”

Marion was excited for Alison when her film career started. “Dragonfly” with Kevin Costner was her first movie. She had her head shaved for her role and donated her long blonde hair to the Cancer Society to be made into a wig for patients who had lost their hair. Unfortunately her part was cut from the film because it was felt that it wasn’t contributing enough to the story.

Alison (with short hair) with her grandmother Marion and cousins

Alison went about her life with her bald head, not bothering wearing a wig. She couldn’t believe how kind people were because they thought she had cancer. She found it to be a very remarkable experience.

“She just grew as a person from the experience,” says Marion. “And now look where she is today.”



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