A former model known as Miss Susan Small, Cherry Marshall became a household name in the fifties and famed for her 22-inch waist. She was later known to TV viewers for her weekly appearances on ITV’s magazine show Houseparty.
The Southern Television programme, which featured six women in a farmhouse kitchen candidly discussing social and domestic issues, proved so popular that it was nationally networked.
She was born Irene Maud Pearson in Christchurch, Dorset on July 25, 1923. After leaving school she became a band singer and during the Second World War served in the ATS. At a military ball she met the writer Emanuel Litvinoff and six weeks later they married.
In the early fifties she began modelling in London fashion stores, first for Susan Small, a leading name in fashion and in 1954 she ran a modelling school and agency in Jermyn Street.
She established the Cherry Marshall Model Agency, one of the leading agencies in Britain. Her clients included Patti Boyd, Suzi Kendall, Anthea Redfern, Paulene Stone and Pat Booth.
In 1956 she made international headlines when she took a group of top models to Moscow. Pathe News, the BBC and NBC covered their footsteps in the Communist Soviet capital. She was featured in the popular Jak strip cartoon and feted by political groups. “We were like coloured butterflies in the suppressed, dank and dreary Soviet Union,” she said.
She joined Houseparty in 1971 and had a huge effect on the products that she mentioned. In 1974 she spoke glowingly of the effects of Cider Vinegar and supermarkets across the country sold out of the brand.
In 1978 she published her autobiography The Cat-Walk and, in 1986, wrote the bestselling Prime Time Women.
She died on January 28, aged 82. Her marriage to Litvinoff was dissolved in 1970. He survives her with their son and two daughters.
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.