Margo Skinner, Actress in Current Moonlight and Magnolias, Found Dead at 55

Obituaries   Margo Skinner, Actress in Current Moonlight and Magnolias, Found Dead at 55 Margo Skinner, who played the role of Miss Poppenghul, the harried secretary of movie mogul David O. Selznick, in the now-playing Manhattan Theatre Club production of Ron Hutchinson's Moonlight and Magnolias, was found dead in her apartment Monday, April 11, a spokesman confirmed.
Margo Skinner in Moonlight and Magnolias
Margo Skinner in Moonlight and Magnolias Photo by Joan Marcus

"I'm shocked and saddened," MTC artistic director Lynne Meadow said in a statement. "We have lost one of our great actresses."

Skinner was the only female member of the four-hander's cast. The play depicted a fanciful version of how the script for "Gone With the Wind" was created, with Selznick locking screenwriter Ben Hecht and director Victor Fleming in his office for a week, with Miss Poppenghul standing guard outside, coming in only to bring in bananas and peanuts for sustenance. Skinner's comic performance, in which she found a dozen ways to say "Yes, Mr. Selznick," was popular with audiences and critics. According to Ms. Skinner's agent, at her final performance on April 10, the actress received exit applause—a rarity for a supporting role of Poppenghul's size.

Ms. Skinner acted in the national tour of Titanic and pre-Broadway tour of I Never Sang for My Father. Her Off-Broadway credits included The Perfect Party and The Dining Room, both at Playwrights Horizons, and the original production of Craig Lucas' Blue Window, in which she created the role of the lesbian novelist Alice. She also acted regionally, recently at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, where she played Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to Tracy Letts' George.

She also acted at The Guthrie in Minneapolis (Ah, Wilderness!), the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles (Quills), Cleveland Play House, Cincinnati Playhouse (Scotland Road), Actors Theatre of Louisville, Williamstown Theatre Festival (Johnny on the Spot) and Pittsburgh Public (Private Lives). She spent eight years as Trinity Square in Providence (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Night of the Iguana, Rosmersholm).

Born Jan. 3, 1950, in Middletown, Ohio, she was trained at Boston University. Skinner's understudy, Karen Trott, now will play the role of Miss Poppenghul.