A Man Called Peter

A Man Called Peter is a 1955 American drama film directed by Henry Koster and starring Richard Todd. The film is based on the life of preacher Peter Marshall, who served as Chaplain of the United States Senate before his early death. It is adapted from the 1951 biography of the same name, written by his widow Catherine Marshall.

The film was a box-office hit in 1955,[3] and it was nominated for an Academy Award in 1956 for its cinematography.

This was the final feature film of the actress Jean Peters, who played Catherine Marshall.


Marshall was born in Johnson City, Tennessee.[1][2] She was the daughter of the Reverend John Ambrose Wood and Leonora Whitaker Wood. From the age of nine until her graduation from high school, Marshall was raised in Keyser, West Virginia, where her father served as pastor of a local Presbyterian Church from 1924 to 1942.

In 1936 she graduated from Agnes Scott College and married Peter Marshall. The couple moved to Washington, DC, where her husband served as pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and Chaplain of the United States Senate.

In March 1943, Catherine Marshall contracted tuberculosis, for which at that time there was no antibiotic treatment. She spent two years recovering from the illness. Her husband died in 1949 of a heart attack, leaving her to care for their 9-year-old son, Peter John Marshall. He later also become a minister and author.

Partly as a response to considerable public affection for her husband's memory and to support herself, Marshall wrote a biography of her husband. A Man Called Peter was first published in 1951. It became a nationwide success and was adapted as a film by the same name, released in 1955. Her success encouraged her to keep writing.

Marshall wrote or edited more than 30 books, which have sold over 16 million copies. They include edited collections of Peter Marshall's sermons and prayers, and her own inspirational writings. Her most successful books were A Man Called Peter (1951);[3] and her novel, Christy (1967), which was inspired by the story of her mother's time in the mountains teaching the impoverished children of Appalachia. Christy was adapted as a CBS television series, starring Kellie Martin, beginning in 1994.

In 1959 Catherine married Leonard LeSourd, who was the editor of Guideposts Magazine for 28 years. Together they founded a book imprint, "Chosen Books".

Catherine died on 18 March 1983 at the age of 68. She was buried alongside her first husband.


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