This history of Ann Marston is a composite of sources
Child model. International archery champion. Beauty pageant queen. Detroit rock band promoter. Ann Marston accomplished all of these things and more during her all-too-short life. 1
Born in England on August 7, 1938, Marston won her first target archery title there when she was nine. In 1948, British Pathé capture Ann and her talented father Frank Marston.
…Today, the ancient and graceful sport is rapidly finding favor with lovers of the outdoor life…Anything Dad can do, little archer Annie can do just as well.
She began winning titles at the age of two months when she was named “England’s Most Perfect Baby,” and went on to be known as “Sweetheart of the Bow & Arrow.” Before her first decade of existence, Ann had captured both the British and American Cadet Archery Championships. 3
Photos from the Traditional Gang archers site 6
Ann Marston, Miss Michigan at the Flat Rock Speedway 1960. Performing in a gown, crown, and heels.
One week after moving to Wyandotte, Michigan with her parents in 1949 she won her Cadet archery title, breaking all records as a junior until 1953. In 1954, she began competing in the Adult division at the age of fifteen; she competed in the National Field Tournament and won, establishing three new records. Marston won a total of 11 national archery titles and established all-time records. 2
Ann was a child prodigy and formidable contender in the sport of archery at a very young age, consistently breaking records in her competitive groups. She was a charming model and successful entertainer despite having Type 1 (juvenile) Diabetes. She acquired early fame by appearing in a Pathe’ newsreel, on Ed Sullivan’s “Talk of the Town,” “Captain Kangaroo”, and dozens of other top shows in America and abroad. Her professional performing career included co-starring with many celebrities including Dick Van Dyke, Roy Rogers, Andy Griffith, and Johnny Carson. She was cover girl on “Sports Illustrated” in 1955 at age 17 while still in high school. She was subsequently inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and the Archery Hall of Fame. 1
In 1959, Ann Marston from Wyandotte used bows and arrows to win the crown. As the women’s national archery champion at the time, Marton “dazzled the Michigan Theater audience…by popping three balloons on stage with arrows shot from the back row of the upper balcony, 200 feet away,” the Chronicle wrote. Her act ended with “a close-range exhibition which included snuffing candles, breaking an egg and transfixing an apple on the head of a dummy.” 5
Ann Marston, who won Miss Michigan in 1959, wowed audiences and judges by shooting arrows from the balcony of the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts (then known as the Michigan Theater) and hitting balloons on stage. 5
Ann Marston expanded her repertoire by competing in the 1960 Miss America pageant and winning the preliminary talent competition with her archery ability. She appeared on dozens of television shows, sports exhibitions, and rodeos. She made a television pilot and a Paramount movie short that was shown nationally in 1962. She traveled the United States and England along with her parents, billed as the first professional female archer. The act highlighted her beauty and talent, and had audiences enthralled from coast to coast. Ann’s personal friends included Fred Bear, Emmett Kelly, Jr. and Joe DiMaggio. Ann performed before President John F. Kennedy a few weeks before he was assassinated. 1
Ann and the Beatles 4
Ann refused to allow debilitating diabetes and blindness to get in the way of her goals.
Her career took a new direction when she met the Dave Clark Five and the Beatles in Detroit. She began managing local garage bands during Detroit’s rock and roll music revolution in the mid-1960s. Her clients included rock groups Tea, Julia, and the fathers of the Punk and Hard Rock music movement, The Motor City Five. MC5 band members Dennis Thompson, Wayne Kramer, and Michael Davis attribute her management as a driving force in their future success. Sadly, diabetes took her sight at the age of 29 but she continued working in spite of blindness. 1
Early photos of the MC5 4
Ann Marston was a famous and talented woman in spite of a domineering mother and critical illness. She died suddenly of a stroke at age 32 but continues to be a role model to young women and an inspiration to everyone who wishes to overcome devastating circumstances. 1
- National Archery Association Cadet Championship, 1949
- National Archery Association Junior Championship, 1952
- National Archery Association Intermediate Championship, 1953
- National Field Archery Association Champion, 1954, 55, 57 and 58
- Promoted archery and shot exhibitions worldwide
- Winner, Miss America Pageant Talent Competition; Talent: Shooting Archery Gear, 1958
- Shooting Star Book on Facebook
- Ann Marston on Wikipedia
- Archery Hall of Fame
- The News Herald of Downriver
- Traditional Gang Archive
Biography of Ann Marston on Amazon.