Marina Esther Traveso (Niní Marshall) was born on June 1, 1903 in the Caballito neighborhood, she was the youngest daughter of four siblings. Her parents, Pedro Traveso and María Ángela Pérez, were Asturian immigrants. When she was barely two months old, her father died and then the family moved to a mansion on 219 Defensa Street (currently the City Museum), in the Monserrat neighborhood. At the age of four, Marina was enrolled in the Juan José Paso School, where she showed her interest in acting and a year later she made her first presentation at the Centro Asturiano of Buenos Aires, at 475 Solis Street, also in the neighborhood of Montserrat.
In her childhood, Marina began her studies in Spanish dance, painting, drawing, singing, piano and learned languages such as French, German and English. She also led a group of children called “Los Arribeños del Norte”, with which she performed small plays in the basement of an uncle's house, as entertainment. After finishing her primary studies she continued at the Liceo Nacional de Señoritas No. 1, then located at 1049 Piedras Street in the San Telmo neighborhood, where she began to design her first characters, generally imitations of the teachers. her.
It was at that institution where she received her bachelor's degree in 1921. Upon finishing secondary education, she began her studies in Philosophy and Letters, which were interrupted when she married Felipe Edelmann in 1924, an engineer of Russian origin who was much older than her and educated in Germany, with whom she had her daughter, Ángela Dora, in 1926. Marina was living in La Pampa at that time and returned to Buenos Aires to give birth to her daughter, when her home was repossessed. Coupled with the sudden death of her mother in 1926, her relationship with her husband began to decline and they divorced. In her memoirs, Marshall defined that stage of her life as a "sentimental and economic catastrophe." She temporarily moved to the house of her sister Blanca in Rosario, Santa Fe, and later, she returned with her little daughter to Buenos Aires to settle in a boarding house and look for employment in the print media.
In the 1930s, she began her career as an editor at Sintonía magazine under the pseudonym Mitzy. She ventured as a singer in a series of radio programs until her talent for comedy led her to participate as an actress and form a comic duo with Juan Carlos Thorry.
Her nickname "Niní" comes from "Marinina", the name her family called her when she was little. Her last name joins the first syllable of her first name and the last name of her second husband (Marcelo Salcedo) to which an "h" and an "l" were added to form Marshall.
Her popularity increased and Manuel Romero included her as a leading actress and screenwriter in the film Mujeres que Trabajo (1938). Between 1939 and 1940, she headed a trilogy directed by Romero that included the films “Divorce in Montevideo”, “Marriage in Buenos Aires” and “Honeymoon in Rio”.
Her detailed observation of the people of those times led her to create two emblematic characters, Catita and Cándida, archetypes of 20th century European immigration, with whom she participated in a large part of her films.
At the beginning of the 1940s, he directed the first blockbusters in the history of Argentine cinema: "We must educate Niní" in 1940, "Carmen" in 1943, and "Madame Sans Gene" in 1945, for which he won the award for the best comic actress from the ACCA (Association of Cinematographic Chroniclers of Argentina). She also “Dead Mosquita” from 1946, all directed by Luis César Amadori.
After the coup d'état of 1943, Marshall had to go into exile in Mexico after the authorities considered the language used by her characters as "a deformation of the language."
Her return to cinema took place in “Catita es una dama” (1956), which did not have the same success as her previous films. Her next performances were in low-budget comedies that were poorly received. On the other hand, her television presentations in the 1960s in Nicolás Mancera's cycle, “Circular Saturdays,” generated a great impact on the public.
In 1973, she was summoned by Lino Patalano to develop a café-concert show: “Y... se nos fue redepente”, which reached more than 1,500 performances and allowed her to bring all of her characters to the stage. Throughout her theatrical career, on her part, she stood out in “Coqueluche”, “Buenos Aires de seda y percale” and “La Señora Barba Azul”. Her success as a comedian earned her the nicknames “the lady of humor” and “Chaplin in skirts.”
Niní Marshall retired from cinema in 1980 after filming “How Beautiful My Family!” together with Luis Sandrini, although in 1985 she published her memoirs and continued working sporadically on television until 1988. The last years of her life were marked by tributes, including being declared "Illustrious Citizen of the City of Buenos Aires" in 1989, and deserving of the Podesta Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1992. Fifty years of professional career marked her career in radio, theater, film and television. She appeared in 38 films, mostly comedies (28 in Argentina, 9 in Mexico and 1 in Spain).
At the time of her death in 1996, Marshall was considered one of the most important and recognized entertainment figures in Argentina. Currently, a theater in Tigre and a street in Puerto Madero are named after her in recognition.
Werchowsky, Florencia (2008). «Fascículo Ídolos del Espectáculo Argentino: Niní». Clarín.