“A series of happy accidents,” that’s how Marion Lear Swaybill ’63 describes the journey that took her from a Wheaton freshman to Emmy Award–winning television producer and founder and president of Molly Two Productions.
“There was no path,” says Swaybill, “no bold idea.”
Swaybill majored in American history, “mainly because it interested me.” History proved fertile ground for the future documentary filmmaker. Her films have covered a wide range of topics: the Holocaust (“Witness: Voices from the Holocaust,” 2000); growing up in war-torn Kosovo (“A Normal Life,” 2003, winner of the Tribeca Film Festival Best Documentary award); sex trafficking in America (“10,000 Men,” 2012); and choral music (“Conspirare: A Company of Voices,” 2009).
After graduating from Wheaton, Swaybill studied for her master’s degree in social work at Columbia University but left after a year. Though she worked in foster care for a time afterward, social work did not fulfill her, she says.
In the spring of 1966, she met Roger Swaybill, her future husband. “He hated the fact that I didn’t like what I was doing and encouraged me to quit my job and find something more satisfying—and fun. So I did.”