with Ian Keith in "The Great Divide"
made up to appear Asian in "The Crimson City"
Rambova had taken exotic stills of Myrna for an unreleased movie "What Price Beauty?" that made the rounds to fan magazines and interest from Warner Brothers who signed her for a contract in the mid 1920's. Some of her first films playing a femme fatale we're in "A Girl in Every Port" 1928 starring Louise Brooks and Victor McLaglen. By 1929 she had co-star billing opposite Victor McLaglen again in the war adventure "The Black Watch". The film was directed by John Ford and Myrna was made up to play a native princess who wins the heart of the British soldier. Her third role as the non American beauty who captures a mans heart came in "The Perfect Song" 1929 starring John Boles.
with Agnes Franey
with Ramon Novarro in "The Barbarian" 1933
With Robert Taylor in "Lucky Night" 1939
with her co-stars William Powell and Asta in "The Thin Man"
with Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable in "Test Pilot"
autograph from my collection, click to enlarge
By the end of the 1930's Myrna was tiring of comedic roles and wanted to branch out into dramatic leads when she appeared in "The Rains Came" 1939 with Tyrone Power then a couple more dramatic roles before reuniting with William Powell for "Love Crazy" 1941 and "Shadow of the Thin Man" that same year. After the outbreak of WWII Myrna all but abandoned her film career to focus on war efforts, volunteering her time with the Red Cross as well as assisting with the running a Naval Auxillary Canteen and fund raising. She was so fiercely outspoken against Adolph Hitler that her name appeared on his blacklist. She remarried in 1942 to John Hertz Jr. of the Hertz Rent a car family. They divorced in 1944 and Myrna married for a third time in 1946 to producer/screenwriter Gene Markey.
with Clark Gable in "Manhattan Melodrama" 1934
Myrna returned to films in 1946 starring in "The Best Years of Our Lives" opposite Fredric March then in "The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer" with Cary Grant and Shirley Temple in 1947. Following it's success she filmed "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" with Cary Grant in 1949. (This really does stand out as one of Ms Loy's fun roles and her chemistry with Cary Grant as they play off of one another's comedic timing is worth watching if you've somehow missed this one). Myrna appeared in "Cheaper By The Dozen" with Clifton Webb in 1950 before her acting career slowed down once again.
with Cary Grant in "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" 1949
Divorced from Gene Markey in 1950, Myrna married for the fourth time in 1951 to Howland Sargeant, a UNESCO delegate. This started a new life path for Myrna as she assumed an influential role as the Co-Chairman of the Advisory Counsel of the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing. In 1948 she became a member for the U.S. National Commision for UNESCO, the first Hollywood celebrity to do so.
with Robert Montgomery in "When Ladies Meet" 1933
After undergoing two mastectomies from cancer in 1975 Myrna's cancer went into remission until 1993. She died during surgery that same year. Ms Loy was cremated and her ashes were interred at Forestvalle cemetery in Helena Montana. Her grave site can be viewed HERE. She appeared in over 120 films spanning over four decades. For a look at Myrna's Hollywood home click HERE.
Myrna Loy Facts:
Her father was the youngest person elected to the Montana State Legislature. He was also a rancher and quite the real estate investor. He sold land near Culver City at a profit to Charlie Chaplin who built his movie studio on it.
At the age of 13 she moved with her mother and brother David to Culver City California from Helena Montana when her father died of influenza.
To help her family financially she worked at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre at the age of 18 in their elaborate musical sequences that prologued their feature films of the day.
Throughout her career she championed the rights of black actors and characters to be depicted with dignity on film.
She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center in 1988.
A building at Sony Pictures, formerly MGM studios is named in her honor.
She made her Broadway debut in 1973 in the revival "The Women".
She was one of many great Hollywood actors who was never nominated for an Academy Award but she was given an Honorary Oscar in 1991. This would be her last public appearance.
Her last film was also the last film for Henry Fonda.
In 1937 she had a harrowing experience during the making of "The Rains Came" with Tyrone Power when the horse she was riding bolted. almost killing her.
She was named Myrna after a small train station that her father traveled through during 1905.
In her earlier films with Clark Gable they did not get on very well. But in later years they developed a mutual respect for one another and became good friends.
She moved to Manhattan at the age of 60 and resided there until her death in 1993.
Her profile was the most requested during the 1930's by women to their plastic surgeons.
William Powell's nickname for her was Minnie.
She turned down the role of Ellie Andrews in "It Happened One Night" that went to Claudette Colbert who went on to win the Best Actress Oscar for the role.
She campaigned for John F. Kennedy in 1960.
Thank you for being patient with me over this holiday week and the delay in getting another blog posted. This post is dedicated to Clara who has a wonderful blog on Classic Hollywood that can be viewed HERE.
Which Myrna Loy movie is your favorite? Please share in the comments section.