Myrna Loy: The Only Good Girl in Hollywood

Myrna Loy: The Only Good Girl in Hollywood

Myrna Loy: The Only Good Girl in Hollywood

Myrna Loy: The Only Good Girl in Hollywood

Synopsis

From the beginning, Myrna Loy's screen image conjured mystery, a sense of something withheld. "Who is she?" was a question posed in the first fan magazine article published about her in 1925. This first ever biography of the wry and sophisticated actress best known for her role as Nora Charles, wife to dapper detective William Powell in The Thin Man, offers an unprecedented picture of her life and an extraordinary movie career that spanned six decades. Opening with Loy's rough-and-tumble upbringing in Montana, the book takes us to Los Angeles in the 1920s, where Loy's striking looks caught the eye of Valentino, through the silent and early sound era to her films of the thirties, when Loy became a top box office draw, and to her robust post-World War II career. Throughout, Emily W. Leider illuminates the actress's friendships with luminaries such as Cary Grant, Clark Gable, and Joan Crawford and her collaborations with the likes of John Barrymore, David O. Selznick, Sam Goldwyn, and William Wyler, among many others. This highly engaging biography offers a fascinating slice of studio era history and gives us the first full picture of a very private woman who has often been overlooked despite her tremendous star power.

Excerpt

Myrna Loy’s grace and slender elegance, her ease before the camera, and her arresting face had a lot to do with her success on film, but she claimed that stardom entailed more sweat than glamour. In her early days at Warner Bros. she worked nonstop, sometimes moving from set to set in multiple films being shot at the same time. In 1927 alone she played in eleven movies, and she took no vacation until she had been a screen actress nearly ten years. During her six-decade career she appeared in a staggering 124 films, beginning with her debut at age twenty as a dancing chorine in Pretty Ladies. Fifty-five years later, in 1980, she made her last appearance on the big screen, as a sassy executive secretary in Sidney Lumet’s Just Tell Me What You Want.

Loy took her first full-time job, as a prologue dancer at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, while still in her teens. She needed to support her widowed mother, younger brother, and aunt. As a contract player for Warner Bros. in the 1920s she took part in the sound revolution, playing small roles in Don Juan, the first silent with a synchronized score, and The Jazz Singer, the groundbreaking Al Jolson musical with some sound dialogue. Hitting her stride in drawing room comedy in the early sound era, she signed with MGM in 1931, striking gold three years later as Nora Charles in The Thin Man and making the list of the top ten box-office stars in 1937 and 1938. After taking time off to move to New York and volunteer full time for the Red Cross during World War II, she returned to Hollywood for a memorable performance opposite Fredric . . .

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