FRC Icon World Tour #13 – USA – Myrna Loy
FRC Icon World Tour is now on its final stop before the flight home, this week I am in USA with my friend Paula G and Myrna Loy.
It has been a long and weary road. But we have finally made it to USA. Which mean I am only one flight away from home. We have been on the road for just over three months. And it has been brilliant. Thanks to all who have taken part. This last week I am bunking with my good friend Paula, who is a contributor with my blogging BFF Ruth at flixchatter.
With out further a do, here is her post…
What is your name and title of your blog?
What Country are you from?
Who is your Icon?
Can you please give a small Biography of your chosen Icon.
She was born Myrna Adele Williams in Helena, Montana, USA on 2 August 1905. Her childhood was spent moving back and forth between Montana, which her father preferred, and California, her mother’s choice. When her father died in 1918, Myrna and her mother and brother settled permanently in Culver City, California, where she studied dance and appeared in local theatre. Rudolph Valentino noticed her in photos at a photographer’s studio and, while she didn’t get the role he was looking to cast, she did get into another film as a chorus girl. She then began to get regular work throughout the remainder of the silent era and into the talkies, often as femmes fatales, mistresses, or stereotyped Asian characters. Throughout her career, Loy almost invariably darkened her natural red hair, and her green eyes didn’t show on black-and-white film. In 1934, she made The Thin Man with William Powell, and—after 80 pictures—found herself a bona fide star. In 1936, Clark Gable and Loy were elected King and Queen of Hollywood in a nationwide poll. Her career flourished throughout the rest of the ‘30s and the ‘40s, leveled off in the ‘50s and was winding down by 1960. She was never nominated for an Academy Award but received an honorary Oscar in 1991.
Loy is rumored to have been John Dillinger’s favorite actress; he was shot and killed by police in 1934 after he had come out of hiding to see one of her movies, Manhattan Melodrama.
What makes your Icon special and standout from the crowd?
There’s no question that Loy was a fine actress, that she was gorgeous, or that she had presence and sparkle. What isn’t usually remembered about her is that she used her fame for good. She was the first major female star to confront the studio system; she refused to work at half of William Powell’s wages. Because she was under contract to MGM, that meant she had no income for nearly a year. When the US entered WWII, she quit acting to work with the Red Cross, visiting the wounded and raising morale. She also helped run and raise money for a Naval Auxiliary Canteen. She had been so fiercely outspoken against Adolf Hitler since the mid-‘30s that her name appeared on his blacklist and her films were banned in Germany during the war. In 1948, she began working with UNESCO, the first major Hollywood star to do so. Her career slowdown in the ‘50s is attributed to her condemnation of Senator McCarthy and the House Unamerican Activities Committee. She was an equally outspoken supporter of the Civil Rights movement and served as co-chair of the Advisory Council of the National Committee Against Discrimination In Housing, which worked against segregation and mistreatment of minorities in federally funded projects.
Please give us some examples of the best of their work?
Of her 129 films, Loy is always interesting, but three of her best performances are The Thin Man series (6 films), Libeled Lady, and The Best Years of Our Lives. Beginning with the first series in the series,The Thin Man, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025878/, Loy portrays the witty, unflappable Nora Charles. As Nick and Nora, Powell and Loy embody that very rare phenomenon in movies, the happily married couple who are actually in love with each other.
In Libeled Lady http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027884/, Loy portrays a woman who is suing a newspaper for libel. The editor, played by Spencer Tracy, sets up an intricate plot, involving William Powell, to discredit her. As is the case in a screwball comedy, anything that can go wrong, does. Loy’s impeccable comic timing and way with a one-liner serve her well, as does her considerable chemistry with Powell.
Loy could also shine in dramatic roles. As Milly Stephenson in The Best Years Of Our Lives, she is patient and reliable, with just a trace of her trademark wit, as she copes with her husband’s somewhat rocky re-entry into civilian life.
Any bad apples to avoid?
I haven’t seen her give a bad performance yet, though I’ve not seen any of her work before 1931’s A Connecticut Yankee.
Are you a fan of Myrna Loy? Have you seen much of her work? Any questions for Paula? Comment below…