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Myrna Loy

8/2/1905 to 12/14/1993
Mrna Williams, later to become Myrna Loy, was born in Radersburg, Montana. Her family moved to Helena where she spent her youth. At the age of 13, Myrna’s father died of influenza and the rest of the family moved to Los Angeles. She was educated in L.A. and the Westlake School for Girls where she caught the acting bug. She started at the age of 15 when she appeared in local stage productions in order to help support her family. Some of the stage plays were held in the now famous Grauman's Theater in Hollywood.
Mrs. Rudolph Valentino happened to be in the audience one night who managed to pull some strings to get Myrna some parts in the motion picture industry. Her first film was a small part in the production of What Price Beauty? (1925). Later she appeared the same year in Pretty Ladies (1925) along with Joan Crawford. She was one of the few stars that would start in the silent movies and make a successful transition into the sound era. In the silent films, Myrna would appear as an exotic femme fatale. Later in the sound era, she would become a refined, wholesome character. Unable to land a contract with MGM, she continued to appear in small, bit roles.
In 1926, Myrna appeared in the Warner Brothers film Satan in Sables which landed her a contract. Her first appearance as a contract player was The Caveman (1926) where she played a maid. Although she was typecast over and over again as a vamp, Myrna continued to stay busy with small parts. In 1927, she received star billing in Bitter Apples.
After a string of roles typecast as a vamp, her contract ran out with Warner and she signed with MGM where she got two better roles. One was in the The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933), and the other as Nora Charles in The Thin Man (1934) with William Powell. Most agreed that the Thin Man series would never have been successful without Myrna. After The Thin Man (1934), Myrna appeared in five more in the series, she was a big box-office draw. In 1936, she was named Queen of the Movies and Clark Gable the king in a nationwide poll of movie goers. Her popularity was at its height.
She continued to make films through the 40s and 50s, but by the 1960's the parts had all but dried up as producers and directors looked elsewhere for talent. In 1960 she appeared in Midnight Lace and was not in another until 1969 in The April Fools. The 1970s found her in TV movies, not theatrical productions. Her last film was in 1981 called Summer Solstice (TV).
She married and divorced 4 times. Her profile was the most requested in the 1930s by women to their plastic surgeons.
Myrna underwent two mastectomies after being diagnosed with breast cancer twice. By the time Myrna passed away, on December 14, 1993, at the age of 88, she had appeared in a phenomenal 129 motion pictures. She was buried in Helena, Montana.
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