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Loy, Myrna

Summary Article: Loy, Myrna (1905 Helena, MT-1993 New York City) from Encyclopedic Dictionary of Women in Early American Films: 1895-1930, An
Loy, Myrna (1905 Helena, MT-1993 New York City)
Image from: Loy, Myrna (1905 Helena, MT-1993 New York City) from Encyclopedic Dictionary of Women in Early American Films: 1895-1930, An [cite image]

Myrna Loy, who starred as Nora Charles in the successful Thin Man series, began her career in silent films in 1925. After her father's death during the influenza epidemic of 1918, her mother moved the family to Los Angeles. There she attended school and graduated from Venice High School. While attending the high school in 1921 she modeled for the “Spiritual” statue that still stands with two others at the entry of the main building.

After appearing in local productions and dancing in the chorus at Grauman's Chinese Theatre while still in high school, Loy entered films soon after she graduated. She appeared as an extra in several films before she was cast as a chorus girl in the landmark film The Jazz Singer (1927). She continued honing her craft in every role from ingenue to exotic vamp.

By the mid-1930s she was one of MGM's biggest stars and apopu-lar female box office attraction. Her first breakout hit was Manhattan Melodrama (1934), the film that John Dillinger was watching before he was gunned down outside a theater. That same year, after a long apprenticeship in silent films, she starred in the first of six Thin Man films, The Thin Man, opposite William Powell as the affluent and urbane couple Nick and Nora Charles, who solved murders amid witty repartee. They became the prototype for many later detective couples, including the Harts in the hit television series, Hart to Hart (1979-1984).

In 1937 the readers of Ed Sullivan's entertainment column voted Loy the “Queen of Hollywood". During the war, however, Loy turned her back on Hollywood and served as a full-time Red Cross worker. When the war ended she returned to films, and in addition to such classics as The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), she appeared as Lillian Gilbreth in another popular series of films based on the book Cheaper by the Dozen.

She was never awarded an Oscar for her acting, but in 1991 she received an honorary Oscar “in recognition of her extraordinary qualities both on screen and off, and with appreciation for a lifetime's worth of indelible performances". Unable to attend the ceremony because of failing health, via satellite from New York the actor simply said, “You've made me very happy. Thank you very much".

After her retirement from films, Loy became involved in politics and served as an advisor to the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing as well as film advisor to UNESCO. She made her Broadway debut in the 1973 revival of The Women and appeared in several television productions. Her autobiography, Myrna Loy: Being and Becoming, was published in 1987.

Film Credits
1925 Pretty Ladies; Sporting Life; Ben-Hur; What Price Beauty?
1926 The Caveman; The Love Toy; Why Girls Go Back Home; The Gilded Highway; Exquisite Sinner; So This Is Paris; Don Juan; Across the Pacific; The Third Degree
1927 Finger Prints; When a Man Loves; Bitter Apples; The Climbers; Simple Sis; The Heart of Maryland; A Sailor's Sweet-heart; The Jazz Singer; The Girl from Chicago; If I Were Single; Ham and Eggs at the Front
1928 Beware of Married Men; A Girl in Every Port; Turn Back the Hours; The Crimson City; Pay As You Enter; State Street Sadie; The Midnight Taxi
1929 Fancy Baggage; Hardboiled Rose; The Desert Song; The Squall; The Black Watch; Noah's Ark; The Great Divide; Evidence; The Show of Shows
1930 Cameo Kirby; Isle of Escape; Under a Texas Moon; Cocko' the Walk; Bride of the Regiment; The Last of the Duanes; The Jazz Cinderella; The Bad Man; Renegades; Rogue of the Rio Grande; The Truth About Youth; The Devil to Pay!
1931 The Naughty Flirt; Consolation Marriage; Arrowsmith; Transatlantic; Skyline; Rebound; Hush Money; A Connecticut Yankee; Body and Soul
1932 Emma; The Wet Parade; New Morals for Old; Love Me Tonight; Thirteen Women; The Mask of Fu Manchu; The Animal Kingdom; The Woman in Room 13; Vanity Fair
1933 Topaze; Scarlet River; The Barbarian; When Ladies Meet; Penthouse; Night Flight; The Prizefighter and the Lady
1934 Men in White; Manhattan Melodrama; Stamboul Quest; Evelyn Prentice; Broadway Bill; The Thin Man
1935 Wings in the Dark; Whipsaw
1936 Wife vs. Secretary; The Great Ziegfeld; To Mary, with Love; Libeled Lady; After the Thin Man; Petticoat Fever
1937 Parnell; Double Wedding
1938 Test Pilot; Man-Proof; Too Hot to Handle
1939 Lucky Night; Another Thin Man; The Rains Came
1940 Love You Again; Third Finger, Left Hand; Northward Ho!
1941 Shadow of the Thin Man; Love Crazy1943 Show Business at War
1945 The Thin Man Goes Home
1946 The Best Years of Our Lives; So Goes My Love
1947 The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer; Song of the Thin Man; The Senator Was Indiscreet
1948 Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House
1949 The Red Pony; That Dangerous Age
1950 Cheaper by the Dozen1952 Belles on Their Toes
1956 The Ambassador's Daughter
1958 Lonelyhearts
1960 From the Terrace; Midnight Lace
1969 April Fools
1974 Airport 1975
1978 The End
1980 Just Tell Me What You Want

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