Myrna Loy was discovered by production designer Natacha Rambova, who helped facilitate film auditions for her, and she began obtaining small roles in the late 1920s, Loy devoted herself fully to an acting career following a few minor roles in silent films.
46 Facts About Myrna Loy
Myrna Loy was originally typecast in exotic roles, often as a vamp or a woman of Asian descent, but her career prospects improved greatly following her portrayal of Nora Charles in The Thin Man.
Myrna Loy's performances peaked in the 1940s, with films like The Thin Man Goes Home, The Best Years of Our Lives, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, and Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House.
Myrna Loy appeared in only a few films in the 1950s, including a lead role in the comedy Cheaper by the Dozen, as well as supporting parts in The Ambassador's Daughter and the drama Lonelyhearts.
Myrna Loy appeared in only eight films between 1960 and 1981, after which she retired from acting.
Myrna Loy died in December 1993 in New York City, at age 88.
Myrna Loy's parents had married in Helena in 1904, one year before Loy was born.
Myrna Loy had one younger brother, David Frederick Williams.
Myrna Loy's mother had studied music at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, and at one time considered a career as a concert performer, but instead devoted her time to raising Loy and her brother.
Myrna Loy's mother was a lifelong Democrat, while her father was a staunch Republican.
Myrna Loy spent her early life in Radersburg, Montana, a rural mining community approximately 50 miles southeast of Helena.
Myrna Loy's mother saw great potential in Southern California, and during one of her husband's visits, she encouraged him to purchase real estate there.
When Myrna Loy was 13, her father died during the 1918 flu pandemic in November of that year.
Myrna Loy attended the exclusive Westlake School for Girls while continuing to study dance in downtown Los Angeles.
In 1921, Myrna Loy posed for Venice High School sculpture teacher Harry Fielding Winebrenner as "Inspiration"; the full length figure was central in his allegorical sculpture group Fountain of Education.
Myrna Loy left school at the age of 18 to begin to help with the family's finances.
Myrna Loy obtained work at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, where she performed in what were called prologues, elaborate musical sequences that were related to and served as preliminary entertainment before the feature film.
Myrna Loy tested for the role, which went to Gertrude Olmstead instead, but soon after that she was hired as an extra for Pretty Ladies, in which she and fellow newcomer Joan Crawford were among a bevy of chorus girls dangling from an elaborate chandelier.
Myrna Loy played, opposite Boris Karloff, the depraved sadistic daughter of the title character in The Mask of Fu Manchu.
In 1934, Myrna Loy appeared in Manhattan Melodrama with Clark Gable and William Powell.
When gangster John Dillinger was shot to death after leaving a screening of the film at the Biograph Theater in Chicago, the film received widespread publicity, with some newspapers reporting that Myrna Loy had been Dillinger's favorite actress.
Myrna Loy received excellent reviews and was acclaimed for her comedic skills.
Myrna Loy made four films in close succession with William Powell: Libeled Lady, which starred Jean Harlow and Spencer Tracy; The Great Ziegfeld, in which she played Billie Burke opposite Powell's Florenz Ziegfeld; the second Thin Man film, After the Thin Man, with Powell and James Stewart; and the romantic comedy Double Wedding.
Myrna Loy married Arthur Hornblow in 1936, in between filming the successive productions.
Myrna Loy was later rumored to have had affairs with co-star Tracy between 1935 and 1936, while filming Whipsaw and Libeled Lady.
Myrna Loy was cast in the lead female role in The Rains Came opposite Tyrone Power.
Myrna Loy filmed Third Finger, Left Hand with Melvyn Douglas and appeared in I Love You Again, Love Crazy, and Shadow of the Thin Man, all with William Powell.
On June 1,1942, Myrna Loy divorced husband Hornblow in Reno, citing "mental cruelty" as the impetus for separating.
Myrna Loy was so fiercely outspoken against Adolf Hitler that her name appeared on his blacklist, resulting in her films being banned in Germany.
Myrna Loy helped run a Naval Auxiliary canteen and toured frequently to raise funds for the war efforts.
Around 1945, Myrna Loy began dating producer and screenwriter Gene Markey, who had previously been married to actresses Joan Bennett and Hedy Lamarr.
Myrna Loy returned to films with The Thin Man Goes Home.
Myrna Loy was paired with Cary Grant in David O Selznick's The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer.
In 1950, Myrna Loy co-starred with Clifton Webb in Cheaper by the Dozen, which was a box-office hit, grossing $4.4 million in the United States.
Myrna Loy played opposite Montgomery Clift and Robert Ryan in Lonelyhearts, Dore Schary's adaptation of Nathanael West's classic 1933 novel Miss Lonelyhearts.
In 1965, Myrna Loy won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago theatre.
In 1975, Myrna Loy was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent two mastectomies to treat the disease.
Myrna Loy kept her cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment from the public until the publication of her autobiography in 1987.
Myrna Loy returned to the stage, making her Broadway debut in a short-lived 1973 revival of Clare Boothe Luce's The Women.
Myrna Loy toured in a 1978 production of Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking, directed by David Clayton.
Myrna Loy's last acting role was a guest spot on the sitcom Love, Sidney, in 1982.
In January 1985 Myrna Loy was honoured by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a special salute held at Carnegie Hall in New York City, which she attended along with 2,800 guests.
Myrna Loy died at age 88 on December 14,1993, at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan during surgery following a long, unspecified illness.
Myrna Loy had been frail and in failing health, which had resulted in her being unable to attend the 1991 Academy Awards ceremony, where she was to receive a lifetime achievement Oscar.
Myrna Loy was cremated in New York and her ashes interred at Forestvale Cemetery in her native Helena, Montana.