Myrna Loy: A True Silverscreen Siren

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Allow me to introduce to you Myrna Loy.  The first time I saw a picture of Myrna Loy I didn’t know who the person was in the photograph. There wasn’t a name, it was just the picture, and I was captivated by the photograph. It was the one you see above. The hair, her face, and eyes made me stop and notice. Even the way her shoulder is peeking out from the bottom of the picture just made me stop in my tracks and stare. It was later on that I found the same picture but then it was identified as Myrna Loy.

Myrna Loy        tumblr_lk6wyioFdH1qb8ugro1_500

While scouring the interwebs for Jazz Age photos, I came across many other pictures of Ms. Loy. She’s even more captivating seeing a front faced photo. So naturally, I took it upon myself to learn about her and her career.

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Myrna Loy was born August 2, 1905 in Helena, Montana. Her mother moved her and her brother permanently to California after their father died from the Spanish influenza in 1917. Myrna had already been dabbling in the fine arts by this time which was the catalyst to her career during the 1920s. I read that during her silent film career she often played vamps or femme fatales. She most often played characters of Asian or Eurasion background. She worked to shake this stereotype. She continued her career through the 1930s up until the start of World War II when she put her career on the back burner and focused more on the war effort. I read that she was very outspoken about being against Adolf Hitler (go Myrna!) and because of this, her name was on his blacklist. She picked up her acting career after the second World War, although the acting train slowed down again during the 1950s.

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Throughout her career she worked to ensure black actors had rights in the film industry. She seemed ahead of her time which makes this silent film star actress even more cooler. She made a few other films during the span of the 1960s and 1970s but stopped acting after 1982. She married four times and had no children of her own. She didn’t stop rallying for human rights as she was Co-Chairman of the Advisory Council of the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing. She was a big fan of Franklin D. Roosevelt and became a personal friend to his wife, Eleanor. She was a member of UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and was the first celebrity to do so. Her last public appearance was in 1991 when she accepted the Academy Honorary Award for her career achievement. Throughout her life, she was destined to make a mark in history either on film or her work outside film.

myrna-loy_7    Myrna Loy 042732    myrna loy circa 1934 by ted allan

 

Myrna Loy passed away on December 14, 1993. She was cremated in New York but her ashes lay in Helena, Montana. She published an autobiography in 1987 called, Myrna Loy: Being and Becoming. I’m planning to pick up a copy so I can hear from her words her transcendence through the 20th century. I noticed she even had a “shout-out” in the 1991 film, The Rocketeer, when the main character told his budding actress sweetheart, “You got a big part. You stood behind Myrna Loy with a bowl of grapes.”

In the majority of the pictures I’ve seen of her she doesn’t smile. The one I did find, she seemed just as charming and alluring as when she doesn’t smile. However, not smiling never seemed to deter her look because her eyes spoke volumes. I can only imagine how many hearts were stopped when they met her. Her eyes are just mesmerizing. She is truly the definition of the phrase, “the cat’s meow,” and then some. Now for some Myrna Loy eye-candy.

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