Myrna Loy is perhaps known best for her roles as femme fatale in silent movies. Because of her exotic beauty she was often cast in the role of Asian or Eurasian characters but later became a popular female lead in romantic comedies where she was frequently paired with William Powell and Clark Gable.
Here are some things you might not have known about Myrna Loy:
- When she was just 16 she posed for her high school sculpture teacher for the central figure in the sculpture Fountain of Education (photo below). Interestingly this sculpture also appears in the opening credits of the movie Grease.
- It was Rudolph Valentino who gave her the break she needed into movies. He spotted her portrait in a photographers studio and asked her to come and test for his movie Cobra. She didn’t get the part but this got her in with the studio and she as given a bit part in the film Pretty Ladies soon afterwards (along with a young and inexperienced Joan Crawford).
- Loy shot to stardom partly due to the misadventure of somebody else when gangster John Dillinger was shot and killed after watching one of her movies. Suddenly everyone wanted to know about Dillinger’s favourite movie star!
- She was cast for the role in The Thin Man after being pushed into a swimming pool whilst at a Hollywood party. She handled the situation so well that she landed the role.
- At the height of her career (1937-38) Loy was one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood
- During WW2 Loy was very outspoken in her views against Adolf Hitler, so much so that she earned herself a place on the official Nazi blacklist.
- She made over 120 movies in a career which spanned 6 decades.
- As well as her on-screen pairing with Powell and Gable, she worked with the biggest male stars at the time including Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Robert Montgomery, James Stewart and Tyrone Power.
Above: Publicity Photo for The Thin Man, with Myrna Loy, Skippy, and William Powell, 1936