Happy Birthday to Myrna Loy

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite actresses of all time – Myrna Loy. My plan was to mark the occasion by re-watching The Thin Man, but, after a half hour or so of jumping around the web, reading about her life, I’ve decided to watch this 1973 interview with her instead. I don’t suspect that many in the audience will want to join me, but I thought that I’d mention it, just in case there were any other fans of hers out there. I’m only a few minutes into it, but it’s pretty fascinating stuff… I’d never know, for instance, that her father had died in Spanish flu epidemic of 1918.

And, before anyone mentions it, yes, I know that she started her career in yellowface, portraying “exotic” asian women in films like The Mask of Fu Manchu, where she played the sadistic, sex-crazed daughter of Boris Karloff, who, like her, was made-up to look Chinese. I’m not sure to which film she was referring, but I’ve heard that, later in life, she called one of them a “racist piece of trash.”

One more thing… I didn’t know until this evening how she landed the role of Nora Charles in The Thin Man. The following comes from Wikipedia:

Director W. S. Van Dyke chose Loy after he detected a wit and sense of humor that her previous films had not revealed. At a Hollywood party, he pushed her into a swimming pool to test her reaction, and felt that her aplomb in handling the situation was exactly what he envisioned for Nora.

I guess she’s lucky it was a comedy and not an action film that Van Dyke was making. I’d hate to thing of her being shoved in front of a train, or some such thing.

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  1. Rick
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Myrna Loy moved to California with her mother after her father died, and it’s there that she was discovered by silent film star Rudolph Valentino. If it weren’t for the flu epidemic of 1918, we likely never would have known Myrna Adele Williams from Helena, Montana. I find that incredibly interesting.

  2. KKT
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    God, she was a beautiful woman.

  3. Posted August 3, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Somehow I’ve only seen her later movies: The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, and Cheaper by the Dozen.

  4. Joanne
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    She was one of my all-time favorite actresses that I named one of our cats after her. Myrna Loy is now 3 yrs, 5 months old.

  5. PL
    Posted November 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    She’s worth a whole sack of Lindsay’s Lohans.

One Trackback

  1. By Ypsi Immigration Interview: Sarah Zawacki on December 1, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    […] right now. I’ve been watching a lot of William Powell movies lately so I would pick The Thin Man (Myrna Loy is so perfect) and My Man Godfrey (with Carole Lombard — also perfect). Or, I would go with […]

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