We're looking for contributors

Myrna Loy Biography

Myrna Loy biography The Only Good Girl in Hollywood
Myrna Loy biography: The Only Good Girl in Hollywood

Many believe that Myrna Loy is the best American actress never to have been nominated for an Academy Award. Despite having played leads and supporting roles in more than 100 movies (in addition to a few dozen bit parts during the silent era), Loy was invariably bypassed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But that's the Oscar and the Academy's loss.

For starters, Loy was a delightful light comedienne in movies such as W.S. Van Dyke's The Thin Man and Jack Conway's Libeled Lady. One of the greatest — and most beautifully politically incorrect — dialogue exchanges in movies can be heard in Rouben Mamoulian's 1932 musical Love Me Tonight:

Jeanette MacDonald: "Don't you think of anything but men, dear?"

Myrna Loy: "Oh yes, schoolboys."

Loy could be a remarkable dramatic actress as well, as can be attested by her quite moving performance as war veteran Fredric March's wife in William Wyler's 1946 Best Picture Oscar winner The Best Years of Our Lives. If that weren't all, she all but stole Mark Robson's otherwise dreary From the Terrace from young lovers Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. And, as Ramon Novarro's lust/love interest, she's phenomenal in both the comedy and dramatic segments of Sam Wood's outrageous The Barbarian, which features rape, beatings, and singing. Personally, I think Loy would have been great in film noirs, but Hollywood studios clearly disagreed.

In addition to the aforementioned titles, Loy's movies — covering a wide range of topics — include Penthouse, Manhattan Melodrama, The Great Ziegfeld, The Rains Came, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, and Cheaper by the Dozen. Among her leading men were William Powell (mostly in the Thin Man movies), Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Melvyn Douglas, Clifton Webb, John Barrymore, Spencer Tracy, and Tyrone Power.

Off screen, Loy was devoted to liberal causes, including the Civil Rights movement, in addition to being an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and a vehement opponent of the right-wingers in the House Un-American Activities Committee. A strong supporter of the United Nations, for a time she was also a UNESCO spokesperson.

Author Emily Leider, who previously wrote books on Mae West (Becoming Mae West) and Rudolph Valentino (Dark Lover), has tackled Myrna Loy's life and career in Myrna Loy: The Only Good Girl in Hollywood (University of California Press, 2011). Clara Bow and Jean Harlow biographer David Stenn called The Only Good Girl in Hollywood "a masterful tribute to MGM's subtlest star," while film historian Anthony Slide wrote that "this first biography of Myrna Loy is so conscientiously researched, so closely written in detail and intelligent style that there will be no need for a second."

Emily, whom I met several years ago while I was working on my Ramon Novarro biography, kindly agreed to answer a few questions about Myrna Loy and The Only Good Girl in Hollywood. Please see link below.

If you enjoyed reading Myrna Loy Biography and/or found it an informative post, please recommend it to your friends. See share buttons above or on the left. ()
Originally posted: Myrna Loy Biography ()

Continue Reading: Myrna Loy Q&A: Author Emily Leider

Previous Post: San Francisco Earthquake Movie: Brad Bird/1906


"Myrna Loy Biography" © 2004-2014 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s). Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.


Feel free to leave your comment about the Alt Film Guide article "Myrna Loy Biography" in the space below. Note: Different views and opinions are perfectly fine, but courtesy and respect are imperative. Abusive, bigoted, trollish, baseless (spreading rumors or misinformation), and inflammatory comments and/or remarks will be deleted, and such commenters may be banned.

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

1 Comment to Myrna Loy Biography

  1. Karen Churn

    Again, I'm a day late and a dollar short in finding your articles. I was just watching one of the "Thin Man" movies yesterday and was, again, struck by how gorgeous Myrna Loy was and how whip sharp she was as an actress. Very few could play comedy with more sophistication than Ms. Loy. Most of the time, all she had to do was give a look and it would be hysterical. Also, I honesty feel that she fit perfectly with practically all of her leading men. However, pairing her with William Powell was probably one of the best moves that first casting director who did it ever made.




Claudette Colbert: Author James Robert Parish Discusses the Paramount Star
REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA: Bill Moseley & Terrance Zdunich Interview
THE BETRAYAL: NERAKHOON -- Q&A with Ellen Kuras
Ann Dvorak: Hollywood's Forgotten Rebel
From Charles Farrell to Rock Hudson – Non-Nominated Actors: Biggest Oscar Snubs #8e
WHAT IF THEY LIVED? Q&A with Phil Hall
Rachel Weisz Opposite Johnny Depp in THE THIN MAN Remake?
Los Angeles Film Critics Macho Career Achievement Award Choices
5 STAR DAY Director Danny Buday Interview
Drew Denny: Q&A with THE MOST FUN I'VE EVER HAD WITH MY PANTS ON Filmmaker