I share my birthday (August 2) with my favorite movie star: Myrna Loy.
I couldn't believe it when I first found out.
Born in 1905, the fabulous Myrna died age 88 in 1993. She never received an Oscar for a single performance, but did receive an honorary Oscar in 1991. Acknowledging the recognition was her last public appearance.
I first became enamored with Myrna watching the entire Thin Man series -- Nick and Nora Charles and their dog, Asta, are so cosmopolitan and suave as they solve crimes. They have a fabulous life; watching it just makes you want to be a part of it.
In every film, Myrna is poised, witty, sophisticated, funny, pretty without being distractingly gorgeous, and, while always a lady, she can be disarmingly down-to-earth and bawdy. She treated everyone equally, getting along with everybody no matter who they were.
She was miscast when she first began in films, playing exotic roles, femme fetales, and vamps. She came into her own in the '30s when she got scripts where she was allowed to be witty and showcase her comic timing. She was an excellent comedienne -- and her slight air of ditziness and clumsiness further endeared her to me, since I seem to share both traits.
Some of my favorite films are the Thin Man series, as mentioned, as well as Libeled Lady (one of my favorite screwball comedies), Test Pilot, Wife vs. Secretary, The Best Years of Our Lives, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, and Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House. She worked with them all: Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, William Powell -- and held her own with all of them. Her most frequent co-star with the debonair Powell. They were in 14 films together.
She was rumored to have affairs with Spencer Tracy, Leslie Howard, and William Powell.
Personally, she sounds as awesome as I would have hoped she would be. She all but quit acting during WWII to concentrate on raising funds for the war effort and to work with the Red Cross.
She spoke out against Hitler so vehemently she was on his blacklist. She was an advocate for equal rights. She supported black performers when it wasn't popular to do so.
She married four times but the marriages just didn't work out. She never had kids, but was close to the step-kids she had. She was a breast cancer survivor in her later years. Sadly, she died during an operation.
Myrna Loy was class. There will never be another like her, and more's the pity.