Monday, August 10, 2009
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NORMA!!
Norma Shearer was born on this date in 1902. She was an Academy-Award-winning actress who was also married to the head of production at MGM (which didn't hurt!) Yes, Norma was Mrs. Irving Thalberg and upon his death at a very young age, Norma became a major stockholder in the movie company, which also didn't hurt her chances of good roles.
I love her as Mary Haines in "The Women" with Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell. Norma put such a stamp on that role that we can almost not imagine anyone else playing the part. That often happens when Hollywood films a stage play.
Norma began in silent movies, which is where she learned to use her face to convey emotion. She had some trouble changing her camera technique when sound came in, but she finally mastered it and went on to appear in "The Barretts of Wimpole Street". "Strange Interlude", "Romeo and Juliet" (one of her mistakes!) and "Marie Antoinette."
After Thalberg died, Norma remarried and lived happily until her second husband died. She then had a fling with (of all people) Mickey Rooney! It is said, sadly, that at the end of her life at the Motion Picture Country Home, Norma wandered up and down the halls calling, "Mickey, Mickey." Such is Hollywood legend, folks. I don't invent these tales.