The former Myrna Adele Williams of Helena, Montana was several things to many people: an insouciantly witty actress, a glamour-puss and a formidable actress who could perform comedy and drama with ease and panache.
Certainly, Myrna Loy, as she became to be known, had a lengthy career — beginning in the silent era 20’s and carrying on into the early 80’s. She played sexy party girls as well as upright maternal characters. Her biggest fans included Jimmy Stewart, Winston Churchill and the Roosevelts (FDR, that is).
How much do you know about Loy, who died in 1993 at age 88? Let’s find out by getting to today’s answers to yesterday’s Myrna Loy Quiz.
1) Question: When she was only 15, Loy began appearing in local stage productions in Los Angeles including some at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Which one of the following “discovered” her during this period? a) Myron Selznick; b) Irving Thalberg; c) Rudolph Valentino; or d) David Selznick.
1) Answer: The story goes that while a teenaged Loy was performing as a dancer at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, she was spotted by (c) Rudolph Valentino, who happened to be in the audience that night. An impressed Valentino is said to have used his influence to land Myrna a screen test. The rest is…
2) Question: How old was Loy when she made her first movie? a) 1 7; b) 19; c) 20; or d) 25.
2) Answer: Loy was born in 1905, and was (c) 20 when she made her screen debut in Pretty Ladies.
3) Question: Which one of the following was NOT a nickname or reference to Loy? a) Queen of Hollywood; b) The Perfect Wife; c) Queen of the Movies or d) Minnie.
3) Answer: We have to come clean here. This is a trick question. ALL four choices were at various times applied to Loy.
4) Question: Loy was known for her string of successful films made in the 1930’s. How many pictures did she actually make during that decade? a) 58; b) 14; c) 32; or d) 19.
4) Answer: Loy emerged as a huge star in the 30’s, and made, by one count, a total of (a) 58 pictures during that decade. That’s an average of 5.8 movies EACH year. Wow!
5) Question: Loy and William Powell were famously paired in the exquisite Thin Man series of movies based on the work of novelist Dashiell Hammett. How many did they make together? a) eight; b) six; c) 14; or d) three.
5) Answer: Myrna and William Powell made 14 movies together, (b) six of which were Thin Man pictures made over a dozen years. The Thin Man titles are: The Thin Man (1934), After The Thin Man (1936), Another Thin Man (1939), Shadow of the Thin Man (1941), The Thin Man Goes Home (1945) and Song of the Thin Man (1947).
6) Question: Although careful when speaking about costar Powell in public, Loy privately disliked the actor intensely. a) True; or b) False?
6) Answer: b) False. Loy was a big fan of Powell’s. She referred to him as a “brilliant actor, delightful companion, a great friend and, above all, a true gentleman.”
7) Question: Loy developed a loathing of Crawford because the latter beat out Loy for the leading role in the 1945 hit Mildred Pierce. a) True; or b) False?
7) Answer: b) False. Loy and Joan Crawford, both born in 1905, liked each other. It’s true that Loy was considered for the title part in Mildred Pierce, but she never resented Crawford for winning the role.
8) Question: Over a 55-year-career covering more than 130 pictures Loy never won an Oscar. a) True; or b) False?
8) Answer: b) False. Loy was presented in 1991 with a honorary Oscar, a life achievement-type citation. But she never won an award for any of her many fine performances. Shame on the Academy.
9) Question: One of the great regrets of Loy’s life was the fact that over four marriages she never produced any children. a) True; or b) False.
9) Answer: b) False. Loy never regretted not having children. When she witnessed the difficulties Crawford had managing her adopted children, she felt to some extent vindicated.
10) Question: In the late 30’s, Loy was nearly killed making a movie costarring Tyrone Power and George Brent when the horse she was riding on suddenly bolted. Can you name the movie? (Hint: It is an adventure story set in India in which Myrna plays “Lady Edwina Esketh”.)
10) Answer: 1939’s The Rains Came, set in India but filmed in San Diego.