norma shearer

Did you know?

January 29, 2017 // 5 Comments

  Mickey Rooney was at the top of the Hollywood tree in the thirties and lived his life in the fast lane. MGM’s publicity machine had him collecting stamps and coins like any other young American boy. It was even spread about that his favourite author was Eugene O’Neill. Randy little Mickey did not collect stamps or coins, nor did he read books, any books, much less O’Neill’s. He [...]

Did you know?

November 14, 2016 // 0 Comments

  Director Dorothy Arzner & Crawford ‘I like to think that every director I’ve worked with has fallen a little in love with me’, Joan Crawford once confided in an interview none too modestly. ‘I know Dorothy Arzner did’. No surprises there. Given her well-documented sexual orientation Dorothy may well have fallen in love with many of her leading ladies over the years. When it [...]

Did you know? (C)

June 25, 2016 // 2 Comments

    The 1934 picture Bolero teamed Carole Lombard and George Raft for the first time. True to Hollywood form they were soon embroiled in a steamy affair. Raft was renowned in Tinsel Town for being a ‘sexual technician’. When asked by a reporter to name Hollywood’s greatest lover, Carole quickly replied, ‘George Raft’. Then, realising she had put her foot in it, she promptly [...]

Norma Shearer – MGM’S ‘Queen of the Lot’.

January 5, 2016 // 0 Comments

  Irving Thalberg, the ‘boy genius’ in charge of production at MGM, died in 1936 while his wife, Norma Shearer, was in the middle of making Marie Antoinette. He was a genius when it came to organizing a film studio and making it run efficiently and profitably. The fledgling company run by L B Mayer had taken him on at $600 a week, although an important clause in his contract guaranteed [...]

Hollywood – tales from the dark side.

December 14, 2015 // 6 Comments

  Mabel Normand was one of the wildest of the silent stars whose off-screen antics ultimately wrecked her career and contributed to her early death. Mack Sennett credited her with inventing the pie-throwing gag that came to be used extensively throughout the silent picture era, claiming she threw one in comedian Ben Turpin’s face while the cross-eyed star was struggling to get a laugh from [...]

The 4 ‘Romeo & Juliets’ – enough already!

November 25, 2015 // 6 Comments

  The chronic problem with casting Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is finding actors who are both young and experienced enough in stage acting to carry it off. After all, in Bill the Bard’s play Juliet is just fourteen years old. MGM producer Irving Thalberg unwisely chose to tackle the problem in the 1936 version by giving his wife Norma Shearer the role. Depending on which birth date is the [...]

MICKEY ROONEY – Will the real Mickey please stand up?

August 28, 2015 // 3 Comments

  young Lana Turner If you happen to be a Mickey Rooney fan (I am most certainly not, by the way), then you should definitely not read his sleazy autobiography titled Life Is Too Short. I have and I wish I hadn’t. My reason for repeating a couple of excerpts here is simple. I think it is important that we fully understand what a grubby little pervert the guy was, and the best way to do so [...]

What’s in a name Part One?

August 2, 2015 // 0 Comments

Back in the good old studio days it was customary for studios to come up with snappy nicknames for their female stars. Well, they thought they were snappy, anyway. For some reason these were seldom given to male actors, although that is not to say that some of these guys didn’t have nicknames of their own long before their movie careers took off. John ‘Duke’ Wayne was one, for example. As a [...]

LOUELLA PARSONS – A law unto herself.

July 24, 2015 // 6 Comments

  When the studio system was at its peak in the thirties and forties, a ‘Gossip Columnist’ could wreck a career with just a couple of acid-laced lines. They did not even need to be true. Louella Parsons, the Hollywood mouthpiece for the Hearst empire of newspapers, became a most feared individual. Few stars crossed her, for to do so was tantamount to committing career suicide. [...]

Paul Bern ( 1889 – 1932 ) – An exercise in character assassination.

July 12, 2015 // 6 Comments

  Irene Selznick, the wife of producer David O, once described Paul Bern as ‘the single most beloved person in Hollywood’. He was a writer at MGM, 45 years old, short and bald, yet his new wife, Jean Harlow, clearly seemed to be in love with him. It was probably not a ‘match made in heaven’, but there seemed to be considerable trust and real friendship between them, qualities not [...]