Thursday, 7 May 2009

Norma Shearer

She won a beauty contest at age fourteen. In 1920 her mother, Edith Shearer, took Norma and her sister Athole Shearer (Mrs. Howard Hawks) to New York. Ziegfeld rejected her for his "Follies" but she got work as an extra in several movies.
She spent much money on eye doctor's services trying to correct her cross-eyed stare caused by a muscle weakness.
Irving Thalberg had seen her early efforts and, when he joined Louis B. Mayer in 1923, gave her a five year contract.
He thought she should retire after their marriage, but she wanted bigger parts. In 1927 she insisted on firing the director
Viktor Tourjansky because he was unsure of her cross-eyed stare. Her first talkie was in The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929); four movies later she won an Oscar in The Divorcee (1930).
She intentionally cut down film exposure during the thirties, relying on major roles in Thalberg's prestige projects:
The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934), Romeo and Juliet (1936) (her fifth Oscar nomination). Thalberg died of second heart attack in September 1936, aged thirty-seven. Norma wanted to retire but MGM more-or-less forced her into a six-picture contract.
David O. Selznick offered her the part of Scarlett O'Hara, but public objection to her cross-eyed stare killed the deal. She starred in The Women (1939), turned down the starring role in Mrs. Miniver (1942), and retired in 1942.
Later that year she married Sun Valley ski instructor Martin Arrouge, twenty years younger than she (he waived community property rights). From then on she shunned the limelight; she was in very poor health the last decade of her life.

Even after retirement, Norma maintained her interest in the film industry. While staying at a ski lodge, she noticed a photo of the receptionist's daughter and recommended her to MGM - that girl, became the star known as
Janet Leigh.
She also discovered a handsome young businessman beside a swimming pool - now actor/producer
Robert Evans.
She is commemorated on one of a set of postage stamps (issued in 2008) honoring prominent Canadians in Hollywood. The other stamps feature
Marie Dressler, Chief Dan George and Raymond Burr.


bluedreamer27 said...

hello alli
thanks for adding up some knowledge again
you know what everytime i went here it seems that your blog takes me back with that era
and i love it
and happy mothers day