A tribute to classic actresses, silent beauties, and forgotten starlets including ...
Linda Darnell, Betty Grable, Jayne Mansfield, Paulette Goddard, Jean Harlow, Marion Davies, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe, Jeanette MacDonald, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Lucille Ball, Carole Lombard, Judy Garland, Norma Shearer, and Clara Bow
Monday, July 7, 2014
"Never let them see you in public after you've turned thirty-five. You're finished if you do!" ~ Norma
Norma Shearer was born Edith Norma Shearer
on August 10, 1902, in Montreal, Canada. After seeing the Dolly Sisters perform on stage she decided to become an
actress. Her mother took Norma and her sister to New York when they were teenagers. Norma
auditioned for the Ziegfeld Follies but was told she wasn't beautiful
enough to be in the show. She was able to get work as an extra in numerous films including The Flapper. Norma began dating producer Irving
Thalberg, who helped her get a contract with MGM. She appeared in many successful silent
films and easily made the transition to
talkies. Norma converted to Judaism and married Irving in September
1927. They had two children together but Norma was not very maternal and had a distant
relationship with her children. She
starred in some of MGM's most prestigious films including Smilin'
Through, Romeo And Juliet, and The Barretts Of Wimpole Street. In 1931 won an Oscar for her performance in The Divorcee. She
was nicknamed "Queen Norma" and earned more than six thousand dollars a week. Other actresses at the
studio were jealous of her success and believed she only got the roles
because she was married to Irving.
With her husband Irving
Norma's brother, Douglas Shearer, became an Oscar winning sound engineer. In
1936 Irving died from lobular pneumonia at the age of thirty-seven. She
was devastated and took time off from making movies. Norma
returned to the screen in the 1938 epic Marie Antoinette. Her
performance earned her another Oscar nomination. She was offered the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind but
turned it down.
Norma was romantically linked to actors Jimmy
Stewart, Mickey Rooney, and
George Raft. In 1942 she married Martin Arrouge, a ski instructor who
was twenty years younger than her. By this time she had lost interest
in her career and decided to retire. Her final film was the comedy
Her Cardboard Lover. She spent much of her time traveling and enjoyed
living life away from the spotlight. As she grew older began
suffering from insomnia and underwent electric shock treatments. She was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and lived at the
Motion Picture Retirement Home. Norma died on June 12, 1983, from
pneumonia. She is buried next to Irving at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.