Mostly Credited As: Myrna Loy
Birth Name: Myrna Adele Williams
Date Of Birth: August 02, 1905 (Age 88)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: Radersburg, Montana
Date Of Death: December 14, 1993
Cause Of Death: Complications during surgery (New York, New York)
Height: 5' 6" (1.67 m)
Myrna Williams was born and raised in Montana where her father was a cattle baron and the youngest person ever to serve in the Montana State legislature. When she was 12, Myrna moved to Los Angeles with her mother and brother following the death of her father. While attending the Westlake School for Girls and Venice High School, her interest in dancing expanded into an interest in acting. At 15, she became a chorus girl and she was spotted by the wife of famed silent screen star, Rudolph Valentino. She did a screen test for a Valentino film, Cobra in 1923, but wasn't cast in the film.
She made her screen debut in 1925 in What Price Beauty?, a silent film, as Myrna Loy, a name she kept throughout her career. Filmmakers thought she looked exotic and her early roles were as chorus girls and vamps of varying ethnicities, usually Asian or Hispanic. Sound nearly finished her career because her voice lacked strength, but she worked on projecting her voice and went on to have a long stage, film and television career.
In 1933, she appeared in Penthouse, a mystery, which led to her being cast as Nora Charles in 1934's The Thin Man opposite William Powell. The chemistry between the two brought the sophisticated, witty and charming Dashiell Hammett couple to life. They went on to make a total of 6 Thin Man films together.
Her other co-stars include Clifton Webb (Cheaper by the Dozen), Fredric March and Dana Andrews (The Best Years of Our Lives), Cary Grant (The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House) and Shirley Temple (The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer). Although less numerous than her 129 film appearances, her television credits range from Columbo to The Virginian to Family Affair.
Myrna's alma mater, Venice High School, named its speech and drama award "Myrnas" in her honor. In 1988, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center followed by a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991 from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (Oscars).
She spent the last 33 years of her life in New York City where she died in 1993. She is buried in Helena, Montana.