I just loved this autobiography of Myrna Loy, known as Hollywood’s only good girl! For all of Myrna Loy’s fame, my favorite picture with her is still Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. After reading her book, I know now why. Myrna Loy absolutely mastered the act of droll comedy and her standout roles were those of a sarcastic wife and mother. She is probably best known as being the female counterpart to William Powell in The Thin Man films, where her comedic talents shined as the wife part to a married detective duo.
Although Myrna had help writing the biography, the writing was in the first person and she spoke directly to the reader in a casual way. That made me feel as if I were having a natural conversation with her, instead of reading a stuffy biography. I felt that she was very honest about her life and opinions. Maybe it was the passage of time, but she certainly spoke her mind here! That honesty came across when she described the intense working conditions at the studios, the volatile personalities present on set, and the dark times in her marriages.
I didn’t realize that Myrna’s career in Hollywood extended back as far as it did. She was an extra in significant movies such as Don Juan and The Jazz Singer. In her early days, Myrna attracted attention from studio heads, but no one seemed to know how to use her. She played harem girls and even Asians before she was finally placed in movies where she cemented herself as a comedienne. Having more than 80 movie credits to her name, there was quite a bit of material to include in this book. At times, it was a bit overwhelming to bounce from one movie to another within just a few paragraphs. But, I suppose it gave a true sense of what Myrna’s life was like at that moment, bouncing from role to role so quickly.
At the height of her career, she was a very well paid star who had the luxury of servants attending to her in monstrous homes. Somehow, Myrna did not come across as self-indulgent or self-centered. Instead, she seemed to have a positive spirit about life and a deep desire to live to the fullest. I especially enjoyed hearing about the parties she threw in Portuguese Bend in Palos Verdes, just minutes from where I grew up.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. Myra was described as a true friend who was devoted to her friends and would help them anytime they needed her. Those quotes, along with her own voice, made this feel so personal that I liked her more after reading it. Of course, when I closed the cover, I watched Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.