Edith Norma Shearer (August 10, 1902 – June 12, 1983) was a Canadian-American actress who was active on film from 1919 through 1942. Shearer often played spunky, sexually liberated ingénues.
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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...
Norma Shearer was a motion-picture star of the Hollywood studio era. She was the first star created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the industry’s most successful studio. Audiences responded to her beauty, poise, and versatility, making her a star within two years of her M-G-M debut.
Norma Shearer, in full Edith Norma Shearer, (born August 1902, Montreal, Quebec, Canada—died June 12, 1983, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.), American motion-picture actress known for her glamour, charm, sophistication, and versatility.
Norma Shearer was considered by her peers as the Queen of MGM Studios. Gave birth to her 1st child at age 28, a son Irving Thalberg Jr on August 24, 1930. Child's father was her 1st husband, Irving Thalberg. Gave birth to her 2nd child at age 32, a daughter Katherine Thalberg on June 14, 1935.
Norma Shearer was an Academy Award-winning Canadian American actress. She was the first actress to be nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars for a whopping 5 times. Shearer was known for playing sexy, bold, and brazen damsels on screen.
- Miss Lotta Miles 1920
- Talkies Star 1929
- Death of Thalberg 1936
In 1918 her life changed completely when her father's business failed and the family were plunged into poverty. Her parents separated and her older sister, Athole, who suffered from bipolar disorder, had a serious mental breakdown. Their mother, Edith, who had show business hopes for Norma, took Norma and her Athole, to New York where the fledgling movie business was then based and they rented a bleak, one room apartment.
In 1921 she at last got a speaking part in the 'B' movie 'The Stealers' and more roles in East Coast movies such as 'A Clouded Name' and 'Channing of the Northwest' followed. She began to make a name for herself and she came to the attention of Irving Thalberg, the young west coast producer who, when he joined Louis B. Mayer in 1923, gave Norma a five year contract to work in Hollywood. She was on her way.
Her follow up, 'The Last of Mrs. Cheyney', also released in 1929, was an even bigger hit and in 1930 Norma won her Best Actress Award for 'The Divorcee', adapted from Ursula Parrott's best-seller, "Ex-Wife." She continued with a run of highly successful and sexually provocative pre-Code films including 'Let Us Be Gay' in 1930, 'A Free Soul' and 'Private Lives' in 1931 and 'Riptide' in 1934. All were box-office hits, and placed Norma as one of MGM's top actresses along with Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo.
She turned down the starring roles in 'Now Voyager' and 'Mrs. Miniver' in 1942 and in the same year she made her final film 'Her Cardboard Lover', which can kindly be described as not her best. She then finally retired from films and never returned.
The dominant influence on Norma's career was her first husband, Irving Thalberg. It was her marriage to Thalberg, the "boy genius" of Hollywood which propelled her into the ranks of superstardom. Before her marriage she had many infatuations with her co-stars, and with director Victor Fleming, but she always seemed to be attracted to married men and the romances petered out. With Thalberg she had two children, Irving Jr. (1930-1988) and Katherine (1935-2006).After Thalberg's death she had numerous affairs and her name was linked with James Stewart and Mickey Rooney, amongst others, and she had a long romance with George Raft which ended when he could not or would not get a divorce from his wife. After her retirement Norma married Martin Arrougé, a former ski instructor twelve years her junior with whom she remained until her death. She withdrew from Hollywood public life and refused many requests to make a comeback. She was a wealthy woman after successfully fighting MGM and Louis B...
May 25, 1990 · Nonfiction In 1938, Norma Shearer gave a party for Robert Morley, newly arrived in Hollywood to make his movie debut as Louis XVI to her Marie Antoinette. During the evening he asked, ”How did you...
- Walter Clemons
Norma Shearer, more than perhaps any other actress, became a star by sheer force of will. Born in 1902 in Montreal with a cast in her eye and a family with a history of mental illness, Shearer announced her intentions to be a star at an early age.
Actress. She was born in a well-to-do family that lost everything in the 1910s. At the age of 14 young she won a beauty contest and soon after, her mother took her to New York in hopes that Norma's beauty would earn some money for the family. She found work as a model and began appearing in small film roles.
- 10 Aug 1902, Montreal, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada
- Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Benediction, rear left room
- 12 Jun 1983 (aged 80), Woodland Hills, Los Angeles County, California, USA
- Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA