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Myrna Loy: Being and Becoming Paperback – October 1, 1988


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Donald I. Fine, Inc. (October 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556111010
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556111013
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,156,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kotsilibas-Davis (The Barrymores, etc.) and others contribute here to the story of a remarkable woman, but it's told mainly in her own words. Of pioneer ancestry, all-American Myrna Williams was born in 1905 on a Montana farm. As a young dancer, she was cast in "native" vamp roles in films and named Loy to suit the image. It was in the Thin Man series of the 1930s that the actress's quicksilver wit made her the ideal Nora to the late William Powell's Nick Charles. Loy continued to shine in memorable films with Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Gable et al., all of whom she recalls fondly here, as she does her women friends. There are spirited defenses, for instance, of Jean Harlow and Joan Crawford with critical views of the latter's daughter Christina, author of Mommie Dearest. Loy became a political activist during World War II and has kept working for human rights, primarily on UNICEF and UNESCO committees. The reader discovers a great deal in this story of a person who seems to have learned early on what Matthew Arnold too observed: "Life is . . . a being and a becoming." Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

For most of Loy's long Hollywood career she was known as "the perfect wife." On the basis of this memoir, it would seem that she was also pretty nearly "the perfect human being" as well. The narrative emphasizes her political activism working for the United Nations and for several Democratic presidential candidates, but Loy also recalls her early days in Montana, social and working life in Hollywood, and her later stage work. Interspersed throughout are remembrances by friends and co-workers, none of whom have anything but praise for Loy. Some readers may find themselves wishing the authors had been less tasteful and genteel. John Smothers, Monmouth Cty . Lib., Manalapan, N.J.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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She was one very talented and beautiful woman.
John Galt
If the big names of Hollywood doesn't impress you, the big names of Capitol Hill may, for she was well-acquainted with them as well.
Merry Artist
I think, anyone whom is a fan of hers should really read this book, I think, they well enjoy the stories of her life.
Amanda W

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Urbach on August 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I couldn't put this book down from the moment I started reading it. It's written from Myrna's own point of view, and it's intresting to get in the mind of Ms. Loy just a few years short from when she died. It has great insight on her relationships with such legends as Clark Gable, William Powell, Lionel Barrymore, Jean Harlow, and even Alfred Hitchcock. It's a great read for anyone who is intrested in the Golden Age of film.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Merry Artist on December 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
The title says it all. Am I biased? Perhaps. But there is no doubt that the person who wrote this book was a true lady, in every way. There is none of the snobbishness, ego, lie and most of all, gossip, that may be expected from autobiographies like these. Myrna Loy was a very straightforward, candid and honest woman and this certainly shows through the pages. The only time she even comes close to "bad-mouthing" someone is when she expresses her disapproval of the person's political views. Yet she makes it clear that just because their views seem distasteful does not mean they are bad people. Some of these were her friends, and she says nothing bad about their characters. If anything, she has at least one positive thing to say about each person that has entered her life. If I had to pick the most remarkable thing about Myrna Loy, it would be her gift of instinct, which was what allowed her to be such a great actress and such an understanding friend to all those who knew her.

The book is a truly fascinating read for anyone interested in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Myrna Loy was either close or acquainted with all the famous people you hear of - Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Carole Lombard, Jeanette MacDonald. She even recounts some stories of Greta Garbo, whose dressing room was next to hers. And that is not all. She was there since the very beginning days of film, and in this book you hear about the famous silent stars - Rudolph Valentino, John Gilbert, Dolores Costello, Conrad Nagel. Because she worked into the '80s on both film and television, she was also acquainted with some of the later stars like Doris Day, Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Lemmon, and even Catherine Deneuve.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 1998
Format: Hardcover
In this illuminating autobiography, Myrna Loy shares her exhilirating life in a page-turner of rare sophistication. From her early desire to dance, through her struggle to get "through the gates" of the MGM lot, her almost slave-like work at MGM, her transformation into the "perfect wife", and her endless humanitarian work (most notably for UNESCO), Myrna Loy's life was more complex and substantial than that of "just a Hollywood starlet." A fascinating read about an extraordinary woman!
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By MeMyselfandI on June 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I can't say this about the other actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood, but I can say it about Myrna Loy, she was a Lady, anyone who wants to learn how to be a Lady, look at this woman, learn, watch and observe her movies, and read this book. She tells about her life, you can get a picture on what type of person she is. She doesn't tell every private thing of her life, but she tells just enough to get us to love her and see she's a lady, I wish she would of kids, she needs someone to carry on her name and carry on the legend. I have to say in my book, she consider one of the beautifuliest women in Hollywood, she had that rare, exotic beauty, and maintained it for years well into her 50s and 60s, a lot of actresses from that era drinked their beauty away, not Myrna. Myrna didn't want to be a bombshell, not a society type, not a glamour queen, she wanted to be all of it, be a lady, be tough, speak her mind, but still have class, dignity, and be a bombshell, high society type, glamour queen all together. She knew her limits as an actress, which a lot of actresses don't. I loved how I read about how she helped blacks and miniorities, and did it publicly, she was sick of the way blacks were treated, especially in movies, she once said, "Why Does Every Black Person Has To Be A Servant, Why Can't A Black Person Go Up The Stairs with A Briefcase or Doctor's Bag" she use to argue with the studio about this realizing that it could damage her career. She spoke her mind, She tells how she once was shy but overcame it, she was referring that to Greta Garbo, she didn't like the way Greta acted, and she said there was no reason for that, becuse she was once shy but worked on it.Read more ›
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Maltmaker on December 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent autobiography. Myrna Loy is a woman ahead of her time. She discusses candidly and with amazing detail her life inside and outside the studio. It is refreshing to see a book that is not a scandalous tell all. She was very political and makes no bones about the fact that she is a liberal and she was very vocal in her involvement politically and on social causes.

The difference between her and the "famous" now is she read about the cause or the political issue before getting up and talking to the public. The blithering that goes on now is amazing; Hollywood can take a lesson from Miss Loy on knowing your subject first then opening your mouth in an intelligent, classy manner.

What a lady in the true sense of the word. Sadly she is gone, but her charm, grace and elegance lives on in her movies and her book. Bravo Miss Loy!
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