Myrna Loy Poster

Quotes (43)

  • [on her work with William Powell] I never enjoyed my work more than when I worked with William Powell. He was a brilliant actor, a delightful companion, a great friend and, above all, a true gentleman.
  • Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming.
  • I was a homely kid with freckles that came out every spring and stuck on me till Christmas.
  • [on her "Perfect Wife" label, based on her work in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)] It was a role no one could live up to, really. No telling where my career would have gone if they hadn't hung that title on me. Labels limit you, because they limit your possibilities. But that's how they think in Hollywood.
  • [Speaking in the late 1960s] I admire some of the people on the screen today, but most of them look like everybody else. In our day we had individuality. Pictures were more sophisticated. All this nudity is too excessive and it is getting very boring. It will be a shame if it upsets people so much that it brings on the need for censorship. I hate censorship. In the cinema there's no mystery. No privacy. And no sex, either. Most of the sex I've seen on the screen looks like an expression of hostility towards sex.
  • [on her screen test for Cobra (1925)] I rushed out of the projection room, ran home and cried for hours. I was really ashamed of myself. It was so awful . . .
  • [Challenging MGM bosses in the 1930s] Why does every black person in the movies have to play a servant? How about a black person walking up the steps of a courthouse carrying a briefcase?
  • [Referring to her "perfect wife" typecasting] Some perfect wife I am. I've been married four times, divorced four times, have no children, and can't boil an egg.
  • [on Clark Gable] He happened to be an actor, a damned good one, and nobody knew it--least of all Clark. Oh, he wanted to be an actor, but he always deprecated his ability, pretended it didn't matter. He was a really shy man with a terrible inferiority in there somewhere. Something was missing that kept him from doing the things he could have done.
  • I was glamorous because of magicians like George J. Folsey, James Wong Howe, Oliver Marsh, Ray June, and all those other great cinematographers. I trusted those men and the other experts who made us beautiful. The rest of it I didn't give a damn about. I didn't fuss about my clothes, my lighting, or anything else, but, believe me, some of them did.
  • [on Barbra Streisand] I think Barbra Streisand is a genius, the creativity she has! And I am very impressed with her as a person. Some years ago I was on the Academy Awards broadcast, she came up to me. I was standing in the wings and Barbra walked across the stage to greet me. Very polite, very nice. You don't find many young women who extend that kind of gracious courtesy to an older woman. Audrey Hepburn does. And Barbra. I've not forgotten how charming she was.
  • [on William Powell] The later ones [the "Thin Man" pictures] were very bad indeed, but it was always a joy to work with Bill Powell. He was and is a dear friend and, in the early Thin Man films with [director W.S. Van Dyke], we managed to achieve what for those days was an almost pioneering sense of spontaneity.
  • [on Burt Reynolds] It's the man's tremendous wit that just keeps coming across. Listen, there is no acting style. Most people just play themselves. Spencer Tracy used to say to me after a scene, "Did I ham that one up?" If I said yes, he'd say, "Okay, let's do it again". There's that same honesty in Burt Reynolds. He's a throwback to the old school.
  • [on Liza Minnelli] I love Liza. She is so original. People speak of her in terms of her mother, but she is herself, very definitely. A good, strong, unique person.
  • [on Rex Harrison] Rex Harrison was in a strange kind of mood in Midnight Lace (1960), no doubt because his wife Kay Kendall had died. He had very little time for me or anybody else, as far as I could tell; he did his job and that was it.
  • [on Doris Day] I have nothing but the best to say about Doris Day. She was wonderful to me, really lovely. She sent flowers when I started and remained friendly and attentive. As I've said, it's difficult when you start stepping down. You fight so hard to get to the top and then you realize it's time to gracefully give in a little. Doris, who was riding high then, never played the prima dona. I appreciated her attitude enormously.
  • [on Montgomery Clift] Monty was a great talent, whose acting I always admired. He had extraordinary instincts. His observations about the script were always astute and correct. He would have made a great director, which eventually he wanted to be. "Would you ever direct yourself?", I once asked him. "Are you kidding", he replied. "As a director, I simply wouldn't put up with all that crap from me". Monty was having problems then. He was full of all kinds of problems, many of them imaginary.
  • [on Tyrone Power] A lovely gentleman with a great quality of imagination.
  • [on Natacha Rambova] She was absolutely beautiful, the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She always wore turbans and long, very stark dresses, usually velvet or brocade of the same golden brown as her eyes. She was breathtaking and I was scared. "I know they call me everything from Messalina to a dope fiend", she disclosed to calm me, "but I really don't eat little dancers for breakfast".
  • [In 1974] When I was touring in "Don Juan in Hell," we played a college town near New Orleans. Paul [Paul Newman] happened to be there shooting The Drowning Pool (1975), so I went to see him that afternoon. I remember walking down a country road past every kid in town waiting to glimpse Paul Newman. When he saw me he rushed over, threw his arms around me, and kissed me, eliciting a collective swoon from those kids, who were probably wondering, "Who's that lucky old lady?" We went off and talked until they called him back to work.
  • [In 1981, on her friend Joan Crawford] Joan and I approached being movie stars in a different way. She liked to take limos everywhere; she was much "grander", for lack of a better word, and maybe I was much more down to earth, but so what? Joan certainly wasn't the only movie star who liked the champagne and limousine treatment. I can tell you that when you made a friend in Joan you had a friend for life. She never forgot your birthday, and you'd get a congratulatory note from her when good things happened in your life. She cared about people and her friends, no matter what anybody says. I liked her, and I miss her, and I think her daughter's stories are pure bunk. Even if they were true, if ever there was a girl who needed a good whack it was spoiled, horrible Christina [Christina Crawford]. Believe me, there were many times I wanted to smack her myself.
  • [on working with Joan Crawford's adopted daughter Christina Crawford in a Chicago production of "Barefoot in the Park"] We didn't have any problems in "Barefoot" until Christina Crawford appeared. I've never known anybody else like her--ever. Her stubbornness was really unbelievable. She would not do a single thing that anybody told her to do. You'd go out there on the stage and you couldn't find her. One thing an actor needs to know is exactly where people are on the stage. Christina completely disregarded her blocking, throwing the rest of us off.
  • [on Christina Crawford when things got so bad with the Chicago production of "Barefoot in the Park" that Loy had to call the director of the London production to intervene] He couldn't do anything with her. Absolutely nothing. She was going to do it her way. It was self-defeating and sad, because the girl had potential.
  • [on Christina Crawford and her book "Mommie Dearest"] She wanted to be Joan Crawford. I think that's the basis of the book she wrote afterward and everything else. I saw what her mind created, the fantasy world she lived in. She envied her mother, grew to hate her, and wanted to destroy her.
  • [on her character "Nora Charles" from the "Thin Man" films] Nora of "The Thin Man" was different . . . Nora had a gorgeous sense of humor; she appreciated the distinctive grace of her husband's wit. She laughed . . . at him and with him when he was funny. What's more, she laughed at herself. Besides having tolerance, she was a good guy. She was courageous and interested in living and she enjoyed doing all the things she did. You understand, she had a good time, always.
  • [on Joan Crawford, and the book, "Mommie Dearest"] What bothers me is that there were book buyers who bought that book and read it and people who believed it. What perplexes me and makes me profoundly sad was that people wanted to spend their money that way, on such trash, and, worse yet, believed it. The readers who believed it were the ones who did the damage.
  • [on Ronald Reagan] I never worked with Ronald Reagan. I'm not happy that he's President. I was willing to give him a chance. But he's destroying everything now I've lived my life for.
  • [on Joan Crawford] Joan never complained about her difficult children. Christina and Christopher made me glad I didn't have children.
  • [on "The Thin Man" series ending] It was the drinking. The characters drank too much, and for a while the public didn't seem to mind all the martinis and all the hangovers, but then, after a while, they did, or at least the studio maintained that was what happened.
  • [on changing the direction of her career in the 1930s] I finally got fired because they ran out of hussies to play.
  • I decided to visit a plastic surgeon. David Selznick used to rag me about my ears, since women were wearing their hair swept up in Empire variations then. "Oh, Myrna," he'd say, "you'd look wonderful with your hair up, but you've got to fix those ears." I made an appointment as Marjorie Williams, thinking the doctor wouldn't recognize me. It seems incredible, I know, but I had very little ego at that time. After I explained the problem, he said, "Let's take some pictures and see what can be done." He photographed me from every conceivable angle: left side, right side, front and back, even getting up on a chair to shoot down at me. I thought he was being unusually thorough. "Well," he disclosed finally, "I've got your nose, Miss Loy." That son of a gun knew me all along, and intended to make a fortune on it. "I get so many requests for a 'Myrna Loy nose' these pictures will be invaluable to me," he explained. "So I really shouldn't charge you to fix your ears." I laughed and told him I'd think it over, but never went back.
  • My bit as a mulatto in The Heart of Maryland (1927) led to a role that I'm very much ashamed of. Zanuck [Darryl F. Zanuck] wrote Ham and Eggs at the Front (1927), a blackface parody of "What Price Glory?", casting me as a spy. How could I ever have put on blackface? When I think of it now, it horrifies me. Well, our awareness broadens, thank God! It was a tasteless slapstick comedy that I mercifully recall very little about.
  • When he died, at ninety-one, I was one of the first people Mousie called. For weeks afterward, friends wrote and telephoned condolences, as if I had lost a husband. Well, our screen partnership lasted thirteen years through fourteen pictures, longer than any of my marriages. To this day, forty years after our last appearance together, people consider us a couple. I never enjoyed my work more than with Bill. He was a brilliant actor, a delightful companion, a great friend, and, above all, a true gentleman, with those often attributed but seldom possessed qualities: great style, class, breeding. There's nobody like him. There's never going to be anybody quite like him. I miss him more than I can say.
  • [on Adolphe Menjou] He was a dyed-in-the-wool Republican. He just didn't know the truth when he saw it.
  • My parents were more liberal than most people from Montana. My family was always involved in politics. I think all decent families should be.
  • [on The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)] Probably my finest film.
  • William Powell had that marvelous subtlety that was so compatible with my style of acting. He was a very witty man, a great wit, and knew how to use it.
  • [on working for M-G-M] It was the hardest work in the world. You got up at 4:30 a.m. so you could be at the studio by 7 and on the set by 9. They were very long hours. I complain about it now, but I always thrived on it. It served as an outlet for me.
  • Initially in the movies, they cast me as an exotic. I had kind of slitty eyes. I didn't mind. I thought it was wonderful. The more exotic it was, the more it fit in with my background as a dancer. I certainly didn't look like Myrna Williams from Helena, Montana.
  • I had never been considered funny. Oh, no! I was deadly serious. I was terribly serious. I must have been a bore for some people.
  • [on her off-screen friendship with on-screen romantic partner William Powell] I think we were too much alike for a romance.
  • [on resisting advances from male colleagues] Being considered a lady was certainly an advantage in life. Although it didn't make much of a difference where sex was involved. It didn't help me at all. They still tried.
  • You know, the truth was, I wasn't the perfect wife in the movies. I was the wife everyone wanted, but not the quintessential wife. I was someone fun to be around, not the woman in the apron. Now, don't you think that's so much better?