Norma Shearer
Actress
Norma Shearer
Edith Norma Shearer was a Canadian actress. Shearer was one of the most popular actresses in North America from the mid-1920s through the 1930s. Her early films cast her as the girl-next-door but for most of the Pre-Code film era beginning with the 1930 film The Divorcee, for which she won an Oscar for Best Actress, she played sexually liberated women in sophisticated contemporary comedies. Later she appeared in historical and period films.
Biography
Norma Shearer's personal information overview.
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Popular photos of Norma Shearer
News
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Classic Liz Taylor, Lucille Ball titles released - phillyBurbs.com
Google News - over 5 years
Shakespeare: “A Midsummer Night's Dream” (1935) with James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland and Mickey Rooney; “Romeo and Juliet” (1936) with Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard; “Othello” (1965) with Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith; and “Antony and
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So good at playing bad, TCM explores career of German actor Conrad Veidt Aug. 23 - Examiner.com
Google News - over 5 years
1940's Escape, which co-stars Robert Young and Norma Shearer, is one of those films. TCM will include it in their tribute to Veidt at 4:15pm/3:15c. Achieving success in films produced in Britain and jointly produced by the US, Veidt tried his hand at
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Five most needless remakes of movies - Daily Herald
Google News - over 5 years
Sure, it had an all-female cast of solid actresses (Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Cloris Leachman), as did the original, though perhaps not quite the stellar collection that included Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell
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Five of the most needless movie remakes - Florida Today
Google News - over 5 years
Sure, it had an all-female cast of solid actresses (Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Cloris Leachman), as did the original, though perhaps not quite the stellar collection that included Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell
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Five most needless film remakes - Chicago Sun-Times
Google News - over 5 years
Sure, it had an all-female cast of solid actresses (Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Cloris Leachman), as did the original, though perhaps not quite the stellar collection that included Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell
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Lon Chaney Movie Schedule: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, TELL IT TO THE MARINES ... - Alt Film Guide (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
The other four were Lillian Gish, Ramon Novarro, Norma Shearer, and John Gilbert. In August 1926, Chaney, Novarro, and Gilbert were each making $3000 a week (approximately $37000 today); Norma Shearer was making $2000. Lillian Gish, under a special
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The almanac - UPI.com
Google News - over 5 years
They include Edmund Jennings Randolph, the first US attorney general, in 1753; Herbert Hoover, 31st president of the United States, in 1874; actors Jack Haley in 1898, Norma Shearer in 1902, Noah Beery Jr. in 1913 and Rhonda Fleming in 1923 (age 88);
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Submit this story - Huffington Post
Google News - over 5 years
Stars from the silent era included Lon Chaney, Marlene Dietrich, Douglas Fairbanks, John Gilbert, Louise Dresser, and Norma Shearer. The depth and breadth of the festival's offerings, from orphaned films to early Disney "Laugh-O-Grams" (as well as
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Star maker: the photographer Ruth Harriet Louise - Telegraph.co.uk
Google News - over 5 years
Her roll-call of stars included Crawford, Greta Garbo, Norma Shearer and Buster Keaton. She helped shape Garbo's image and captured Crawford's transformation from young chorus girl to Hollywood star. Her portraits could even make or break careers as
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DVD recommendation: 'The kid stays in the picture' - IBNLive.com
Google News - over 5 years
Yet he stepped into Hollywood quite by chance, discovered by actress Norma Shearer by a hotel swimming pool. Shearer spotted a spark in the good-looking go-getter and asked Evans to play her husband Irving Thalberg in Man of a Thousand Faces
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Making magic in the backlot - Bay Area Reporter
Google News - over 5 years
A picture of the directory shows the locations of those occupied by Crawford, Norma Shearer, Greta Garbo, Jeannette MacDonald, Myrna Loy, and Luise Ranier. Robert Taylor is photographed relaxing in his suite. His neighbors were Clark Gable,
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Sony's Remake of Studio System
NYTimes - over 5 years
LOS ANGELES -- If Louis B. Mayer haunts the Irving Thalberg Building, once his seat of power at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, he may recognize more than the walnut walls. The building is now the home of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and there are signs that Mayer's old studio system is being revived. As Hollywood has backed away from movie stars as too
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Sony, Like Old Hollywood, Banks on Familiar Faces - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
... thanks to personal relationships and shared tastes that have largely supplanted the rigid contractual arrangements that allowed Mayer to build an empire around the likes of Norma Shearer, Greta Garbo, Lionel Barrymore and Clark Gable
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“HE WHO GETS SLAPPED” – A conversation with composer and pianist Matti Bye - SanFranciscoSentinel.com
Google News - over 5 years
The young romantic leads go to John Gilbert and Norma Shearer – each will be catapulted to the top of Hollywood's A-List of Box Office favorites. It is the dawn of a new era in filmmaking. Art – as in, “Art for Art's Sake”, the MGM logo – has joined
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SF Silent Film Festival: early Marlene Dietrich - San Francisco Chronicle
Google News - over 5 years
(7 pm today) -- The closing night film, "He Who Gets Slapped," stars Lon Chaney as a sad circus clown befriended by a beautiful horseback rider (the great Norma Shearer). This is the first American film by the Swedish director Victor Sjöström,
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Silent Film Festival - SFStation.com
Google News - over 5 years
Norma Shearer attempts to give him a reason to love again. Directed by Victor Sjöström, master of the match-dissolve, where scenes overlap to interesting effect. Accompanied by the Matti Bye Ensemble (7/17, 7:30 pm)
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Norma Shearer
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1983
    Age 80
    On June 12, 1983, Shearer died of bronchial pneumonia at the Motion Picture Country Home in Woodland Hills, California, where she had been living since 1980.
    More Details Hide Details She is entombed in the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, in a crypt marked Norma Arrouge, along with her first husband, Irving Thalberg. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Shearer has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6636 Hollywood Boulevard. On June 30, 2008, Canada Post issued a postage stamp in its "Canadians in Hollywood" series to honour Norma Shearer, along with others for Raymond Burr, Marie Dressler, and Chief Dan George. Shearer and Thalberg are reportedly the models for Stella and Miles, the hosts of the Hollywood party in the short story "Crazy Sunday" (1932) by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Most of Shearer's MGM films are broadcast on Turner Classic Movies, and many of them are also available on DVD from Warner Home Video. In 2008, she was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. In 2015, a number of Shearer films became available in high-definition format, authored by Warner Home Video in most cases from the nitrate camera negatives: A Free Soul, Romeo and Juliet, Marie Antoinette, and The Women.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1960
    Age 57
    In 1960, her secretary stated: "Miss Shearer does not want any publicity.
    More Details Hide Details She doesn't talk to anyone. But I can tell you that she has refused many requests to appear in motion pictures and TV shows." Arrougé and Shearer remained married until her death.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1942
    Age 39
    Following her retirement in 1942, she married Martin Arrougé (March 23, 1914 – August 8, 1999), a former ski instructor 10 years her junior.
    More Details Hide Details Although often attending public events in her later life, Shearer gradually withdrew from the Hollywood social scene.
    In 1942, Shearer unofficially retired from acting.
    More Details Hide Details After Thalberg's unexpected death on September 14, 1936, Shearer retained a lawyer to ensure that Thalberg's percentages of films on which he had worked were still paid to his estate, which was contested by MGM. When she took the story to gossip columnist Louella Parsons, the studio was forced to give in and granted all the profits from MGM movies made and released from 1924 to 1938, meaning the estate eventually received over $1.5 million in percentage payments. Nevertheless, Shearer's contract was renewed for six films at $150,000 each. During this time, she embarked on a brief romance with the younger actor James Stewart, and then with the married actor George Raft. (Raft had separated from his wife years earlier, soon after they married.) He stated publicly that he wanted to marry Shearer. However, his wife's refusal to allow a divorce and the disapproval of MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer caused Shearer to end the affair.
  • 1939
    Age 36
    In 1939, she attempted an unusual role in the dark comedy Idiot's Delight, adapted from the 1936 Robert E. Sherwood play.
    More Details Hide Details It was the last of Shearer's three films with Clark Gable, after A Free Soul (1931) and Strange Interlude (1932). The Women (1939) followed, with an entirely female cast of more than 130 speaking roles. Shearer was also one of the many actresses considered for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind (1939). However, she expressed no interest, joking, "Scarlett is a thankless role. The one I'd really like to play is Rhett!". Critics praised the suspenseful atmosphere in her next film, Escape (1940), where she played the lover of a Nazi general who helps an American free his mother from a concentration camp. With increasing interest in the war in Europe, the film performed well at the box office, but Shearer made errors in judgment, passing up roles in the highly successful films Now, Voyager and Mrs. Miniver, to star in We Were Dancing and Her Cardboard Lover (1942), which both failed at the box office.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1931
    Age 28
    She was nominated the same year for Their Own Desire, for A Free Soul in 1931, The Barretts of Wimpole Street in 1934, Romeo and Juliet in 1936, and Marie Antoinette in 1938.
    More Details Hide Details Marion Davies later recalled that Shearer came to a party at San Simeon in her Marie Antoinette costume; Davies said she was not about to remove the door so Shearer could enter, so Norma made her grand entrance through wider doors leading from another room. Four chairs were arranged so she could sit at the table in her voluminous skirts.
  • 1930
    Age 27
    Shearer was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress on six occasions, winning only for The Divorcee in 1930.
    More Details Hide Details
    She was nominated six times for the Academy Award for Best Actress and won once, for her performance in the 1930 film The Divorcee.
    More Details Hide Details Shearer's fame declined after her early retirement in 1942. She was rediscovered in the late 1950s, when her films were sold to television, and in the 1970s, when her films enjoyed theatrical revivals.
  • 1927
    Age 24
    On September 29, 1927, they were married in the Hollywood wedding of the year.
    More Details Hide Details Shearer had two children with Thalberg, Irving Thalberg, Jr. (1930–1987) and Katherine (1935–2006). Before they were married, Shearer converted to Judaism so she could marry Thalberg. One week after the marriage, The Jazz Singer was released. The first feature-length motion picture with sound, it effectively changed the cinematic landscape overnight and signaled the end of the silent motion picture era. It also spelled the end of many silent careers, and Shearer was determined hers would not be one of them. Her brother, Douglas Shearer, was instrumental in the development of sound at MGM, and every care was taken to prepare her for the microphone. Her first talkie, The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929), turned out to be a tremendous success. Shearer's "medium-pitched, fluent, flexible Canadian accent, not quite American but not at all foreign" was critically applauded, and thereafter widely imitated by other actresses, nervous about succeeding in talkies. Despite the popularity of her subsequent early talking films, The Last of Mrs. Cheyney and Their Own Desire (both 1929), Shearer feared the public would soon tire of her "good girl" image, and took the advice of friend and co-star Ramón Novarro to visit an unknown photographer named George Hurrell. There, she took a series of sensual portraits which convinced her husband that she could play the lead in MGM's racy new film, The Divorcee (1930).
    By 1927, Shearer had made a total of 13 silent films for MGM.
    More Details Hide Details Each had been produced for under $200,000 and had, without fail, been a substantial box-office hit, often making a $200,000+ profit for the studio. She was rewarded for this consistent success by being cast in Ernst Lubitsch's The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg, her first prestige production, with a budget over $1,000,000. While she was finishing The Student Prince, Shearer received a call summoning her to Thalberg's office. She entered to find Thalberg sitting at his desk before a tray of diamond engagement rings. He granted her the option to choose her own ring; she picked out the biggest. After weeks of rumors, provoked by wearing the ring, it was announced in August 1927 that they were to wed.
  • 1925
    Age 22
    At the end of a working day in July 1925, Shearer received a phone call from Thalberg's secretary, asking if she would like to accompany Thalberg to the premiere of Chaplin's The Gold Rush.
    More Details Hide Details That night, they made their first appearance as a couple. A few weeks later, Shearer went to Montreal to visit her father. While there, she had a reunion with an old school friend, who remembered: "At the end of lunch, over coffee, Norma leant in across the table. 'I'm madly in love', she whispered. 'Who with?' I asked. 'With Irving Thalberg,' she replied, smiling. I asked how Thalberg felt. 'I hope to marry him,' Norma said, and then, with the flash of the assurance I remembered so well, 'I believe I will.'" Over the next two years, both Shearer and Irving saw other people, but Hollywood insiders knew it was something of a charade – she was just waiting for him to propose. Louise Brooks remembered: "I held a dinner party sometime in 1926. All the place cards at the dinner table were books. In front of Thalberg's place was Dreiser's Genius and in front of Norma's place I put The Difficulty of Getting Married. It was so funny because Irving walked right in and saw Genius and sat right down, but Norma kept walking around. She wouldn't sit down in front of The Difficulty of Getting Married – no way!"
    By late 1925, she was carrying her own films, and was one of MGM's biggest attractions, a bona fide star.
    More Details Hide Details She signed a new contract; it paid $1,000 a week and would rise to $5,000 over the next five years. She bought a house for herself and Edith at 2004 Vine Street, which was located under the Hollywoodland sign. Having become a star, Shearer's new challenge was to remain one. Many other talented actresses were at the studio, and she realized she would have to fight hard to stay ahead of the pack. Seeing that sensational newcomer Greta Garbo was one of a kind, she went to Thalberg and "demanded recognition as one of another kind". It was just one of the many visits she paid to his office, always to plead for better material, better parts. Thalberg would listen patiently, then invariably advise Norma to keep toeing the line, that MGM knew best, and that the movies she complained about had made her a popular actress. Occasionally, Shearer would burst into tears, but this seemed to make "no more impression than rain on a raincoat."
  • 1923
    Age 20
    Irving Thalberg had moved to Louis B. Mayer Pictures as vice president on February 15, 1923, but had already sent a telegram to Shearer's agent, inviting her to come to the studio.
    More Details Hide Details After three years of hardship, she found herself signing a contract. It called for $250 a week for six months, with options for renewal and a test for a leading role in a major film called The Wanters. Shearer left New York around February 17. Accompanied by her mother, she felt "dangerously sure of herself" as her train neared Los Angeles. When she was not welcomed, even an hour after her arrival, she realized that there would be no star treatment from her new studio. Dispirited, she allowed Edith to hail a taxi. The next morning, Shearer went to the Mayer Company on Mission Road to meet with Thalberg. Shearer was momentarily thrown by their confused introduction, but soon found herself "impressed by his air of dispassionate strength, his calm self-possession and the almost black, impenetrable eyes set in a pale olive face."
    In January 1923, Shearer received an offer from Louis B. Mayer Pictures, a studio in Northeast Los Angeles that was run by a small-time producer, Louis B. Mayer.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1920
    Age 17
    In January 1920, the three Shearer women arrived in New York, each of them dressed up for the occasion. "I had my hair in little curls," Shearer remembered, "and I felt very ambitious and proud."
    More Details Hide Details Her heart sank, however, when she saw their rented apartment: "There was one double bed, a cot with no mattress and a stove with one gas jet. The communal bathroom was at the end of a long, dimly lit hallway. Athole and I took turns sleeping with mother in the bed, but sleep was impossible anyway—the elevated trains rattled right past our window every few minutes." The introduction to Ziegfeld proved equally disastrous. He turned Shearer down flat, reportedly calling her a "dog", and criticized her crossed eyes and stubby legs. She continued doing the rounds with her determination undimmed: "I learned that Universal Pictures was looking for eight pretty girls to serve as extras. Athole and I showed up and found 50 girls ahead of us. An assistant casting director walked up and down looking us over. He passed up the first three and picked the fourth. The fifth and sixth were unattractive, but the seventh would do, and so on, down the line until seven had been selected—and he was still some ten feet ahead of us. I did some quick thinking. I coughed loudly, and when the man looked in the direction of the cough, I stood on my tiptoes and smiled right at him. Recognizing the awkward ruse to which I'd resorted, he laughed openly and walked over to me and said, 'You win, Sis. You're Number Eight.'"
  • 1918
    Age 15
    The childhood and adolescence that Shearer once described as "a pleasant dream" ended in 1918, when her father's company collapsed and older sister, Athole, suffered her first serious mental breakdown.
    More Details Hide Details Forced to move into a small, dreary house in a "modest" Montreal suburb, the sudden plunge into poverty only strengthened Shearer's determined attitude: "At an early age, I formed a philosophy about failure. Perhaps an endeavor, like my father's business, could fail, but that didn't mean Father had failed." Edith Shearer thought otherwise. Within weeks, she had left her husband and moved into a cheap boarding house with her two daughters. A few months later, encouraged by her brother, who believed his niece should try her luck in "the picture business", then operating largely on the East Coast, Edith sold her daughter's piano and bought three train tickets for New York City. Also in her pocket was a letter of introduction for Norma, acquired from a local theatre owner, to Florenz Ziegfeld, who was currently preparing a new season of his famous Ziegfeld Follies.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1902
    Born
    Born on August 11, 1902.
    More Details Hide Details
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