Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Norma Shearer is best known as the first American film actress to make it chic and acceptable to be single and not a virgin on screen. In March 2008, two of her most famous pre-code films, The Divorcee and A Free Sole.

In 1920 her mother took Norma and her sister to New York to addtion for Ziegfeld. They worked as extras in several movies. Irving Thalberg had seen her when he joined Louis B. Mayer and gave her a five year contract. Although, he wanted her retire after their marriage.

Her first talkie was in The Trial of Mary Dugan(1929), four movies later, she won an Oscar in The Divorcee (1930). She cut down film exposure during the 1930s, relying on roles in Thalberg's projects: The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934) and Romeo and Juliet (1936) (her fifth Oscar nomination). Thalberg died of a heart attack at age 37. Norma wanted to retire, but MGM forced her into a six-picture contract. David O. Selznick offered her the part of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939), but because of her cross-eyed stare she did not get the part. She performed in The Women (1939), turned down the role in Mrs. Miniver (1942), and retired in 1942. Later, she was offered the role of Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd. (1950), but she turned it down. Gloria Swanson, who went on to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance, was cast instead.


  1. Dawn my two favorite Norma films are The Women( and Idiots Delite . She's way over the top in

  2. Paul, i do not think i have seen Idiot's Delight (1939). i will add that to my "gotta see ' list.

  3. Dawn , Clark Gable plays a "song and dance " man in Europe just before the start of WWII. Clark does Puttin On The Ritz. Next to Peter Boyles's it's one of the funniest on film

  4. Dawn, I never knew she was offered the lead in SUNSET BLVD. She was a very good actress, but I can't imagine her in that role!

  5. Rick, i agree. Gloria Swanson was perfect for the role.

  6. Norma Shearer as Norma Desmond? I don't think she could have done it justice either. I loved the vamped up photographs she took to show her "bad girl" side.


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