Posts Tagged With: Mae Murray
Mae Murray, silent film actress, caused a minor sensation in Justice Aaron Steuer’s part of Manhattan Supreme Court this afternoon when she struck an attorney opposing her in the trial of her $300,000 suit against Tiffany Productions INC. The action had been dismissed and Justice Steur had just left the bench when the lawyer, Bertram Mayers, whispered to her: “Now you’ve got justice”. Tears streaming down her face Miss Murray slapped Mayers on the jaw and screamed “God will attend to you. You’ll get yours”. Her attorney, Harry Sitomer, sprang between them and quieted her as the crowd in the courtroom was dispersed. “I did not get justice. I never got justice in my life” the tearful actress told reporters. “I advise all my brothers and sisters in the profession to beware of percentage contracts and be content with salaries”. In dismissing the action, Justice Steur held that she failed to prove the Motion Picture Company had defrauded her. Miss Murray testified that in 1920 she contracted to make her eight pictures in return for 25 % of the earnings. In 1924, after the pictures had been completed, she said the company gave her $12,500 and induced her to sign a release. It was not until 1930, she added, that she learned the pictures had netted $2,000,000. Herbert Crowenweath, President of Tiffany Productions, testified that the first two pictures, “Fascination and Peacock Alley” made money but that no profit was realized on the other pictures.
Mae Murray, film start of the silent pictures and best known for the “Merry Widow”, will take over the leading feminine role in “The Milky Way” at the Cort Theater on Monday evening, 11 Jun. Her role will be that of Ane, originally performed by Gladys George and now in the hands of Mildred West. Mae Murray originally a Follies girl and then the dancing partner of Clifton Webb for a time has not appeared on the legitimate stage in more than a decade. She is entertaining the cast of “The Milky Way” with the idea of beginning a stage career as a straight non-singing or dancing comedy actress.
Mae Murray, film star of the silent pictures and best known for the “Merry Widow”, will take over the leading feminine role in “The Milky Way” at the Cort Theater on Monday evening, 11 Jun. Her role will be that of Ane, originally performed by Gladys George and now in the hands of Mildred West. Mae Murray originally a Follies girl and then the dancing partner of Clifton Webb for a time has not appeared on the legitimate stage in more than a decade. She is entertaining the cast “The Milky Way” with the idea of beginning a stage career as a straight non-singing or dancing comedy actress.
We have to remember that the legacy of the Motion Picture and Television Fund originates in a time where those most famous cared for those most not. Different times, to be sure. The contentious battle to keep the doors of the Long-Term Care facility open often overshadows the honesty, compassion and caring that characterized these early years.
Mae Murray became a star of the club circuit in both the United States and Europe, performing with Clifton Webb, Rudolph Valentino and John Gilbert as some of her many dance partners. She made many films, her most famous role probably opposite John Gilbert in the Erich von Stroheim-directed film “The Merry Widow” (1925). However, when silent movies gave way to talkies, Murray’s voice proved not to be compatible with the new sound and her career began to fade. At the height of her career in the early 1920s, Murray — along with such other notable Hollywood personalities as Cecil B. DeMille (who later became her neighbor in Playa Del Rey), Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Irving Thalberg — was a member of the board of trustees at the Motion Picture & Television Fund. The MPTF is a charitable organization that offers assistance and care to those in the motion picture and television industries without financial resources. Murray made many career mistakes, but somehow managed to eke out a living for many years. As great an actress as Murray was, her voice was better suited for silent films. Her lilting, soft voice was no match for the blossoming audio technology that favored a personality and voice bigger than life. Murray’s career had peaked. She had built an enormous mansion on the sand at 64th Avenue and Ocean Front Walk, across the street from the Del Rey Lagoon and a few yards from Ballona Creek, where she was quite the hostess. She became notorious for her beachfront parties, attended by a virtual Who’s Who in Hollywood and lasting days at a time. Apparently she owned stock in some of the oil wells that were located in her own back yard. As if following a modern-day script that is so familiar, her rise to fame was seconded only by her fall into poverty. By 1933, Murray was broke and ordered by the court to sell her opulent Playa Del Rey estate to pay a judgment against her. Her life was never the same after that. The lawsuit that resulted in the judgment was entered by Rosemary Stack, mother of future actor Robert Stack.
Moving to New York to find work, Murray was arrested for vagrancy after being found sleeping on a park bench. When she returned to California, she often was seen wandering the streets of Playa Del Rey and sitting on the beach near her former home. In 1964, living off charity and devoted friends, the poor deluded Murray continually traveled by transcontinental bus from coast to coast on a self-promoted publicity tour, hoping for a comeback in movies. On the last of these excursions, she lost herself during a stopover in Kansas City, Mo., and wandered to St. Louis. The Salvation Army found her on the streets and sent her back to Los Angeles. She rented a small Hollywood apartment near the Chinese Theatre, paid for by actor George Hamilton. Mae Murray passed away in 1965, at the Motion Picture House in Woodland Hills, Calif. — the very place she had helped to found. Funny how the entertainment industry was able to “pay it forward” during a time of world social upheaval and economic uncertainties. The ’60s was no place for an amateur. Mae’s final home, the Motion Picture Home, was a culmination of her career in entertainment and a fitting end to her life. According to Mae’s obituary in the Los Angeles Times, published March 28, 1965, she maintained to the end: “You don’t have to keep making movies to remain a star. Once you become a star, you are always a star.” Among her peers, Mae was a star at the Motion Picture Home, even when that star dimmed and all she had left was the commitment bestowed upon her by the motion picture industry.
During a recent trip to Paris, Rudolph Valentino went to the city’s newest cabaret titled Florida and danced the tango. One hour later, Rudolph Valentino traveled to yet at another well-known cabaret named Mitchells located in the Montmartre District. Frisco le Nègre welcomed Rudolph Valentino, and accompanying him was Laura Gould, former wife of George Gould, Jr. They seated themselves and before long the assembly became notably more convivial. Mr. Valentino was reported in dispatches to have achieved a state of mind in which it occurred to him to quaff a new favorite drink which was a mixture of champagne and beer. “A Turkish debutante,” one Mile. Nina Matar, performed what she termed “La Charleston Constantinopolitaine” Captain Ernest Ingram, famed divorced husband of the widow of Enrico Caruso, dashed out upon the floor and gave vent to a “Scotch Highland Charleston.” Finally Black Frisco persuaded Georges Carpentier and Rudolph Valentino to a dance contest. The winners were Rudolph and Laura who did his newest and favorite dance a mixture of the Tango and Charleston. While they cavorted, an onlooker expressed surprise that famed cinema actress Mae Murray had not arrived from Berlin coincidentally with Valentino. M. Carpentier took up the cry: “Are you engaged to Mae Murray, Rudolph?” For his answer, Mr. Valentino walked over to Mrs. Gould “with a firm and dignified step,” and spun her out upon the floor in a Brazilian maxixe. As dawn broke, Frisco awarded him first prize in the Charleston contest.
The marriage of three film stars is announced in stories received this week – Mae Murray, Mae Busch, and Al St. John. Miss Murray was married on Sunday 27th of June to David Divani, a young Georgian film actor with Valentino and Pola Negri as best man and maid-of-honor. The wedding took place in Beverly Hills.