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Norma Shearer (Montreal, August 10, 1902-Los Angeles, June 12, 1983) was a Canadian film actress.
Norma Shearer was one of the most popular stars in the Hollywood firmament of the 1930s. He personified more than any other interpreter the brightness of the Metro Goldwyn Mayer at the time of the greatest glory of the studios. Although his career extends from 1920 to 1942, his image is absolutely linked to the period 1930-1936, although today he is more remembered for two later films, Marie Antoinette (Marie Antoinette, 1938) and Women (The Women, 1939) . During the silent film years, Shearer learned the hard discipline with which the pioneers of the industry and the techniques of naturalistic cinematographic interpretation had to work, getting to work with some outstanding directors like David Wark Griffith, Victor Sjöström and Ernst Lubitsch. Hired by Louis B. Mayer for his company, he became part of Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s payroll when it was founded in 1924, as one of his naïve. There his career would be greatly enhanced by the “Boy Wonder” of the studios, Irving Thalberg, with whom he would marry in 1927. Little by little Shearer was gaining public favor in such a way that at the end of the twenties, He was already an immensely popular star. However, her position would be further strengthened with the arrival of sound films, by completely changing the register of her roles, abandoning the naive characters so typical of the silent period with others who offered her a modern, elegant and liberated image. . This change coincided with a period in which the censorship code Hays had not yet been implemented with all its rigor, so that the public could admire an absolutely different Shearer, seductive, but that remained within the codes of elegance and the most absolute good taste in titles like La divorciada (The Divorcee, 1930), Alma libre (A Free Soul, 1931) or Intimate Lives (Private Lives, 1931).
Daughter of Edith, who had been a stage actress, and sister of Athole Shearer, Edith Norma Shearer began acting in the movies as a teenager due to maternal influence and the hand of D.W.Griffith. Way Down East, 1920, was his christening on celluloid, although he had a tiny role in the film.
In 1923 she joined the MGM on the advice of one of the most influential producers of the time, Irving Thalberg, who had in fact fallen in love with her and became her husband on September 29, 1927. Specialized in small secondary roles, he would achieve fame as a co-star of The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (The Student Prince), a romantic film from 1927 in which he was seduced by Ramón Novarro.
Her first sound movie was The Trial of Mary Dugan, which she agreed to star in after another rising star in silent films, Madge Bellamy, refused to do it. Only a year later, her role in La Divorciada gave her the Oscar for best actress.
Her career was going from strength to strength when, on September 14, 1936, her husband Irving Thalberg died with only thirty-seven years of pneumonia, which made Norma decide to leave the screen. However, his contract with the MGM prevented him and he had, inevitably, to agree to star in more films, among which the mythical “Gone with the Wind” could have been found if the public had not opted for Vivien Leigh.
Her last film was Her Cardboard Lover, in 1942, year in which she remarried Martin Arrouge, a ski teacher ten years younger than her.
He died in 1983, victim of pneumonia and after suffering from alcoholism and depression during the last years of his life.
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