Tuesday, June 26, 2012

gone but not forgotten - mae murray

ca. 1923

by hill studio

in peacock alley, 1922

in the fashion row, 1923

in the masked bride, 1925

by moffett studio, 1913

by charles gates sheldon 

by ruth harriet louise, 1926

mae murray’s marriage in 1926 to prince david mdivani.  pola negri and rudolph valentino were matron of honor and best man.

by arnold genthe

mae murray (10 may, 1889 - 23 march, 1965)

the girl with the bee-stung lips

born marie adrienne koenig in the lower east side of new york, murray began dancing in 1906 with vernon castle. in 1908 she joined the chorus line in the ziegfeld follies & was headlining by 1915. 
she made her film debut in 1916 in to have and to hold & had reached stardom by 1919 when she starred with rudolph valentino in the delicious little devil.

her most famous role was in 1925 the merry widow opposite john gilbert & directed by erich von stroheim. she made her talkie debut in peacock alley in 1930 (a remake of her earlier 1921 silent version) - it was not a success. she made 2 more films in 1931 & both were panned.

part of her downfall occurred after she married her 4th husband, david mdivani, in 1926. mdivani was supposedly a prince - his brother serge married actress pola negri & alexis married the heiress barbara hutton. mdivani became her manager & told his wife to leave MGM - making a powerful enemy in studio boss louis b. mayer. she was blacklisted from working in hollywood due to this animosity. in 1927 she was sued by her masseuse, the famous hollywood fitness guru sylvia of hollywood for the outstanding amount of $2,125 in a humiliating & detailed court case.

murray & mdivani had one child, koran david mdivani, born in 1927 - they divorced in 1933. koran was raised by sara elizabeth "bess" cunning who began taking care of him in 1936 while he recovered from a double mastoid operation (cunning's brother was the surgeon). when murray attempted to regain custody in 1939, cunning & her brothers refused to give the child back. murray & her former husband mdivani then entered into a bitter custody dispute. it ended in 1940 when murray was given legal custody.....although the boy continued to live with bess cunning who adopted him in 1940 & changed his name to daniel michael cunning.

at her peak in the 1920's murray was earning $2,000 a week but by now her finances were in ruin & for most of her later life she lived in poverty. she died at the motion picture house in woodland hills at the age of 75.

after one of her comeback attempts she was quoted as saying, "you don't have to keep making movies to remain a star. once you become a star, you are always a star."

No comments:

Post a Comment