Carmel Myers

Carmel Myers (April 4, 1899 – November 9, 1980) was an American actress who achieved her greatest successes in silent film.

Carmel Myers
Myers, c. 1917
Born(1899-04-04)April 4, 1899
DiedNovember 9, 1980(1980-11-09) (aged 81)
Years active1915–1976
Spouse(s)
  • Isidore Kornblum
    (m. 1919; div. 1923)
  • Ralph H. Blum
    (m. 1929; died 1950)
  • Alfred Schwalberg
    (m. 1951; died 1974)
Children3

Early life

Myers was born in San Francisco, the daughter of an Australian rabbi and an Austrian-Jewish mother.[1] Her father became well-connected with California's emerging film industry, and introduced her to film pioneer D. W. Griffith, who gave Carmel a small part in Intolerance (1916). Myers also got her brother Zion Myers into Hollywood as a writer/director.

Career

Silent film and theater

Myers left for New York City, where she acted mainly in theater for the next two years. She was signed by Universal, where she emerged as a popular actress in vamp roles. Her most popular film from this period—which does not feature her in a vamp role—is probably the romantic comedy All Night, opposite Rudolph Valentino, who was then a little-known actor. She also worked with him in A Society Sensation. By 1924, she was working for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, making such films as Broadway After Dark, which also starred Adolphe Menjou, Norma Shearer, and Anna Q. Nilsson.

In 1925, she appeared in arguably her most famous role, that of the Egyptian vamp Iras in Ben-Hur, who tries to seduce both Messala (Francis X. Bushman) and Ben-Hur himself (Ramón Novarro). This film was a boost to her career, and she appeared in major roles throughout the 1920s, including Tell It to the Marines in 1926 with Lon Chaney, Sr., William Haines, and Eleanor Boardman. Myers appeared in Four Walls and Dream of Love, both with Joan Crawford in 1928; and in The Show of Shows (1929), a showcase of popular contemporary film actors.

Sound films and television

Myers had a fairly successful sound career, mostly in supporting roles, perhaps due to her image as a vamp rather than as a sympathetic heroine. Subsequently, she began giving more attention to her private life following the birth of her son in May 1932. Amongst her popular sound films are Svengali (1931) and The Mad Genius (1931), both with John Barrymore and Marian Marsh, and a small role in 1944's The Conspirators, which featured Paul Henreid, Peter Lorre, and Sydney Greenstreet.

Myers surfaced in the entertainment world again briefly in 1951, with a short-lived DuMont Television Network show called The Carmel Myers Show, which followed the interview format. After its cancellation, Myers focused on a career in real estate and her own perfume distribution company. In 1976, Myers was one of the very few silent stars who were cast in Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood, a comedy featuring cameos by dozens of Hollywood stars of the past.

Personal life

Myers married Isidore "I.B." Kornblum in 1919; they divorced in 1923.[2][3]

Myers and attorney Ralph H. Blum married in 1929 and had three children: author Ralph H. Blum (b. 1932), known for his works on divination through Norse runes, and two adopted daughters, actress and radio personality Susan Adams Kennedy (b. 1940) and television producer Mary Cossette (b. 1941). Myers and Blum purchased Gloria Swanson's Sunset Boulevard home.

After Blum's death, Myers married Paramount Pictures executive Al Schwalberg.

Myers died in 1980 at the age of 81. She was buried near her parents at Home of Peace Cemetery in East Los Angeles.

Partial filmography

References

  1. Carmel Myers biography, filmography at Starpulse
  2. York, Cal (October 1923). "Gossip—East and West". Photoplay Magazine. Vol. 24 no. 5. p. 92.
  3. Oliver, Myrna (November 14, 1996). "I.B. Kornblum, 101; Composer, Lawyer and Union Organizer". Los Angeles Times.
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