Joyzelle Joyner

Joyzelle Joyner (August 27, 1905 – November 30, 1980) was an American actress and dancer. She appeared in at least thirty films between 1925 and 1935, garnering some notoriety for her appearance in The Sign of the Cross.

Joyzelle Joyner
BornAugust 27, 1905
DiedNovember 30, 1980(1980-11-30) (aged 75)
OccupationFilm actress
Years active1925–1935


Joyner began appearing in films around 1924 or 1925, often playing dancers. Her first major role in a major motion picture came in 1930, when she appeared as twin queens of Mars, Boo Boo and Loo Loo in Just Imagine. Her role as Ancaria in The Sign of the Cross, a major production directed by Cecil B. deMille, drew attention from censors; in the film, she performed the lesbian-overtoned "Dance of the Naked Moon".

The scene was eliminated from the re-released 1935 version of the film, but reinserted in 1993 for the MCA-Universal video version.[1] That same year, she had prominent roles in two westerns, Whistlin' Dan for Tiffany Pictures, and The Vanishing Frontier (starring Johnny Mack Brown) for Paramount Pictures.

Most of Joyzelle's work after 1932 constituted uncredited parts, though she did appear under the name "Laya Joy" in House of Mystery, a horror film for Monogram Pictures. Her last-known screen appearance, in Dante's Inferno (1935), was uncredited, but did afford her the opportunity to show off her dancing skills.

Personal life

Joyner was born in Alabama and had a younger brother, Clarence.[2] According to U.S. census records, Clarence was living in California in 1930 with a wife, Lois.

Her first marriage was to Dudley V. Brand. The two became estranged over Joyner's acting career pursuit. During an argument on August 11, 1927, Brand fired two shots through a closed bedroom door, one shot injuring Joyner in the arm. Clarence Joyner was on hand to protect his sister by restraining Brand.[2] Joyner's second marriage was to film director Phil Rosen in 1929.

She died in Orange, California on November 30, 1980, aged 75.


Year Title Role Notes
1925Ben-HurSlave GirlUncredited
1926Dance MadnessDancer
1926The Sea BeastDancer in prologue
1927Out of the PastSaida
1928Turn Back the HoursA Cantina Girl
1928Moran of the Marines
1928Shadows of the NightCabaret Dancer
1928The Shady LadyUnbilledUncredited
1929Close HarmonyDancer
1929The Black WatchIndian DancerUncredited
1929One Hysterical NightSalome
1930Prince of DiamondsDancing Girl
1930Sombras habaneras
1930Song of the CaballeroConchita
1930Lotus LadyThe Dancer
1930Just ImagineLoo Loo / Boo Boo
1932Whistlin' DanCarmelita
1932The Vanishing FrontierDolores
1932The Sign of the CrossAncaria
1933Girl Without a RoomDancerUncredited
1934Search for BeautyBeauty Contestant EntrantUncredited
1934House of MysteryChanda
1934I Believed in YouVavara
1935Go into Your DanceCantina DancerUncredited
1935Dante's InfernoDancerUncredited, (final film role)


  1. Vieira, Mark A. (1999). Sin in Soft Focus: Pre-Code Hollywood. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. p. 109
  2. "Jealous Husband Shoots Actress", The Southeast Missourian. August 11. 1927. pg. 1. Web. April 3. 2011
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