Norma Shearer was one of Hollywood’s most celebrated actresses from its Golden Age, garnering many honors and awards for her acting.
Shearer began her film career as a bit actress in silent films and became one of MGM’s major stars after impressing Irving Thalberg. She pioneered more complex and empowering roles for female stars.
Early Life and Education
Shearer first won a beauty pageant at age fourteen, after which she relocated with her mother and sister to New York. Beginning as a bit actress in silent era films such as The Divorcee (for which she won an Academy Award), Romeo and Juliet (also receiving praise), and The Women.
Shearer was an actress of impeccable craftsmanship on set, working tirelessly to maintain her place as one of Hollywood’s leading ladies. Her versatility saw her play both light comedy and serious drama roles and was nominated for six Academy Awards (she won four). In 1928 she married producer Irving Thalberg and by 1936 had become an MGM shareholder before her death in 1936. However she continued acting up until 1942 before retiring.
Shearer’s career as a film actress was prodigious. Her determination and talent exceeded societal expectations and opened doors for future generations of female performers who seek their dreams while challenging gender roles.
After winning a beauty contest as a teenager, Shearer moved with her mother Edith to New York City with hopes of becoming performers. She quickly found bit parts in New York-based films before being noticed by Irving Thalberg – then working as a West Coast producer for Louis B Mayer at that time – who eventually signed her under contract.
Shearer persevered despite suffering an eye cast at birth and possessing modest height and body. To develop her craft and secure better roles. Her first sound film appearance in 1929’s sexually charged pre-Code production of THE TRIAL OF MARY DUGAN proved immensely popular and cemented her status as a major star.
Achievement and Honors
Norma Shearer was one of the most accomplished and sought-after actresses during her time. Known for her performances in various movies, Norma earned many honors throughout her career including numerous awards & recognition.
She made her mark in silent films and soon caught the attention of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer producer Irving Thalberg, who started grooming her into stardom. Shearer proved to be an adept actress who avoided typecasting; with Thalberg’s guidance she could straddle both comedy and drama.
Shearer also worked as a model, appearing on many magazine covers and television and theater productions. Shearer earned herself a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6636 Hollywood Boulevard; additionally, she was known for supporting various charitable causes through donations made directly.
Norma Shearer was an iconic movie icon and pioneer for women in film. Her life and career was marked by adventure, success, and awards; leaving behind a lasting legacy and inspiring generations of actresses to pursue their dreams while shattering gender stereotypes along the way.
Shearer was born in Montreal, Quebec to Edith Fisher Shearer and Andrew Shearer whose construction business allowed for an ideal lifestyle for their family. On her ninth birthday she experienced her first vaudeville show which ignited an interest in acting that ultimately developed into her longstanding interest for acting.
Shearer started off her career as a bit player, later landing roles in New York-based movies. Her mother hoped her success in show business could restore their financial fortunes; so she sent her off to New York City where she auditioned for Florenz Ziegfeld’s Follies as well as D.W. Griffith’s The Flapper (among many others).
Norma Shearer amassed a fortune through her acting talent, beauty and unfaltering fame. Norma consistently ranked among Hollywood’s highest-paid actresses throughout her career and made astute business decisions to fuel its success.
Shearer was known to be an immovable perfectionist, often clashing with directors and studio personnel over creative decisions made for her films. For instance, she complained to Irving Thalberg that Greta Garbo’s role was too sexualized in Jezebel and demanded more sexually charged roles.
On June 12th 1983 at age 80, Norma Shearer succumbed to bronchial pneumonia and was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Woodland Hills. Her private life had always remained concealed as she never married; instead, she served as sister-in-law of director Howard Hawks, with an estimated net worth estimated at $10 Million.