Posted by Allan Ellenberger on May 7th, 2013
Mae Murray (1885–1965), popularly known as “the girl with the bee-stung lips,” was a fiery presence in silent-era Hollywood. Renowned for her classic beauty and charismatic presence, she rocketed to stardom as a dancer in the Ziegfeld Follies, moving across the country to star in her first film, To Have and to Hold, in 1916. An instant hit with audiences, Murray soon became one of the most famous names in Tinseltown.
However, Murray’s moment in the spotlight was fleeting. The introduction of talkies, a string of failed marriages, a serious career blunder, and a number of bitter legal battles left the former star in a state of poverty and mental instability that she would never overcome.
In this intriguing biography, Michael G. Ankerich traces Murray’s career from the footlights of Broadway to the klieg lights of Hollywood, recounting her impressive body of work on the stage and screen and charting her rapid ascent to fame and decline into obscurity. Featuring exclusive interviews with Murray’s only son, Daniel, and with actor George Hamilton, whom the actress closely befriended at the end of her life, Ankerich restores this important figure in early film to the limelight.
“A most compelling, detailed chronicle of the meteoric rise and fall of stage/silent movie star Mae Murray, as to both her roller-coaster professional career and chaotic personal life. This book will certainly be the definitive biography of the legendary Mae Murray.” — James Robert Parish, author of Fiasco: A History of Hollywood’s Iconic Flops
“Astounding. Mae Murray works on many levels. For those who know of her, it’s a revelation. At last, a reliable narrative of her life.” — Mel Neuhaus, film writer for Examiner.com
“Her long life is a lesson about those heady days of early Hollywood and the transience of fame.”–Library Journal
Former news reporter Michael G. Ankerich is author of The Sound of Silence: Conversations with 16 Film and Stage Personalities Who Bridged the Gap between Silents and Talkies and coauthor of The Real Joyce Compton: Behind the Dumb Blonde Movie Image.