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From law breakers to law makers, suffragists to unionists, bronc riders to ball players, Bold Women of Montana celebrates Women’s History Month in our state! Learn more about 23 bold women of Montana. Listen every weekday in March at 8:42 a.m. and 2:04 p.m., and find the latest episodes here.

Bold Women: Myrna Loy, from Helena to Hollywood

"Fan Club" photo, Myrna Loy, date unknown
"Fan Club" photo, Myrna Loy, date unknown

In 1937 Myrna Loy was Hollywood's highest paid starlet. Born in 1905 as Myrna Williams, she grew up in Radersburg and Helena, the grandchild of homesteaders. Her mom was artsy, her dad conservative. For example, he disapproved of Myrna's dance lessons. But dancing would become Myrna's entree into film. After her dad died in 1918 of flu, the family moved to Los Angeles. At Venice High School, Myrna, chosen for her beauty and grace. modeled for a statue, still in front of the school today. But Myrna never graduated. Already she was working, supporting her family and building a career. First in dance, then in film. Adopting the name Loy, by age 20 Myrna had a contract with Warner Brothers. Over the next two years she appeared in 30 films. But her breakthrough came in 1934 as Nora Charles of Nick and Nora, in the comedy The Thin Man. Myrna kept acting into her 80s, even on stage and TV. She liked politics too, which she credited to her Montana upbringing. In 1938, she took a stand against Hitler, who banned her films in Germany. She was delighted. Later she helped stop Red-hunter Joseph McCarthy. Myrna Loy is buried in Helena.

Celebrating Women's History Month, Bold Women of Montana is brought to you by Mountain Press, publisher of Bold Women in Montana History, and is produced by Beth Judy, Jake Birch and Michael Marsolek. Theme Music by Naomi Moon Siegel.

Beth Judy is the author of Bold Women in Montana History and a limited audio series based on the book. She previously hosted and produced The Plant Detective, a locally produced and nationally syndicated program.
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