AskBiography Logo   Latest News  Follow Us on Twitter  Follow Us on Google Buzz  Became Fan - Facebook  Subscribe to RSSRSS   Bookmark and Share

Norma Shearer

Norma Shearer
Norma Shearer in 1927
Personal information
Birth nameEdith Norma Shearer
Birth dateAugust 10, 1902
Place of birthMontreal, Quebec, Canada
Date of deathJune 12, 1983(age 80)
Death placeWoodland Hills, California, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1919 1942
SpouseIrving Thalberg (1927 1936)
Martin Arrougé (1942-1983)

     Home | Actor | Norma Shearer



Edith Norma Shearer (August 10, 1902 June 12, 1983) was a Canadian-American actress. Shearer was one of the most popular actresses in North America from the mid-1920s through the 1930s. Her early films cast her as the girl-next-door but for most of the Pre-Code film era beginning with the 1930 film The Divorcee, for which she won an Oscar for Best Actress, she played sexually liberated women in sophisticated contemporary comedies. Later she appeared in historical and period films.

Unlike many of her MGM contemporaries, Shearer's fame declined steeply after retirement. By the time of her death in 1983, she was largely remembered at best for her "noble" roles in The Women, Marie Antoinette, and Romeo and Juliet. Shearer's legacy began to be re-evaluated in the 1990s with the publication of two biographies and the TCM and VHS release of her films, many of them unseen since the implementation of the Production Code some sixty years before. Focus shifted to her pre-Code "divorcee" persona and Shearer was rediscovered as "the exemplar of sophisticated [1930's] woman-hood... exploring love and sex with an honesty that would be considered frank by modern standards".

Simultaneously, Shearer's ten-year collaboration with portrait photographer George Hurrell and her lasting contribution to fashion through the designs of Adrian were also recognized.

Shearer is widely celebrated by some as one of cinema's feminist pioneers: "the first American film actress to make it chic and acceptable to be single and not a virgin on screen". In March 2008, two of her most famous pre-code films, The Divorcee and A Free Soul, were released on DVD.


Warning: simplexml_load_file(http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/api/videos/-/Norma/Shearer?orderby=viewCount&max-results=10) [function.simplexml-load-file]: failed to open stream: HTTP request failed! HTTP/1.0 410 Gone in /home/askbio/public_html/index_bio.php on line 257

Warning: simplexml_load_file() [function.simplexml-load-file]: I/O warning : failed to load external entity "http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/api/videos/-/Norma/Shearer?orderby=viewCount&max-results=10" in /home/askbio/public_html/index_bio.php on line 257

Fatal error: Call to a member function children() on a non-object in /home/askbio/public_html/index_bio.php on line 260