Overall framed size is 24.5″ x 15″ and the signature card measures 4.25″ x 6.75″. Includes a reproduction “Peacock Alley” poster.
Dubbed “The Girl with the Bee Stung Lips”, silent-era screen star Mae Murray began her career on stage partnered with ballroom dancing extraordinaire Vernon Castle in the 1906 Broadway show “About Town.” Born the daughter of émigrés, she began studying dance at a young age. Two years later she joined the “Ziegfeld Follies” chorus line and moved up to headliner status by 1915. She played the top clubs in Paris and in America in an act that accentuated her dancing prowess. Other smooth dance partners would follow, including Clifton Webb, Rudolph Valentino and John Gilbert. The strikingly exotic beauty with the frizzy blonde hair moved to films with To Have and to Hold (1916) starring Wallace Reid and quickly became a top star for MGM, pairing up with the legendary Valentino in two films. Many of her films, containing dance sequences designed especially for her, were written and produced by her third husband, Robert Z. Leonard. Her most acclaimed film was The Merry Widow (1925) opposite matinée idol Gilbert. Married and divorced four times, Mae’s movie career faded with the advent of sound; her first sound film, Peacock Alley, had gotten bad reviews and failed at the box office; time had taken its toll on her; she was now past 40, and her voice and mannerisms were not particularly suited to women of her age or to talkies. Another contributing factor to her downfall was her marriage to her last husband, Prince David Mdvani, when she let him take control over her business affairs and he ill-advisedly got her to quit MGM. They divorced and she lost her son in a nasty custody battle. She grew more eccentric over the years and was eventually forced to declare bankruptcy, living in abject poverty for the better part of her later life. She managed to co-write an autobiography in 1959 entitled “The Self-Enchanted” and ended her days in the Motion Picture Country Home in Woodland Hills, CA. Although forgotten for the most part, in retrospect, Mae was a popular and vibrant lady in her heyday, becoming one of the few Ziegfeld star-dancers to succeed in transferring from the stage footlights to big-screen stardom.