|Born||April 9, 1899|
|Died||November 9, 1980 |
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Home of Peace Cemetery|
|Other names||Carmel Myers Blum|
(m. 1919; div. 1923)
Ralph H. Blum
(m. 1929; died 1950)
Alfred W. Schwalberg
(m. 1951; died 1974)
|Relatives||Ruth Harriet Louise (cousin)|
Mark Sandrich (cousin)
Carmel Myers (April 9, 1899 – November 9, 1980) was an American actress who achieved her greatest successes in silent film.
Myers was born in San Francisco, the daughter of Isidore Myers, a Russian-Jewish rabbi who was born in Russia but raised in Australia, and Anna Jacobson Myers, an Austrian-Jew. She had an older brother, Zion, and she was a cousin of director Mark Sandrich and photographer Ruth Harriet Louise. Carmel's father was active in campaigns for women's suffrage, abolition of capital punishment, and zionism. He also was a noted scholar. The family moved to Los Angeles in 1905.
Myers attended Los Angeles High School but left after D. W. Griffith gave her bit part in the film Intolerance (1916), for which her father was an unpaid consultant. She continued her education at a school for young actors.
Myers helped her brother become a writer and director in Hollywood.
Myers left for New York City, where she acted mainly in theater for the next two years. She was signed by Universal, where she emerged as a popular actress in vamp roles. Her most popular film from this period—which does not feature her in a vamp role—is probably the romantic comedy All Night, opposite Rudolph Valentino, who was then a little-known actor. She also worked with him in A Society Sensation. By 1924, she was working for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, making such films as Broadway After Dark, which also starred Adolphe Menjou, Norma Shearer, and Anna Q. Nilsson.
In 1925, she appeared in arguably her most famous role, that of the Egyptian vamp Iras in Ben-Hur, who tries to seduce both Messala (Francis X. Bushman) and Ben-Hur himself (Ramón Novarro). This film was a boost to her career, and she appeared in major roles throughout the 1920s, including Tell It to the Marines in 1926 with Lon Chaney, Sr., William Haines, and Eleanor Boardman. Myers appeared in Four Walls and Dream of Love, both with Joan Crawford in 1928; and in The Show of Shows (1929), a showcase of popular contemporary film actors.
Myers had a fairly successful sound career, mostly in supporting roles, perhaps due to her image as a vamp rather than as a sympathetic heroine. Subsequently, she began giving more attention to her private life following the birth of her son in May 1932. Amongst her popular sound films are Svengali (1931) and The Mad Genius (1931), both with John Barrymore and Marian Marsh, and a small role in 1944's The Conspirators, which featured Paul Henreid, Peter Lorre, and Sydney Greenstreet.
In 1939, Myers performed for 13 weeks on the Resinol radio program that was broadcast twice weekly from station KHJ and carried on the Don Lee Network.
In 1951, Myers had a celebrity interview TV program, The Carmel Myers Show, on ABC. In 1952, she formed Carmel Myers Productions, a firm for producing radio and TV programs. The company's productions included Mark Hellinger Tales, a transcribed series of 30-minute radio dramas with Edward Arnold as narrator and Cradle of Stars, a 30-minute filmed TV series with Gregory Ratoff as director and star.
Later, she focused on a career in real estate and her perfume distribution company. In 1976, Myers was one of the very few silent stars who were cast in Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood, a comedy featuring cameos by dozens of Hollywood stars of the past.
In 1952, Doubleday & Company published Don't Think About It, a 64-page book by Myers. Based on her experiences following the death of her husband, the book related her philosophy for emotional survival after a person has a tragedy in his or her life.
Myers married attorney and song writer Isidore "I.B." Kornblum on July 16, 1919; they divorced in 1923.
Myers and attorney Ralph H. Blum married on June 9, 1929, and had three children: author Ralph H. Blum (born 1932), known for his works on divination through Norse runes, and two adopted daughters, actress and radio personality Susan Adams Kennedy (born 1940) and television producer Mary Cossette (born 1941). Myers and Blum purchased Gloria Swanson's Sunset Boulevard home.
On October 30, 1951, Myers married Paramount Pictures executive Alfred W. Schwalberg in Brooklyn. They were married until his death in 1974.
Myers died of a heart attack on November 9, 1980, in Los Angeles Medical Center at the age of 81. She was buried near her parents at Home of Peace Cemetery in East Los Angeles. Her epitaph reads "L'Chaim", which in English translates to "To life".