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Lorna Moon

RuVoli, JoAnne

Although she told several versions of the story, in 1920, Scottish-born Lorna Moon left her job in Minneapolis for Hollywood at the invitation of Cecil B. DeMille after sending him a critique of Male and Female (1920) in which she “razzed him wickedly” for embellishing the original Scottish play (de Mille 1998, 176). She trained with DeMille at Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Film Corporation for a year then moved on to write three more films for producer Jesse Lasky, two of which were written for Gloria Swanson (de Mille 1998, 178). In 1922, her career was interrupted when she gave birth to screenwriter William de Mille’s son, a baby named Richard whose real parentage was kept secret. Richard was adopted and raised by his uncle Cecil B. DeMille as his own, but in later years all was revealed and the son wrote the biography of Moon, entitled My Secret Mother. Battling tuberculosis for the four years after her son’s birth, Moon wrote short stories and plays from her bed in the sanitarium. In late 1926, she was well enough to return to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where she worked on film scripts for Norma Shearer, Lionel Barrymore, and Lon Chaney. With Frances Marion, she adapted Anna Karenina for a film entitled Love (1927) starring Greta Garbo and John Gilbert. When the tuberculosis again forced her to return to the sanitarium, she completed Dark Star, a novel that reached the best-seller list before her death in 1930.

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Academic Units
Film
Libraries
Series
Women Film Pioneers Project
Published Here
October 15, 2019