Mae Murray Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (4)  | Trivia (11)  | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, USA
Died in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart ailment)
Birth NameAnna Mary Koenig
Nicknames The Gardenia of the Screen
The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips
Height 5' 2" (1.57 m)

Mini Bio (1)

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 voice being not particularly suited 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.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (4)

Prince David Mdivani (27 June 1926 - 11 February 1934) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
Robert Z. Leonard (18 August 1918 - 26 May 1925) ( divorced)
James Jay O'Brien (18 December 1916 - 16 August 1918) ( divorced)
William Moritz Schwenker Jr. (13 September 1908 - 1914) ( divorced)

Trivia (11)

Rudolph Valentino was best man at her 1926 marriage to Prince David Mdivani; Pola Negri was matron of honor.
Sister-in-law of Pola Negri and Barbara Hutton.
One son: Koran David Mdivani, born February 1927, by Prince David Mdivani. Mae also has two granddaughters, Pamela and Cynthia.
Spoke often about discovering Rudolph Valentino and giving him a role in her film The Delicious Little Devil (1919).
Mae fought for custody of her son for two years. When she finally was given custody, she was unable to care for him due to financial and personal problems. In 1940, he was adopted by his foster family and his name was changed to Daniel Michael Cunning.
She was arrested for vagrancy in NYC when she was found sleeping on a park bench.
According to legend, Murray invented the practice of dunking donuts in coffee. The story goes that she was having coffee with a friend at Lindy's Restaurant on Broadway when she accidentally dropped her donut in her coffee. When she took a bite out of the donut, she said that the coffee had improved its taste and texture.
Co-founded (w/Robert Z. Leonard and M.H. Hoffman) Tiffany Productions (1921-1933).
Created her stage name "May Murray" by taking "May" from the month she was born and "Murray" from one of her favorite hangouts, Murray's Restaurant on 42nd Street.
Clifton Webb was her steady dance partner throughout the Spring of 1914.
Among the mourners at her funeral were Ramon Novarro, Claire Windsor, Vivian Duncan, Isabel Jewell, Wild Bill Tucker, Criswell and Fay Holden.

Salary (1)

Peacock Alley (1922) $10,000 /week

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