Shop by the Stars aisle featuring Karen Morley (1909-2003) vintage movie cards, still photos, ephemera, and other collectibles.
Born Mildred Linton in Ottumwa, Iowa, her adoptive parents believed she might be tubercular, so they moved to California's better climate around 1922-23. Miss Linton attended Hollywood High School and did one year of premed at UCLA before discovering the theater. She worked at the Pasadena Playhouse, did one bit for Fox in Thru Different Eyes (1929), and was eventually discovered by director Clarence Brown, who cast the young actress now called Karen Morley in his MGM film Inspiration (1931). Morley signed with MGM and remained with them through 1934, appearing in titles such as Politics (1931), Mata Hari (1931), Arsène Lupin (1932), loaned out for Scarface (1932), The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), Flesh (1932), Gabriel Over the White House (1933), and among the cast of all-star classic Dinner at Eight (1933). Morley freelanced after that and appeared in titles including Our Daily Bread (1934), Black Fury (1935), The Littlest Rebel (1935), and Outcast (1937-recommended!), eventually heading back to MGM for Pride and Prejudice (1940). Her first husband was director Charles Vidor, but in the early '40s she followed actor Lloyd Gough—later her second husband—to North Carolina, where she helped organize tobacco workers. Morley appeared in three Broadway plays during 1941-42, none of them lasting two dozen performances, and returned to Hollywood in 1945. Her experience with the tobacco workers caused Morley to be active in Hollywood labor issues and led to her eventual blacklisting after Robert Taylor named her a "disrupting influence" in 1947 testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Morley appeared in just a few films after this, the 1951 remake of Fritz Lang's M, her last before being called to Washington herself, where she invoked her Fifth Amendment rights in refusing to answer if she had ever been a Communist. This effectively ended her career. She appeared in one more film in 1953, and later made a handful of television guest appearances in the 1970s. In 1954, Morley unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor of New York on the America Labor Party ticket. Gough died in 1984, but Morley lived until 2003, when she succumbed to pneumonia at age 93.
Birthday: December 12