‘What price widowhood?’: The faded stardom of Norma Shearer

Lies Lanckman

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In this chapter, Lanckman uses fan magazines such as Photoplay to trace the star image of Norma Shearer from the mid1920s to the late 1930s. She focuses particularly on Shearer’s pre-Code films, such as The Divorcee, and on the treatment of the star’s 1927 marriage to MGM mogul Irving Thalberg. Ultimately, she argues that while Shearer’s stable marriage worked together with the films to create a narrative of egalitarian and liberated modernity, the star’s widowhood in 1936 alongside the more conservative nature of post-Code filmmaking condemned her to tragic and forgettable respectability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLasting Screen Stars
Subtitle of host publicationImages that Fade and Personas that Endure
EditorsLucy Bolton, Julie Lobalzo Wright
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan UK
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781137407337
ISBN (Print)9781137407320
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 May 2016


  • stardom
  • fan magazines
  • norma shearer


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