Saturday, August 4, 2012

Miss Leila Hyams

Guess I am on a pretty blonde kick! Nothing wrong with that says this pretty blonde :)

Leila Hyams had a relatively short career, but she was absolutely gorgeous! She was also the offspring of two actors, so she was born with some stardust in her veins.

Did I mention she was beautiful?

Leila Hyams was born on May 1, 1905 in New York City. Her parents were the vaudeville comedy duo, John and Leila McIntyre Hyams. It seems as soon as she could walk, she was sharing the stage with her parents.

Besides appearing on the vaudeville stage, Leila also worked as a model and became quite well known for her work. It was her modeling work that got her into the movies.

She made her acting debut in 1924 in the film, Sandra, with Barbara La Marr. Her next role was opposite Clara Bow and Alice Joyce in Dancing Mothers. Not bad, eh?

Leila didn't reach super stardom like her co-star, Clara Bow, but she was popular during her day. She appeared in a number of other silent films alongside such names as Madge Bellamy, Myrna Loy, and the man, er, dog himself, Rin Tin Tin.

What made her so likable to the film fans was her innocent sex appeal, her beautiful smile, and her charisma. But, even with all that she still seemed like the down to Earth girl next door. That helped to set her apart from her other female costars.

One of her first talking pictures was with my favorite guy, Buster Keaton in 1929's Spite Marriage. And although timewise her career didn't last long, she managed to fit a lot of films into that short period of time. A few of her more well known pictures include Tod Browning's highly controversial film, Freaks, and Red-Headed Woman alongside Jean Harlow.

Her last film appearance was in 1936 in the film, Yellow Dust. Instead of a film career, she wanted to concentrate on her personal life, although she was still seen out and about in Hollywood.

Leila Hyams passed away on December 4, 1977 in Bel Air, California. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered.

Leila was married once, to agent Phil Berg from 1927 until her death in 1977. They never had children.

She was once described as "The Golden Girl"  by an artist, because of her perfect pink, white, and blonde coloring. To help maintain her beautiful skin coloring, she would lay under the studio lamps, when she couldn't go lay outside in the sun that is.

Apparently, Leila was known to drive very fast, but she never got a speeding ticket. Her trick? She would drive around with her dog and whenever he saw a motorcycle, he would bark and jump around which would remind Leila to slow down.
She was quite shrewd when it came to protecting her assets. She put a picture of herself on all of her checks so that it would be impossible for anyone to take them and use them. Smart lady!

According to a 1928 Photoplay Magazine article, Leila carried a small satin case suspended from her garter that contained an extra pair of stockings in case the pair she had on got damaged.

One of her favorite hobbies was fishing. Maybe her outdoorsy side was one of the reasons she was the first actress offered the role of Jane in the first Tarzan picture. And as you know by now, she turned the role down.

She was the first person to model for Listerine advertisements. Look at those pearly whites!


  1. She was so lovely! I'll have to watch some more of her films. Thanks for telling her story :-)

  2. My grandmother was a private nurse for her mother Leila McIntyre. I have her vaudeville traveling trunk. I just discovered a baby bracelet with the name "John Hyams" engraved on it. I think it was her fathers. Misspelled I think.....

  3. My grandmother was a private nurse for her mother, Leila McIntyre. I have her traveling vaudeville trunk, stamped with "Leila McIntyre Theater" on the top.. I just discovered a baby bracelet engraved "John Hyams". I think it was her fathers. Perhaps misspelled.....

    1. Oh no way! You have to send me a picture! That is just the coolest thing!

  4. Just re-watched 'Freaks' and couldn't help but do a quick Google search. A very nice article. Thanks!

    1. Glad I could be of service! I am thinking I need to watch Freaks again too.
      Thanks for stopping by, Nick!