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Karen Morley

from the trailer for the film Black Fury (1935).
Born Mildred Linton
December 12, 1909(1909-12-12)
Ottumwa, Iowa
United States
Died March 8, 2003 (aged 93)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation Actress
Years active 1929–1975
Spouse(s) Charles Vidor (1932-1943) 1 child
Lloyd Gough (1943-1984) (his death)

Karen Morley (December 12, 1909 – March 8, 2003) was an American film actress.


Life and career

Born Mildred Linton in Ottumwa, Iowa, Morley lived there until she was thirteen years old. When she came to Hollywood, she attended Hollywood High School, and she later graduated from UCLA.

After working at the Pasadena Playhouse, she came to the attention of the director Clarence Brown when he was looking for an actress to stand-in for Greta Garbo in screen tests. This led to a contract with MGM and roles in such films as Mata Hari (1931), Scarface (1932), The Phantom of Crestwood (1932), Arsene Lupin (1933) and Dinner at Eight (1933).

In 1934, Morley left MGM after arguments about her roles and her private life. Her first film after leaving MGM was Our Daily Bread (1934) directed by King Vidor. She continued to work as a freelance performer, and appeared in Michael Curtiz's Black Fury, and The Littlest Rebel with Shirley Temple. Without the support of a studio, her roles became less frequent, however she played a supporting role in Pride and Prejudice (1940).

Her career came to an end in 1947, when she testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and refused to answer questions about her alleged American Communist Party membership. She maintained her political activism for the rest of her life. In 1954, she ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor of New York on the American Labor Party ticket.

After being blacklisted by the Hollywood studio bosses, she was never able to rebuild her acting career. In December 1999, at the age of 90, she appeared in the magazine Vanity Fair in an article about blacklist survivors.

Personal life

Morley was married to director Charles Vidor from 1932 until 1943. They met on the set of Man About Town, in which Morley played the female lead, and Vidor was co-director. Vidor and Morley had a son, Michael Karoly, who was born in August 1933. Morley and Vidor were divorced in 1943, and later that year, she married the actor Lloyd Gough. They had one child together. They were married until Gough's death in 1984.

from Dinner at Eight (1933)

Morley lived in Santa Monica, California during her later years, and she died from pneumonia in Woodland Hills, California at the age of 93. She was survived by two grandsons, a great-grandson, and a great-granddaughter.


External links



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