Lois Moran starred in over thirty movies from 1924 to 1931
Lois Moran (March 1, 1909 – July 13, 1990) was an American film actress who appeared in over thirty motion pictures from 1924 to 1931, but her major claim to fame was probably as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s inspiration for the character of “Rosemary” in his classic novel ‘Tender Is the Night’ (1934).
Lois Moran was born Lois Darlington Dowlin on March 1, 1909 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She trained in dance as a child and in 1919 at the age of ten, Moran moved to Paris with her mother to study seriously. She danced and sang for several years at the Paris National Opera and appeared in two silents in the early 1920s while still in France. Moran returned to America where she made a highly successful screen debut as the daughter of Stella Dallas (played by Belle Bennett) in the classic silent “Stella Dallas” (1925). Lois Moran went on to appear in over thirty movies and shorts during her career appearing with such actors as Lon Chaney, Al Jolson, Ronald Colman, John Gilbert, Richard Barthelmess, Warner Baxter, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Moran’s credits include the silent hit “The Road to Mandalay” (1926) and early sound movies such as “Behind That Curtain” (1929) and early musicals such as “A Song of Kentucky” (1929), “Words and Music” (1929), and “Mammy” (1930). Like many actors and actresses from the silent film era, Lois Moran did not make a successful transition from silents to talkies. In 1931 Moran left movies and turned to Broadway with lead singing roles in the highly successful George and Ira Gershwin musical satire “Of Thee I Sing” and its somewhat less popular sequel “Let ‘Em Eat Cake.”
Lois Moran reportedly had a brief affair with writer F. Scott Fitzgerald while he was a screenwriter in Hollywood and was an inspiration for the character of Rosemary Hoyt in Fitzgerald’s novel ‘Tender is the Night’ (1934). Fitzgerald once remarked that Moran was “The most beautiful girl in Hollywood”.
In 1935, Lois Moran married Clarence M. Young, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce, retiring from Hollywood and Broadway. Moran came back briefly in a role in the short-lived TV series “Waterfront” (1954–1955). The show starred Preston Foster as Capt. John Herrick and Lois Moran as his wife May Herrick. In her later years Moran settled in Sedona, Arizona with her husband (he died in 1972) where she ran a weekly local column for a time.
Lois Moran died of cancer on July 13, 1990 in Sedona at age 81.