In 1918, Mae Murray described for Motion Picture magazine her image of the ideal man.
By this time, the actress had two failed marriages behind her. She says,
“In looks my ideal man should be big and blond as the Norsemen
–the legendary ones that live today in Wagner’s operas.
In disposition he must be patient.
I want to feel that he has a temper if he were not strong-willed
and held it in leash.
Endow him with a strong sense of humor, above all things.
His manners should be old-fashioned, but not too polished,
because I want them to be sincere,
not the modern society manners that have become mere mechanics.
His habits should be those of a healthy, normal man, and, above all,
he should have a deep understanding of the ‘eternal feminine,’
except when they are hysterical.”
— MAE MURRAY —
The man she describes–at least physically– is Robert Z. Leonard. Good timing, Mae! The two would marry in October 1918.
Before getting together with Leonard, Mae had said “I do” to two men, both New Yorkers, both seemingly wealthy playboys.
Mae married William M. Schwenker Jr. in 1908. The blank checkbook he gave her mirrored the zero balance in his checking account. His stingy father had the big bucks.
She reluctantly said “yes” to New York night owl Jay O’Brien in 1917.
Perhaps his manners were a bit too polished for her taste. The wedding cake last longer than the marriage. O’Brien later became a bobsledder who won two medals at the 1932 Winter Olympics. He walked the aisle with actress Irene Fenwick , then struck gold when he married Laura Fleischmann, whose second husband had been Julius Fleischmann, president of the Fleischmann Yeast Company.
Mae’s 1918 marriage to Robert Z. Leonard was a brilliant career move.
The Leonards seemed to be the picture of happiness. Then the glass cracked and Mae became The Merry Widow. Bob married the love of his life, actress Gertrude Olmstead.
One would think three failed marriages would have prepared little Mae for the fourth. Oh, my! Mae nabbed herself a prince; the prince nabbed himself a fortune. “Dah-veed,” as Mae referred to her man, went for the bull’s eye.
Their rocky marriage ended in the early 1930s. Poor Mae was penniless.
After Mdivani, Mae gave up on marriage, but not men.
Read more about the men in her life when Mae Murray: The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips hits your bookstores.