Myrna Darby (Ziegfeld Girl)


"I am one girl who knows this theatrical life if just what you make it. And as long as I know it there is no chances of me making any mistakes." ~ Myrna

Myrna Darby was born on April 10, 1908 Connellsville, Pennsylvania. She attended business school and briefly worked as a stenographer. Myrna made her stage debut in a Pittsburgh production of Abie's Irish Rose. At the age of seventeen she moved to New York and won a beauty contest run by a newspaper. Florenz Ziegfeld saw Myrna and hired her to be in the Ziegfeld Follies. She starred in productions of Whoopee, Rio Rita, and Rosalie. Critics said she was the most beautiful woman ever to appear in the Follies. Myrna also posed nude and appeared in ads for Lucky Strike cigarettes. Unfortunately she struggled with her weight and she began exercising daily to stay thin. In 1927 Myrna fell in love with a married pianist named George A. Walsh. When George's wife found out about the affair she filed for divorce and accused Myrna of stealing her husband.


The story caused a scandal and some newspapers labeled Myrna a "home wrecker". She desperately wanted to marry George but instead he reconciled with his wife. During the Spring of 1929 Myrna became engaged to British millionaire. Sadly he broke her heart by marrying another woman. In July of 1929 Myrna was weakened by a severe sunburn. Over the next two months her health declined and she was hospitalized with a tonsil infection. Tragically Myrna died on September 26, 1929. She was just twenty-one years old. Her doctor said she had died from an inflammation of the heart caused by over-exercising. Myrna was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, New York. After her death it was revealed that an admirer named Larry Fay had paid all her hospital bills.



Myrna is one of many actresses who appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies and then died young. Was she a victim of the Ziegfeld Follies curse?