Norma Shearer was a talented and celebrated actress who achieved great success during her career. Born on August 10, 1902, in Montréal, Québec, Canada, she rose to fame with her remarkable performances in movies such as "The Divorcee," "Marie Antoinette," and "The Barretts of Wimpole Street."
Shearer's exceptional acting skills and charisma earned her the prestigious Oscar award for "The Divorcee," cementing her status as one of the finest actresses of her time. Throughout her career, she was affectionately known by several nicknames, including "The First Lady Of MGM" and "Queen Norma," which reflected her prominence and influence in the movie industry. Although she passed away on June 12, 1983, her legacy lives on.
Who Was Shearer Married To At Her Death?
At the time of her death, Norma Shearer was married to Martin Jacques Arrouge. Tragically, she passed away on June 12, 1983, (the year Ed Harris married Amy Madigan) at the Motion Picture and Television Country Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. She was around 80 years old at the time of her passing and had been residing at the hospital since 1980. The cause of her death was bronchial pneumonia, which was a respiratory infection that affected her lungs.
Norma Shearer and her late husband, Martin Jacques Arrouge SOURCE: Pinterest
After the passing of Shearer, her husband Arrouge continued to live on for many years. He eventually passed away on August 8, 1999, at the age of 85. Arrouge spent his final years in Los Angeles, California, in Los Angeles County. During their marriage, the couple must have shared many cherished memories, and the loss of both Norma and Martin was likely felt deeply by their friends and loved ones.
Shearer And Arrouge's Love Story
Shearer and Arrouge's love story began in 1938 when they first crossed paths. It was a chance encounter during a ski lesson, where he taught the actress and her two children how to ski. The connection between them grew stronger over time, and they decided to take their relationship to the next level.
On August 23, 1942, Shearer and Arrouge tied the knot and became husband and wife. Despite the age difference, with him being 12 years younger than her, their love endured and remained strong throughout the years. He was deeply devoted to his beloved wife, as she decided to retire from the screen forever after their marriage, choosing to support her and focus on their life together. Their love story was one of genuine affection and commitment, standing the test of time until her passing on June 12, 1983.
Who Was Shearer's First Husband?
Norma Shearer's first husband was the renowned film producer Irving Thalberg. They tied the knot on September 29, 1927, in what was deemed the Hollywood wedding of the year, capturing the attention and admiration of the public. Thalberg was a prominent figure in the movie industry, and their marriage elevated her status within MGM, earning her the nickname "First Lady of the Screen."
In 1927, Shearer made a significant decision to convert to Judaism so that she could marry Thalberg. This act showcased her dedication to their relationship and respect for his faith. Even after his passing, she remained committed to her adopted religion and continued to observe Judaism throughout her life.
Late Norma Shearer's ex-husband late, Irving Thalberg SOURCE: YouTube
Shearer and Thalberg's union was not only a personal bond but also a powerful professional partnership that contributed to her success as an actress. His influence and expertise played a significant role in shaping her career and guiding her toward iconic roles on the silver screen. Her marriage to the producer allowed her the freedom to choose the films she wanted to work on, the roles she wanted to play, the co-stars she wanted to collaborate with, and the directors she wanted to work under.
This advantage proved essential in Shearer's efforts to avoid being typecast. However, with her marriage to Thalberg, some critics accused her of benefiting from her relationship rather than her abilities. Yet, she remained resilient in the face of such criticism and proved her worth as an actress, securing her place as a respected and admired figure in the entertainment industry.
A Bit About Martin Jacques Arrouge
Martin Jacques Arrouge was not only known as the ski instructor who captured Shearer's heart but also had a remarkable life beyond their love story. During World War II, he served as a Navy aviator, bravely contributing his skills and courage to the war effort.
After skiing, Arrouge embarked on a new path and ventured into the world of real estate development and entrepreneurship. His determination and business acumen led him to success in these ventures, and he made significant contributions to the development of various properties and projects. Despite his accomplishments in the business world, he remained a private and humble individual, choosing to cherish the memories of his time with Norma and the life they shared.
The Death Of Shearer's First Husband
The death of Norma Shearer's first husband, Irving Thalberg, was a tragic event that shook Hollywood. He passed away at a remarkably young age, just 37 years old, on September 14, 1936, at their Santa Monica home, as mentioned in an article from Los Angeles Times.
Irving Thalberg's Tribute at the 1987 Oscars SOURCE: YouTube
Thalberg's untimely death was caused by pneumonia, leaving Shearer devastated by the loss of her loving partner and guiding force in her career. With his support and influence, her career flourished, but after his death, she faced significant challenges. She made mistakes in her choices particularly turning down iconic leading roles in films like "Gone with the Wind" and "Mrs. Miniver," which could have further cemented her stardom.
As she struggled to cope with her grief, Shearer took on fewer film projects, and her once illustrious career started to falter. Eventually, in 1942, she made the difficult decision to retire from the silver screen. Despite this challenging period in her life, her legacy as a talented and influential actress endures, and she remains a beloved figure in the history of Hollywood.
Arrouge Remarried After Shearer's Death
After the passing of Shearer, Arrouge found love once again. He remained devoted to the late actress until she died in the same year, Alfre Woodard married Roderick Spencer, i.e., in 1983, cherishing the memories of their time together. However, as life goes on, he opened his heart to a new chapter. On August 5, 1985, he remarried Michele Daphine Ward Arrouge in a ceremony held in Reno. Their love story blossomed, and they shared many cherished moments throughout their marriage.
Sadly, after a life well lived, Arrouge passed away, leaving behind a profound impact on those who knew him. Following his wishes, he was cremated, and his ashes were given to his wife, Michele, on August 24, 1999, as mentioned in Find a Grave. She held onto his memory, honoring the love they shared, and keeping his spirit close to her heart. She has always lived a life away from the media and hence, has not disclosed much about herself.
Norma Shearer's personal life was filled with various relationships and encounters with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Besides her two marriages, she was involved with several notable figures in the entertainment industry. She had relationships with George Raft in 1940-1941, Robert Montgomery in 1929, Johnny Mack Brown in 1928, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., William Haines, Alfred G. Vanderbilt, Burgess Meredith, Ben Lyon, and Monta Bell.
Additionally, Shearer had encounters with Mickey Rooney in 1940, David Niven in 1939, Clark Gable in 1931, Humphrey Bogart in 1930, Malcolm McGregor in 1925, John Gilbert in 1924, as well as James Stewart, Freddie Bartholomew, Howard Hawks, and Jack Conway. Her social life was mix of professional relationships, friendships, and brief encounters, which undoubtedly added to the colorful tapestry of her life as Hollywood star.