The lovely Leila Hyams

A couple of years ago I hadn't heard from this lovely movie ingenue - who aroused warm feelings with the moviegoers - up until I watched one of her most known movies 'Freaks' (1932) and the person I watched it with said I looked like her a little. I hear alot of times I look like a movie star, which is really a big compliment, but 99,9% of the time I don't agree. However, I thought this quite a compliment, too, because she was stunning. And perhaps I understand the comparison a bit because of our teeth.

Anyway, Leila got my attention, as I simply loved her role in Freaks. She didn't had a long career and not much is known about her, yet I did found alittle bit of information about this movie star, who had a big succes in the 1920s as a silent movie star and in the talkies of the early 30s, until she decided she wanted to focus on her personal life.

Leila was born on May 1st in 1905 to two Vaudeville performers: John Hyams and Leila McIntyre. Leila appeared on stage already as a little child and in her teenager years she worked as a model. Leila became well known across the United States after appearing in newspaper advertisements. This led to her succes Hollywood.

Leila made her first film Sandra in 1924, together with the actress who was dubbed 'The Girl who is too beautiful'; Barbara La Marr. Her next role was opposite Clara Bow and Alice Joyce in Dancing mothers. Leila proved that she could handle the little roles entitled to her and this led to her being taken serious as an actress. Leila scored a role in MGM's first released talkie 'Alias Jimmy Valentine' in 1928. That following year, she also starred in the popular murder mysterie 'The thirteenth chair'. Leila became succesful in the movies and got one role after the other. However, Leila is most famous for her two early 1930s horror movies Freaks (1932) and Island of lost souls (1932). Leila was also first choice to play Jane in the movie Tarzan the ape-man (1932) but, as we know by know, she turned down that role. It was Maureen O'Sullivan who became the ultimate Jane. Leila also appeared in the (once) controversial (pre-code) Hollywood film 'Red-headed woman' (1932) with Jean Harlow as the lead.

Leila was very popular in her days and, as I mentioned before, aroused warm feelings with the moviegoers. This, because Leila had a good natured demeanor, she had a sparkling personality, an innocent sex-appeal and had a great dose of charisma also. People could relate to her. Although appearing very glamorous, she maintained 'the down to earth girl next door' vibe.

She was described as 'The Golden girl' by an artist once, because of her blonde hair, perfect skin and white pearly, teeth. To maintain her beautiful skin coloring, Leila often lay under the studio lamps, when she couldn't get outside and sunbathe. Leila was also known as a fast driver, but she never received a ticket once! Her trick for this was driving around with her dog, who would bark whenever he saw a motorcycle and this would warn Leila to slow down.

Leila's career lasted for twelve years and she played in 52 movies. She retired in 1936 to focus herself on a personal life. She married to agent Phil Berg from 1927 until her death on December 4, 1977. The couple never had any children.

Leila's story is not a tragic one like those I usually write about! But she was an excellent actress who could conform to any role given to her and she should not be forgotten! She is one of my favorites and therefore I decided to write a post about her! She gave a compassionate performance as Venus in Freaks and if you haven't seen it yet, you really should!


  1. She is so adorable! and you and her share a resemblance as well. I will have to look up these films

  2. Yay! I must say, it's always a pleasant breath of fresh air to here of a Hollywood star or starlet whose life ends on a happy note (or at least isn't greatly marred by tragedy). I really didn't know too much about Leila before this post, save for a general awareness of who she was, and love that you started my weekend off with an engaging history lesson on her. Thank you!

    ♥ Jessica

  3. u should write about Dolores del Rio

  4. Saw Leila in Ruggles of Red Gap and was fascinated by her performance. She was stunning and I am looking forward to seeing more of her films. I have enjoyed looking at her photos. Can't think of any modern day women stars who can equal her beauty and charm.


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