She sent sketches to newspapers when she was only six years old, which showed she had all the skills needed to be a writer. In her teens, when money was tight, Anita started going to the theater. She wanted to do more with her life, though, so she decided to write short screenplays. The “Biograph Company” chose her third screenplay to be made into a movie. This was the start of her career as a writer. After writing several successful screenplays that were based on her everyday life, she decided to try her hand at acting. In order to get ahead in Hollywood, she married the son of a band conductor, which was against what her mother wanted. But as luck would have it, her husband turned out not to have any money. She left him and moved back in with her mother. She then got a job as a staff writer at a production company. As more and more of her scripts were made into movies, her reputation as a writer grew, and she moved to New York. People like John Emerson, Douglas Fairbanks, and Joseph Schenck were among the people she met in the city. When she was at the top of her game as a playwright, she also wrote “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Intimate Diary of a Professional Lady,” a funny satire. Read on to find out more about her work and personal life.
Early years and childhood
She was born on April 26, 1889, in Mount Shasta, California, to Richard Beers Loos and Minnie Ellen Smith. Then, her parents gave her the name Corinne Anita Loos.
During their time in Mount Shasta, California, the family’s main source of income was a tabloid that Anita’s father had bought. Anita has been writing since she was a child. Her mother was in charge of publishing the newspaper when she was young.
When Minnie Ellen and her family moved to San Francisco in 1892, she borrowed money from her father and used it to buy another newspaper called “The Dramatic Event.” By the time she was six, Anita had found that she loved writing and was sending her stories and drawings to newspapers.
In 1897, Anita and her sister were both in the play “Quo Vadis” because their father made them.
Richard Beers Loos was an alcoholic and a spendthrift, so his daughters, Anita and Gladys, had to work in the theater to help support the family. During one of their drunken father’s outbursts, Gladys died, and Anita had to be the family’s only source of income.
She later kept doing this while performing with different theater groups all through high school.
Anita Loss’s Career
After seeing one-act plays in a theater where she was acting in 1911, this writer started writing screenplays to get out of a mediocre life and follow her passion for writing.
She got $25 for her first screenplay, “He Was a College Boy,” which she sent to the film company “Biograph Company.” But her third screenplay, “The New York Hat,” was the first of her works to be made into a movie and put on the floor.
In this 1912 silent short film, the main characters were played by Mary Pickford and Lionel Barrymore. At the time, D.W. Griffith was a well-known director.
She made up stories based on the things she saw and did every day. These stories became the basis for many of Anita’s screenplays. Between 1912 and 1915, the screenwriter wrote more than 100 scripts for studios like the Lubin Manufacturing Company and the Biograph Company.
Even though her mother didn’t want her to, this screenwriter chose to become an actress in Hollywood. But after six months of a bad marriage, she was disappointed and went home.
Then, she became a staff writer at the American movie studio Triangle Film Corporation for $75 a week, working for director D.W. Griffith.
She was in charge of writing the scripts for a movie version of Shakespeare’s well-known play “Macbeth.” Anita went to New York City for the first time for the premiere of Griffith’s 1916 silent film “Intolerance,” which she dubbed and is thought to be one of his best works.
In New York, Loos met Frank Crowninshield, the editor of the American magazine “Vanity Fair.” This was the start of a long-lasting business relationship between the two.
When this screenwriter moved back to California, she worked with director John Emerson to write the scripts for several movies. Some of the best things they did together were silent movies with actor Douglas Fairbanks.
When “Famous Players-Lasky,” a movie company, offered Fairbanks a movie deal, he hired the team of Loos and Emerson to write the script and direct the movie.
After their first project with “Famous Players-Lasky” was a success, the company gave them a deal for four movies in 1918. Both of them moved to New York with Frances Marion, a writer who was also moving there.
Even though they had been successful in the past, the pair couldn’t create the same magic with “Famous Players-Lasky.” This is likely because the movies used “Broadway” actors who had little or no experience acting on screen.
When the contract ended, Loos-Emerson took William Randolph Hearst up on his offer to make a movie with Marion Davies. The 1919 movie “Getting Mary Married” was one of Marion Davies’s few financially successful projects.
The two of them wrote a book called “Breaking into the Movies” in 1919, and they later worked with Joseph Schenck of “Schenck Studios” and their old friend Constance Talmadge. The two movies that came out of the partnership, “A Temperamental Wife” and “A Virtuous Vamp,” were both very popular.
After making a number of successful movies with Schenck and Constance, Loos and Emerson decided not to renew their contract with them in 1920. Instead, they moved into the theater world.
The first play she wrote was called “The Whole Town’s Talking.” It opened at the “Bijou Theatre” on August 29, 1923. The play did okay in terms of money and got good reviews from critics.
With time, this writer’s marriage to Emerson lost its appeal, and Emerson began to date other people. Loos was sad and alone, so she went out with her friends. These trips would later help her write her famous book “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”
Because of how popular the satirical short stories called “Lorelei” were, the time was right for a book. In 1925, “Boni and Liveright” put out “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Private Journal of a Working Girl.” The first book sold out right away, and even though the reviews weren’t great, it went on to be the best seller.
Anita kept working on more than one project at a time all through 1926 so she could support herself and Emerson, who had Hypochondriasis and was always worried he was sick. He would pretend to be sick to get her attention, and Loos, a loyal wife, decided to stop working after her next book came out so she could take care of him.
After the sequel to “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes,” came out in 1927, Loos and Emerson took a trip to Europe. During this time, she even came up with a plan to help her sick husband, Emerson, get better. Together with her ENT specialist, the screenwriter faked an operation in which doctors supposedly removed a polyp from Emerson’s larynx to cure him.
From 1927 to 1929, the couple traveled, but it only made them drift further apart. Also, when Emerson’s stock market investment went bad, Anita went back to work to take care of them both. She turned her second book into a play and wrote another comedy.
In 1931, their marriage was on the verge of ending, but the Emersons wouldn’t let it happen. Since then, they have been living apart, and Emerson gives Anita a monthly allowance.
The screenwriter took up Irwin Thalberg’s offer to work for “MGM Studios” even though she was free to work whenever she wanted. The success of her first project with the studio, “Red-Headed Woman,” helped her reputation as a screenwriter, and “MGM” gave her a lot of other writing jobs.
The movie “San Francisco,” which she wrote the screenplay for with Robert Hopkins, was her most well-known work for MGM. The movie got her a nomination for the “Best Original Screenplay” Academy Award.
She went back to New York in 1946 to write the script for a play called “Happy Birthday.” Even though the play didn’t do well when it opened in Boston, the writer kept making changes to the script, and by the time it opened in New York, it was a big hit.
She kept writing scripts, some of which were for big musicals like “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” In her later years, she started writing books and often wrote for magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair.
She wrote a book about her time with actors Constance and Norma Talmadge in 1978. The Viking Press then put out a book called “The Talmadge Girls.”
Works of note
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the book she wrote, was a big hit. This well-known work, which is a comedy, has been translated into 14 languages and published 85 times so far.
Personal History and Legacies
In 1915, Anita married Frank Palma Jr., who was the son of a conductor. But when she realized her husband was wrong for her and didn’t have any money, she left him and went back to her mother.
After working with director John Emerson for a long time on the job, she married him on June 15, 1919. The relationship between the two people was on-and-off, and in the end, they lived in different places.
Emerson was always suspicious, so he was given a diagnosis of Schizophrenia. Even though the writer wanted a divorce, Emerson always found a way to keep her from making a decision, and she continued to pay for him until he died.
On August 18, 1981, this screenwriter died of a lung infection in New York City. He had lived a full and fun life. Helen Hayes, Ruth Gordon, and Lillian Gish, who were her close friends and coworkers, were among the people who went to her memorial service.
Estimated Net worth
Anita is one of the wealthiest celebrities and is on the list of the most popular ones. Based on what we know and what Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider say, Anita Loos is worth about $1.5 million.