Tuesday, April 26, 2016

BIRTH | Apr 26–Anita Loos, Anti-Suffragist

Anita Loos (1889-1981)
This day in 1889 was born [Corinne] Anita Loos in Sisson [today Mount Shasta], Calif. Anita's father, R. Beers Loos, founded a tabloid for which her mother, Minerva "Minnie" Smith did the publishing work.

When Anita was four, the family moved to San Francisco, where Beers Loos bought a newspaper The Dramatic Event, an imitation of London's Police Gazette. In San Francisco, Anita accompanied her alcoholic father as they explored the city. It generated her abiding interest in the underclass.

In 1897, her father coaxed her and her sister Gladys into performing in the San Francisco stock production of Quo Vadis. Gladys died at eight of appendicitis. Anita continued appearing on stage, sometimes bringing in most of the family's income.

In 1903, Beers Loos moved again, to San Diego, to manage a theater company in San Diego. Anita performed both in her father's company, and under another name in another theater.

After graduating from high school, Loos stitched together published reports of Manhattan social life, mailing them to friends in New York who submitted them for publication in San Diego. In 1912, at 23, she wrote a screenplay starring Mary Pickford and produced by D.W. Griffith. She went on to write 150 more by the Crash of 1929, and nearly 100 of them were produced.

In 1925, Loos wrote a diary entry in the name of Lorelei Lee for Harper's Bazaar and it became a book in 1926, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The diary reads at one point:
I really think that American gentlemen are the best after all, because kissing your hand may make you feel very, very good, but a diamond and a sapphire bracelet lasts forever.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes become a hit Broadway musical and a movie starring Marilyn Monroe.

Loos enjoyed appealing to men on their terms. In the 1920s she confronted the suffragists directly:
The people I'm furious with are the Women's Liberationists. They keep getting up on soapboxes and proclaiming women are brighter than men. That's true, but it should be kept quiet or it ruins the whole racket.

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