Forgotten Stars

Muriel Gardner

Muriel Gardner (Bizarre Los Angeles)

Muriel Gardner is another one of those elusive, forgotten performers of the past. Described as a “blond easy to look at” and “one of the finest dancers west of Chicago,” Gardner’s film work was sparse; however, she was employed by Fanchon & Marco quite often in the late 1920s through the early 1930s as a performer for the live entertainment shows preceding many Fox Studio main feature screenings.

In her prime, she performed all over Los Angeles at such venues as the West Coast Boulevard Theatre (1927); Loew’s State Theatre (1927 and 1930); Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (1929, at a Fox sponsored midnight matinee), the Montmartre (1933), the Club Airport Gardens (1933); the Warner Hollywood Theatre (1933, headlining the pre-show for Ex-Lady); and the Casanova (1936).

Her film work (as a dancer) included Fox’s Words & Music (1929) and a short entitled A Night at the Troc (1939).

Little is known of her whereabouts from the 1940s on. In 1949, a person by that name was in a stage play at the Coronet Theatre. Also, in 1949 and in 1951, a middle-aged (but in-shape) blonde named Muriel Gardner appeared as a character named “Ruby McKenzie” in two Screen Art Picture Corp. low-budget exploitation films, The Devil’s Sleep and Racket Girls. In both films, “Ruby” is a worldly woman wearing skimpy clothing, who spends much of her screen time giving massages and sage advice to younger girls. Is this the same Muriel Gardner?

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