Debutantes often flocked to Hollywood if for nothing more than to have fun and meets handsome actors, as they did not need the money as their working class counterparts did.
It was all rather benevolent and very shallow, with no real substance, as most of the girl had no idea how hard it was to become a great actress, and how many sacrifices a girl has to make to achieve anything in the industry. Most stayed a very short time and came back home when the going started to get ruff (and it did, sooner or later). Mary Bovard was one of thee few that actually stuck long enough to have a decent career as a minor actress.
Unlike the majority of starlets who came to Hollywood solely on their physical attributes, she looked pleasant but was not a beauty. Yet, also unlike them, she had the willpower and the grit to hold to what was given to her and not have too many illusions about the way Hollywood works.
Mary Bovard was born on December 5, 1917, in Bloomington, Illinois, as Mary Blanche Beich to Albert C. Beich and Hulda Ruth Burke. Her acting surname comes from her maternal grandmother, whose name was Blanche Bovard. Her paternal grandfather was Paul F. Beich, a German immigrant who made a fortune in the candy business in Illinois. Her parents divorced in the early 1920s, and her father remarried.
She was reared on the East and West coast in private schools before going back home to Illinois.
Mary ended in Hollywood on a dare which took a lot of guts. After reading that RKO was looking for a feminine type to play a role in a picture, She phoned the casting director, Robert Palmer, from her home in Illinois, and told him she was the person they were looking for. Roberts just shrugged her off, as he was used to pretty girls trying to break into movies. Yet, Mary surprised him by actually buying the ticket and coming to Hollywood. Impressed by her attitude, he offered her the role she wanted.
Mary landed her first job in an RKO movie for children, Chasing Yesterday, filmed after a renown novel by the great Anatole France. After RKO; Mary signed a contract with a poverty row studio, Republic Pictures, in 1937, from 75$ to 750$ a week. Her last contract was with MGM, the biggest and most luxurious of all studios. Yet, Mary was in a peculiar position that, despite being signed with a certain studio at a certain time, she was constantly lent out – she flew through almost all of the major and minor Hollywood studios in her 10 years career.
Before she signed with MGM she made Having Wonderful Time , Stage Door, You Can’t Beat Love, A Man Betrayed, The Mandarin Mystery, Star for a Night, Palm Springs, Show Boat, Big Brown Eyes, Fighting Youth, Chasing Yesterday. This is a very diverse list of movies, ranging from serious musicals (Show Boat,), to sophisticated drama (Stage Door), to serial crime movies (The Mandarin Mystery).
By this time, Mary probably knew that there was little chance for her to become a feature actress (while there are exceptions, anyone who has been a bit player for about 5 years will likely remain a bit player for the rest of his career), and I guess she just went with the flow and used what chance she got. Her MGM and post MGM bit parts are in less distinguished movies – with the exception of Penny Serenade , most are minuscule efforts for the studio with a tight budget and stars who made them by the dozen (Lupe Velez, who always played the same fiery Latina in a bevvy of films).
Mary had more prominent roles in a few movies: Women in Hiding, Criminal Investigator and Delinquent Daughters. The first is a exploitation drama still relevant today with the ever superb Marsha Hunt in the lead. The second and third are low budget crime dramas with C tier actors. Nothing notable for Mary’s CV.
She got married in 1948 and left acting.
Make no mistake, Mary was a society girl despite her work in Hollywood and it shoved. She dated Jack Warner Jr. Hollywood royalty, from late 1938. he worked on the east coast but flew in frequently to meet with her.
As a part of the publicity campaign to promote her, Mary posed for endless charades in the papers. She was used a make up guinea pig, as she had the most delicate skin in all of Hollywood. She posed for Lois Leed beauty columns and revealed how she enjoys the services of Inge, the Swedish masseuse after a hard’s day work. She learned how to play the new fad, hoop tennis. She served as a hostess in canine shows. She was also noted as one of the debutantes in Tinsel Town, along with Mimi Forsythe, Louise Currie and Renee Haal. In 1939, she was five feet three tall, and weighted a light 110 lbs. In 1942, she was a part of the war bond sale.
Mary’s first husband was Dr. Rudolph Myers, whom she wed on June 5, 1948.
Their first child, a son, Rudolph Burtonshower Myers, was born on August 1, 1949. Mary’s second son, Albert Beich Myers, was born on 20 September 1950. Myers died in the 1960s, leaving her a widow for the first time.
Mary marred Neil S. McCarthy, an Arizona native and attorney to the stars, who was 30 years older than her, in june 1969. He died on July 25, 1972, making her a second time widow.
After Her Hollywood career ended, Mary became a paintress and moved to Paris. In 1964 she had her first exhibition there, and in 1970 her second. She painted in the impressionist style, and was compared to well known paintress Mary Cassat. The influential french art magazine, L’Aurore, wrote positive things about her paintings. She had gallery openings all around the US, including Los Angeles, New York and Palm Springs. In later years, her son Albert Beich Myers published a book about his mother’s art.
Mary Beich Myers McCarthy died on September 6, 2002 in Thousand Oaks, California.