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May McAvoy

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Occupation  Actress
Years active  1917–1959

Name  May McAvoy
Role  Actress
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Born  September 8, 1899 (1899-09-08) New York City, New York, U.S.
Died  April 26, 1984, Los Angeles, California, United States
Spouse  Maurice Cleary (m. 1929–1940)
Movies  The Jazz Singer, Ben‑Hur, Lady Windermere's Fan, The Enchanted Cottage, The Terror

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May McAvoy (September 8, 1899 – April 26, 1984) was an American actress who worked mainly during the silent-film era. Some of her major roles are Laura Pennington in The Enchanted Cottage, Esther in Ben-Hur, and Mary Dale in The Jazz Singer.


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McAvoy appeared in her first film in 1917 entitled Hate.

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After appearing in more than three dozen films, McAvoy co-starred with Ramón Novarro and Francis X. Bushman in director Fred Niblo's 1925 production of Ben-Hur released by MGM. The feature-length film was one of the most lavish and spectacular productions of the silent movie era.

Although her voice was not heard in The Jazz Singer, she did speak in several other films, including the second "all-talkie" released by Warner Brothers, The Terror, which was directed by Roy Del Ruth and co-starred Conrad Nagel.

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For years, a rumor circulated that McAvoy retired from the screen at the transition to sound films because of a lisp or speech impediment. In truth, she married the treasurer of United Artists, who asked her not to work.

Later, she returned to films and played small roles during the 1940s and 1950s, making her final film appearance in a small part of the 1959 version of Ben-Hur.

Personal life

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McAvoy married banker Maurice Cleary on June 26, 1929, with whom she had a son named Patrick, and divorced him in 1940.

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McAvoy died at the age of 84 in 1984 from the side effects of a heart attack suffered the previous year, and is interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, May McAvoy has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1731 Vine Street.




May McAvoy Wikipedia