Lois Moran (born Lois Darlington Dowling; March 1, 1909 – July 13, 1990) was an American film and stage actress. Despite the fact that her films have been largely forgotten, Lois Moran has been immortalized as the supreme ingénue in American literature; she was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s inspiration for Rosemary, the beautiful young actress in Tender is the Night. Fitzgerald, with whom Moran was at one time romantically involved, provides an exact portrait of Moran in the first pages of the novel, in his description of Rosemary as she arrives with her mother on the French Riviera: She had magic in her pink palms and her cheeks lit to a lovely flame, like the thrilling flush of children after their cold baths in the evening. Her fine forehead sloped gently up to where her hair, bordering it like an armored shield, burst into lovelocks and waves and curlicues of ash blonde and gold, her eyes were bright, big, clear, wet, and shining, the color of her cheeks was real, breaking close to the surface from the strong young pump of her heart. Her body hovered delicately on the last edge of childhood—she was almost eighteen, nearly complete, but the dew was still on her.
Moran was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Roger Dowling and Gladys Evans Dowling. When Moran was one year old, her father died in an automobile accident. A few years later, her mother married Dr. Timothy Moran. She suffered a second loss at age 9, when her stepfather (whom she later described as "my dearest person in the world next to mother") died from influenza. She attended Seton Hill Academy in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. In 1921, when Lois was 12, she and her mother moved to Paris, France, with funding provided by Lois's great-aunt.:8-9
Moran's stage activities included singing and dancing at the Paris National Opera when she was 13 years old.
Moran's film career began when she made her first film in Paris at age 14. She is probably best known for her role as Laurel Dallas, daughter of the title character, in the 1925 film Stella Dallas, which was her Hollywood film debut.
Lois Moran by Carl Van Vechten
In 1927, she had a short affair with writer F. Scott Fitzgerald who had just moved with his wife to Hollywood in order to write a flapper comedy for United Artists. Moran became a temporary muse for the author and he rewrote Rosemary Hoyt, one of the central characters in Tender is the Night, (who had been a male in earlier drafts) to closely mirror her.
Moran appeared in early sound movies such as Behind That Curtain (1929), and some musical movies, such as A Song of Kentucky (1929), Words and Music (1929), and Mammy (1930). She then moved to Broadway, where she appeared in the play This Is New York (1930), and the musicals Of Thee I Sing (1933) and Let 'Em Eat Cake (1934).
Her Broadway credits include Of Thee I Sing (1931) and This Is New York (1930).
In 1935, she married Clarence M. Young, assistant secretary of commerce, temporarily retiring from her acting career. They had one son, Timothy, and remained together until Young's death in 1973.
Moran also had a co-starring role in the short-lived TV series Waterfront (1954–1955). It starred Preston Foster as Capt. John Herrick and Moran as his wife May Herrick.
Moran died at a nursing home in Sedona, Arizona after suffering from cancer. She was cremated, and her ashes were scattered in the Red Rock country in Arizona. She was survived by her son Timothy.
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