Myrna Adele Williams was born in 1905 in Helena, Montana. She was raised a Methodist.
After relocating permanently to the Los Angeles area aged 13, Myrna attended Westlake School for Girls, and later Venice High School, while intensively studying dance.
Myrna made her first film in 1925, and appeared in numerous silent movies throughout the rest of the 1920s. Having successfully made the transition to talkies, her big break came in 1934 when cast as Nora Charles in The Thin Man, opposite William Powell. She subsequently became one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses throughout the remainder of the 1930s, the 1940s and 1950s.
During World War Two, Myrna became increasingly involved in politics, initially as an outspoken critic of Adolf Hitler. She later became a member of the US National Commission for UNESCO, and actively supported the nomination of several Democratic candidates.
Myrna married four times, each union ending in divorce. In 1960 she moved to New York City, and continued to appear in movies and television productions. Her last motion picture was Sidney Lumet’s Just Tell Me What You Want in 1980.
In 1991 Myrna won an Academy Honorary Award, presented by Angelica Huston. She died in New York, aged 88, in 1993.