After the loss of the family's lumber fortune, her mother brought the former beauty queen to New York City, where she modeled and got bit parts in films.
Famed producer Irving Thalberg took notice of her in 1920's The Stealers, signed her to an MGM contract in 1923 and married her in 1927, after which she had her pick of plum film roles and was billed as "the First Lady of the Screen."
Played a wide variety of roles but particularly excelled as women scorned, in films such as The Divorcée (1930), for which she won an Oscar, and The Women (1939), for which she got top billing above rival Joan Crawford.
After Thalberg's death in 1936, made bad career moves, turning down the leads in Gone with the Wind and Mrs. Miniver.
Retired in 1942 following the box-office bomb Her Cardboard Lover.
1938, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
1938, Venice Film Festival — Best Actress: Winner
1931, Oscar — Best Actress: Nominee
1930, Oscar — Best Actress: Nominee
1934, Oscar — Best Actress: Nominee
1930, Oscar — Best Actress: Winner
1936, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee