Photograph of Anita Loos and John Emerson by Edward Steichen for Vanity Fair,
Another female screenwriter, Anita Loos, became nationally known for writing Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925), a novel she had written that she adapted for both the stage and screen. By 1925 she had written some 200 scripts for silent movies and co-authored two books on film production. She was especially recognized for the scenarios she wrote for famous actor Douglas Fairbanks, as well as for the Talmadge sisters, Norma, Natalie and Constance. Golden stars of their time, the sisters were fortunate to have Loos’ irreverent writing as captions on the silent screen. Her comedic scripts often contained a deep underlying cynicism and satire, much of it based on gender roles. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, for example, was based on Loos’ experience with esteemed literary critic H.L. Mencken, who joined his male friends in ignoring her—a well-paid fellow writer—to focus on an inane blonde.Both Loos and Marion used professional names that they did not change with marriages and divorces, and both continued their careers despite changes in marital status. Loos went on to find uncommon success, even during the Great Depression, when she earned as much as $2,500 a week.