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Lorna Moon (1886–1930)

Author of The Collected Lorna Moon

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Lorna Moon was born Nora Helen Wilson Low in Scotland to a working-class family. Her father was a socialist and atheist. In 1907, she met and quickly married William Hebditch, a traveling salesman from Yorkshire, and left with him for Alberta, Canada. There Lorna had her first son. In 1913, she left her husband and began a relationship with Walter Moon, with whom she had a daughter. She went with Moon to Winnipeg, where she began working as a journalist and adopted the pen name Lorna Moon in honor of her literary heroine, Lorna Doone. She was eager to break into films, and went to Hollywood to train with Cecil B. DeMille at Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Film Corporation for a year. She then began writing films for producer Jesse Lasky. In 1922, she secretly gave birth to her third child, fathered by William DeMille, Cecil's brother. This son, Richard, was adopted and raised by his uncle Cecil, and grew up not knowing his mother’s identity. As an adult, he discovered his parentage and wrote a memoir called My Secret Mother, Lorna Moon. Lorna had contracted tuberculosis and fought the disease for four years, writing short stories and plays from a sanitarium. In late 1926, she was well enough to join Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where she worked on film scripts for Norma Shearer, Lionel Barrymore, and Lon Chaney. When TB again forced her to return to treatment in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she completed the novel Dark Star (1929), which became a bestseller. She died at age 44 in 1930. Among her other works were Doorways in Drumorty (1925), a collection of short stories set in a fictional Scottish town. After the publication of My Secret Mother in 1998, Lorna Moon’s work attracted the attention of literature scholars, including Glenda Norquay. The Collected Works of Lorna Moon, edited by Norquay, was published in 2002.
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