Louis Durst (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸
Following in the path that was broken by Robert Taylor, the Pomona College boy who abandoned a medical career to star in motion pictures, Louis Durst, of Baylor University, Texas, has signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Durst is a lyric tenor, born in Tyler, Texas, on September 12. His father, Louis Durst, Sr., is a business man there and his mother, Lorrain Hamilton Durst, is an accomplished pianist.
The young medical student served for two years in a clinic and had given no thought to a career, either on stage or screen, until his friend and fellow-Texan, John Boles, distinguished Hollywood star, offered the suggestion. Durst went to Hollywood and remained there nearly a year before he succeeded in gaining recognition.
On the day that he appeared at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, he sang for Sigmund Romberg, the celebrated composer, who promptly acclaimed the quality of his tenor voice. Durst was listed at once among the most promising young players who are being schooled for screen careers.
Durst is a graduate of the Tyler High School and Baylor University. He was one of the crack high-jumpers at the latter and also a relay track man, an expert fencer, played excellent tennis, and, of course, being a Texan, he excelled in horsemanship.
He is six feet in height, weighs 156 pounds and has dark brown eyes and hair. At college he sang in the glee club, and participated in Little Theatre plays, but never with the thought of becoming a professional actor.
He composes music for his own amusement and hopes in time to turn out something for publication, but he has infinite patience for one of his years. Durst is a typical Texan, including his drawl.
When he was asked to describe the sort of people he preferred, he smiled.
“Just folks,” he replied. “Plain folks.”
Questioned as to his superstitions, Durst laughed.
“Sure, I’m from Texas. I believe in all of ‘em. Black cats — white horses — red-headed women. I’d ride miles to tap on wood for luck, if there wasn’t any wood handy on the spot.”
Durst adheres to a rigid schedule of preparation. He rises at 7:00 each morning and actually enjoys a brisk setting-up exercise. Residing in an apartment, he prefers to eat at restaurants where he may observe humanity. He eats plain foods sparingly.
At 10:30 o’clock he reports to Phyllis Loughton, dramatic coach, with whom he works until the lunch hour. That is his highlight of the day, when he meets and listens attentively to stars and fellow students in the studio commissary.
Durst spends his afternoons with Roger Edens, the vocal coach, who is training him to sing for the screen, using a technique which is entirely unlike that he employed in radio and concert work.
He has three afternoons each week to himself. It is characteristic of the young singer that, will all of California luring him to play, he continues to spend those hours with Harold Kellogg, distinguished vocal instructor, who trains John Boles, James Cagney, Irene Dunne and other stars.
Durst has abandoned all plans for the medical career which won his enthusiasm at Baylor University.