My chat with Meg Myles about Phenix City

Nathaniel Christopher 1 Comment

I recently read that 1950s actress, singer, model and defender of birds Meg Myles died just two days before her 85th birthday. Firstly, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to any and all who knew her.

My treasured copy of the "Phenix City Blues" by Meg Myles.
My treasured copy of the “Phenix City Blues” by Meg Myles. (mp3 download)

I know of Myles from her performance as the nightclub singer “Judy” in The Phenix City Story which was a 1955 film crime drama film directed by Phil Karlson.

Meg Myles as Judy in the Phenix City Story.

The movie is a dramatized account of the events leading up to the 1954 assassination of Phenix City lawyer Albert Love Patterson who had recently secured the Democratic nomination for Attorney General of Alabama.

My father was born and raised in Phenix City. I never knew my father but for a time I was very interested in where he came from.

For many years Phenix City was run by criminal syndicates who operated casinos, nightclubs and other less-than-reputable enterprises in the area. Gambling, prostitution and violence were part and parcel of life in Phenix City prior to the 1954 cleanup.

Prior to 2010 I did not know much about my father’s birth other than the fact that his biological mother was a 17-year-old waitress and nightclub singer who worked for some of the area’s more notorious gangsters.

My 2007 visit to Phenix City, Alabama.

I wanted to write an article about this but there was only so much I could do without know the identity of my grandmother. So, I decided to focus on the only popular image of a Phenix City nightclub singer.

As it happened, the actress who played her was alive and well and so I wrote her to ask how she came up with the image of “Judy.” She graciously replied through Facebook and I thought it would be a nice idea to share her replies here. I believe that they may of interest to anyone studying the Phenix City Story.

I beleive I ‘ve had amidst the clutter on my desk a letter from you regarding “Phenix city Story” and the thought that the character I portray is possibly related to you.

Fact is…The song was written by Harold Spina in Hollywood, his music publisher in New York, Edwin Morris, was freinds with Ed Woods of Chicago and the Woods Theater chain. Spina sent my demo of the Phenix City Blues to Morris in New York with photo of me. Morris sent it to Woods, who was in Phenix City during production of the film,who sent this word back to my people in Hollywood. Like the song send the Brod to Phenix City will put her in the picture. That’s it. Sorry it took so long to reply. meg myles

Meg Myles to Nathaniel Christopher 6/14/10, 2:22 PM

The Phenix City Story was shot entirely on Location. I was picked up in Atlanta driven to Columbus where all the cast & crew stayed, except for the actor James Edwards. He was housed by locals in Phenix City. Blacks were not allowed in the hotel in Columbus. That’s how long ago it was. I was just 21. I remember very little about Phenix City, other then crossing the River each day to film, doing the Parachute jump at Fort Benning and the cigarett puffing ladies (only in the car Never in Public)) who drove me from the airport. m m

Meg Myles to Nathaniel Christopher 6/19/10, 10:02 AM

I am a resident of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, who has been blogging here for nearly 25 years. I enjoy sharing my thoughts and feelings on my own online platform. From 1998 until 2017, I worked as a journalist, and I have posted most of my articles in the 'News' section of this website.

1 Comment

  1. My wife and I stayed with Meg Myles (at her illegal B&B) apartment on 75th and Riverside in 1998. It was a rent controlled apartment, so if the doorman asked –we were cousins. She had two cats, Sugar Pie and Honeybun and we would know breakfast was ready when the Mozart played.

    So I was sad to hear the news of her passing. Really interesting lady, old school neighbourhood New Yorker –knew everything, biked everywhere. Showed us old VHS tapes of her last nightclub performance –apparently the Beatles killed lounge acts! I remember her telling us a little bit about Phenix City, but I was centring my questions on the production and Alan Arkin –whom she adored. Thanks for digging and posting.

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