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.
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.
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.
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 mylesMeg 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 mMeg Myles to Nathaniel Christopher 6/19/10, 10:02 AM