Myrtle Vail (January 7, 1888 - September 18, 1978), sometimes credited as Myrtle Damerel, was an American actress and writer who was a radiofixture from 1932-1946 thanks to the popular soap opera Myrt and Marge, playing the elder half of the title as well as having created and written the show.
Main article: Myrt and Marge (radio)
Vail thought of the idea while living in the Chicago area, after having spent several years as a vaudeville performer (often with her husband, George Damerel), basing it almost entirely on her own vaudeville experiences. She cast herself as Myrtle and her real-life daughter Donna Damerel as Marge, with Myrt the elder, experienced chorus girl taking young, inexperienced, and innocent Marge under her wing. The sponsor,Wrigley liked the idea and Myrt and Marge debuted in 1932.
Tragedy twice affected Myrt and Marge directly. In 1933, Vail was injured seriously in an automobile accident, forcing her to turn the show's writing over to a colleague named Charles Thomas, who wrote a storyline having Myrt kidnapped by gangsters, allowing Vail to recuperate completely.
But in 1941, Damerel died while giving birth to her third son. The role was recast to Helen Mack, who'd been seen as a streetwalker in His Girl Friday. Myrt and Marge continued until 1946.
After the show ended, Vail became a low-keyed supporting actress in films, best known for roles in the low-budget cult films A Bucket of Blood (1959) and The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), written by her grandson Charles B. Griffith, and directed by Roger Corman, for whom Griffith has written and/or directed several films.
The grandmother of two more grandsons, Vail was never known to have remarried after her husband's death in 1936. She appeared on television's This Is Your Life in 1960. She can be heard in her radio heyday today thanks to the survival of approximately fifty episodes of Myrt and Marge.