Date of birth : February 6, 1901, Atlanta, Georgia.
Date of death : March 22, 1979, on a cruise boat, in Hawaii.
Casting director at the Fox.
Actor, he performed, in the 20's and 30's notably beside Jean Harlow in "Hell's Angels"(1930).
Gone in England with his wife Bebe Daniels, they became famous TV presenters at the BBC, in "Life with the Lyons" :
During the war, he joined the Army as pilot in the Royal Air Force, then came back to Los Angeles, where he was casting director at the Fox.
He asked her to read few lines from a part played by Judy Holliday in "Winged Victory", a 1944 melodrama about the war.
July 17, 1946 : Norma Jeane came in his office at the Fox; it's accepted that he received her because of the instance of Helen Ainsworth, but Lyon claimed that he had only said to her to come by, whitout any appointment.
His enthusiasm was so high that 2 days after, he gathered 4 of the Fox managers to make Marilyn a screen-test in Technicolor, on the set of Betty Grable who shot "Mother Wore Tights".
Darryl Zanuck, Lyon's superior, didn't share his enthusiasm; but for a shoestring, the risk he took was minor
He helped Norma Jeane to find a pseudonym; Norma Jeane had thought about Monroe, her mother's maiden name.
He found Marilyn, because she made him think about the actress Marilyn Miller. Actually, as Marilyn Miller, Norma Jeane had blond hair and blue-green eyes.
Ben Lyon had been previously in love with Marilyn Miller and had been engaged with her, shortly before he met his wife, Bebe Daniels. As a child, Marilyn Miller had been abandoned by a tyrannical father. Lyon had been stricken by the similarity of their career. She had become a Broadway musicals star in the 20's, and had a brief success in movies. After 3 weddings and professional failures, her health deteriorated and she died in 1936, aged 37.
During the shooting of "The Seven Year Itch" :