Joyzelle Joyner (August 27, 1905 - November 30, 1980) was an
American actress and dancer. She appeared in at least thirty films between 1925
and 1935 gained some notoriety for her appearance in The Sign of the Cross.
Joyner began appearing in films around 1924 or 1925, often
playing dancers. Her first major role in a major motion picture came in 1930,
when she appeared as twin queens of Mars, Boo Boo and Loo Loo in Just Imagine.
Her role as Ancaria in The Sign of the Cross, a major
production directed by Cecil B. deMille, drew attention from censors; in the
film, she performs the lesbian-overtoned "Dance of the Naked Moon."
The scene was eliminated from the re-released 1935 version of the film, but
reinserted in 1993 for the MCA-Universal video version. That same year, she had
prominent roles in two westerns, the Tiffany Pictures production Whistlin' Dan
with Ken Maynard and the Paramount-produced The Vanishing Frontier starring
Johnny Mack Brown.
Most of Joyzelle's work after 1932 constituted uncredited
parts, though she did appear under the name "Laya Joy" in House of
Mystery, a horror film produced by Monogram Pictures. Her last-known screen
appearance, in Dante's Inferno (1935), was uncredited but did afford her the
opportunity to show off her dancing skills.
Joyzelle Joyner was born in Alabama and had one brother,
Clarence Joyner, who was one year younger than her. According to U.S. census
records, Clarence was living in California in 1930 with a wife, Lois.
Her first marriage was to Dudley V. Brand. The two became
estranged over Joyner's acting career pursuit. During an argument on August 11,
1927, Brand fired two shots through a closed bedroom door, one shot injuring
Joyner in the arm. Clarence Joyner was on hand to restrain Brand.
Joyner's second marriage was to film director Phil Rosen in
1929. She died in Orange, California, on August 27, 1980.