Jean Harlow
Actress
Jean Harlow
Jean Harlow was an American film actress and sex symbol of the 1930s. Known as the "blonde Bombshell" and the "Platinum Blonde" (owing to her platinum blonde hair), Harlow was ranked as one of the greatest movie stars of all time by the American Film Institute.
Biography
Jean Harlow's personal information overview.
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Popular photos of Jean Harlow
News
News abour Jean Harlow from around the web
MUSIC REVIEW; Emily Bergl at the Oak Room - Review
NYTimes - over 5 years
Emily Bergl, an incandescent kewpie doll with a bright Betty Boop-inflected chirp, a defiant flounce and a sharp comedic edge, took the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel by storm on Tuesday evening. Her sensational show, “Kidding on the Square” may have played elsewhere, but arriving at the staid Oak Room it felt like a gust of fresh air
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Judd Winick On Catwoman, Batwing, and the DCnU - Comic Book Movie
Google News - over 5 years
Kane, a frequent movie goer, also mentioned that Jean Harlow was a model for the design. The original and most widely known Catwoman, Selina Kyle, first appears in Batman #1 (Spring 1940) in which she is known as The Cat. She is a sometimes-adversary
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Sybil Jason, child star and screen rival to Shirley Temple, dies at 83 - Washington Post
Google News - over 5 years
“Among child actresses, Sybil Jason is to Shirley Temple as Jean Harlow is to Ann Harding: less wholesome but more refreshing,” Time magazine wrote in 1936. Ultimately, Ms. Jason could not dent Temple's popularity. There was speculation that ticket
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Missing Manila – but not its gossip - Inquirer.net
Google News - over 5 years
The actress was considered competition for the likes of Greta Garbo and other Hollywood sexpots like Mae West and Jean Harlow before the studios declared her box-office poison like Katharine Hepburn and Joan Crawford. She found a lucrative career in
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Will HBO Arbuckle Bio Tell the Truth About Early Hollywood? - AVN News (press release)
Google News - over 5 years
Most people have heard of the on- and off-camera escapades of top stars Carole Lombard and Jean Harlow, but who knows that Joan Crawford was the life of the party in the '20s, drinking well into the night, engaging in countless affairs (including
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This religion promotes slacking off - Windsor Star
Google News - over 5 years
Jean Harlow died of kidney failure just before finishing Saratoga. But so much of the movie was done that the producers were reluctant to abandon the project, so they got her stand-in, Mary Lees, to body double for the dead woman, with Paula Winslowe's
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EXCERPT; Excerpt - Rebels in Paradise - By Hunter Drohojowska-Philp
NYTimes - over 5 years
Chapter One 1963: Andy and Marcel The seven-foot Elvis in the Ferus Gallery window was startling, even by Los Angeles standards. In the gallery's back room, paintings of Elizabeth Taylor, with her outsized red lips and slashes of bright blue eye shadow, greeted visitors. Andy Warhol was fixated on celebrities and it wouldn't be long before he would
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Ladies in red - Calgary Herald
Google News - over 5 years
Compare the plots of two Jean Harlow films. In Platinum Blonde (1931), she is her coy, shameless, ultra-light self, gussied up as a lofty-nosed socialite; the perfect stereotype. Three years later, in Red-Headed Woman? Holy hell
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Around Town: Cantinflas, Nicolas Pereda, Jean Harlow and more - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
A centenary celebration of a beloved Mexican film star and several anniversary screenings are among the highlights at LA's movie revival houses this week. The Cervantes Center of Arts and Letters is commemorating Mario Moreno, best known as Cantinflas,
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Around Town: Sean Penn, Jean Harlow, Seth Green and more - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
The American Cinematheque welcomes Sean Penn, the UCLA Film & Television Archive celebrates the naughty early films of Jean Harlow and actor and "Robot Chicken" co-creator Seth Green programs the New Beverly Cinema this week. Two-time Oscar-winning
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For the record - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
Jean Harlow: An article about Jean Harlow in the Aug. 2 Calendar section said that her film "Platinum Blonde" was released in 1930. It was released in 1931. USC athletics: In Bill Dwyre's column about USC Athletic Director Pat Haden in the July 30
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The Listings
NYTimes - over 5 years
Movies Ratings and running times are in parentheses; foreign films have English subtitles. Full reviews of all current releases, movie trailers, showtimes and tickets: nytimes.com/movies. 'Another Earth' (PG-13, 1:32) The director Mike Cahill and his star, the promising newcomer Brit Marling, wrote this moody, modest science-fiction film about
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The Storm Before the Calm - Wall Street Journal
Google News - over 5 years
James Cagney and Jean Harlow in 'The Public Enemy' (1931). But someone was making money. While researching her two books on America's experiment in state-controlled movie morality, Laura Wittern-Keller of the Department of History at SUNY-Albany
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Putting the S&W, and Union Avenue Books, in Context - Knoxville Metro Pulse
Google News - over 5 years
When I think of art deco, I think of beauty-school stuff, bobbed hair and plucked eyebrows, eyeliner and mascara: Myrna Loy and Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow. It's easy to imagine them peering down from the S&W's shell-lined mezzanine or gliding up and
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Howard Hughes, Jean Peters, Terry Moore: Beauties and the Billionaire - Alt Film Guide (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
In The Aviator, Howard Hughes is linked to four actresses: the aforementioned Katharine Hepburn, Jean Harlow, Ava Gardner, and Faith Domergue. (Hughes' 1920s marriage to socialite Ella Rice is ignored in the film.) In Beatty's project, Hughes will be
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OP-ED COLUMNIST; Erotic Vagrancy, Anyone?
NYTimes - over 5 years
WASHINGTON WHETHER to wuther? I'm never in doubt. I'm obsessed with obsessions. Give me a book or a movie about lovers in the depths of a ''Wuthering Heights'' passion or a Proustian fixation, and I'm off to the moors with a box of madeleines. So my interest was aroused when I read that one of our most celebrated obsessive filmmakers was going to
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Erotic Vagrancy, Anyone? - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
No doubt, Gwen Stefani did injustice to Jean Harlow. And even though she won an Oscar, Cate Blanchett's Kate Hepburn missed the regal fire of the real thing. Jill Clayburgh made a fine modern heroine in '70s movies, but couldn't fill Carole Lombard's
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Jean Harlow
    TWENTIES
  • 1937
    Age 25
    This may have contributed to her untimely death from kidney disease on June 7, 1937, at the age of 26.
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    The film was released on July 23, 1937, less than two months after Harlow's death, and was a hit with audiences.
    More Details Hide Details It became MGM's second-highest grossing picture of 1937. Since the film's release, viewers have tried to spot these stand-ins and signs of Harlow's illness. At the time of Harlow's death, MGM was planning for Harlow to star in a series of films as Maisie. She was replaced by Ann Sothern. Harlow wrote a novel entitled Today is Tonight. In Arthur Landau's introduction to the 1965 paperback edition, Harlow stated her intention to write the book around 1933–34 but it was not published during her lifetime. After her death, Landau writes, her mother sold the film rights to MGM, though no film was made. The publication rights were passed from Harlow's mother to a family friend and the book was finally published in 1965. In 1965, two films about Jean Harlow were released, both called Harlow. The first film was released by Magna in May 1965 and stars Carol Lynley. The second was released in June 1965 by Paramount Pictures and stars Carroll Baker. Both were poorly received and did not perform well at the box office. In 1978, Lindsay Bloom portrayed her in Hughes and Harlow: Angels in Hell. In 2004, Gwen Stefani briefly appeared as Harlow in Martin Scorsese's Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator.
    On May 20, 1937, while shooting Saratoga, Harlow began to complain of illness.
    More Details Hide Details Her symptoms—fatigue, nausea, water weight and abdominal pain—did not seem very serious to her doctor, who believed she was suffering from cholecystitis and influenza. However, he was apparently unaware that Harlow had been ill during the previous year with a severe sunburn and influenza. Her friend and co-star Myrna Loy noticed Harlow’s grey complexion, fatigue, and weight gain. On May 29, Harlow was shooting a scene in which the character she was playing had a fever. Harlow was clearly sicker than her character, and when she leaned against co-star Gable between scenes, said, "I feel terrible. Get me back to my dressing room." Harlow requested that the assistant director telephone William Powell, who left his own set to escort Harlow back home. On May 30, Powell checked on Harlow, and when he found her condition unimproved, recalled her mother from a holiday trip and summoned her doctor. Harlow's illnesses had delayed three previous films (Wife vs. Secretary, Suzy, and Libeled Lady), so there was no great concern initially. On June 2, it was announced that Harlow was suffering from influenza. Dr. Ernest Fishbaugh, who had been called to Harlow's home to treat her, diagnosed her with an inflamed gallbladder. Harlow felt better on June 3 and co-workers expected her back on the set by Monday, June 7. Press reports were contradictory, with headlines like "Jean Harlow seriously ill" and "Harlow past illness crisis."
    Production for Harlow's final film Saratoga, co-starring Clark Gable, was scheduled to begin filming in March 1937.
    More Details Hide Details However, production was delayed when she developed septicemia after a wisdom tooth extraction and had to be hospitalized. After she recovered, shooting began on April 22.
    In January 1937, Harlow and Robert Taylor traveled to Washington, DC, to take part in fundraising activities associated with President Franklin D. Roosevelt's birthday, for the organization later known as the March of Dimes.
    More Details Hide Details The trip was physically taxing for Harlow and she contracted influenza. She recovered in time to attend the Academy Awards ceremony with Powell.
  • 1934
    Age 22
    After her third marriage ended in 1934, Harlow met William Powell, another MGM star, and quickly fell in love.
    More Details Hide Details The couple was reportedly engaged for two years, but differences kept them from formalizing their relationship (she wanted children, he did not). Harlow also said that Louis B. Mayer would never allow them to marry. Suzy (1936), in which she played the title role, gave her top billing over Franchot Tone and Cary Grant. While critics noted that Harlow dominated the film, they added that her performance was imperfect, and the film was a reasonable box-office success. She then starred in Riffraff (1936) with Spencer Tracy and Una Merkel, a financial disappointment, and the worldwide hit Libeled Lady (1936), in which she was top billed over Powell, Myrna Loy, and Tracy. She then filmed W.S. Van Dyke's comedy Personal Property (1937), co-starring Robert Taylor. It was Harlow's final fully completed motion picture appearance.
  • 1933
    Age 21
    From 1933 onward, Harlow was consistently voted one of the strongest box office draws in the United States, often outranking her fellow female colleagues at MGM in audience popularity polls.
    More Details Hide Details Reckless (1935) was her first movie musical. It co-starred her then-boyfriend William Powell and Franchot Tone. Although her character sings in the movie, Harlow's voice for the performance was dubbed by skilled vocalist Virginia Verrill. The film offered yet another incident of "arts meets life" for Harlow, as her character in the movie suffers the horrors of her husband's suicide. By the mid-1930s, Harlow was one of the biggest stars in the United States, and it was hoped, MGM's next Greta Garbo. Still young, her star continued to rise while the popularity of other female stars at MGM, such as Garbo, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, and Luise Rainer, waned. Harlow's movies continued to make huge profits at the box office even during the middle of the Depression. Some credit them with keeping MGM profitable at a time when other studios were falling into bankruptcy.
    By 1933, MGM realized the value of the Harlow-Gable team and paired them again in Hold Your Man (1933), which was also a box-office success.
    More Details Hide Details The same year, she played the adulterous wife of Wallace Beery in the all-star comedy-drama Dinner at Eight, and played a pressured Hollywood film star in the screwball comedy Bombshell with Lee Tracy. The film has often been cited as being based on Harlow's own life or that of 1920s "It girl", Clara Bow. The following year, she was teamed with Lionel Barrymore and Franchot Tone in The Girl from Missouri (1934). The film was the studio's attempt at softening Harlow's image, but suffered with censorship problems, so much so that its original title, Born to Be Kissed, had to be changed. Due to the financial success of Red Dust and Hold Your Man, MGM cast Harlow with Clark Gable in two more successful films: China Seas (1935), with Wallace Beery and Rosalind Russell, and Wife vs. Secretary (1936), with Myrna Loy and James Stewart. Stewart later spoke of a scene in a car with Harlow in Wife vs. Secretary, saying, "Clarence Brown, the director, wasn't too pleased by the way I did the smooching. He made us repeat the scene about half a dozen times... I botched it up on purpose. That Jean Harlow sure was a good kisser. I realized that until then I had never been really kissed."
  • 1932
    Age 20
    In 1932, she starred in the comedy Red-Headed Woman, for which she received $1,250 a week.
    More Details Hide Details The film is often noted as being one of the few films in which Harlow did not appear with platinum blonde hair; she wore a red wig for the role. She next starred in Red Dust, her second film with Clark Gable. Harlow and Gable worked well together and co-starred in a total of six films. She was also paired multiple times with Spencer Tracy and William Powell. She was later paired with up-and-coming male co-stars such as Robert Taylor and Franchot Tone in an effort to boost their careers. At this point, MGM began trying to distinguish Harlow's public persona from that of her screen characters, changing her childhood surname from common "Carpenter" to chic "Carpentier", claiming that writer Edgar Allan Poe was one of her ancestors and publishing photographs of Harlow doing charity work to change her image from that of a tramp to an all-American girl. This transformation proved difficult; once, Harlow was heard muttering, "My God, must I always wear a low-cut dress to be important?" During the making of Red Dust, Bern, her husband of two months, was found shot dead at their home, creating a lasting scandal. Initially, Harlow was speculated to have killed Bern, but Bern's death was officially ruled a suicide. Louis B. Mayer feared negative publicity from the incident and intended to replace Harlow in the film, offering the role to Tallulah Bankhead.
    Harlow officially joined the studio on April 20, 1932.
    More Details Hide Details At MGM, Harlow was given superior movie roles to show off her looks and nascent comedic talent. Though Harlow's screen persona changed dramatically during her career, one constant was her apparent sense of humor.
    After initial reluctance, Thalberg agreed and, on March 3, 1932, Harlow's 21st birthday, Bern called her with the news that MGM had purchased her contract from Hughes for $30,000.
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    Despite critical disparagement and poor roles, Harlow's popularity and following was large and growing and, in February 1932, the tour was extended by six weeks.
    More Details Hide Details According to Fay Wray, who played Ann Darrow in King Kong (1933), Harlow was the original choice to play the screaming blonde heroine. Because MGM put Harlow under exclusive contract during the preproduction phase of the film, she became unavailable for Kong, and the part went to the brunette Wray, wearing a blonde wig. When mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel went to Hollywood to expand casino operations, Harlow became the godmother of Siegel's eldest daughter Millicent. Paul Bern, by now romantically involved with Harlow, spoke to Louis B. Mayer about buying out her contract with Hughes and signing her to MGM, but Mayer declined. MGM's leading ladies were presented as elegant, while Harlow's "floozy" screen persona was abhorrent to Mayer. Bern then began urging close friend Irving Thalberg, production head of MGM, to sign Harlow, noting her popularity and established image.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1931
    Age 19
    With no projects planned for Harlow, Hughes sent her to New York, Seattle, and Kansas City for Hell's Angels premieres. In 1931, loaned out by Hughes' Caddo Company to other studios, she gained more attention when she appeared in The Secret Six, with Wallace Beery and Clark Gable; Iron Man, with Lew Ayres and Robert Armstrong; and The Public Enemy, with James Cagney.
    More Details Hide Details Though the successes of the films ranged from moderate to hit, Harlow's acting was mocked by critics. Concerned, Hughes sent her on a brief publicity tour which was not a success, as Harlow dreaded such personal appearances. Harlow was next cast in Platinum Blonde (1931) with Loretta Young. The film, originally titled Gallagher, was renamed by Hughes to promote Harlow, capitalizing on her hair color, called "platinum" by Hughes' publicists. Though Harlow denied her hair was dyed, the platinum blonde color was reportedly achieved by bleaching with a weekly application of ammonia, Clorox bleach, and Lux soap flakes. This process weakened and damaged Harlow's naturally ash-blonde hair. Many female fans began dyeing their hair to match hers. Howard Hughes' team organized a series of "Platinum Blonde" clubs across the nation, with a prize of $10,000 to any beautician who could match Harlow's shade.
    She was again an uncredited extra in the 1931 Charlie Chaplin film City Lights, though her appearance did not make the final cut.
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  • 1929
    Age 17
    Hughes signed Harlow to a five-year, $100-per-week contract on October 24, 1929. Hell's Angels premiered in Hollywood on May 27, 1930, at Grauman's Chinese Theater, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1930 (besting even Greta Garbo's talkie debut in Anna Christie).
    More Details Hide Details The movie made Harlow an international star; though she was popular with audiences, critics were less than enthusiastic. The New Yorker called her performance "plain awful", though Variety magazine conceded, "It doesn't matter what degree of talent she possesses... nobody ever starved possessing what she's got." During the shooting, Harlow met MGM executive Paul Bern.
    In late 1929, she was spotted by James Hall, an actor filming Howard Hughes' Hell's Angels.
    More Details Hide Details Hughes, reshooting most of the originally silent film with sound, needed an actress to replace Greta Nissen, who had a Norwegian accent that was considered to be undesirable for her character. Harlow made a test and got the part.
    She landed her first speaking role in 1929's The Saturday Night Kid, starring Clara Bow.
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    In March 1929, however, she parted with Roach, who tore up her contract after Harlow told him, "It's breaking up my marriage, what can I do?" In June 1929, Harlow separated from her husband and moved in with her mother and Bello.
    More Details Hide Details After her separation from McGrew, Harlow worked as an extra in several movies.
    She had a co-starring role in Laurel and Hardy's short Double Whoopee in 1929, and went on to appear in two more of their films: Liberty and Bacon Grabbers (both 1929).
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    The couple divorced in 1929.
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  • 1928
    Age 16
    In December 1928, she signed a five-year contract with Hal Roach Studios for $100 per week.
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  • 1927
    Age 15
    On January 18, 1927, Jean Carpenter also married her partner Bello, although Harlean was not present.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly after the wedding, the couple left Chicago and moved to Beverly Hills. McGrew turned 21 two months after the marriage and received part of his large inheritance. The couple moved to Los Angeles in 1928, settling into a home in Beverly Hills, where Harlean thrived as a wealthy socialite. McGrew hoped to distance Harlean from her mother with the move. Neither McGrew nor Harlean worked, and both, especially McGrew, were thought to drink heavily.
  • 1926
    Age 14
    Each freshman was paired with a "big sister" from the senior class, and Harlean's big sister introduced her to 19-year-old Charles "Chuck" McGrew, heir to a large fortune, in the fall of 1926.
    More Details Hide Details Soon the two began to date, and then married.
  • 1925
    Age 13
    Harlean dropped out of school in the spring of 1925 when, finances dwindling, her mother and she moved back to Kansas City after Skip Harlow issued an ultimatum that he would disinherit his daughter if she did not return.
    More Details Hide Details Several weeks later, Skip sent "Baby" to a summer camp called Camp Cha-Ton-Ka in Michigamme, Michigan, where Harlean became ill with scarlet fever. Mother Jean traveled to Michigan to care for her, rowing herself across the lake to the camp, but was told that she could not see her daughter. Harlow next attended the Ferry Hall School (now Lake Forest Academy) in Lake Forest, Illinois. Her mother had an ulterior motive for Harlean's attendance there, as it was close to the Chicago home of her boyfriend, Marino Bello.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1922
    Age 10
    When her daughter was at school, Mother Jean became increasingly frustrated and filed for a divorce that was finalized, uncontested, on September 29, 1922.
    More Details Hide Details She was granted sole custody of Harlean who loved her father, but would rarely see him again. Mother Jean moved with Harlean to Hollywood in 1923 with hopes of becoming an actress, but was too old at 34 to begin a film career – major roles were usually assigned to teenage girls. Harlean attended the Hollywood School for Girls and met Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Joel McCrea, and Irene Mayer Selznick.
  • 1911
    Born
    Born on March 3, 1911.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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