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Jean Harlow

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Jean Harlow Biography and Filmography
Jean Harlow
Birthday: March 3, 1911
Birth Place: Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Height: 5' 2"
Below is a complete filmography (list of movies he's appeared in)
for Jean Harlow.
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Harlean Carpentier, who later became Jean Harlow, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 3, 1911. She was the daughter of a successful dentist and his wife. In 1927, at the age of 16, she ran away from home and married a young businessman named Charles McGrew, who was 23. The couple pulled up stakes and moved to Los Angeles, not long after they were married, and it was there Jean found work as an extra in films, landing a bit part, for example, in Moran of the Marines (1928). From that point on she would go to casting calls whenever she could. In 1929 she had bit parts in no less than 11 movies, playing everything from a passing woman on the street to a winged ballerina. Her marriage to McGrew turned out to be a disaster--it lasted barely two years--and she divorced him. The divorce enabled her to put more of her efforts into finding roles in the movie business. Although she was having trouble finding roles in feature movies, she had more luck in film shorts. She had a fairly prominent role in Hal Roach's Double Whoopee (1929). Her big break came in 1930, when she landed a role in Howard Hughes' World War I epic Hell's Angels (1930), which turned out to be a smash hit. Not long after the film's debut, Hughes sold her contract to MGM for ,000, and it was there where her career shot to unprecedented heights. Her appearance in Platinum Blonde (1931) cemented her role as America's new sex symbol. The next year saw her paired with Clark Gable in John Ford's Red Dust (1932), the second of six films she would make with Gable. It was while filming this picture (which took 44 days to complete at a cost of 8,000) that she received word that her new husband, MGM producer Paul Bern, had committed suicide. His death threatened to halt production of the film, and MGM chief Louis B. Mayer had even contacted Tallulah Bankhead to replace Harlow if she were unable to continue, a step that proved to be unnecessary. The film was released late in 1932 and was an instant hit. She was becoming a superstar. In MGM's glittering all-star Dinner at Eight (1933) Jean was at her comedic best as the wife of a ruthless tycoon (Wallace Beery) trying to take over another man's (Lionel Barrymore) failing business. Later that year she played the part of Lola Burns in director Victor Fleming's hit Bombshell (1933). It was a Hollywood parody loosely based on her real-life experience, right down to her greedy stepfather. In 1933 Jean married cinematographer Harold Rosson, a union that would only last eight months. In 1935 she was again teamed with Gable in another rugged adventure, China Seas (1935) (her remaining two pictures with Gable would be Wife vs. Secretary (1936) and Saratoga (1937)). It was her films with Gable that created her lasting legacy in the film world. Unfortunately, during the filming of Saratoga (1937), she was hospitalized with uremic poisoning. On June 7, 1937, she died from the ailment. She was only 26. The film had to be finished by long angle shots using a double. Gable said he felt like he was in the arms of a ghost during the final touches of the film. Because of her death, the film was a hit. Record numbers of fans poured into America's movie theaters to see the film. Other sex symbols/blonde bombshells have followed, but it is Jean Harlow who all are measured up to and that includes, yes, even Marilyn Monroe.
Saratoga (1937)
[ Margaret Hamilton ][ Hattie McDaniel ]
Personal Property (1937)
Libeled Lady (1936)
[ Myrna Loy ][ Hattie McDaniel ]
Suzy (1936)
Wife vs. Secretary (1936)
[ Myrna Loy ]
Riffraff (1936)
China Seas (1935)
[ Hattie McDaniel ][ Rosalind Russel ]
Reckless (1935)
[ Rosalind Russel ]
The Girl from Missouri (1934)
Bombshell (1933)
Dinner at Eight (1933)
[ Billie Burke ]
Hold Your Man (1933)
Three Wise Girls (1932)
Red Dust (1932)
Red-Headed Woman (1932)
The Beast of the City (1932)
Beau Hunks (1931)
Platinum Blonde (1931)
[ Loretta Young ]
Goldie (1931)
Iron Man (1931)
The Public Enemy (1931)
[ James Cagney ][ Joan Blondell ]
The Secret Six (1931)
City Lights (1931)
Hell's Angels (1930)
[ Howard Hughes ]
Double Whoopee (1929)
The Unkissed Man (1929)
Close Harmony (1929)
Why Is a Plumber? (1929)
Why Be Good? (1929)
Fugitives (1929)
Liberty (1929)
New York Nights (1929)
Weak But Willing (1929)
This Thing Called Love (1929)
The Love Parade (1929)
The Saturday Night Kid (1929)
Bacon Grabbers (1929)
Thundering Toupees (1929)
Chasing Husbands (1928)
Moran of the Marines (1928)
Honor Bound (1928)
  • Was the godmother of Millicent Siegel, daughter of the notorious mobster Bugsy Siegel.
  • Dated the notorious mobster Abner "Longy" Zwillman, who secured a two-picture deal for Harlow with Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures by loaning Cohn 0,000 in cash. He also purchased her a jeweled charm bracelet and a red Cadillac.
  • Height is often listed as 5'2"-5'3 1/2"
  • Refused the lead in King Kong (1933), as well as the lead in the Tod Browning classic Freaks (1932).
  • Was photographed nude at age 17 by Hollywood photographer Edward Bower Hesser in Griffith Park in 1928.
  • In the 1933 Hollywood satire Bombshell (1933) Harlow is known as "the 'if' girl" -- a spoof loosely based on 1920's sex symbol and "It girl" Clara Bow.
  • Went on a salary strike from MGM in 1934, during which she wrote a novel, "Today is Tonight." The book was not published until 1965.
  • Her final film, Saratoga (1937), became the highest grossing film of 1937 and set all-time house records, due almost entirely to her untimely death.
  • Was the idol of Marilyn Monroe, who backed out of a bio-pic on her life. After reading the script, Monroe reportedly told her agent, "I hope they don't do that to me after I'm gone." Both Harlow and Monroe costarred in their last films with Clark Gable, Harlow in Saratoga (1937) and Monroe in The Misfits (1961)
  • The premiere of her first feature film, Hell's Angels (1930), on May 27, 1930, drew an estimated crowd of 50,000 at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. The film also has an expensive eight-minute two-color Technicolor sequence - the only color footage of Harlow that exists.
  • Ranked #22 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Legends" list in June 1999.
  • She was the very first film actress to grace the cover of LIFE magazine in May 1937.
  • Born at 5:40pm-CST
  • Her funeral wasn't the average funeral. Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM, took charge and made it a Hollywood "event." He had Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy sing his favorite song, "Oh, Sweet Mystery of Life" ,in the church chapel, followed by a huge banquet with an orchestra.
  • She was at a dinner party and kept on addressing Margot Asquith (wife of prime minister Herbert Asquith) as MargoT (pronouncing the 'T'). Margot finally had enough and said to her "No Jean, the T is silent, as in Harlow".
  • Had two famous superstitions: She always wore a "lucky" ankle chain on her left leg (visible in some films if you look closely), and had a "lucky" mirror in her dressing room. She wouldn't leave the room without first looking at it.
  • Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA, in the Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Benediction, at the end of the corridor, on the left side, second to the last private room marked "Harlow."
  • Favorite brand of cigarette - Fatima.
  • Never wore any underwear and always slept in the nude.
  • She had to stick to a strict diet to keep thin, eating mostly vegetables and salads.
  • She used to put ice on her nipples right before shooting a scene in order to appear sexier.
  • A new musical called "In Hell With Harlow" about an after-death meeting between her and Protestant WWII martyr Dietrich Boenhoffer never reached the stage. The production, written by best-selling author Paul L. Williams, was to star Dawn Winarski and Greg Korin.
  • Measurements: 34B-25-36 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
  • Her birth name was Harlean Carpenter - the first name an amalgam of her mother's maiden name, Jean Harlow, which she later took as her stage name. At the height of her career, it came out that this wasn't her real name, and the insatiable public wanted to know what her real name was. The studio released her 'real' name as Harlean Carpentier. The 'I' they added in her last name was done to make it sound more foreign and romantic.
  • She was voted the 49th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
  • Following the end of her third marriage she met actor William Powell. They were together for two years, but Jean became ill and died before Powell proposed marriage.
  • Known as the "original blonde bombshell", pre-dating Marilyn Monroe as a blonde sex symbol.
  • For many years, it was a widely-held belief that she died because her mother, a Christian Scientist, refused to let doctors operate on her after she became ill (Christian Scientists prefer prayer to be their primary physician). This story was even reprinted in David Shipman's famous book "The Great Movie Stars", but it has recently been proven to be completely untrue.
  • On the day Hollywood canine superstar Rin Tin Tin died at age of 16 (112 in doggie years), Harlow, who lived across the street from his master, Lee Duncan, came over and cradled the dog's head in her lap as the famous pooch made his final exit to Doggie Heaven.
  • Is portrayed by Gwen Stefani in The Aviator (2004), by Carroll Baker in Harlow (1965/I), by Susan Buckner in The Amazing Howard Hughes (1977) (TV), by Lindsay Bloom in Hughes and Harlow: Angels in Hell (1978) and by Carol Lynley in Harlow (1965/II)
  • Is one of the many movie stars mentioned in Madonna's song "Vogue"
  • She spent the night of April 6, 1933 - the day when Prohibition was set to expire at midnight - at the Los Angeles Brewing Co. with fellow movie star Walter Huston. A maker of "near-beer" and de-natured alcohol (the alcohol was subtracted from the full-strength beer the company continued to brew during Prohibition, but could not legally market), the company was ready to immediately get back into the market for strong waters. Skipping the denaturing process, Los Angeles Brewing whipped up a huge consignment of the genuine stuff (to be marketed as Eastside beer and ale in bottles and kegs), which was loaded onto trucks parked at the brewery, ready to roll the day when suds could be shipped legally. Two treasury agents and many guards were there that night in the company parking lot, to ensure things went smoothly, safely and legally. At 12:01 AM at the dawning of the new day of April 7, 1933, when the sale and consumption of intoxicating beverages was once again legal (if not a constitutional right) in the United States, Huston gave a short speech and Harlow broke a bottle of beer over the first truck lined up and ready to deliver its legal load of liquid refreshment, thus christening the reborn brewery. The trucks rolled out, many staffed with armed guards riding shotgun lest the thirsty multitude get too frisky along the delivery routes. When the night was over, the brewery had done over 0,000 in business (approximately ,387,000 in 2005 dollars) and had collected a stack of cash 18 inches high. Harlow has stayed the night, partying with brewery employees.
  • Once lived in Chateau Marmont, the famous Los Angeles hotel.

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