Jean Harlow- Movie Siren
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Jean Harlow- Movie Siren

Jean HarlowÂ’s career lasted only ten years but yet the American Film institute ranks her as one of the greatest film actresses of all time. Because of her revealing costumes and sensational dialogue she had been labeled a screen siren. A genuine comedic talent that set her apart from her contemporaries.

Born Harlean Carpenter on March,3, 1911 to Mont Clair Carpenter, a dentist, and his wife Jean Poe Carpenter, daughter of a wealthy real estate broker.

She was nicknamed “the baby” by family and did not even know her name was actually Harlean until she attended school.

In the summer of 1925 her grandfather sent her to a summer camp in Michigamme, Michigan and this is presumably where she caught scarlet fever.

In 1926 Jean was introduced to Chuck McGrew. They soon fell inlove and were married. Shortly after the marriage Chuck turned twenty one and received part of an inheritance. They moved to Hollywood where Jean was free of her overbearing mother and thrived as a wealthy socialite.

She was noticed by Fox executives while setting in a car waiting for a friend. After several casting calls she appeared in her first film Honor Bound and made $7 a day as an unbilled extra.

Jean made her scene debut in 1927 in Why is the Plumber?

She separated from McGrew in 1929.

In 1930 Howard Hughes cast her in Hells Angels in which she spoke the now famous line: “Would you be shocked if I changed into something more comfortable?” which launched her as a sex symbol.

She followed Hells Angels with another hit, Platinum Blonde, which was the first film she did with Clark Gable. In all she starred in six films with Clark Gable.

During the filming of Red Dust Paul Bern, Jean’s second husband, committed suicide. In 1933 Jean married cinematographer Harold Rosson and the marriage lasted eight months. She then found the love of her life in William Powell. They were together for two years.

In 1935 she changed her name legally to Jean Harlow. She had originally signed in at the Fox Studios with her mother’s name up until then.

In the midst of filming Saratoga Jean was hospitalized due to uremic poisoning and kidney failure, a result of the scarlet fever she suffered as a child. She had been feeling ill since around May 20 complaining of nausea, fatigue and pain in her abdomen but her symptoms were not taken seriously until later. This was before kidney transplants or dialysis and she died on June, 7, 1937 at the age of 26.

Jean Harlow’s career lasted only ten years but yet the American Film institute ranks her as one of the greatest film actresses of all time. Because of her revealing costumes and sensational dialogue she had been labeled a screen siren. A genuine comedic talent that set her apart from her contemporaries.

A large Hollywood funeral was organized by Louis B. Mayer of MGM and she was buried in the mausoleum at Forest Lawn Glendale in Los Angeles.

She was buried in a negligee that she had worn while filming a scene in Saratoga. It is said that a single white gardenia and an unsigned note were placed in her hands. The note read “Goodnight, my dearest darling”. It is believed that the note was from William Powell who also paid the $25,000 for the 9x10 foot private room lined with multi-colored marble.

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Comments (2)

Interesting article.thanks

Second husband Paul Bern was one strange guy. Of course Jean's mother – simply known as "Mama Jean" – signed most of her daughter's autographs. It's strange, as you can acquire handwritten letters in which Mama Jean masquerades as her famous actress daughter. I found some in an estate, and there's Mama Jean's unmistakable handwriting describing things as if she's Jean Harlow herself.

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