Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Today's Blind Item - Old Hollywood

Hopefully my internet problems will be fixed by tomorrow which will allow more posting and lots of photos. No matter what though the reveals will happen Friday beginning at 9:15 a.m and continuing every 15 minutes until finished.

I like to have one old Hollywood item every six months and I have been saving this one to sneak in under the reveal deadline.

This actress was definitely A list back in the day. And by back in the day, I mean prior to television. She was all movies. Our actress came from a very unstable background with perhaps the queen of stage moms as her mother. Our actress was never nominated for any of the big awards but starred in lots of movies. She was in and out of marriages frequently and one of the ways she got out of one was by killing her husband. Oh, not the husband everyone knows was found dead by a gunshot. Nope. He is considered her second husband, but in reality was her third. The second husband was a guy in the mafia who had seen our actress on screen and loved her. He wined her dined her and romanced her. Our actress loved it and eloped with him after just a few weeks. Well, at the same time this was happening our actresses career was about to skyrocket because she was moving to a new studio. The new husband wanted her to stay home and be a wife and our actress and her domineering mother wanted the big career. So, one night our actress and the man who would be her next husband and her next victim killed her husband of two months and buried him in the desert. It is said that the reason her next husband was killed was revenge by the mafia but I say it was our actress who saw a future which was brighter with a new man in her life. With divorce not an option, a gun was.

86 comments:

Patty said...

Was it that actress who just passed away recently? Jennifer Jones????

Doc's Girl said...

Hmmm....

Pamela S. said...

Ok, I am confused. She also took out the 3rd husband (who had helped her kill the 2nd) becasue she had her eye on yet another man?

Kat said...

I'll say Jean Harlow. She had the stage mother and at least three marriages that I know of. Also, the second 'official' husband died of an apparent 'self-inflicted' gunshot wound, which has always been suspicious in my view.

shakey said...

This can't be Elizabeth Taylor because she's had a bazillion divorces. But she did have quite the stage mother.

Someone who was raised Roman Catholic?

NotSoAnonMom said...

Lana Turner? Her daughter took the cover for Johnny Stampano.

Patty said...

I change my guess to Jean Harlow FTW. Did a google and just read the Wiki entry. She had a very involved mom and had a husband found dead.

Patty said...

I believe that was Lana's boyfriend that was murdered. And Lana did TV later in life (Falcon Crest).

Little Red Leo said...

Jennifer Jones was nominated for major awards, though. Oscar for Best Actress

Cecilia00 said...

Jean Harlow.

Hubby being dead by gunshot is Paul Bern.

Incidentally, for a little trivia:

Actress Sharon Tate claimed to have seen Paul Bern's ghost 3 years before she was murdered in 1969. This can be googled to understand the story.

Wendolyn said...

Jean Harlow, the overbearing mom and second (third) husband found dead fit really well, plus the emphasis on her career being big before tv. Her last hubby was a studio guy, and if he knew about hubby #2, divorce wouldn't have been an option. Happy New Year!

genesis said...

I have no clue who these ppl are but ....omg.....

kris said...

I agree JH for the win!!! LOVE the old HOllywood blinds...thanks Enty!!!!

Christine said...

I thought Lana Turner too, but Harlow makes more sense. I love these old Hollywood blinds. So good.

Jane said...

Def Jean Harlow; overbearing Mom, who was a Christian Scientist (which is why she was not treated & died} Paul Bern was killed, though rumored to have killed himself because he was gay, and new love interest was William Powell, a major movie star in the day that would have given her ditzy blonde image much higher cred. He was quite sophisticated (The Thin Man series)

WBotW said...

Definitely Harlow :) I love the old blinds too... so much more interesting than what the callow current Hollywood get up to...

Cecilia00 said...

Not Lana Turner - Johnny Stompanato was stabbed.

Cheryl Crane, the daughter, is still living and still maintains it was her as of 2 years ago.

Kit said...

I am good with Jean Harlow until we get to William Powell. Got a hard time with that part.

Old Hollywood was the shiz. They took no prisoners. These folks just kill themselves with drugs now or adulterate (in all directions). As if.

WTB old days when you killed to cover up something.

slider1964 said...

Lana Turner

amazonblue said...

Ok, as per IMDB mini biography:

Jean Harlow 1911-1937 (kidney failure)

Ran away at age 16 (1927) to marry husband #1 and moved to Hollywood where she landed numerous bit parts in several movies.

Divorced two years later. Cast in Hell's Angels (1930) and became a star. Howard Hughes sold her contract to MGM and she became a featured A list star.

While on set of a movie in 1932 her second husband (Paul Bern, a MGM producer) committed suicide.

After her death, her mother was thought to have denied her medical treatment, she was a Christian Scientist, however that wasn't the case. She died of kidney failure and at the time in 1937 there was no successful treatment.

So mysterious husband #2 was between 1930 & 1932.

kiki said...

Christina Crawford? This makes me think of Mommy Dearest.

Tim said...

I agree, these old BI are truely juicy!

genesis said...

This is getting revealed right?

Mooshki said...

Thanks, Enty, I love the Old Hollywood blinds! ♥

Lioness70 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karmen said...

I think Kat hit the nail on the head.

Jean Harlow FTW.

I am excited for reveals, but I'll be in NYC visiting friends. I'm sure they'd kill me if they knew I was reading blind item reveals all day long. Meh, what the hell. Luckily I can access the internet on my phone, hehe.

Lioness70 said...

Jean Harlow. First guess.

Had a very domineering mama and Paul Bern "supposedly" committed suicide.

I know more than I should about this stuff, because I read a lot of old Hollywood bios when I worked in the library in high school. ;)

Sharon Tate supposedly saw his ghost in 1966 and predicted her own murder. If any of you are fans of Ghost Hunters, you'll remember the episode where this was mentioned.

john said...

To add a twist to the third act...Jean harlow was involved with a boxer after Bern's death but the studio felt this was too controversial after the mysterious death so she was set up with a cinematographer. After him she married William Powell I believe. From Wikipedia:

It was during the making of Red Dust that Harlow's second husband, MGM producer Paul Bern, was found dead at their home, creating a scandal that reverberates to this day. Initially, the Hollywood community whispered that Harlow had killed Bern herself, though this was just rumor, and Bern's death was officially ruled a suicide. Harlow kept silent and survived the ordeal, and became more popular than ever.

After Bern's death, Harlow began an indiscreet affair with boxer Max Baer. Although Baer was separated from his wife, Dorothy Dunbar, at the time of their affair, Dunbar threatened divorce proceedings, naming Harlow as a correspondent for "alienation of affection", a legal term for adultery. MGM defused the situation by arranging a marriage between Harlow and cinematographer Harold Rosson. Still feeling the aftershocks of Bern's mysterious death, the studio didn't want another Harlow scandal on its hands. Rosson and Harlow were friends, and Rosson went along with the plan. They quietly divorced seven months later.

Following the end of her third marriage, Harlow met another MGM star William Powell and quickly fell in love. Reportedly, the couple were engaged for two years, but differences kept them from marrying swiftly (she wanted children; he did not). Harlow also said that Louis B. Mayer would never allow them to wed.

john said...

Okay so she didn't marry Powell.... hmm.. but she did have three husbands in total.

Ms Cool said...

LOVE the old Hollywood blinds since I love old movies. I concur with Jean Harlow.

Kat said...

Lioness, I love Ghost Hunters! That episode was crazy.

Harlow was the Lohan in her day, except she didn't have the paparazzi running around after her keeping tabs. If she wasn't hungry enough to kill someone in her way, her mother certainly was, that's certain.

Seriously, those old-time stars gave great scandal. Today's stars are lightweights.

Jane said...

To clarify for Kat: William Powell was the 'new man in her life" per the Enty post. He had nothing to do with any of the nefarious dealings (he is my dead man crush, along with Gregory Peck & Cary Grant)

ms_goddess said...

Long time Harlow fan here and thought of her before I finished reading. Had to have been a secret marraige in there though. What is commonly known about is 3 marriages: 1) marriage to Charles McGrew as a teenager before she came to Hollywood and which ended in divorce; 2) marriage to Paul Bern that ended in his death; 3) very brief marriage to cameraman Harold Rosson that also ended in divorce. (He died in 1988 BTW.) Became engaged to William Powell after Rosson. According to IMDB, Harlow had some mob connections - was the godmother to Bugsy Siegel's daughter and had even dated a mobster.

ms_goddess said...

Jane - I concur with all your dead man crushes (and add Gene Kelly to that list)!!!

Anonymous said...

This blind, and all the comments, are so interesting! I love old Hollywood blinds Enty. Keep 'em comin'! Oh and I agree with everyone above: Jean Harlow.

Kat said...

'To clarify for Kat: William Powell was the 'new man in her life" per the Enty post.' -jane

I'm not sure if you mean you're clarifying this for me, but I never insinuated that Powell was involved in any way. He wasn't married to her.

The way this blind reads to me is that the murdered mafia guy came between husband number one and Paul Bern, widely thought to be husband number two, but who may have been number three in reality.

I'm wondering too if this blind will ever be revealed, I mean, it's pretty juicy, and is there any risk of fallout by deeming Harlow a killer? Even though she's been dead for ages, can one come out and accuse the dead of murder?

Just a thought. I hope it is revealed, though.

shazzzba said...

GINGER ROGERS HAD A MOM LIKE THAT...BUT I DON'T KNOW ABOUT ANY DEAD HUSBANDS....
LANA TURNER IS INTERESTING HER DAUGHTERS DAD WAS CONNECTED BUT DIED NATURALLY I THINK...THIS IS A GOODIE

Sporky said...

Lioness70! I saw that episode too. It was one of the few that freaked me out because, unbeknowst to me, I used to live a stone's throw from the house they investigated. I do remember whenever I drove that stretch of road that was nearby on the way to my house, I'd get a real chill and never knew why. More recently, they also found a dead body of a woman down the hillside from there that had been there for a while. *shudders*

Great blind item. I found amongst my deceased mother-in-law's books the other day, a signed recipe book from old Hollywood called Hollywood du Jour - Lost Recipes of Legendary Hollywood Haunts by Betty Goodwin. It made me wonder when Enty's next old Hollywood BI would get here. :)

voice of reason said...

Nicole Kidman in To Die For.

libby said...

Kat: I believe that basically, you can't libel a dead man. If JH were still making money, like Marilyn Monroe, I think that's an exception.
Otherwise, the cases don't go very far.

(I've just had a few LTR w/ attorneys. If anybody knows better please correct me.)

Cheryl said...

Yep, Jean Harlow, and of course there wasn't much you could do about kidney disease in those days. Supposedly, Clark Gable, who was THE MAN in those days, saw to it that she had the best doctors that money could buy.

sunnyside1213 said...

Always thought it was sad about not marrying William Powell. He was the love of her life. Hope this is a reveal. Counting the hours.

Marisa said...

reveals reveals reveals reveals reveals! a;sdlkjf;alkdfg

Bella said...

Hollywood is f*cked up.

ballyhoo. said...

i thought lana turner first because of the johnny stampano case but after reading the comments and google i agree it has to be jean harlow. you guys are good!

ballyhoo. said...

i thought lana turner first because of the johnny stampano case but after reading the comments and google i agree it has to be jean harlow. you guys are good!

Tenisha said...

At first I thought Lana Turner...but yes, Jean Harlow fits better. Wow...I LOVE old blinds!!

oh yeah...and add Clark Gable to my list of dead man crushes!! Yum! :)

Judi said...

Agree with all that this is Jean Harlow. And add Tyrone Power to the crush list! Yum. :-)

Have a question for Enty. Could possibly be a future old Hollywood BI, but will email you.

slider1964 said...

I guess its jean too. But Ididn't really think she was married that much. With the unknown one she would have been married 4 times. Guess that's a lot when you die at 26 tho. If you don't know about it one of my fave sites is who's dated who.com. its a goldmine as far as figuring out who people have been with.

http://www.whosdatedwho.com/

CarolMR said...

I think it's either Jean Harlow or Ginger Rogers. But who is the mafia guy?

Castlerock Estates Board of Directors said...

The Jean Harlow/Paul Bern mystery is a really interesting story. Jean was at her mother's the night Paul Bern "committed suicide." Upon the discovery of his body, her mother called Louis B Mayer, not the police. Mayer and his men concocted a sory that Paul Bern killed himself because he could not satisfy his sex symbol wife. This was based upon a note that they found that stated, "you understand that last night was only a comedy." Jean Harlow went back to work a short time after his death and her career recovered. She indeed had an affair with Max Baer and later, William Powell.

Now to the good part ... turns out that Paul Bern had abandoned his common law wife, Dorothy Millette, back on the east coast after she had a mental breakdown. She eventually recovered enough to move to San Francisco. She continued to contact Paul Bern and wanted to get back together. He was sympathetic, but discouraged her.

The wife of Paul Bern's houseman said that a woman fitting Dorothy's description was at his house the night he died. Additionally, two glasses, a woman's wet swimsuit and bloodstains were found near the pool. Paul Bern had arranged for a studio car to drive someone to San Francisco that night. That trip was made and Dorothy reappeared for a short time in SF. She then boarded a steamboat to Sacramento from which she disappeared. Her body was found in the Sacramento River. Her expensive funeral and tombstone were paid for by Jean Harlow. The name on the tombstone? Dorothy Bern.

OOooooooHHhhhooooooo!

slider1964 said...

according to that site I just wrote about Bugsy Seigel.

Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cwlo7 said...

I love the old Hollywood comments,
thank you for moving the gosselingthing off the screen enough of this odious man

Catherine said...

I'm going out on a limb to say Mary Pickford....

Lioness70 said...

Kat & Sporky, Sci Fi showed that ep tonight! I didn't even know they were. Freaky!

My husband watched it with me and I was watching his reaction. His eyes went wide when they were communicating with the K2 meter. He's a big skeptic, but he agreed that those K2 hits were weird. There was some crazy shit going on at that house.

chihuahuense said...

you guys are GOOD!!

Bing Crosby is my dead man crush

chihuahuense said...

and so based on what Castlerock said, are you implying that Dorothy helped kill him and then she became the "next victim" described in the BI?

Beth said...

These Old Hollywood BIs are just mind blowing.

Jean Harlow definitely fits. And if she got mixed up with the mob, it wouldn't surprise me. The mob had their hands all over Hollywood back in the day.

Dead man crush: William Powell. Always. Since I was about 13. Die-hard Thin Man devotee here.

AndrewBW said...

I read this the way Ms_Goddess does. If it's Harlow, that means Paul Bern was husband number three, and he helped Harlow murder husband number two. It's been a long time since I read the Harlow/Bern stuff, but my memory at least is that Bern wasn't the kind of tough guy to get involved in a murder. Also I don't recall any rumors of mafia involvement in Bern's death. And really Harlow never struck me as the murdering kind either. Also, the BI says that "she was in and out of marriages frequently" which makes me think that she was married often, a la Liz Taylor. Harlow's three marriages might be a lot but they don't seem like an extraordinary number.

That said I don't have any other guesses to throw out. Hope this gets revealed.

Mary B said...

Jean Harlow came to my mind too but certain things don't fit. She didn't come from an unstable background unless you consider having divorced parents an unstable background. Her father was a dentist and Jean had a decent education, even if she married young the first time. Her mother was a monster and Jean supported her and her useless boyfriend for much of her short life. I remember reading at some time that Jean wanted to be a wife and mother but that her mother had such an influence on her that she did what Mama wanted and Mama wanted her to be a star/actress. Since two of her marriages ended in divorce and since there was a lot of divorce in Hollywood even at that time I can't see her being involved in a murder instead of a divorce. But I could be wrong :)

The story that I remember about why William Powell did not marry Jean was because he was newly divorced from Carole Lombard (who'd left him for Clark Gable) and he didn't want to marry another "blonde bombshell" as the expression was then.

If this is indeed Jean Harlow then I wold be curious as to where the second marriage took place and what the proof is of the marriage.

Katja said...

Wow, you all have such great information! I too love the old Hollywood blinds. The B&W movies were so much more interesting even if they were all made via studio packaging.

arberrios said...

Hi first time posting, long time lurker and fan. Though I think this blind seems to point towards Harlow, I am not so sure it is. Most things fit, the controling mother, pre tv only films, no major awards, married several times and the husband who was found shot dead. Years ago I recall reading that Harlow had dated a small time gangster before she made it big in films. He saw her at a local movie house where she was promoting one of her small films, and he was immediately smitten. His name was Abner "Longy" Zwillan. They dated for a while, and he took great interest in her movie career and financed a couple of her lesser known movies. In fact, in the
1960s during a Jean Harlow revival period a short novel was published supposedly based on Harlow's relationship with Longy. In the novel the gangster is murdered, but I think it was by a rival gangster. She may have indeed eloped with Longy, but she definitely did not kill him, because he died many years later in 1959. So because of this one little fact, I doubt this blind is about Harlow. Though I am fascinated by it and can't wait to find out who the moviestar.

whole lotto luv said...

Reading some of the stuff about Jean Harlow led me to read a bunch of stuff about a lot of these old celebrities, who certainly had a lot of shady stuff in their backgrounds.

AndrewBW said: "Harlow's three marriages might be a lot but they don't seem like an extraordinary number." I disagree, because the three marriages she is credited with were all over barely after she reached age 23.

I just don't understand why divorce was not an option for the 2 dead husbands in this blind. Harlow divorced her first and last husbands, so it doesn't appear divorce was a problem for her. The only way it works for me is if husband #2, the gangster, was a devout Catholic but wouldn't be able to get an annulment due to his mafia status (?), because if this was Harlow, marriage #2 couldn't have lasted more than a few weeks, and I'd think a marriage that short would qualify for annulment (catholics feel free to correct me). Somewhere, in reading all of this and related internet content, I read that Valentino was jailed for bigamy because he didn't wait a year after his first divorce to marry his second wife in the 1920's.

Even if this blind isn't Harlow, the Bern "suicide" is a helluva great story. The text of the alleged suicide note, "Dearest dear, Unfortunately this is the only way to make good the frightful wrong I have done you and wipe out my abject humiliation. I love you. --Paul. You understand last night was only a comedy" actually reminds me of the Kurt Cobain note. Considering what Castlerock Estates stated about the butler seeing a woman fitting Dorothy's description at Bern's house the night Bern died, and the mini-bio on imdb stating that Harlow met Dorothy the day before, the note seems even more cryptic.

I am buzzed, but loving this stuff.

Nikki said...

Great info from you guys, and you all have great taste in men :)

Luvtheblinds said...

How about Ginger Rogers?

Luvtheblinds said...

Never mind - Ginger got the Academy for Kitty Foyle. Sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

I read a book - so long ago I can't remember what book - that said that Paul Bern's genitalia were totally undeveloped, he was like a child in that department, which was why he ended up committing suicide. Considering some of the other stuff I'm reading here, though, it seems like there was no suicide. But the childlike genitals could be what the "comedy" reference was about.

Sporky said...

Lioness70 - I think that's one of their better episodes.

I have several dead man crushes, but my one and only heartthrob is and always will be, Mr. Gone With the Wind (my favorite movie), Clark Gable.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the Harlow guess, but wouldn't the new man in her life be Max Baer, with whom she had affair after Bern's death, rather than Powell? It seems like Bern and Harlow were involved in the death of mystery hubby #2 and Bern then became hubby #3. After his death by gunshot, Harlow got involved with Max Baer, who was separated from his wife, but not divorced yet. The wife named Harlow as an adultress and the studio then arranged marriage to hubby #4, cinematographer Harold Rosson, to lessen the scandal. William Powell came later, after the marriage to Rosson ended.

hotchacha said...

Thank you for not posting this on January 2nd. It's a long wait until July 4th.

Luvtheblinds said...

Wow, what an education. I have been searching through dozens of articles regarding old Hollywood - which I love and finally came up with the answer most of you have - Jean Harlow. Involved with gangsters Bugsy Siegel and Abner Zwillman, married MGM producer Paul Bern, had an affair with Clark Gable, had an arranged marriage to cinematographer Harold Rosson, and then fell in love with William Powell. I don't think any of us could have kept up.

sunnyside1213 said...

My dead crush is Gary Cooper. High Noon. *sigh*

Mango said...

Add me to the Jean Harlow belivers!

Rickatoo said...

June Havoc

angie said...

Love this blind...I'm also agreeing with other on Jean Harlow..."prior to television and all movies" I don't think Lana Turner would be the one..she was in movies well into the 50's and did tv in the 80's.

Deadman crush...Lawrence Olivier (1930's era)

CarolMR said...

I think Bugsy Siegel was already married, so Harlow couldn't have married him. As I understand the blind, she married the gangster in secret.

Amit! said...

It can't be June Havoc - she did General Hospital in the 80's or the 90's.

I like the Mary Pickford guess, but she wasn't exactly in and out of marriages that fast - she was single for a year and a half - roughly - before her third marriage.

I like the Jean Harlow guess a lot, though.

Pookie said...

these old school blinds are the BEST. omg, you guys are GOOD! the cdan family is full of slueths. (michael k. and detective latoya would be proud).

Kit said...

Thanks to whoever cleared up about William Powell. I misunderstood.

Deadman crush: Tyrone Power, Montgomery Clift, William Holden. I'm sure I can name others when I wake up more.

Merlin D. Bear said...

Harlow.
And thank you Enty, for this Old Hollywood blind!!
I love these more than the current ones sometimes.
Since you're in an Old Hollywood reveal kind of mood, and you've brought up murder, how about revisiting the other OH murder blind about how the gofer became a producer because he knew how to keep his mouth shut?

lana said...

awesome link about paul bern's mysterious death everyone! http://www.prairieghosts.com/hollywood9.html

lana said...

oh wait this article says he was illed by his ex lover with mental problems and they covered it up to make it look like he didn't cheat on jean

Marina Ortiz said...

Jean died at 26!?! So reminds me if Lohan: way too old looking for her age due to crazy, crazy lifestyle. Definitely (and actually) talented though. What a shame and a waste.

Katiedot said...

Just for a change of pace, can I throw in Bette Davis as a contender? She had a very pushy mother and one of her husbands died in mysterious circumstances (pushed in front of a car? then died of head injuries much later).

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