Saturday, April 3, 2010

Jean Harlow - " The If Girl".

Jean Harlow's dog named Oscar.

Jean Harlow's, first film, Honor Bound, led to her bit parts in silent films, Moran of the Marines (1928), Chasing Husbands , Why Is a Plumber? (1927) and Unkissed Man. Soon after, she performed in a more substantial role in Laurel and Hardy's short, Double Whoopee.

In March 1929,  Roach, who tore up her contract after Harlow told him, "It's breaking up my marriage; what can I do?" After her separation from McGrew, Harlow worked as extra in several movies and was cast as an extra in the film, The Love Parade (1929), The Saturday Night Kid(1929), a Clara Bow movie and Weak But Willing (1929). Where she was spotted by James Hall, an actor filming a Howard Hughes film called, Hell's Angels. Hughes, was re-shooting the film from silent into sound, Harlow made a test and got the part. On October 24, 1929. Hell's Angels, premiered in Hollywood on May 27, 1930 at Grauman's Chinese Theater.

In 1931, Hughes' Caddo Company loaned her out to other studios, Harlow began to gain more attention when she performed in the film, The Secret Six with Clark Gable, Iron Man and The Public Enemy. Harlow was next cast in, Platinum Blonde (1931) with Loretta Young.

Harlow, also filmed Three Wise Girls (1932), after which, Paul Bern arranged to borrow her for the film, The Beast of the City(1932). Paul Bern and Harlow by now were romantically involved, when Paul spoke to Louis B. Mayer about buying out Harlow's contract from Hughes and signing her to MGM. Thalberg agreed, her first performance at MGM would be the starring role in Red-Headed Woman, and 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 performed many time with Spencer Tracy and William Powell. MGM tried to change her image from what shall I say... brassy to the girl next-door. Claiming that writer Edgar Allan Poe was one of her ancestors and published photographs of Harlow doing charity work. Through all of this, Harlow always seemed to have kept her sense of humor. After the box office hits, Hold Your Man and Red Dust, MGM realized it had a winner in the Harlow-Gable teaming and paired them in two more films: China Seas and Wife vs. Secretary. By the mid-1930s, Harlow was one of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Fun Fact:
On the day Hollywood canine superstar Rin Tin Tin died at age of 16 (112 in dog years), Harlow, who lived across the street, went over to cradle the dog's head in her lap as Rin Tin Tin passed away.

Jean Harlow Official Websight.
Prior to her death, Harlow wrote a novel titled, Today is Tonight. However, the book was not published until 1965, after her death. In 1965, two films about Jean Harlow were released, both called Harlow. One starred Carroll Baker and the other, Carol Lynley. In 1978, Lindsay Bloom portrayed her in Hughes and Harlow: Angels in Hell. More recently, Gwen Stefani briefly appeared as Harlow in Martin Scorseses 2004 Howard Hughes biopic, The Aviator.


  1. Great title Dawn! I do often wonder "if" Harlow would have gone onto more or petered out. She was at the top when she died, so I do wonder. Nice job pointing out her diverse filmography, people forget she could do drama well too. China Seas was my dad's fav!

  2. Good post Dawn and like Tracy said great title. I'm watching China Seas and Red Dust this morning as we speak.

  3. Gilby, Thank you. I thought it might have been to long of a profile. But.. could not make up my mind what not to include.

    Monty, I did catch Red Dust this morning. One of my favorite things about Harlow, was her sense of humor.


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