The beautiful, but ill-fated American actress Jean Harlow was born 103 years ago today. Sometime ago, Jean was the subject of my first ever attempt at a biography, and that leads me seamlessly into the fact that my second BearManor Media offering, a look back at the life of another Hollywood actress, Marie Prevost, is in the process of being edited and typeset... and will hopefully see the light of day at some point in the not too distant future.
Although they were born roughly fifteen years apart, Marie and Jean passed away within a few months of each other during 1937, aged 40 and just 26 respectively. The pair worked together professionally just once, and here is a very short excerpt from Desperately Seeking Marie Prevost purely for appetite whetting purposes.
“Marie’s appearance as Dot in the 1932 movie Three Wise Girls saw her perform alongside one of my screen idols: the stunning Jean Harlow.
“Marie is excellent in this film. It’s so sad that she no longer fitted the Hollywood stereotype—let’s be honest, she may have put on a bit of weight, but she was far from being “fat,” and her experience of bringing quality comedy to the big screen was still very much in evidence. So was the difference between supporting roles and top billing, success and failure, really nothing more than a few pounds?
“The final member of this astute triumvirate was Mae Clarke who had previously appeared in The Good Bad Girl, but whose main claim to cinematic fame was arguably having a pre-code grapefruit thrust into her face by James Cagney in what was a strangely uncredited appearance in another Jean Harlow picture, The Public Enemy (in 1931). Sadly though, just as with Cecil B. DeMille’s involvement in The Godless Girl, Jean Harlow’s presence could do little to save Three Wise Girls from bombing at the cinemas.”
Both Marie and Jean died in tragic circumstances, but whilst much has been written about the latter's short but undeniably eventful life, I am unaware of a biography dedicated solely to the Canadian-born actress and hopefully one or two of you will be interested enough to want to learn a little about Marie when the book is eventually published.
That’s for the future though. For now, I just want to say Happy Birthday to the beautiful and talented Jean Harlow.