Friday, September 25, 2009

Everything Vintage: ghosts of Hollywood past

Vintage Friday!

I am fascinated by old movie stars and vintage Hollywood.

Here are a few photos of actresses from the silent era and the early "talkie" era. These women were so beautiful and led such glamourous and romantic, but often tragic lives.

I would love to have lived a life of privilege and glamour in the 1920's and known some of these women...

Who knows, maybe I did...

Clara Bow 1905-1965

*Known as THE flapper of the 20's and America's first sex symbol
*Her mother tried to slit Clara's throat when she attempted to enter the film industry
*At height of her popularity she received over 45,000 fan letters a month
*With the onset of talkies her popularity waned due to her thick Brooklyn accent
*Involved in several court battles ranging from unpaid taxes to being in divorce court for "stealing" women's husbands
*Married and had 2 sons
*Retired at 28 - Plagued by personal crises, a weight problem, schizophrenia and bouts in psychiatric hospitals, she never made another film and died in obscurity in 1965

Merna Kennedy 1908-1944
*Star of late silents and early talkies
*Married twice
*Rumoured to have had an affair with Charlie Chaplin
*Died of heart attack at age 36

Mary Astor 1906-1987

Began her career in silent films and successfully made transition to talkies
*Oscar winner
*Three divorces, first husband died in a plane crash, struggled with alcoholism, suffered a nervous breakdown, attempted suicide, and had a persistent heart condition
*Wrote a bestselling autobiography

Lillian Gish 1893-1993

*75 year career in film and theatre
*Once talkies came into fashion her popularity in film started to die out
*She never married or had children
* "Marriage is a business. A woman cannot combine a career and marriage ... I should not wish to unite the two." (1919)

Joan Crawford 1905-1977

*Married and divorced 5 times
*Had an infamous and long-standing feud with Bette Davis
*Was named "the other woman" in at least 2 divorces
*May have suffered from OCD when it came to cleaning and cleanliness
*Disinherited 2 of her 4 adopted children "for reasons best known to them"
*Daughter Christina wrote a"tell-all" memoir, Mommie Dearest, in which she alleged a lifelong pattern of physical and emotional abuse perpetrated by Crawford

Jean Harlow 1911-1937

*Was Marilyn Monroe's idol
*Known as the "original blonde bombshell"
*Married 3 times - twice divorced and once widowed due to suicide
*Died at the age of 26 of uremic poisoning

Gretta Garbo 1905-1990

*Once voted by The Guinness Book of World Records as the most beautiful woman who ever lived
*She Popularized trenchcoats & berets in the 1930s
*Never married
*Some speculation she may have been bisexual
*"You don't have to be married to have a good friend as your partner for life."

Fay Wray 1907-2004

*Starred in King Kong
*Regarded as Hollywood's first "Scream Queen"
*Married 3 times, 3 children
*The lights on the Empire State Building in New York City (scene of the climax from her most popular film, "King Kong") were dimmed for 15 minutes in her memory 2 days after her death

Alice White 1904-1983

*Started in silent film but became famous in talkies
*Married 3 times
*Professional career ruined after a series of sex scandals involving a boyfriend and future husband

Who is your favourite actress from early Hollywood?


Images via Silent Ladies and Gents


  1. Gretta Garbo is my favorite old actress. A real classic beauty.


  2. all of them....gorgeous and pure (with respect) bring back that era!!


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