As most of you know, my favourite Actress with all of my heart is Marilyn and it just so happens that a lot of my other favourite stars happen to be blondes; Veronica Lake and Brigitte Bardot for example. I think this is because so many Old Hollywood Blondes were only appreciated for their appearance and never given enough credit for their talent and I’ve always rooted for the underdog.
However, I happen to adore a lot of Old Hollywood Stars and I thought I’d make a post on my other loves that I may not talk as much about.
November 9th 1914 – January 19th 2000
“Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.”
Hedy Lamarr was known as, “The Most Beautiful Girl In Films” and seventy years on, it’s not hard to see why. Her dark shoulder length hair and porcelain face were admired by millions of fans, so much so that movie goers did not expect to see her act, they just looked forward to seeing her on the screen. However, behind the beauty was a brain, a brain that sadly went under appreciated but, nevertheless created one of the most important technologies which is to this day still used in the basis of Mobile Phones and Wifi. When learning about Hedy it’s quite easy to see how much she worked tirelessly to learn her craft and perfect her acting. At least today she is not only known for being one of the most beautiful women of the Silver Screen, but also, as an Actress and more importantly, an Inventor.
Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr by Stephen Michael Shearer
Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
The Strange Woman (1946)
Samson and Delilah (1949)
November 5th 1913 – July 7th/8th 1967.
“I’m not a film star, I am an actress. Being a film star is such a false life, lived for fake values and for publicity.”
Recognized by millions as Gone With The Wind‘s Scarlett O’Hara and Sir Laurence Olivier’s Wife, Vivien was not just a Southern Belle, she was an incredible actress. Like Hedy, though more critically appreciated, Vivien often found her beauty a blessing and a curse. Although she won two Academy Awards throughout her career, she often felt people preferred to see the beautiful Scarlet O’Hara, instead of the actress. Also, being married to Olivier, considered one of the finest actors of the generation was not always an easy task. She was a prolific stage actress and often put the importance of roles ahead of her mental well being. She suffered from Manic Depression, which lead to the separation with the love of her life and bouts of Tuberculosis, which ultimately lead to her death. Although only having 20 Film Credits, today she’s considered to be one of England’s finest Actresses and her talents are forever being re evaluated and recognized.
Vivien Leigh by Kendra Bean
Vivien Leigh: A Biography by Anne Edwards
Gone With The Wind (1939)
Waterloo Bridge (1940)
Anna Karenina (1948)
February 27th 1932 – March 23rd 2011.
“I don’t entirely approve of some of the things I have done, or am, or have been. But I’m me. God knows, I’m me.”
Elizabeth became known to the world as just a small child, when she appeared in National Velvet in 1944. After that she stayed on the motion picture screens for many years and her beauty and violet eyes was highly applauded, however, it wasn’t until George Stevens’s Giant (1956) that she started to be respected as a, “Real Actress.” After achieving high acclaim for her performances in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958) and Suddenly Last Summer (1959) she was awarded her first Academy Award for BUtterfield 8 (1960) in 1961. After falling in love with Richard Burton during the filming of Cleopatra (1963) her name would fill the gossip magazines for, at the time, scandalous affair. However, this did nothing to damage Elizabeth’s career and she would earn her second Academy Award for, Who’s Afraid Of Virgina Woolf? (1966) in 1967. I don’t think until the 1980s Elizabeth was finally respected for the amazing woman she was, she helped raise awareness for the victims of Aids and contributed to removing a lot of the ignorance about the disease. She even created The Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation in 1991 to help millions saying, “It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance.”
Elizabeth Taylor: A Life In Pictures by Yann-Brice Dherbier and YB Editions
Elizabeth Taylor by Donald Spoto.
A Place In The Sun (1951)
The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954)
September 20th 1934.
“I said before I am not a sexy pot. Now I can prove it.”
Born an illegitimate child in Rome Italy, Sophia did not have an easy upbringing, in her Autobiography she recalls living through the frequent bombings in Pozzuoli and the lack of support from her father during her childhood. After competing in a Beauty Pagent in 1950, in the early 1950s she became a well known face in Italian Cinema. However, it wasn’t until she joined Paramount in 1958 that she became an International Star. Nevertheless, Sophia never lost site of her roots and frequently went back to Italy to make films. becoming the first Actress to win an Academy Award for a Non-English Performance in Two Women (1960) in 1961. After this critical acclaim, Sophia continued to shine in Motion Pictures, had a wonderful marriage to Carlo Ponti and her talent was finally recognized and appreciated. She still acts to this day and is loved and admired by millions, not only for her beauty but her incredible story.
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life by Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren: A Life In Pictures by Yann-Brice Dherbier
A Special Day (1977)
November 19th 1920 – November 6th 1991
“Wealth, beauty, and fame are transient. When those are gone, little is left except the need to be useful.”
Gene will forever be remembered as the hauntingly beautiful woman and painting in Laura (1944) however, although she was blessed with beauty, she was not given the Fairytale life of a Movie Star. After five years or so being seen as a glamorous screen presence, she finally achieved critical acclaim for her performance as femme fatale Ellen in Leave Her To Heaven (1944) which garnered her an Acadamy Award Nomination for Best Actress. During World War Two, whilst helping out in The Hollywood Canteen while in the early stages of pregnancy, Gene tragically contracted German Measles and her beloved daughter Daria was born severely disabled. After she was three years old, Gene could no longer take care of her at home and she had to move to an institution. Although her career continued to flourish, her emotional pain eventually caught up with her and she suffered a nervous breakdown and attempted suicide due to depression in the mid 1950s. After staying in multiple clinics for treatment, some of which included Electric Shock Therapy which resulted in memory loss, she recovered and returned to the screen fora few brief appearances in the 1960s. She remarried in 1960, ironically to one of Hedy Lamarr’s ex husbands, W. Howard Lee and wrote her wonderful Autobiography in 1979. Gene was not only a wonderful actress, but she is an incredible inspiration for her candid honesty with her mental health.
Self Portrait by Gene Tierney
Gene Tierney: A Biography by Michelle Vogel
Leave Her To Heaven (1945)
Never Let Me Go (1953)
December 24th 1922 – January 25th 1990.
“I have only one rule in acting, trust the director and give him heart and soul.”
Ava Gardner was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time, she was signed by MGM in 1941 and was continually used for publicity pictures, but sadly not films. It wasn’t until The Killers (1946) that MGM finally realized that they had something special. Ava continued to be in successful films and was the ultimate beauty, finally in 1953’s Mogambo, her talent was recognized and her performance garnered her an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actress. Her intelligent wit and honesty were some of her best qualities and are captured wonderfully in her Autobiography in 1990. Although she married some of Hollywood’s most famous men including, Frank Sinatra, she continued to give fine performances in movies such as, On The Beach (1959) and The Night Of The Iguana (1964) Directed by John Houston.
Ava: My Story by Ava Gardner (1990)
The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
On The Beach (1959)
Hopefully whoever sees this finds these incredible women as inspirational as I do and reads their books and films and I also hope this reminds us all to remember to not judge a book by it’s cover.
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