- Bette Davis was never promoted as beautiful. In fact, when she first went to Hollywood in the early 1930s, she was told by a studio exec that she had "as much sex appeal as Slim Summerville," a fugly character actor.
Carl Laemmle, who produced her first picture, [italic]The Bad Sister,[/italic] allegedly said after seeing the finished film for the first time, "Can you imagine some poor guy going through hell and high water and ending up with [italic]her[/italic] at the fade-out?"
- John Hodiak
- Some of these stars were prettier when they were really young. Shelly Winters in particular was beautiful before she got older and heavier.
A lot of the stars may not have been that attractive, but they had a lot more charisma and star power than most of the bland stars of today.
- I never found Clark Gable to be appealing. He just looks so much like Walk Disney.
- Betty Grable
Veronica Lake (it was all about the hair)
- I don't think June Allyson was promoted as beautiful. Those heavy bangs she never changed up were horrible.
- Most of the people on your list weren't considered beautiful, OP. Except for perhaps Deborah Kerr who actually was quite attractive.
- I thought Deborah Kerr was pretty in a girl next door kind of way.
Barbara Stanwyck was an interesting one... at times I thought she was pretty, and at times plain.
- I agree with R7 and R8; Deborah Kerr doesn't belong on that list.
- Thank you, R7 and R8. I was a little worried.
- Shelley Winters always looked bovine.
- Harlow? Really? She was very attractive, especially so in her time.
- And young John Wayne was gorgeous.
- I've never found Jean Harlow attractive. She had a face like a lumpy potato. Not my cup of tea.
- [quote]a particularly new phenomena
PHENOMENON = singular
PHENOMENA = plural
- I always thought Deborah Kerr was very attractive.
- Justin Timberfake
- Ginger Rogers not attractive? OP you are daft. Ann Sheridan was attractive enough, but her personality is what really put her over the top.
- Ginger Rogers was NOT beautiful. She was barely pretty, with hard features, a blunt nose, nonexistent lips and excessive peach fuzz, which she was extremely sensitive about. What she did have, however, was a great dancer's body.
- I've never understood why Greta Garbo and Carole Lombard were considered great beauties.
Attractive women, no doubt, but nothing that would stop you in your tracks if you passed them on the street.
- I rather think Georgia Hale and Helen Twelvetrees are attractive (still...on film). And Liz Taylor in her Monty Clift days. And Julie Andrews.
- Speaking of dancers, Ann Miller.
And OP never said "beautiful," he only said "attractive." Ginger Rogers was neither.
- Ann Sheridan was very pretty. She'd won a contest to get a screen test and that was how she landed in Hollywood in the first place. R5's list is laughable. Kay Francis was gorgeous when she was young and most of the others were attractive.
- I would stop on the street if I saw Norma Shearer. Alive.
- Were it not for George Hurrell's iconic pictures of her, Jean Harlow would not be that hot.
- I find Ginger Rogers to be incredibly sexy. More cute than classically beautiful, but cute people tend to be sexier.
- I think Ginger was attractive when she was very young but she got a hard look fairly quickly. By the late '30's she'd pretty much hit a wall. This seemed to happen to a lot of actresses; once their face lost it's baby fat things went downhill fast. I agree with Harlow but I think her look was considered fashionable for that era.
- The OP is Helen Keller getting her information on physical attractiveness from a malamute with cataracts.
The OP is a stupid, mean-spirited Helen Keller getting her information on physical attractiveness from a malamute with cataracts.
- Check out Alberto Vargas' drawing of Ann Sheridan.
Don't forget that these people were in [italic]moving[/italic] pictures, where they came alive on screen. Jean Harlow didn't look gorgeous in a photograph, but she was fascinating in motion.
- r20, you can only say that if you have actually had that experience. Otherwise, you need to find another way to make your argument.
- There's an excellent book by Jeanine Basinger called THE STAR MACHINE that explains why many of these people were stars despite their lack of glamor or classic beauty. June Allyson, for example, was NOT supposed to be beautiful in the way Elizabeth Taylor was: in fact, she was specifically supposed to be a kind of corrective to glamor gals like Rita Hayworth and Hedy Lamarr, and was promoted as "The Perfect Wife." she was supposed to be attractive but ordinary, and thus relatable for most filmgoers.
- The media didn't say that these people were attractive, they merely said that they were talented. And, with the exception of Shearer, they were.
- Bogart unattractive?...I dunno, certainly not a pretty boy but he had certain masculine coolness, I think. Or maybe it was all the black and white photography...
- Actors like Bogart and Davis overcame their average looks. With talent.
Davis, in particular, didn't care about clothes or star glamor, but understood that people were paying to look at her. She was much more concerned with being truthful to a character than about being photographed in the right light. She says in her biography that, being a cute and presentable girl, she was surprised at the level of scrutiny and criticism of her appearance when she started in films.
- Hey, it wasn't the media, Shelly Winters told us herself over and over and over on Merv and Johnny Carson how sexy and attractive she used to be!
- Keira Knightly and Scarlett Johansson? You have GOT to be kidding. They're NOTHING, just a couple of run of the mill, average, skinny starlets. Knightly looks like she's suffering from an eating disorder, has no tits, hips or butt to speak of.
Jean Harlow was the premiere sex symbol of her era. She WAS very good-looking, had a fantastic body and a great face, although the makeup she was plastered with obscured it. And her eyebrows were shaven and drawn on; that was considered glamorous in that period.
- "I've never understood why Greta Garbo and Carole Lombard were considered great beauties.
Attractive women, no doubt, but nothing that would stop you in your tracks if you passed them on the street."
I don't think you know what the hell you're talking about. Garbo is considered one of the most beautiful stars of all time; I think it was Kenneth Tynan who said that what men see in women when they're drunk they see in Garbo when they're sober. And Lombard WAS beautiful; pictures of her as a child show she was a beauty even as a little girl.
- If you don't think Carole Lombard was beautiful, you have no taste.
- I must agree about Garbo's and Lombard's beauty. I'm not even a Garbo fan, but she was stunning. And Lombard was a classy, sexy beauty with a deft comedic touch. Her life and career ended much too soon.
- Keira is a skinny star, but Scarjo? Take another look. She's tits and ass and hair.
I had amazing talent.
Ask Dame Edith Asquith.
"Actually, the t is silent, as in Harlow.."
Dame Edith Asquith to Jean Harlow, when the latter kept on mispronouncing her name..
What was that "Dame" all upset about?
I didn't bother with names.
Not how one gets "ahead" ya know...
"Old Hollywood"? I was dead at 26...
Lombard was "attractive" that's as far as I would go...and I have exquisite taste.
THIS is beauty:
- Harlow looks hard and plain to me. I just assumed this was a straight guy thing that I'd never see.
- You're absolutely correct, R4. People often mistook Clark Gable and Walt Disney for each other. It made it very difficult for Walt after Clark died, too. He scared the hell out of a lot of people.
- Bogart wasn't a pretty-boy like some other box office-drawing actors, but I think he had a rugged handsomeness especially in his early movies.
- Tierney was gorgeous. Hedy Lamarr may have been the most beautiful woman of her era in films. But today's audiences hardly know anything about them, unlike Davis, Crawford, and others.
- Before her eyebrows took her hostage, Joan Crawford was sex on a stick:
- Wow, Crawford is stunning in that picture. What happened to her? And look at those teeth. Awesome teeth for that era.
- Crawford, in her youth, was a natural redhead and a short but perfectly proportioned dancer's body. Unlike Davis, she was only too happy to turn herself over to the studio glamor machine and tried out every hair color, every makeup palette, every identity possible.
- My favorite Crawford photo. I don't care how Gay you are, that woman is hot:
WITH a short but perfectly...
And here's a good link.
- Oops, here's the link:
- Wow, R50. I didn't realize Joan did a version of DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN!
- Good God, R52's photo looks like Madonna in her tattered rags incarnation. Why did all the old movie stars paint their lipstick so obviously outside their lip line? (Bette Davis and Lucille Ball, I'm looking at you among others.)
Agree that Crawford was gorgeous when young. In Grand Hotel, she's better looking than Garbo.
- That's definitely a photoshopped picture of Joan in R52's link. Look closely at their hair and you'll see the strands match up perfectly. No way that would happen even if Madonna was trying to duplicate the photo.
- There were people who thought Danny Kaye was attractive?
- Danny Kaye was never a movie idol type, but he had an athletic body, was slim, and moved well. He was pretty insecure about his looks and bleached his curly red hair and covered uo his freckles to look less ethnic. Woman found his goofy charm and energy adorable.
Amd that pink, pale, bubble butt. Well...
- "Why did all the old movie stars paint their lipstick so obviously outside their lip line? (Bette Davis and Lucille Ball, I'm looking at you among others.)"
Because they didn't have lip collagen injections then. Here, get a load of Kim Novak's godawful lip line in "Vertigo".
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-iGu02AcfIMY/T1rTi6hlIII/AAAAAAAACZ8/M_3w5yrN9EE/s1600/Vertigo Kim Novak 1958.JPG
- I agree with R54 Crawford was stunning in Grand Hotel, moreso than even Garbo. She was beautiful in the early 30s, had just the right look for that time.
- I also think that when eldergays refer to "charisma" and "star power" they really mean "a transatlantic accent" and "gauzy key lighting". Everything about the performances in the "golden age " of Hollywood was super hieghtened and stylized. There's no way an actress today could affect the haughter of Dietrich or the declamatory style of Audrey Hepburn and ever expect to be taken seriously. For better or for worse audiences expect a certain type of naturalism from todays performers that wasn't expected yesteryear.
- Alice Faye was a beauty - Shelley Winters was NEVER good-looking or attractive or pretty or anything but homely. Garbo was gorgeous. I cannot believe anyone at any time can not see her beauty. Whatever you're smoking or shooting or drinking, you have gone blind.
- [quote]"Actually, the t is silent, as in Harlow.."
[quote]Dame Edith Asquith to Jean Harlow, when the latter kept on mispronouncing her name..
That story is actually told about MARGOT Asquith and Jean Harlow: and Margot is indeed pronounced "Margo."
No one named Edith has ever in the history of the world ever pronounced her name "Edih."
- Shelley Winters might never have been pretty, but she did have a brief early period when she was hot with long legs and rounded figure. But even in early photos you can tell she had to fight the fat, and she let herself go really early on.
- Here is a picture of Shelly Winters in her younger days. Not a bombshell but she was attractive.
The only explanation for your bizarre pointless rambling is you are an Eldergay named Edih.
The only part that could be droll is dubbing you "Edih Head"...
Fasten your seatbelt, it is going to be a bumpy night.
Call wardrobe, can you sew dear?
- Garbo and Lombard were both knockouts. Harlow was meant to be a bad girl (although she was incredibly prim and rather dull in real life), and was considered more sexy than beautiful. Kiera Knightly isn't fit to be considered within the same universe as them.
She died at age 26.
After 3 marriages, of uremic poisoning.
Clark Gable was peeved as filming was ongoing.
Saratoga was a huge hit.
Death of a blonde beauty always draws crowds.
The original blonde bombshell.
Norma Jean was her replacement.
She lasted another decade.
Where do you Eldergays get so addled?
- Shelley Winters wasn't beautiful, but she was fuckable - as she proved in real life.
I think Jean Harlow was a very pretty girl under all that extreme makeup, with her creamy skin and cleft chin. I realize it's impossible to tell, as there are no pictures of her with her natural hair or unshaved eyebrows, but I think she would look pretty in any era. However, it's way her wild white hair and skin looked on b/w film that made her iconic, not her bone structure.
- Deborah Kerr was quite lovely, fantastic skin, large eyes and great bone structure that aged well. And she had a beautiful speaking voice. But she ever had that drop of exotica that would have shoved her into the great beauty category. But, she was beloved by people in the business and the public.
- Norma Shearer was a goddess.
- R47's pic of Crawford: She certainly was lovely when she was young, and I also noticed the perfect teeth. Those were amazing for the 1920s/1930s. I know veneers weren't around back then, but did they have capped teeth? If those teeth were all Joan's, that's nothing short of a miracle for the time period. Teeth, in general, were a busted mess back then.
- Crawford had extensive work done on her teeth before she became a big star. There are pictures of her with her original teeth and they are not pretty. I think her teeth were straightened, crowned (or "capped" as they called it back then), and whitened. So were Garbo's.
- r65, you got called out for fucking up your own anecdote by telling it wrong, and so now you're clearly trying to shift focus onto someone else.
Frankly, you look now not only like a complete idiot, but a petty one at that.
- R47's pic is a publicity still from [italic]Untamed.[/italic] She looks surprisingly modern for 1929. I agree that the late '20s/early '30s were her peak looks-wise.
Here she is as a blonde, two years later.
- Here's a clip from [italic]Untamed.[/italic] She looks great -- and she sings!
- R20? I saw Garbo many times in person, up close in the 1970 and early 80s. She was older then, but beautiful- with only the slightest bit of pink lipstick. As a young woman she was almost surreal in her beauty.
Lombard was incandescent (sp?). I cannot imagine anyone thinking otherwise- her personality, her face-
Go figure (R20)
- How can anyone say Greta Garbo wasn't beautiful? I mean, look at her here.
- r77, I'm not saying that she wasn't beautiful, but if that picture were a contemporary starlet, everyone on here would be noting that she's wearing about 3 lbs of makeup, her features are essentially painted on in the manner of a contemporary drag queen and the photo has been brighlty lit and overexposed to eliminate any flaws or irregularities in her bone structure and complexion
- [quote] Shelley Winters might never have been pretty, but she did have a brief early period when she was hot with long legs and rounded figure. But even in early photos you can tell she had to fight the fat, and she let herself go really early on.
She was already gone by the time she did " A PLACE IN THE SUN."
Must have been all of those "dates" she had with Farley Granger that made her turn to food for comfort.
- In r47's picture, Joan Crawford looks like Kate Walsh.
- Jean Harlow supposedly died of blood poisoning after a bad abortion.
- Jean Harlow died of kidney failure. Back in those days, not much could be done.
I am certain when you look at a mirror:
That is where you see a complete idiot.
Enjoy the view!
Bitchy Elder gays are so boring.
Vickie Lynn Hogan Marshall
- "Crawford was stunning in Grand Hotel, moreso than even Garbo"
More beautiful than Garbo? Hardly. Garbo could wipe up the floor with Crawford when it came to beauty. I never considered Crawford beautiful at all; attractive in her youth, sometimes striking, but never beautiful. And Crawford became a caricature of femininity VERY quickly. She looked like a drag queen when she was only in her thirties.
I've seen pictures of Jean Harlow when she was a teenager. She was a natural blonde but not "platinum" blonde; that white color that became her trademark was accomplished by horrendous bleaching techniques that involved the use of peroxide, ammonia, Clorox, and Lux flakes (a kind of detergent). In the pictures I saw she had her own nice, normal eyebrows; her teeth were very good and her complexion was gorgeous. Her skin was one of her best assets, "like milk and honey", it was said. Her eyes were green and she had a perfect cupid's bow mouth. She really was something special.
- I gotta agree about Harlow. She had a lumpy potato head with a slight double chin and a terrible profile -- and the 1930s makeup/eyebrows did her no favors. It's no surprise that her status as sex symbol was eclipsed by Marilyn Monroe, whose beauty is quite timeless. Just the other day, I was sitting at the bus stop 'cause my car was in the shop and so I had to resort to public transportation. Anyway, there were these 3 Latino guys nearby who looked to be 19/20. One of them was telling the others about a "hot chick" and mentioned that she "looks like Marilyn Monroe." Harlow would never be considered hot in modern terms -- or anytime outside the '30s. I think that's why in that HARLOW movie they made Carroll Baker look more like Marilyn and Harlow, because even by then her beauty was passe.
- Not. Cute.
- the young Jean Harlow. Sorry, 84, still Not. Cute.
- That picture of Harlow at R86 is her after having her hair bleached within an inch of its life and her face plastered with a ton of garish makeup and shaved eyebrows. That did a lot of diminish her natural beauty.
The one at R87 is just one picture. I've seen many pictures of her in her early teens and she was very pretty, not in a classical sense, but a unique sense.
And Harlow was never "elipsed" by Marilyn Monroe. This is a statement about Harlow and it's absolutely true: "other sex symbols/blonde bombshells have followed, but it is Jean Harlow who all others are measured against."
- "Casablanca" is on TCM right now. Bogart is swaggering around, being extremely "attractive", albeit not at all "handsome". There's a big difference between those qualities. "Attractive" is much more than merely "handsome" or "beautiful", & doesn't necessarily have anything to do with looks.
In photographs, Bogart & Harlow & Garbo & Monroe are displayed in one dimension. But seeing them move & speak & respond to others shows more aspects of their personalities & displays what's "attractive" about them.
Claude Rains is a perfect example. Not handsome, short & rather odd looking with a weird hairdo -- but on the screen, he was truly dynamic & you can't take your eyes off him whenever he appears. In "Casablanca", he stole every scene he was in, which was no mean feat with Bogart & Ingrid Bergman around.
- I love how r81 believes that.
- Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jhonny Depp.
HW has been very unsuccessful in convincing me that they are good looking or even interesting actors. I just don't get them AT ALL!
- [quote]And Harlow was never "elipsed" by Marilyn Monroe. This is a statement about Harlow and it's absolutely true: "other sex symbols/blonde bombshells have followed, but it is Jean Harlow who all others are measured against.
Not true. That statement may have been true in the '30s/'40s/'50s, but nobody knows who Harlow is anymore. Whereas the next blonde actress is always compared to Marilyn, and starlets continue to invoke her image.
Also, there's a new Marilyn book every other year, as well as countless movies, documentaries, songs, etc. Her dresses have sold for $1.2 and $5.6 million. The 50th anniversary of her death this past summer was celebrated with magazine covers, write-ups, and this year's Cannes paid tribute to her by making her the Face of the Festival. None of that happened to Harlow, and the 50th anniversary of her death came and went without a notice.
1) Norma Jean had plastic surgery improvement
2) Harlean did not:nose & chin original
3) Norma Jean died at age 36
4) Jean Harlow was dead at 26
5) Math is so taxing for Elder Gays
6) A decade more of work means more Starring!
7) Dramatic Suicide, Kennedys More Attention
8) Marilyn starred in Huge Hits in extra decade
- Elder John Wayne was the creepiest of all ...closeted queer, could barely keep his cock in his pants when he worked with gorgeous boys like Ricky Nelson.
- ginger rogers was really pretty seriously if you want average look at Jennifer anniston
- DiCaprio is the one I really don't get, R91. Not so hot looking, not aging well, a competent, unexciting actor at best. The others you mention have more going for them.
- Shelley was a dedicated method actress. She would do anything to fit the character she was going to play. She was supposed to be the direct opposite of Elizabeth Taylor so she let herself get chubby and sloppy for that role in "A Place In The Sun.".
She did the same thing for her role in "The Diary of Anne Frank." She had a history of gaining and losing weight for parts.
DeNiro is called a genius for it and poor Shelley gets called a fat slob.
- R93, she had minimal cosmetic surgery, namely the bump removed from the tip of her nose and the chin thing. You make it sound like she had an overhaul. What made the striking difference was the bleached hair. Still, she was a knockout as brunette Norma Jean.
Marilyn may have lived an extra decade than Harlow, but Harlow had 5 years on her. She started her film career at 17 while Marilyn didn't do her first movie until she was 22. Even so Harlow and Marilyn made around the same amount of films. The difference is that some of Marilyn's movies have stood the test of time, and two feature iconic images -- "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" and the subway grate scenes -- which have been endlessly parodied and copied, and that has helped to further cement her iconic image.
Lastly, Marilyn just has a more fascinating backstory -- absent father, crazy mother, foster homes, orphanage, sexual assault, neglect, etc. And when she got famous, she married two equally famous men who are still remembered by the public -- Joe DiMaggio (by sports fans) and Arthur Miller (whose plays are still produced in high schools and community theaters). Not to mention her fateful liaisons with the brothers Kennedy. Also, the mysterious manner of her death. All these things have kept interest in her life story alive.
Harlow's life and death are bland by comparison. Except for the Paul Bern suicide, which was a major scandal in its day but is long forgotten today, nothing of interest happened to her, which is why movies like Carroll Baker's HARLOW made up stuff to spice it up. One big change was the manner of her death. She died of uremic poisoning (sad but not mysterious), but the film has her boozing it up and sleeping around and eventually self-destructing (which echoes Marilyn's final years). Even her marriage at 16 is bland compared to Norma Jean's. Harlow married a rich guy for love and lived the high life before her mother's meddling. Whereas Marilyn's marriage at 16 was not love but an ultimatum -- marry or go back to the orphanage, which adds more poignancy to her story.
But going back to the original topic, Marilyn's beauty has stood the test of time and still resonates with the public. Harlow's beauty is of her time and she's largely forgotten by the general public.