Jean Harlow

Jean Harlow

A new musical called "In Hell With Harlow" about an after-death meeting between her and Protestant WWII martyr Dietrich Boenhoffer never reached the stage. The production, written by best-selling author Paul L. Williams, was to star Dawn Winarski and Greg Korin.

Along with Hedy Lamarr, they were the primary inspirations for Batman creator Bob Kane's Catwoman character.

At the time of her death Jean Harlow was suffering from kidney failure that was causing her limbs to swell up with water, making her considerably heavier. Co-star Clark Gable noticed this when they filmed a scene for her last film, "Saratoga," that required him to lift her into the upper berth in a Pullman car. Gable complained that she weighed more and was therefore harder for him to lift than she'd been in their previous films together.

Attended the 1936 Oscars with her then-lover William Powell, her close friend and co-star Clark Gable, and his new lover Carole Lombard, who was Powell's ex-wife. Harlow was so ill during the evening, Lombard had to help her to the powder room to recover and re-apply her make-up.

Born at 5:40pm-CST

Dated the notorious mobster Abner "Longy" Zwillman, who secured a two-picture deal for Harlow with Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures by loaning Cohn $500,000 in cash. He also purchased her a jeweled charm bracelet and a red Cadillac.

Everyone on the MGM lot called her The Baby with the exception of Clark Gable. A very close friend, he always called her Sis.

Favorite brand of cigarette: Fatima.

Following the end of her third marriage she met actor William Powell. They were engaged for two years (due to minor differences and Jean's belief that MGM wouldn't approve), but Jean became ill and died before they could marry.

For many years, it was a widely-held belief that she died because her mother, a Christian Scientist, refused to let doctors operate on her after she became ill. Christian Scientists prefer prayer to drugs and surgery. This story was even reprinted in David Shipman's famous book, The Great Movie Stars, but it has been repeatedly shown to be completely untrue.

Had two famous superstitions: She always wore a lucky ankle chain on her left leg, which is visible in some films if you look closely, and had a lucky mirror in her dressing room. She wouldn't leave the room without first looking in it.

Harlow is interred at Glendale's Forest Lawn Cemetery in a private crypt purchased by William Powell for $25,000. The crypt and sanctuary room contained marble from France, Italy and Spain, and was a tribute to the woman he then loved and planned to marry.

Height is often listed as 5'2"-5'3 1/2"

Her birth name was Harlean Carpenter - the first name an amalgam of her mother's maiden name, Jean Harlow, which she later took as her stage name. At the height of her career, it came out that this wasn't her real name, and the insatiable public wanted to know what her real name was. The studio released her "real" name as Harlean Carpentier. Harlow had added the extra "i" herself before her career began to make it sound more exotic.

Her final film, Saratoga (1937), became the highest grossing film of 1937 and set all-time house records, due almost entirely to her untimely death.

Her funeral wasn't the average funeral. Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM, took charge and made it a Hollywood event. Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy sang his favorite song Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life in the church chapel, followed by a huge banquet with an orchestra.

In the 1933 Hollywood satire Bombshell (1933) Harlow is known as "the If girl" -- a spoof loosely based on 1920s sex symbol and "It girl" Clara Bow.

Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California in the Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Benediction, at the end of the corridor, on the left side, in the second to the last private room, marked "Harlow".

Is one of the many movie stars mentioned in Madonna's song "Vogue"

Is portrayed by Gwen Stefani in The Aviator (2004), by Carroll Baker in Harlow (1965/I), by Susan Buckner in The Amazing Howard Hughes (1977) (TV), by Lindsay Bloom in Hughes and Harlow: Angels in Hell (1978) and by Carol Lynley in Harlow (1965/II)