8 June 1937: Jean Harlow was the first of Hollywood’s platinum blondes, and appeared in film after film as the tough, wise-cracking, tempestuous young woman
Hollywood, June 7.
Miss Jean Harlow, the platinum blonde film actress, died here to-day at the age of 26. She was taken ill only ten days ago with internal inflammation, and later she was stated to have almost recovered. To-day, however, she took a sudden turn for the worse. She was removed from her Beverly Hills home to hospital, where she died. The doctors say she never rallied after a relapse last night.
She had been given two blood transfusions and injections and placed in an oxygen tent, but she lapsed into a coma early to-day and never regained consciousness. The cause of death was uraemic poisoning, which spread to the brain.
Mr. William Powell, the actor, was with Miss Harlow’s mother at the bedside. They left the Good Samaritan Hospital together stunned by the sudden end. William Powell had been Miss Harlow’s constant companion at social events in recent months, and Hollywood was confident that there would be a marriage. She had been married twice before.
Miss Harlow was working with Clark Gable on a film about horse-racing entitled “Saratoga” when she was taken ill. Two of the recent films in which she starred were “Libelled Lady,” with William Powell, and “China Seas,” with Clark Gable and Wallace Beery.
Her Career as a Film Star
Jean Harlow, the film actress, whose death at the age of 26 is reported from Hollywood, was born in Chicago. She managed to secure the leading part in Howard Hughes’s talking version of the film “Hell’s Angels” without any stage experience and in spite of the vigorous opposition of many of her well-to-do relations.
As a result of her acting in this film her future success was assured, but she followed it with a performance in “Blonde Bombshell” which gave her a monopoly of a character part which is best summed up in the title of the film itself.
She was the first of Hollywood’s platinum blondes, and appeared in film after film as the tough, wise-cracking, tempestuous young woman – as adventuress, film star, or actress, with a voice and character which were harsh but not hard. “Dinner at Eight,” “Hundred-Per-Cent Pure,” “China Seas” were among those early examples.
Her standard of acting was always high, and she had in the last two or three years shown that she could improve on it; critics who thought that she was no more than alternately a tornado or a doll were disillusioned. In her later films – “Wife versus Secretary,” “Libelled Lady,” and “Possessed,” – she showed that she was equal to the best women “stars” in Hollywood as an actress and ahead of most of them in vitality.
She was married twice. First to Paul Bern, the film director, and later to Harold Rosson, a Hollywood camera-man.