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From Jean Harlow to James Dean, how the course of true love never ran smooth for Hollywood heartthrobs
This week I thought we should go back in time and look at five love affairs among movie stars that were destined to end in tragedy for one or both partners, proving that fame and fortune does not always equal happiness.
In the 1930s, Jean Harlow shot to stardom as the “platinum blonde” and as a sex symbol of the silver screen.
Her rise to fame happened quickly but her private life was a mess. She was dominated by a showbiz mother, family hangers-on and had several failed marriages.
The most famous was to producer Paul Bern, who was found shot to death in their home. MGM made it look like a suicide but it is now believed he was killed by a former wife who herself was found dead a few days later.
Jean then found true love with William Powell, an established star who truly loved her. Sadly Jean suddenly died of uremic poisoning at the age of just 26 in 1937 and MGM completed the film she was making with Clark Gable using a body double.
Powell lived on to reach the age of 91, having retired from the screen in the 1950s.
He had been married to actress Carol Lombard, who then went on to marry Clark Gable and it is said they were Hollywood's happiest couple. However, it was not to last.
During the war, Carol went on a fundraising tour but got nervous about how Gable was flirting with Lana Turner on his new film. She insisted on being flown back to Los Angeles but the plane crashed into a mountain.
It was said Gable never really recovered and shortly after enlisted in the American Air Force and was based in England.
After the war, he drank heavily but maintained his title as the King of Hollywood. He was to die of a heart attack shortly before his first son was born and having just completed a film with Marilyn Monroe.
As we all know, Marilyn also died shortly after from a drugs overdose, which was assumed to have been a probable suicide.
The love of her life was baseball player Joe DiMaggio, who took control of her funeral and forbade her so-called Hollywood friends such as Frank Sinatra from attending.
For 20 years after her death he had red roses delivered to her grave each day. I also laid a rose when I visited her wall crypt in 1988. Her estate apparently still generates millions each year from image rights.
Pier Angeli was a young actress who came over to make a couple of films at MGM in Borehamwood. She was the girlfriend of James Dean and she later said he was her only true love.
Her parents persuaded her to marry singer Vic Dimone instead and Dean was killed in a car crash. Pier lived on until 1971 when she took her own life with a drug overdose.
Finally, two almost forgotten stars of the British cinema of the 1940s and 1950s. Bonar Colleano was an American who found screen fame in England in a run of films. In 1958, he was killed in a car crash and it was discovered he had died in debt.
Sid James and others ran charity events to raise money for his young actress wife Susan Shaw, who herself clocked up over 40 screen roles. It is said she never recovered from his death and became an alcoholic.
At the age of 49 in 1978, she succumbed to liver damage but died broke. It is believed her old employer the Rank Organisation paid for her funeral for old times sake.
Well that should have cheered you up for the weekend so until next week, smile at everybody but watch out for any men in white coats.