Bombshell: The Life and Death of Jean Harlow

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9780385421577: Bombshell: The Life and Death of Jean Harlow

Using previously secret information and drawing on hundreds of interviews, a study of the life and career of Hollywood's legendary blonde bombshell solves lingering mysteries concerning the death of Harlow and her second husband, Paul Bern. 25,000 first printing. $25,000 ad/promo.

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About the Author:

David Stenn, a graduate of Yale University, is an award-winning television writer whose work has been seen in such series as Hill Street Blues, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 21 Jump Street, and Beverly Hills, 90210. He is also the author of Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Monday, June 7, 1937

At dawn she was still semiconscious, though her doctors knew she was dying. By 9 A.M. her attempts at conversation, interrupted by cries of pain, grew incoherent as she slipped into a final, fatal coma. Her stoic mother stayed by her bedside, "shaking her lightly" and commanding her to "keep on fighting." Her guilt-stricken lover, who knew she was no fighter, ran crying from the room.

The sight of this sobbing man, a famous star himself, shocked fans and reporters outside Good Samaritan Hospital. Days earlier they had been told that Hollywood's reigning sex symbol had "virtually recovered" from an undisclosed ailment; now, after two blood transfusions and six intravenous injections, doctors summoned the Los Angeles Fire Department as a last resort to resuscitate her.

For the next two hours, a three-man "inhalator squad" pumped four tanks of oxygen into her lungs. Finally, at 11:40 A.M.--two minutes after doctors pronounced her dead--even they lost hope. "I guess we won't need this [oxygen tank] anymore," sighed one. "She's gone." The uproar that followed forced a doctor to step outside and confirm it.

By noon the news had made headlines, though these EXTRA! editions raised more questions than they answered. How could a twenty-six-year-old star with no history of serious illness leave work with "a cold" (her doctor's diagnosis) and die ten days later? Why, if her condition was indeed critical, had she been confined to her home? And why had her mother forbidden visitors, then hospitalized her daughter just a day before she died?

Her death was the final paradox of a life defined by them. This is a tale of two women: the "Platinum Blonde," a dazzling screen queen who iced her nipples and bleached her pubic hair, and "the Baby," a shy, sweet woman-child who wore fuzzy sweaters and flaring slacks, liked to hemstitch on film sets, and shared a house with her mother. It is the saga of a glamorous star who was also, according to screenwriter Anita Loos, "a regular girl" with "no vanity whatsoever--and no feeling about the sensation she created wherever she went."

The contradictions continue. A product of wealth and privilege, she played molls and tramps with empathy and insight. She called herself "the worst actress that was ever in pictures" despite consistent critical raves and director George Cukor's claim that "she played comedy as naturally as a hen lays an egg." She seduced he-men onscreen and married milquetoasts off it, with predictably dire results. She was a liberated woman at the mercy of her mother.

Her screen characters threw objects and tantrums; "I'm handicapped," she once confessed, "by a very even disposition." So even, in fact, that six decades later she is still mourned as the most beloved star in M-G-M history, a team player who called coworkers "my gang" and whose only sworn enemy was jealous Joan Crawford. "I could be a better hooker than Harlow any day of the year," Crawford would snarl, and no one denied it. Harlow was no harlot. She just knew how to play one.

"Platinum Blonde" and "Baby," glamorous star and regular girl, a no-talent in her own estimation and a natural in everyone else's... She truly was two women, yet only one died that Monday morning, leaving a stunned and puzzled public to wonder how it happened. Naturally there was an explanation, though few would have believed it. Time passed. Truth was suppressed. Silence prevailed.

Now that silence has been broken. Now her story can be told. Here is how Jean Harlow died--and how she lived.

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Stenn, David
Editore: Doubleday (1993)
ISBN 10: 0385421575 ISBN 13: 9780385421577
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Descrizione libro Doubleday, 1993. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Never used!. Codice libro della libreria P110385421575

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Stenn,David
Editore: Doubleday (1993)
ISBN 10: 0385421575 ISBN 13: 9780385421577
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Descrizione libro Doubleday, 1993. Hardcover, illus. Condizione libro: New. Condizione sovraccoperta: New. First Edition; First Printing. Book and DJ New. NO notes. No markings of ANY kind. New DJ not price clipped ($22.50) ; Book ships in a box, USA; 338 pages. Codice libro della libreria 30455

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David Stenn
Editore: Doubleday (1993)
ISBN 10: 0385421575 ISBN 13: 9780385421577
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Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
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Descrizione libro Doubleday, 1993. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria M0385421575

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