Friday, March 04, 2011
Probably the most iconic Jean Harlow moment comes at the end of the 1933 classic MGM comedy-drama "Dinner at Eight," when Kitty, Harlow's uber-sexy dumb blond wife of a self-made tycoon, is talking to Carlotta, a high-society woman played by Marie Dressler.
Kitty: "I was reading a book the other day."
Carlotta (dumbstruck): "Reading a book?"
Kitty: "Yes. It's all about civilization or something. A nutty kind of book. Do you know that the guy says that machinery is going to take the place of every profession?"
Carlotta: "Oh, my dear. That's something you need never worry about."
Harlow stole that picture from the likes of Dressler, Wallace Beery, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore and Billie Burke — and for the next four years, she was one of the biggest stars at MGM.
And even though she died at age 26 in 1937 of uremic poisoning because of kidney failure — a bout of scarlet fever as a teenager compromised her kidneys — Harlow remains one of the most influential stars of Hollywood's Golden Era.