The fourth and final part of our blog on famous female screen legends delves into the lives of even more of the stars of the big screen. We look at Judy Garland, Jean Harlow and the fabulous Marlene Dietrich. These screen goddesses have bought countless hours of enjoyment to millions of people all over the world for decades. Without them lighting up our lives, the world would be a sadder place indeed, and they will forever be remembered by cinema fans evermore.
Judy Garland’s early life was quite tragic, driven by a maniacal mother who was intent that Judy became a child prodigy, the pair traveled around America looking for work and going for screenings. Louis B Mayer saw the potential in Garland when he spotted her singing and changed her name from Frances Gumm to Judy Garland after the film critic Robert Garland. Her films included, The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St Louis, A Star is Born, Easter Parade, For Me and My Gal, The Pirate, Girl Crazy and Strike Up the Band. Her daughter also became a movie star, Liza Minnelli followed in her mother’s footsteps by starring in musicals and other notable films.
The original Blonde Bombshell, Jean Harlow was also called the Platinum Blonde. Harlow was famous on the big screen in the 30’s and had a string of hit movies. She had her big break when visiting Fox Studios where she was immediately spotted as a future Hollywood star. She starred in many silent roles for Fox before signing for MGM when her career spring-boarded into stardom.
She co-starred with some of the leading actors of the time including, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable and William Powell. Her movies included some blockbusters, such as Saratoga, Red Dust, Dinner at Eight, Hell’s Angels and Libeled Lady.
Born in Germany, Dietrich had one of the most recognizable voices on the cinema screen. She was first noticed as the irrepressible Lola-Lola in the wonderful film The Blue Angel. Dietrich changed the image of screen goddesses as she had a highly unusual fashion style often preferring men’s attire such as suits, top hats, and buttoned-up masculine shirts.
Her whole image and persona was built on the femme fatale, and even though she was dressed very masculine, she would ooze sexuality. She starred in many highly regarded films, including The Blue Angel, Shanghai Express, Destry Rides Again, Blonde Venus, The Scarlet Empress and The Devil is a Woman.
Our final film star is the enigmatic Sophia Loren. Born in Italy, she made her best films in the 50’s & 60’s. Famous for her smoldering sexuality and massive on-screen presence, she was also a serious actress and Oscar winner. Unlike most film goddesses, she met Carlo Ponti in 1950 when she was just fifteen, the couple were married and lived together until his death in 2007.
Her films included, Arabesque, Two Women, Marriage Italian Style, El Cid, Man of La Mancha, Legend of the Lost, and The Fall of the Roman Empire.
All these great female screen legends will be remembered as much for the charisma on the big screen as their super-stardom off it.