There was a time when Hollywood was glamorous. No there wasn’t. The reality is that Hollywood was a dirty place filled with unscroupulous people doing very inappropriate things. Movie stars who appeared to be gods and goddess on the silver screen were often sad, damaged people. The glamour of old Hollywood was an illusion. Or if you are feeling less charitable, it was a lie. This article from the February 2003 issue of Movieline magazine looks at the real lives of some of the best liars in Hollywood’s bygone era.
Jean Arthur (1900-1991) worked as a stenographer and then a model in New York before being signed to a contract by Fox in the early 1920s. For her, stardom did not come at once—she worked hard but found success difficult to come by. An early 1930s stint on Broadway boosted her confidence, and when she returned to Hollywood in 1932 she began to get better roles. However, she only really emerged as a star when Frank Capra cast her as reporter Babe Bennett in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town in 1936. The director, who later said Arthur was his favorite actress, reunited with her later in the decade for two more comedy classics, You Can’t Take It With You and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
Arthur’s other starring roles in the late 1930s included playing Calamity Jane in The Plainsman, the screwball comedy Easy Living, and the aforementioned Only Angels Have Wings. In the early 1940s, she worked with director George Stevens on a pair of great romantic comedies, The Talk of the Town and The More the Merrier. She received her only Oscar nomination, for Best Actress, as Connie Milligan in the latter film.
They don’t make ’em like they used to. In the Golden Age of Hollywood, the Dream Factory took in hopeful actresses and turned them into big screen bombshells. In the March 2002 issue of Movieline, the magazine deconstructed the building of five cinematic sirens.
Felicity Jones turns 33 today. She began acting in her teens, and for several years worked in British television, not making her film debut until 2008. Since then she has worked very steadily—in 2011, for example, she had five films come out, including playing Miranda in Julie Taymor’s version of The Tempest and Beth Fischer in Albatross, opposite Jessica Brown Findlay. Her career took a bit step forward in 2014, when she was cast as Jane Wilde Hawking in The Theory of Everything: