Vintage Beauties of Yesteryears – A Peek Inside Their Life!
Remember the classic beauty of Katherine Hepburn in the film, “Breakfast at Tifanny’s?” Do you remember the other ethereal beauties of Hollywood who left many hearts fluttering with their chic style and scintillating performances? But behind all the lights and fame, these beautiful ladies suffered alone from various problems. They never announced their woes and troubles to the world. Read on to discover such 5 classic and enigmatic beauties who forgot their worries once they faced the camera!
Clara Bow – The Rebel
Later to become the ultimate symbol of the flaming “Roaring 20s”, Clara Bow was born and brought up in impoverished conditions in Brooklyn, New York. Her claim to fame and movie career started when she won a photo beauty contest. She acted in around 56 films. She reached the heights of fame as the “It Girl” in 1927 – she was renowned as the uninhibited flapper. With the Depression’s snobbish attitude towards Jazz-age events and the advent of sound, her popularity began to fade!
Additionally, there were several other problems such as unpaid taxes and gambling debts along with many sensational publicized court battles including embezzlement and alienation of affections. At the age of 26, she married the cowboy actor, Rex Bell, and retired from the silver screen when she was 28. Plagued by mental instability, weight problems and personal crises, she failed to make another movie. She bid adieu to the world in 1965.
In recent times, Bow is finding a renaissance among many movie lovers, who are now discovering the magnificence of the silent film era. The pretty actress, who so much wanted to be like the effervescent young lady in the film “It”, has left a beautiful legacy behind which confirms what a wonderful lady she was in the real life! Clara Bow was even considered as America’s first sex symbol.
Bette Davis – The Pathbreaker!
Ruth Elizabeth Davis was welcomed into the world on April 5, 1908 in Lowell, Massachusetts. She had a bittersweet childhood as her parents divorced when she was just 10 years old. She was a dance aficionado from a very young age. For her, dancers led a fabulous and glamorous life. However, she then discovered the stage and fell in love! She bid adieu to dancing and chose acting. To Bette, acting presented many more challenges.
She eventually studied drama in New York City and finally made her debut on the stage of Broadway in 1929. She moved to Hollywood in 1930, where she hoped the tide will turn in her favor. It did indeed. She would be renowned as the actress who could exhibit gamut of emotions and play different complex, strong roles.
Bette later worked in TV and films in the 1980s, even after a stroke had impaired her mobility and appearance. She penned down a book during her recovery from stroke, “This ‘N That”. She finally wrote “Bette Davis – The Lonely Life”, her last book which was published in 1990. She drafted the last chapter in San Sebastian, Spain. On October 6, 1989, she finally succumbed to her battle with cancer. Several fans refused to believe that she has passed away in France!
Greta Garbo – The Enigma!
Here is a scene from the film ‘Anna Karenina’ which released in 1935. When the train pulls into the Moscow train terminal, a cloud of steam engulfs the exit of the train’s first class car and a woman comes out from the vapor. The face is a vision; the figure is classic and aristocratic! However, it is the beautiful, expressive eyes that enthrall us.
Greta Lovisa Gustafsson was born on September 18, 1905 in Stockholm, Sweden. She had a tough upbringing. She was just 14 years old when her father passed away, leaving the family at a complete loss and destitute. She was forced to leave her school and earn in a departmental store. This store eventually used her for her modeling assignments for newspaper advertisement.
A famous New York Times film critic, Bosley Crowther, described the beautiful eyes of Garbo as, “Set in the face of classic structure were large, sad, luminous eyes that expressed a limited but intense emotional range.” All the films of Garbo were in black and white which enhanced her romantic allure and mystery! In real life as well, she knew when to make her exit from the Hollywood glare and the public eye. This sense of perfect timing, when to make an appearance and bid farewell – she perhaps learned from the legendary Tolstoy. Garbo could emote and reveal so much through her beautiful eyes.
Katherine Hepburn – The Classic Beauty!
Katherine Hepburn was born in Hartford, Connecticut on May 12, 1907. Her parents – a suffragette and a doctor, encouraged her to be expressive and speak her mind, mentally develop and exercise in order to remain fit and healthy. Katherine was an athletic tomboy and she was very close to her brother, Tom. When Tom died accidentally at the age of 14, Katherine was completely devastated and heartbroken.
After several years of her brother’s sad demise, she always used his birth-date as her own – November 8. Eventually, she became very shy of girls of her age, and she was home schooled. However, she finally attended Bryn Mawr College, and it was while studying here she thought of becoming an actress. She started to appear in several of their productions.
Post graduation, Katherine started to get small roles in Broadway plays and elsewhere as well. In these parts, she was always noticed and attracted attention. This happened in “Art and Mrs. Bottle” (1931) as well. Finally, she broke into stardom when she enacted the role of Amazon princess, Antiope in the film, “A Warrior’s Husband” (1932). After this pivotal role, many film offers began to follow. She made a few screen tests and finally was casted in “A Bill of Divorcement” (1932), starring opposite John Barrymore.
However, stories and rumors were being circulated about her refusal to play the quintessential Hollywood game and her haughty behavior off-screen. Also, many were surprised by her refusal to give interviews and pose for pictures as well as she always wore slacks sans any makeup! This stance created a furor amongst many.
Audiences were scandalized and shocked at her unconventional stance instead of praising her, and so when she came back to Broadway in 1934 to act in “The Lake”, everybody pulled her down. The critics panned her as well as the audiences, who were once crazy about her, left her all alone. Things didn’t get any better when she returned to Hollywood. She retired from the screens and public eye in the mid 90s as her health was declining. At the age of 96, she passed away. But her beautiful smile and aristocrat style will always remain engraved in the memories of her countless fans!
Ingrid Bergman – Au Naturel Beauty!
Ingrid Bergman was born on August 29, 1915 in Stockholm, Sweden. She is renowned as one of the greatest actresses of the Golden Era of Hollywood. Her unpretentious and natural beauty accompanied with her immense acting talent garnered her fame and critical acclaim. She is considered as a celebrated figure in the history of American cinema! Also, she is one of the most Oscar-awarded actresses, coming second to none other than Katherine Hepburn!
Before she embarked on her journey to Hollywood in 1939, Bergman was already a well-known actress in Sweden. She had around 11 films under her belt when producer David O. Selznick offered her to reprise her famous role in the Hollywood version of her biggest hit, Intermezzo: A Love Story. She was casted opposite Leslie Howard.
But, she suffered a disastrous and sudden fall from grace post her much-publicized affair with the Italian director, Roberto Rossellini. They began their tumultuous affair when she started filming Strombli in 1950 with him. This created a huge scandal in America as she was married at that time. Post her solitude tenure for 7 years, she created a furor with Anastasia in 1956. The film earned her 2 Academy awards. She will always remain etched in our memories as Bogart’s lost love, Ilsa Lund from “Casablanca”.
Humphrey Bogart once famously said, “Here’s looking at you kid”, and till today, we all are looking at you, Ingrid!