*Recent ruminations from LUPEC, as originally published in the Weekly Dig.
March 3rd marks the birthday of blonde bombshell, Jean Harlow. Born Harlean Carpenter but affectionately known as “the Baby,” the actress would have turned 100 this week.
Harlow’s career started as a happy accident when she drove a friend to an audition at Fox shortly after she moved to California with her first husband. Though fascinated by the studio environment, 17-year-old Jean had no desire to become an actress—even after her friend returned to the car with three Fox executives in tow, who produced a letter of introduction to the head of casting after laying eyes on the beauty. Weeks later she took them up on the offer just to win a bet.
Known for her on-screen persona as a vampy sex object, off-screen Jean possessed a naiveté and complete lack of guile about her considerable physical attributes. “When we walked down the street, she would literally stop traffic,” a high school classmate of hers remembered. “Men would climb out of their cars and follow her.”
Frank Capra was the first director to take an interest in cultivating Harlow’s talents as an actress when they worked together on Platinum Blonde, and his efforts paid off. Her next film, Red-Headed Woman, elevated her from sex goddess to comedic actress and was, in Harlow’s words, “the first chance I ever had to do something in pictures other than swivel my hips.”
Baby Jean’s career came to an untimely end when she died from kidney failure in 1937 at just 26 years old. With over 40 films already under her belt, many believe she might have gone on to become one of the most accomplished actresses in American cinema. Here’s to Baby Jean.
1 1/2 oz light rum
1/2 oz cream
1/2 oz Cointreau
Shake in iced cocktail shaker & strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
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