Monday, June 14, 2010

Trivial Pursuit...

Featuring one the most beautiful women to have ever walked this earth...

...Elizabeth Taylor
"You find out who your real friends are when you're involved in a scandal."

At one point during her life-threatening illness while filming BUtterfield 8 (1960), Elizabeth Taylor was actually pronounced dead.

She was the first actress to earn $1 million for a movie role, Cleopatra (1963).

In 1963, while the highest paid American business executive earned $650,000 and President John F. Kennedy's salary was $150,000, Elizabeth received at least $2.4 million.

Elizabeth admitted in an interview with Barbara Walters in the late 1990s that she would still like to act but, because of her medical problems, no movie company will insure her. In addition to many other medical problems, including a benign brain tumor she had removed, she has broken her back four times. This causes her severe pain when walking or standing for long amounts of time.

She has appeared solo on the cover of PEOPLE magazine 14 times, second only to Princess Diana (as of 1996).

The stories of Elizabeth's Oscar win for BUtterfield 8 (1960) have grown legendary. It is generally accepted as truth that she won Oscar voters by a vote of sympathy, because of the recent death of her husband, Michael Todd, and her near-fatal illness and emergency tracheotomy to save her life (her scar was very visible on Oscar night). Wisecracker and Rat Pack member Shirley MacLaine, who was favoured to win for her role in The Apartment (1960), said afterward that "I lost out to a tracheotomy."

Judy Garland
"I've always taken The Wizard of Oz very seriously, you know. I believe in the idea of the rainbow. And I've spent my entire life trying to get over it."

Judy Garland was considered an icon in the gay community in the 1950s and 1960s. Her death and the loss of that emotional icon in 1969 has been thought to be a contributing factor to the feeling of the passing of an era that helped spark the Stonewall Riots that began the modern gay rights advocacy movement.

The day she died, there was a tornado in Kansas.

During her first marriage to David Rose, Judy was forced to undergo an abortion at the insistence of MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer who feared that pregnancy would hurt her good-girl image. The event left her traumatized for the rest of her life.

Had intense fears of flying, horses, and guns.

Adding to her appeal within the gay community, Judy always acknowledged her gay fan base at a time when homosexuality was seldom even discussed. Late in her career and in dire need of money, she even accepted work singing in a New York City gay bar.

Jean Harlow
"When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas."

The title of Jean Harlow's movie Bombshell (1933) started the popular term for a blonde sex-pot to be known as a "bombshell."

Between films she didn't worry about her hair or weight and allowed herself to get chubby. She'd have to diet drastically to get back into shape, eating mostly vegetables and salads.

Jean had a photographic memory, and never ran lines. She'd simply look over the script, come out of her dressing room and do it perfectly, take after take.

She had a habit of speaking of herself in the third person.

Jean suffered from a severe inferiority complex. If anyone did anything for her, she'd give them a present, expressing gratitude for practically nothing.

She used to put ice on her nipples right before shooting a scene in order to look sexier.

Jean never wore any underwear whatsoever, and always slept in the nude.

Gene Kelly
"I never wanted to be a dancer. It's true! I wanted to be a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates."

Gene Kelly had a crescent-moon shaped scar on his left cheek caused by a bicycle accident he had as a young boy.

He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in economics.

Martial arts stars Jackie Chan and David Carradine both cite him as an influence.

Gene wore a hairpiece (toupee).

Had a fever of 39.4 degrees celsius (103 degrees Fahrenheit) while filming the famous rain scene in Singing In The Rain.

Gene and MGM studio head Louis B Mayer shared a long standing feud stemming from even before Kelly entered the motion picture business. One evening after seeing Gene perform in Pal Joey on Broadway, Mayer met Kelly backstage and offered to sign him to MGM without a screen test. When Kelly later received a call from a MGM representative requesting a screen test he insisted there was some sort of mistake saying he had Mayer's word he did not have to make one and told the rep to ask Mayer himself. When the rep did, he called back days later stating that he did talk to Mayer and that he still had to make a test. Gene was furious and wrote a scathing letter to Mayer for retracting his promise. For the first couple of years he worked for Mayer, Kelly was uncertain that Mayer even read the letter until Louis brought it up in an argument one evening.

Tony Martin, husband of MGM star/dancer Cyd Charisse, said he could tell who she had been dancing with that day on an MGM set. If she came home covered with bruises, it was the very physically-demanding Gene Kelly, if not it was the smooth and agile Fred Astaire.

Judy Garland's section actually makes me a bit teary. I never knew that she'd had such a difficult time...


[photos courtesy of,, and]


Rachel {Inspiration in Italy} said...

So interesting! Elizabeth Taylor was just gorgeous...her eyes so dazzling! I didn't know that she was the first to receive $1 million. Jean Harlow was certainly a free spirit! :)

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Ruta, Look Ugly in a Photograph said...

Elizabeth Taylor was just amazing. She's incredibly beautiful.

I was never a big fan of Judy Garland. I think she's incredibly talented but I just never paid much attention to her.

Josie said...

Oh, poor Judy Garland. I always thought she was so beautiful. And Elizabeth Taylor is just positively spectacular. Those eyes!
xo Josie

Sunaina said...

Your stories are always so interesting! Their lives must have been so hectic. Makes me glad that I'm just a normal person, I guess. Great images! xoxo


oh how i adore vintage beauties! elizbather taylor, my gosh, she is stunning ♥

La p├ępite modeuse said...

Great post ! I love these old pictures :)

Margaux. said...

Great post, very interesting!
Judy Garland was so beautiful and tragic.

LyddieGal said...

This Mr. Mayer sounds like a pretty awful person. Forced a married woman to have an abortion? Disgusting.

Chic on the Cheap

Juliet said...

They are all really amazing actresses/actors. I wish I could make my boyfriend watch more black and white movies with me. On the way the things are now I get to see much less of them that I would want to! (He'll only do Audrey Hepburn, not even Grace Kelly will do to him!) Do you have any good trix up your sleeve that I could get him share my passion?

juliet xxx


Fantastic Ladies!