Hollywood and scandals go hand-in-hand a little too perfectly—they always have. Many people view Hollywood’s Golden Age as the epitome of the film industry with nothing but the best actors, actresses, quality movies and top tier talent. However, it wasn’t without its faults and there were many rumors and speculations that were quickly covered up by the actors or studios. Below are the top five scandals during Hollywood’s Golden years that were put to the side.
1. Joan Crawford Was a Multi-Talented Actress
Joan Crawford was a talented and ambitious actress with a reputation for being somewhat ruthless in the pursuit of her career. Despite her success, her past in a particularly salacious type of film industry was a constant shadow that loomed over her career, mostly in part due to her brother who offered to sell her work to the highest bidder. Understandably, Crawford vehemently denied the accusations and paid off her brother with $100,000 to keep quiet. Still, the cat was let out of the bag years after her death when her estranged daughter wrote a tell-all book that confirmed her early work.
2. Loretta Young Adopted Her Own Daughter
Hollywood used to be unforgiving of pregnant actresses and would often take extreme measures to prevent the news from getting out. Actress Loretta Young fell pregnant sometime in 1935 following her brief affair with actor Clark Gable who was married at the time. Not wanting to draw negative attention to herself and not wanting to have an affair due to her strict Catholic beliefs, she took a year-long break during which she gave birth to her daughter Judy Lewis who she hid from the public for 18 months, only to introduce her as her “adopted” daughter. Few were fooled by the ruse as Judy bore a striking resemblance to her father.
3. Alfred Hitchcock Was a Stalker
Alfred Hitchcock was a talented, but peculiar director who created classic films such as Psycho. He also had a strange obsession with leading ladies including Janet Leigh, Grace Kelly and Tippi Hedren despite being a married man. However, the latter became one of his biggest obsessions. He permitted the cast from speaking to or touching her and also made several advances towards her, which she rebuffed. Eventually, Hedren snapped and Hitchcock made sure to ruin her career. As for the creepy director? Nothing happened to him…of course.
4. Jean Harlow Was Forced to Marry
Jean Harlow was the O.G. blonde bombshell, long before Marilyn Monroe ever graced the silver screen. Her love life was rather rocky to say the least—she got married at 15 years-old then quickly divorced and her second husband died in an accident. Her third marriage though was out of her control as she was forced by the studio to marry cinematographer Harold Rosson in an attempt to cover up her affair with a married boxer. This one too only lasted a few months and the couple went their separate ways.
5. George Raft Really Was a Gangster
George Raft had a reputation for playing tough guys like crooks, convicts and mobsters and it was something he did really well. But it seemed that he may have based his performances on his real-life experiences. Raft grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, a poverty-stricken area of New York where he ran bootleg liquor operations for the mob. Later, he managed to break into the film industry due to his friend Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, a mobster who happened to have some Hollywood connections.
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