The lives of Hollywood stars are too frequently tragic tales of absent fathers, cruelly ambitious mothers, and madly dysfunctional families.
Mexican-American actress, Lupe Velez (July 18, 1908 – December 13, 1944) “The Mexican Spitfire” was a beautiful, passionate, emotionally fragile woman best known for a series of 1930’s B movies in which she plays a delightfully scatter-brained character who speaks broken English punctuated by rapid fire bursts of Spanish.
There is nothing Hollywood fears as much as a messy public trial.
For movie stars, civil or criminal charges often spell the end of reputation and livelihood. In 1921, the false rape and murder charges against the wonderful knock-about comedian, Roscoe Arbuckle, destroyed his brilliant career—in pre-income tax dollars he earned a million a year—and subsequently drove him to drink and an early grave.
Numerous stars paraded into court in law suits ranging from bigamy to paternity and, of course, ugly divorces, fraud and financial improprieties.
The court photos and breathless newspaper coverage were less than flattering, reducing silver screen legends to a frail, if not sordid, human dimension.
In last week’s Friday Fashion post we observed that designers frequently clothe women utilizing fur, feathers and animal patterns.
For as long as fashion has existed, animal metaphors have been an indispensible part of the designer’s lexicon. Hollywood, during its golden age, a leading arbiter of taste, heightened and refined the animal analogy with brilliant costume designers turning ravishing movie stars into expressions of animal desire.