Friday Photos: True Hollywood Confessions

Not long before she died in 1981 at age 57, Gloria Grahame, who had acted in films signed by Frank Capra, Nicholas Ray, Josef von Sternberg, Vincente Minnelli, Elia Kazan, Fritz Lang, and Fred Zinnemann, demolished them all in one sweeping statement. “Those men never directed me,” she told an English stage director with whom she was currently working. “I’d go home and work on it with my mother, then come in and shoot it, and that would be that.”
—Donald Chase, “Gloria Grahame In Praise of the Naughty Mind,” Film Comment, 1997


Gerald Murphy
Bibliotheque, 1926-27
Oil on canvas, 73 x 53 in.
Yale University Art Gallery


Edouard Boubat
Paris, 1955


Poster for Bombshell (’33) The very first screwball comedy. Jean Harlow, world-weary and spitting wisecracks, is Lola Burns, a Hollywood sexpot. Her father and brother soak her for every penny she earns, and the studio publicity flack cooks up outrageous stunts to an already overheated reputation as the blond bombshell. Harlow, a hugely appealing and gifted comedienne, delivers the best, most energized performance of her short career. She died tragically of renal failure at age 26. And though her career was brief, she was, from 1931 to 1937, an enormous star. Depression era audiences sparked to her blond bombshell image, sensing a down-to-earth girl next door who just happened to be draped in clinging silk gowns—it was obvious she wasn’t wearing underwear—ermine robes, and diamond necklaces. In truth, like Lola, Harlow yearned for a normal life of domesticity: a comfortable home, a loving husband and happy children. Sadly, she was thwarted by her wretched choice in men, and a monstrously overbearing mother who controlled every aspect of her life and career. The great director Victor Fleming with ace screenwriters John Lee Mahin and Jules Furthman cooked up this Hollywood tale as a thinly disguised look at Fleming’s former lover, silent film star Clara Bow. Fleming observed that Bow’s life was, on the surface, a glamorous Hollywood dream, but when Bow went home at night, her mansion was a wreck filled with dog droppings.


Wendell Castle
Music stand, 1972


Photo by Simon Timbers


“Luck? I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it and I’m afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: Hard work — and realizing what is opportunity and what isn’t.”
—Lucille Ball


David Thauberger (Canada)
“Stop Save Gas”
Acrylic on canvas, 34 x 46 in


Aelbert Cuyp (Dutch, 1620 – 1691)
A Milkmaid, about 1642 – 1646
Black chalk, graphite, gray wash
12.1 × 14.8 cm (4 3/4 × 5 13/16 in.)


Gary Cooper’s 1931 Duesenberg Model J Derham Tourster at the Cape Cod Heritage Museum.


Photo by Erwin Blumenfeld, Vogue, 1938


An unusual design that literally turns the rules of watchmaking on their side. The Tiffany East West Automatic in stainless steel with white dial has a price of US$ 4,750.


“Listen, there is no acting style. Most people just play themselves.”
—Myrna Loy


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Olga in Pensive Mood, 1923
Pastel and pencil on paper
105 x 74 cm
Musée national Picasso-Paris


RIP Mary Carlisle, (b. Gwendolyn Witter) one of the last remaining stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Mary passed away August 1, age 104. She starred in more than sixty films from 1923 to 1943.


Carlo Mollino (1905 – 1973)
Arabesque table, 1949


This gold Hellenistic-era [3rd-2nd century BCE] earring recently unearthed in the City of David’s Givati Parking Lot excavations belonged to an upper class man or woman in Jerusalem. (Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Lielle, Maayan and Livia wish all our friends and relatives a lovely and inspirational Shabbat.


This entry was posted in Design, Gloria Grahame, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars, Hollywood Still Photography, Israel, Jean Harlow, Jerusalem, Lucille Ball, Mary Carlisle, Movie Posters, Movies, Myrna Loy, Painting, Photography, RIP, Screenwriting, True Hollywood Confessions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  1. Bill Brandt
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    That Tiffany watch seems like an absolute bargain compared with some of the watches you have profiled here 😉

    Did you ever get a chance to visit the original Harrah’s auto museum when his 1200 cars were housed in a giant warehouse in Sparks NV? You would walk in and immediately see 20 Duesenbergs liked up as if for inspection. When Harrah died Holliday Inn sold about 2/3rd of his collection.

    On acting do you believe all the hubbub about “Method Acting” is kind of silly?

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Never got a chance to visit Harrah’s. I’ll have to correct that oversight.

      I am not an admirer of The Method.

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      • Bill Brandt
        Posted August 15, 2018 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately when Bill Harrah died, Holiday Inn auctioned off 2/3rds of his collection. They built a new facility in downtown Reno. Still a nice museum, but a shadow of what Harrah had.

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  2. Michael Kennedy
    Posted August 11, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Sad story about Gary Cooper. I was a medical student at the Mass General with a couple of residents who remembered when Gary Cooper had surgery for prostate cancer. They liked him and said he was a good guy. On his preop physical exam, they found blood on his rectal exam. Prostate cancer doesn’t do that and they suggested he have a barium enema (state of the art in 1965) to check for colon cancer. He declined and said he’d check on it when he got back to California. He never did. Ge died of colon cancer with his prostate cancer cured.

    I liked Gloria Graham in “The Bad and the Beautiful.”

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  3. K
    Posted August 10, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Re: Arabesque table, 1949

    Would you characterize the design as “modern” or “art nouveau”? It would certainly be at home in an art nouveau interior space.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted August 10, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Modern but influenced by Art Nouveau.

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  4. Posted August 10, 2018 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    Another lovely Friday collection, Robert.

    “Bombshell” has always been one of my favorite Harlow movies, right up there with “The Girl From Missouri” (and it’s a pity Harlow and Patsy Kelly didn’t do more movies together).

    I recall reading somewhere that Harlow once said, “Men like me because I don’t wear underwear. Women like me because I don’t look like I’d steal their husbands. . .not for long, anyway.”

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  5. Posted August 10, 2018 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    Well done, Robert…

    The only role I remember Gloria Grahame playing was Violet in It’s a Wonderful Life. Violet and George’s wife, Mary, were compared and contrasted. Mary was the “good girl” and Violet was the “fast girl”. In the alternate world (without George Bailey) we see Violet apparently being arrested for prostitution.

    I love the Gerald Murphy painting. It would be perfect if it also included a clock and something about fonts!

    Myrna Loy… I don’t know where you keep finding these photos!

    The watch is an awesome design, but I’m not sure it would be very comfortable to wear. At that price, it’s a steal compared to some that you’ve profiled!

    The Simon Timber photo is pretty cool. Some exterior designer had a idea and made it a reality — made it easy for the photographer.

    Lucy was a serious business woman… very serious, from what I’ve read.

    And the Duesenberg… who doesn’t love a Duesie?

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