Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe’s idol, was Hollywood’s original blonde bombshell before tragic demise: book
On November 1, 1938, at the age of 24, actress Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her California home of a drug overdose.
A year later, the world lost the great Marilyn Monroe, of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Her screen icon and tragic death was, in many ways, the first truly global affair of the era. But while the world mourned her, there was another Hollywood icon in the mix: one with an even steeper rise in the ranks of stardom: the blond bombshell actress.
The world mourned Marilyn Monroe. But there was another Hollywood icon in the mix. And you might not have known it.
On the night of November 2, 1939, in a small Hollywood apartment in Los Angeles, actor William Holden met Marilyn Monroe. And in the next few weeks, this unlikely couple fell in love – not only because of Holden’s famous beauty, but because the actress had been watching Holden’s films at the time.
And so began a secret romance that continued into the following year.
“When I first met her she was just a great, exciting, funny, sexy woman,” Holden tells me in a sit-down interview at his home in Australia, speaking through a translator. “I’ve known her since forever. She was a great friend of mine. She was one of the best of my friends. She was amazing, truly one of the best I’ve ever had.”
He had already been married and had two children of his own by the time he met Monroe, but his love for the star never wavered.
“We met at the Hollywood Bowl,” he says. “I was performing, and she was there. I have a photograph of us sitting in the wings, and the only thing we did was look at the crowd. I was with my wife and my children and she was with her boyfriend.”
Monroe had come to America