Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
The Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It is given in honor of an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance in a supporting role while working within the film industry; the award was traditionally presented by the previous year's Best Supporting Actor winner. At the 9th Academy Awards ceremony held in 1937, Gale Sondergaard was the first winner of this award for her role in Anthony Adverse. Winners in both supporting acting categories were awarded plaques instead of statuettes. Beginning with the 16th ceremony held in 1944, winners received full-sized statuettes. Nominees are determined by single transferable vote within the actors branch of AMPAS. Since its inception, the award has been given to 81 actresses. Dianne Wiest and Shelley Winters have received the most awards in this category with two awards each. Despite winning no awards, Thelma Ritter was nominated on six occasions, more than any other actress.
As of the 2019 ceremony, Regina King is the most recent winner in this category for her role as Sharon Rivers in If Beale Street Could Talk. In the following table, the years are listed as per Academy convention, correspond to the year of film release in Los Angeles County. All Academy Award acting nominees BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Crouse, Richard. Reel Winners: Movie Award Trivia. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-1-55002-574-3. Kinn, Gail. Inside Oscar: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards. New York, United States: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-34540-053-6. OCLC 779680732. Oscars.org Oscar.com The Academy Awards Database
Pre-Code Hollywood refers to the brief era in the American film industry between the widespread adoption of sound in pictures in 1929 and the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code censorship guidelines, popularly known as the "Hays Code", in mid-1934. Although the Code was adopted in 1930, oversight was poor, it did not become rigorously enforced until July 1, 1934, with the establishment of the Production Code Administration. Before that date, movie content was restricted more by local laws, negotiations between the Studio Relations Committee and the major studios, popular opinion, than by strict adherence to the Hays Code, ignored by Hollywood filmmakers; as a result, some films in the late 1920s and early 1930s depicted or implied sexual innuendo, mild profanity, illegal drug use, prostitution, abortion, intense violence, homosexuality. Strong female characters were ubiquitous in such pre-Code films as Female, Baby Face, Red-Headed Woman. Gangsters in films like The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, Scarface were seen by many as heroic rather than evil.
Along with featuring stronger female characters, films examined female subject matters that would not be revisited until decades in US films. Nefarious characters were seen to profit from their deeds, in some cases without significant repercussions, drug use was a topic of several films. Many of Hollywood's biggest stars such as Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Blondell, Edward G. Robinson got their start in the era. Other stars who excelled during this period, like Ruth Chatterton and Warren William, would wind up forgotten by the general public within a generation. Beginning in late 1933 and escalating throughout the first half of 1934, American Roman Catholics launched a campaign against what they deemed the immorality of American cinema. This, plus a potential government takeover of film censorship and social research seeming to indicate that movies which were seen to be immoral could promote bad behavior, was enough pressure to force the studios to capitulate to greater oversight. In 1922, after some risqué films and a series of off-screen scandals involving Hollywood stars, the studios enlisted Presbyterian elder William H.
"Will" Hays, a figure of unblemished rectitude. Hays nicknamed the motion picture "Czar", was paid the then-lavish sum of $100,000 a year. Hays, Postmaster General under Warren G. Harding and former head of the Republican National Committee, served for 25 years as president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, where he "defended the industry from attacks, recited soothing nostrums, negotiated treaties to cease hostilities." Hollywood mimicked the decision Major League Baseball had made in hiring judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as League Commissioner the previous year to quell questions about the integrity of baseball in wake of the 1919 World Series gambling scandal. Hays introduced a set of recommendations dubbed "The Formula" in 1924, which the studios were advised to heed, asked filmmakers to describe to his office the plots of pictures they were planning; the Supreme Court had decided unanimously in 1915 in Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio that free speech did not extend to motion pictures, while there had been token attempts to clean up the movies before, such as when the studios formed the National Association of the Motion Picture Industry in 1916, little had come of the efforts.
In 1929, an American Roman Catholic layman Martin Quigley, editor of the prominent trade paper Motion Picture Herald, Father Daniel A. Lord, a Jesuit priest, created a code of standards, submitted it to the studios. Lord's concerns centered on the effects sound film had on children, whom he considered susceptible to their allure. Several studio heads, including Irving Thalberg of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, met with Lord and Quigley in February 1930. After some revisions, they agreed to the stipulations of the Code. One of the main motivating factors in adopting the Code was to avoid direct government intervention, it was the responsibility of the Studio Relations Committee, headed by Colonel Jason S. Joy, to supervise film production and advise the studios when changes or cuts were required; the Code was divided into two parts. The first was a set of "general principles" which concerned morality; the second was a set of "particular applications", an exacting list of items that could not be depicted.
Some restrictions, such as the ban on homosexuality or the use of specific curse words, were never directly mentioned but were assumed to be understood without clear demarcation. Miscegenation, the mixing of the races, was forbidden, it stated that the notion of an "adults-only policy" would be a dubious, ineffective strategy that would be difficult to enforce. However, it did allow that "maturer minds may understand and accept without harm subject matter in plots which does younger people positive harm." If children were supervised and the events implied elliptically, the code allowed what Brandeis University cultural historian Thomas Doherty called "the possibility of a cinematically inspired thought crime". The Code sought not only to determine what could be portrayed on screen, but to promote traditional values. Sexual relations outside of marriage could not be portrayed as attractive and beautiful, presented in a way that might arouse passion, nor be made to seem right and permissible. All criminal action had to be punish
Judy Garland was an American actress, singer and vaudevillian. During a career that spanned 45 years, she attained international stardom as an actress in both musical and dramatic roles, as a recording artist, on the concert stage. Respected for her versatility, she received a juvenile Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Special Tony Award. Garland was the first woman to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for her live recording Judy at Carnegie Hall. Garland began performing in vaudeville as a child with her two older sisters, was signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a teenager. Although she appeared in more than two dozen films with MGM and received acclaim for many different roles, she is best remembered for her portrayal of Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. Garland was a frequent on-screen partner of both Mickey Rooney and Gene Kelly, collaborated with director and second husband Vincente Minnelli; some of her most notable film appearances during this period include roles in Meet Me in St. Louis, The Harvey Girls, Easter Parade, Summer Stock.
Garland was released from MGM in 1950, after 15 years with the studio, amid a series of personal struggles and erratic behavior that prevented her from fulfilling the terms of her contract. Although her film career diminished thereafter, two of Garland's most critically acclaimed performances came late in her career, she made record-breaking concert appearances, released eight studio albums, hosted her own Emmy-nominated television series, The Judy Garland Show. At age 39, Garland became the youngest and first female recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in the film industry. In 1997, Garland was posthumously awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Several of her recordings have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, in 1999, the American Film Institute placed her among the 10 greatest female stars of classic American cinema. Despite profound professional success, Garland struggled in her personal life from an early age; the pressures of early stardom affected her physical and mental health from the time she was a teenager.
Those same executives manipulated her onscreen physical appearance. Into her adulthood, she was plagued by alcohol and substance abuse, as well as financial instability, her lifelong addiction to drugs and alcohol led to her death in London from a barbiturate overdose at age 47. Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922, in Minnesota, she was the youngest child of Francis Avent "Frank" Gumm. Her parents were vaudevillians who settled in Grand Rapids to run a movie theater that featured vaudeville acts, she was of Irish and Scottish ancestry, named after both of her parents and baptized at a local Episcopal church."Baby" shared her family's flair for song and dance. Her first appearance came at the age of two-and-a-half, when she joined her older sisters Mary Jane "Suzy/Suzanne" Gumm and Dorothy Virginia "Jimmie" Gumm on the stage of her father's movie theater during a Christmas show and sang a chorus of "Jingle Bells"; the Gumm Sisters performed there for the next few years, accompanied by their mother on piano.
The family relocated to Lancaster, California, in June 1926, following rumors that her father had made sexual advances towards male ushers. Frank purchased and operated another theater in Lancaster, Ethel began managing her daughters and working to get them into motion pictures. Garland attended Hollywood High School and graduated from University High School. In 1928, the Gumm Sisters enrolled in a dance school run by Ethel Meglin, proprietress of the Meglin Kiddies dance troupe, they appeared with the troupe at its annual Christmas show. Through the Meglin Kiddies, they made their film debut in a short subject called The Big Revue, where they performed a song-and-dance number called "That's the good old sunny south"; this was followed by appearances in two Vitaphone shorts the following year: A Holiday in Storyland and The Wedding of Jack and Jill. They next appeared together in Bubbles, their final on-screen appearance was in an MGM Technicolor short entitled La Fiesta de Santa Barbara. The trio had toured the vaudeville circuit as "The Gumm Sisters" for many years when they performed in Chicago at the Oriental Theater with George Jessel in 1934.
He encouraged the group to choose a more appealing name after "Gumm" was met with laughter from the audience. According to theater legend, their act was once erroneously billed at a Chicago theater as "The Glum Sisters". Several stories persist regarding the origin of their use of the name Garland. One is that it was originated by Jessel after Carole Lombard's character Lily Garland in the film Twentieth Century, playing at the Oriental in Chicago. Garland's daughter Lorna Luft stated that her mother selected the name when Jessel announced that the trio "looked prettier than a garland of flowers". A TV special was filmed in Hollywood at the Pantages Theatre premiere of A Star Is Born on September 29, 1954, in which Jessel stated: I think that I ought to tell the folks that it was I who named Judy
Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler. After a brief early film career in Czechoslovakia, including the controversial Ecstasy, she fled from her husband, a wealthy Austrian ammunition manufacturer, secretly moved to Paris. Traveling to London, she met Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio head Louis B. Mayer, who offered her a movie contract in Hollywood, she became a film star with her performance in Algiers. Her MGM films include Lady of the Tropics, Boom Town, H. M. Pulham, Esq. and White Cargo. Her greatest success was as Delilah in Cecil B. DeMille's Delilah, she acted on television before the release of her final film, The Female Animal. She was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. At the beginning of World War II, she and composer George Antheil developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes that used spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology to defeat the threat of jamming by the Axis powers. Although the US Navy did not adopt the technology until the 1960s, the principles of their work are incorporated into Bluetooth technology and are similar to methods used in legacy versions of CDMA and Wi-Fi.
This work led to their induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014. Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in 1914 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, the only child of Gertrud "Trude" Kiesler and Emil Kiesler, her father was a successful bank director. Trude, her mother, a pianist and Budapest native, had come from an upper-class Hungarian Jewish family, she had converted to Catholicism and was described as a "practicing Christian" who raised her daughter as a Christian. Lamarr helped get her mother out of Austria after it had been absorbed by the Third Reich and to the United States, where Gertrude became an American citizen, she put "Hebrew" as her race on her petition for naturalization, a term used in Europe. As a child, Lamarr was fascinated by theatre and film. At the age of 12, she won a beauty contest in Vienna. Lamarr was taking acting classes in Vienna when one day, she forged a note from her mother and went to Sascha-Film and was able to get herself hired as a script girl. While there, she was able to get a role as an extra in Money on the Street, a small speaking part in Storm in a Water Glass.
Producer Max Reinhardt cast her in a play entitled The Weaker Sex, performed at the Theater in der Josefstadt. Reinhardt was so impressed with her. However, she never trained with Reinhardt or appeared in any of his Berlin productions. Instead, she met the Russian theatre producer Alexis Granowsky, who cast her in his film directorial debut, The Trunks of Mr. O. F. starring Walter Abel and Peter Lorre. Granowsky soon moved to Paris, but Lamarr stayed in Berlin and was given the lead role in No Money Needed, a comedy directed by Carl Boese. Lamarr starred in the film which made her internationally famous. In early 1933, at age 18, Lamarr working under the name Hedy Kiesler, was given the lead in Gustav Machatý's film Ecstasy, she played the neglected young wife of an indifferent older man. The film became both celebrated and notorious for showing Lamarr's face in the throes of orgasm as well as close-up and brief nude scenes, a result of her being "duped" by the director and producer, who used high-power telephoto lenses.
Although she was dismayed and now disillusioned about taking other roles, the film gained world recognition after winning an award in Rome. Throughout Europe, it was regarded an artistic work. In America it was considered overly sexual and received negative publicity among women's groups, it was banned there and in Germany. Lamarr had played a number of stage roles, including a starring one in Sissy, a play about Empress Elisabeth of Austria produced in Vienna, it won accolades from critics. Admirers tried to get backstage to meet her, she sent most of them away, including a man, more insistent, Friedrich Mandl. He became obsessed with getting to know her. Mandl was an Austrian military arms merchant and munitions manufacturer, reputedly the third-richest man in Austria, she fell for his charming and fascinating personality due to his immense financial wealth. Her parents, both of Jewish descent, did not approve, due to Mandl's ties to Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini, German Führer Adolf Hitler, but they could not stop the headstrong Lamarr.
On August 10, 1933, Lamarr married Mandl. She was 18 years old and he was 33. In her autobiography Ecstasy and Me, she described Mandl as an controlling husband who objected to her simulated orgasm scene in Ecstasy and prevented her from pursuing her acting career, she claimed she was kept a virtual prisoner in their castle home, Castle Schwarzenau in the remote Waldviertel near the Czech border. Mandl had close social and business ties to the Italian government, selling munitions to the country, had ties to the Nazi regime of Germany; this despite his own father being Jewish, just like Lamarr's. Lamarr wrote that both Hitler attended lavish parties at the Mandl home. Lamarr accompanied Mandl to business meetings, where he conferred with scientists and other professionals involved in military technology; these conferences were her introduction to the field of applied science and nurtured her latent talent in science. Lamarr's marriage to Mandl even
Ingrid Bergman was a Swedish actress who starred in a variety of European and American films. She won many accolades, including three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Tony Award, she is best remembered for her roles as Alicia Huberman in Notorious. Bergman was born in Stockholm to a Swedish father and a German mother and started her career as an actress in Swedish and German films in the 1930s, her introduction to American audiences came with her starring role in the English-language remake of Intermezzo. At her insistence, producer David O. Selznick agreed not to sign her to a contract—for four films, rather than the then-standard seven-year period at her insistence—until after Intermezzo had been released. Selznick's financial problems meant that Bergman was loaned to other studios. Apart from Casablanca, her performances from this period include Victor Fleming's remake of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Bells of St. Mary's.
Her last films for Selznick were Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound and Notorious. Her final film for Hitchcock was Under Capricorn. After a decade in American films, she starred in Roberto Rossellini's Stromboli, following the revelation that she was having an extramarital affair with the director; the affair and marriage to Rossellini created a scandal in the U. S. that forced her to remain in Europe for several years, after which she made a successful return to working for a Hollywood studio in Anastasia, for which she won her second Academy Award. Although she made many films for Hollywood studios in subsequent years, they were all made in Europe, she did not film in Hollywood again until 1969. According to the St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, Bergman became "the ideal of American womanhood" and a contender for Hollywood's greatest leading actress. In the United States, she is considered to have brought a "Nordic freshness and vitality" to the screen, along with exceptional beauty and intelligence.
In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Bergman as the fourth-greatest female screen legend of Classic Hollywood Cinema. Bergman was born on 29 August 1915 in Stockholm, to a Swedish father, Justus Samuel Bergman, his German wife, Friedel Henrietta Augusta Louise Bergman, born in Kiel, her parents married in Hamburg in 1907. She was named after Princess Ingrid of Sweden, she grew up in Sweden, but spent the summers in Germany, spoke fluent German. When she was two years old, her mother died, her father, an artist and photographer, died when she was 13. In the years before he died, he wanted her to become an opera star, had her take voice lessons for three years, but she always "knew from the beginning that she wanted to be an actress", sometimes wearing her mother's clothes and staging plays in her father's empty studio. Her father documented all her birthdays with a borrowed camera. After his death, she was sent to live with an aunt, she moved in with her Aunt Hulda and Uncle Otto, who had five children.
Another aunt she visited, Elsa Adler, whom Ingrid called "Mutti" told a family legend to the 11-year-old, according to Charlotte Chandler's biography of Ingrid Bergman, that her mother may have had "some Jewish blood". One of Bergman's biographers, Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm, believes the claim was an embellishment. After doing an in-depth genealogical investigation, Bergman's maternal cousin found no Jewish ancestry on Bergman's mother's side. Furthermore, an investigation of Bergman's ancestry in 1938 when she signed a contract with the German company Universum Film found only non-Jewish ancestors, she received a scholarship to the state-sponsored Royal Dramatic Theatre School, where Greta Garbo had some years earlier earned a similar scholarship. After several months, she was given a part in a new play, Ett Brott, written by Sigfrid Siwertz. Chandler notes that this was "totally against procedure" at the school, where girls were expected to complete three years of study before getting such acting roles.
During her first summer break, she was hired by a Swedish film studio, which led to her leaving the Royal Dramatic Theatre after just one year, to work in films full-time. Her first film role after leaving the Royal Dramatic Theatre was a small part in Munkbrogreven, although she had been an extra in the 1932 film Landskamp), she went on to act in a dozen films in Sweden, including En kvinnas ansikte, remade as A Woman's Face with Joan Crawford, one film in Germany, Die vier Gesellen. Bergman's first acting role in the United States came when Hollywood producer David O. Selznick brought her to America to star in Intermezzo: A Love Story, an English language remake of her earlier Swedish film Intermezzo. Unable to speak English, uncertain about her acceptance by the American audience, she expected to complete this one film and return home to Sweden, her husband, Dr. Petter Lindström, remained in Sweden with their daughter Pia. In Intermezzo, she played the role of a young piano accompanist opposite Leslie Howard as a famous violin virtuoso.
She arrived in Los Angeles on 6 May 1939, stayed at the Selznick home until she could find another residence. According to Selznick's son Danny, a child at the time, his father had concerns about Ingrid: "She didn't speak Engli
Captains Courageous (1937 film)
Captains Courageous is a 1937 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer adventure film. Based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling, "Captains Courageous: A Story of the Grand Banks", it had its world premiere at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles; the movie was directed by Victor Fleming. Filmed in black-and-white, Captains Courageous was advertised by MGM as a coming-of-age classic with exciting action sequences. Backgrounds and exteriors for the film were shot on location in Port aux Basques and Shelburne, Nova Scotia in Canada, Gloucester, Massachusetts. Harvey Cheyne is the spoiled son of American business tycoon Frank Burton Cheyne. Harvey is shunned by his classmates at a private boarding school, suspended for bad behavior, his father therefore takes him on a business trip to Europe, travelling there by trans-Atlantic steamship. Mid passage, Harvey falls overboard in the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, he is rescued by a Portuguese-American fisherman, Manuel Fidello, taken aboard the fishing schooner "We're Here", from Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Harvey is shocked the schooner's captain, Disko Troop, intends fishing in the Atlantic for three more months. He fails to persuade the captain to take him back to New York. Harvey is reluctant to do real work but accepts. Befriended by Captain Troop's son, Dan, he becomes acclimated to the demanding fishing lifestyle; the We're Here fills with fish they catch. When a prank of Harvey's causes a fish hook to lodge in a crewman's arm, Manuel defends the boy. In the climactic race back to the Gloucester, Massachusetts port against a rival schooner, the Jennie Cushman, Manuel climbs to the top of the mast to furl the sail. However, the mast cracks and he is plunged into the icy sea. Manuel realizes that he is fatally injured because some of the rigging is entangled around his legs underwater; as Manuel says goodbye to Harvey, crying and distraught, the captain cuts the rigging around Manuel, who sinks below the water. The schooner returns to port and Harvey is reunited with his father, impressed by his son's greater maturity.
The film closes with Harvey and his father commemorating Manuel at a church ceremony, before starting a sailing adventure together. Freddie Bartholomew as Harvey Cheyne Spencer Tracy as Manuel Fidello Lionel Barrymore as Captain Disko Troop Melvyn Douglas as Frank Burton Cheyne Charley Grapewin as Uncle Salters Mickey Rooney as Dan Troop John Carradine as "Long Jack" Oscar O'Shea as Captain Walt Cushman Jack La Rue as Priest Walter Kingsford as Dr. Finley Donald Briggs as Bob Tyler Sam McDaniel as "Doc" Bill Burrud as Charles Jamison Gladden James as Secretary Cobb Frank Sully as taxi driver Billy Gilbert as soda steward Charles Coleman as Burns, the butler Lester Dorr as corridor steward Frank S. Nugent of The New York Times called the film "another of those grand jobs of moviemaking we have come to expect of Hollywood's most prodigal studio. With its rich production, magnificent marine photography, admirable direction and performances, the film brings vividly to life every page of Kipling's novel and adds an exciting chapter or two of its own."
Variety reported that the Kipling story had "been given splendid production, performance and dramatic composition." Harrison's Reports wrote, "Excellent! It is the type of entertainment that audiences will not forget soon, for its spiritual beauty makes a deep impression on one." John Mosher of The New Yorker called it "as rich a film as you will see this spring... The picture is magnificent as a sketch of storm and struggle on the ocean." According to MGM records the film earned $1,688,000 in the US and Canada and $1,445,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $1,488,000. Spencer Tracy won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his work in this film; the movie was nominated for three other Academy Awards: Best Picture – Louis D. Lighton, producer Best Film Editing – Elmo Veron Best Writing, Screenplay – Marc Connelly, John Lee Mahin and Dale Van EveryA VHS version of the 1937 film was released by MGM Home Video in 1990 followed by Warner Home Video's DVD of the film on January 31, 2006; the film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists: 2003: AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains: Manuel Fidello – Nominated Hero 2006: AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers – #94 Holden Caulfield, protagonist of the 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, is thought to look like Harvey Cheyne, as in the book a prostitute tells Caulfield that he looks like the boy who falls off a boat in a film costarring Melvyn Douglas, though the film is not mentioned by name.
The film is considered a classic semi documentary record of Grand Banks Schooners fishing under sail. The back projection shots of the period fishing schooners under sail are watched by members of the American Sail Training Community for the sailing shots - rather than for the human plot. Lionel Barrymore filmography Spencer Tracy filmography Captains Courageous on IMDb Captains Courageous at the TCM Movie Database Captains Courageous at AllMovie Captains Courageous at the American Film Institute Catalog
Jean Harlow was an American film actress and sex symbol of the 1930s. Harlow was signed by director Howard Hughes, her first major appearance was in Hell's Angels, followed by a series of critically unsuccessful films before she signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1932. Harlow became a leading lady for MGM, starring in a string of hit films, including Red Dust, Dinner at Eight and Suzy. Harlow's popularity rivaled and soon surpassed that of her MGM colleagues Joan Crawford and Norma Shearer, she had become one of the biggest movie stars in the world by the late 1930s nicknamed the "Blonde Bombshell" and the "Platinum Blonde". Harlow died at age 26 during the 1937 filming of Saratoga; the film was completed using body released a little over a month after Harlow's death. The American Film Institute ranked her as the 22nd greatest female star of classic Hollywood cinema. Harlow was born Harlean Harlow Carpenter in Missouri; the name is sometimes incorrectly spelled Carpentier, following studio press releases.
Her father, Mont Clair Carpenter, son of Abraham L. Carpenter and Dianna, was a dentist from a working-class background who attended dental school in Kansas City, her mother, Jean Poe Carpenter, was the daughter of a wealthy real estate broker, Skip Harlow, his wife, Ella Harlow. The marriage was arranged by Jean's father for their under-age daughter in 1908. Jean was resentful, became unhappy in the marriage; the couple lived in Kansas City in a house owned by Jean's father. Harlean was nicknamed "The Baby", a name, she did not learn that her name was "Harlean" until the age of five, when she began to attend Miss Barstow's Finishing School for Girls in Kansas City. Harlean and "Mother Jean", as she became known when Harlean became a film star, remained close. Harlean's mother was protective and coddling instilling a sense that her daughter owed everything she had to her. "She was always all mine", she said of her daughter. When Harlean was at school, her mother filed for a divorce, finalized uncontested on September 29, 1922.
She was granted sole custody of Harlean, who loved the father who would survive her by thirty-seven years. However, Harlean would see him again. Mother Jean moved with Harlean to Hollywood in 1923 with hopes of becoming an actress, but was too old at 34 to begin a film career. Young Harlean attended the Hollywood School for Girls and met Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Joel McCrea, Irene Mayer Selznick. Harlean dropped out of school at age 14 in the spring of 1925. Finances dwindling and her mother moved back to Kansas City after Skip Harlow issued an ultimatum that he would disinherit Jean if she did not return. Several weeks Skip sent his granddaughter to a summer camp, Camp Cha-Ton-Ka, in Michigamme, where she became ill with scarlet fever, her mother traveled to Michigan to care for her, rowing herself across the lake to the camp, but was told she could not see her daughter. Harlow next attended the Ferry Hall School in Illinois, her mother had an ulterior motive for Harlean's attendance there, as it was close to the Chicago home of her boyfriend, Marino Bello.
Each freshman was paired with a "big sister" from the senior class, Harlean's big sister introduced her to 19-year-old Charles "Chuck" Fremont McGrew, heir to a large fortune, in the fall of 1926. Soon the two began to date, married. On January 18, 1927, Jean Carpenter married Bello. Shortly after the wedding, the McGrews moved to Beverly Hills. McGrew received part of his large inheritance; the couple moved to Los Angeles in 1928, settling into a home in Beverly Hills, where Harlean thrived as a wealthy socialite. McGrew hoped to distance Harlean from her mother with the move. Neither McGrew nor Harlean worked, both McGrew, were thought to drink heavily. In Los Angeles, Harlean befriended a young aspiring actress. Lacking a car, Roy asked Harlean to drive her to Fox Studios for an appointment. Reputedly, Harlean was noticed and approached by Fox executives while waiting for her friend, but stated that she was not interested, she was given dictated letters of introduction to Central Casting. A few days Rosalie Roy bet Harlean that she did not have the nerve to go and audition.
Unwilling to lose a wager and pressed by her enthusiastic mother, now back in Los Angeles, Harlean drove to Central Casting and signed in under her mother's maiden name, Jean Harlow. After several calls from Central Casting and a number of rejected job offers, Harlean was pressed into accepting work by her mother, she appeared in Honor Bound, as an unbilled "extra" for $7 a day. This led to small parts in feature films such as Moran of the Marines, This Thing Called Love, Close Harmony, The Love Parade, among others. In December 1928, she signed a five-year contract with Hal Roach Studios for $100 per week, she had a co-starring role in Laurel and Hardy's short Double Whoopee in 1929, went on to appear in two more of their films: Liberty and Bacon Grabbers. In March 1929, she parted with Roach, who tore up her contract after Harlow told him, "It's breaking up my marriage, what can I do?" In June 1929, Harlow moved in with her mother and Bello. After her separation from McGrew, Harlow worked as an "extra" in several movies.
She landed her fir