“She was serious about improving herself as an actress. She played the role with fierce determination, holding back nothing. As the bitchy shop-girl in The Women, she knew perfectly well that she would be surrounded by formidable competition from the rest of the all female cast, many of whom were playing funnier and certainly more sympathetic parts. Yet she made no appeals for audience sympathy: she was not one of those actresses who have to keep popping out from behind their characters, signaling, ‘Look- it’s sweet, lovable me, first pretending to be a tramp’.” -George Cukor
Ingrid Bergman : Was effectively blacklisted in 1949 for having an affair with director Roberto Rossellini and having a child out of wedlock with him. Bergman decided to live with Rossellini in Italy, abandoning Hollywood films and making movies with her husband in his home country. She returned to the US film industry at the end of their marriage. Her comeback movie Anastasia (1956) earned her an Oscar.
- Her arrival for her first day’s work; wheeled into the studio on a bicycle and wearing sunglasses
Bette Davis : When she died, her false eyelashes were auctioned off, fetching a price of $600. Previously, she had said that her biggest secret was brown mascara.
- Nominated for an Academy Award 5 years in a row, in 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942 and 1943.She shares the record for most consecutive nominations with Greer Garson.
Ava Gardner : An Australian reporter found that Gardner was quite adept at foul language, and her swearing was “like a sailor and a truck driver were having a competition."She threw a glass of champagne at the reporter.
- While living in Spain, became a good friend of the writer Ernest Hemingway, whom she and his other friends called "Papa”. Both of then were fans of bullfighting
Norma Shearer : She would not remove her wedding ring for a role, preferring to cover it up with flesh-colored tape.
- Was meticulous about her appearance. Early in her career, she spent money she could barely afford on the services on an eye doctor, who trained her to strengthen a weak eye. She swam everyday, had massages to firm her figure, and dieted religiously.
Carole Lombard : The plane crash that killed her took place less than a month before the Oscars. Despite her mother’s premonition of the disaster, she refused to take a train to Los Angeles. She was reputedly in a rush after getting wind of an alleged affair between her husband Clark Gable and Lana Turner who were filming Somewhere I’ll Find You (1942) at the time
- In 1926,an automobile accident badly cut her face. Advanced plastic surgery and use of make-up covered the scars. However, at the time the belief was that use of anesthetic during the operation would leave worse scars, so she endured the reconstructive surgery without an anesthetic.
Joan Crawford : She had a cleanliness obsession. She used to wash her hands every ten minutes and follow guests around her house wiping everything they touched, especially doorknobs and pieces from her china set. She would never smoke a cigarette unless she opened the pack herself, and would never use another cigarette out of that pack if someone else had touched it
- She was so dedicated to her fans that she always personally responded to her fan mail by typing responses on blue paper and autographing it. A great deal of her spare time and weekends were spent doing this
Barbara Stanwyck : Often called “The Best Actress Who Never Won an Oscar.”
- Started smoking when she was nine.
Marlene Dietrich : First German actress to be Oscar-nominated.
- She demanded that Max Factor sprinkle half an ounce of real gold dust into her wigs to add glitter to her tresses during filming.
Greta Garbo : Left John Gilbert standing at the altar in 1927 when she got cold feet about marrying him.
- Popularized trench coats and berets in the 1930s.
Marilyn Monroe : She found it almost impossible to learn lines, and took 60 takes to deliver the line “It’s me, Sugar”, in Some Like it Hot.
- Today, her estate makes around five million dollars a year.
- Marilyn was only the second woman to head her own production company (Mary Pickford was the first).
James Dean : Dean claimed his middle name, “Byron,” came from the Romantic Poet, Lord Byron.
- He kept a copy of The Little Prince on his nightstand and frequently quoted from it.
Marlon Brando : Lived on infamous “Bad Boy Drive” (Muholland Drive in Beverly Hills, California), which received its nickname because its residents were famous “bad boy” actors Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty and Brando.
- In his autobiography, he said that he was physically attracted to Vivien Leigh during the making of A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). However, he could not bring himself to seduce her, as he found her husband, Laurence Olivier, to be such a “nice guy”.
Audrey Hepburn: She was an introvert. Unlike most celebrities, Audrey did not crave the spotlight or being surrounded by groups of fans and entourages.
- She decided to make acting her career as she couldn’t attain the status of prima ballerina, due to her height and weakness (the after effect of malnutrition).