(HARLOW, Jean) (1911-37)
American actor known for her portrayal of “bad girl” characters. She was the leading sex symbol of the 1930s and one of the defining figures of the pre-Code era of American cinema.
EPH – Ephemera – Classic 8″x10″ sepia-tone, double weight, matte-finish, glamour shot of Harlow (circa 1932-35) dedicated and signed for Harlow by her stage-mother, Jean Poe Harlow (1891-1958). Penned in white India ink to the Buffalo, NY president of the Rosalind Russell Fan Club. Reads: To Lucille Robbins, Cordially, Jean Harlow. Miniscule creasing but, overall, very good to fine. Given the amount of weekly correspondence received by Harlow, it is estimated that Mama Jean signed 95% of all letters and photographs. Harlow’s death at 26, and paucity of genuine autographs, makes her material some of the most coveted and valuable to collectors. Photos of Jean, signed by her mother, command anywhere between $150-500 on the market today depending upon scene and quality. Some well-meaning sellers simply do not know about Mama Jean’s signing practices, while others simply ignore them.
It has long been rumored that actress Harlow died due to failure of her mother to seek proper medical intervention. Mama Jean was a lifelong Christian Scientist and opposed most professional medical advice. Nevertheless, in her final few weeks of life, Harlow was attended to by several physicians which contradicts the conspiracy theories. One thing is certain, Mama Jean was overly protective of her daughter and managed much of her affairs.
Her first major role was in Howard Hughes’ Hell’s Angels. After a series of critically failed films, and Hughes’ loss of interest in Harlow’s career, MGM bought out Harlow’s contract in 1932 and cast her in leading roles in a string of hits built on her comedic talent. Harlow’s popularity rivaled and then surpassed that of MGM’s top leading ladies Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo and Norma Shearer. She died at the age of 26 of kidney failure while filming Saratoga. MGM completed the film with the use of body doubles and released it less than two months after her death. It became MGM’s most successful film of 1937 as well as the highest-grossing film of Harlow’s career.
NOTA BENE: In addition to this “signed photo,” we have an autograph copy of Michael A. Viera’s superb hardcover book Harlow in Hollywood, published in 2011. Also signed by book editor Darrell Rooney. Please inquire.