10 Vintage Hollywood Starlets from the Golden Age

I have about fifteen of these Hollywood albums, handed down from my grandmother Molly Montague. According to family legend, she only married my grandfather because he looked like Clarke Gable, so I think it's safe to say she was a film fan.

With the Golden Age of Hollywood pressed between their pages, these books combine exquisite studio portraits with goofy behind the scenes gossip and articles attributed to the stars themselves, talking to you like the delightful best friend you deserve. Listen in to Rita here:

Every Woman Should Glamour for Attention - by Rita Hayworth
"Glamour does not mean the flagrant overplus of personality, it does not mean the striking hairdo or the marvellously enamelled completion. And, to girls in coupon-starved Britain, I would point out that it certainly does not even me an enormous wardrobe of expensive clothes. To possess glamour a girl must have perfect hair, perfect hands, perfect voice  - and mystery. (1946 Film Review, editor F Maurice Speed)

What really catches my attention in these albums, though, are the portraits of the starlets I don't know. All so young and dazzling on the page, then (with a quick trip to Madam Wiki the fortune teller) their life flashes before me... and it's always fascinating to find out what happened next. 

So that's the anatomy of this blog: the portrait, the caption & the Wiki. 

The first starlet I want to introduce, though, is Molly, my Granny Monty. In the wedding photo below, she's the bridesmaid on the far left (April 1934, the marriage of Madge Wilkinson to Bill Lazenby). The photo of the five young gentlemen includes my Clarke Gable lookalike grandfather, William, he's the one sat down. That was taken on Christmas Eve, 1932 - we think these are members of the Grimby Chess Club. 

So onwards to the golden age of Hollywood...

MITZI GAYNOR - pert and full of vitality - a girl with a rare sense of humour
(The Picturegoers Film Annual 1952-1953, Connery Chappell)

She was educated in the southern part of the United States, which perhaps explains the richer silky texture of her accent; and she started life on the bacon-slicer in Papa's grocery store. She is one of those "misses" with enormous vitality, and with that odd "plus" quality that is so typical of the young people in America. Inside Hollywood, Mrs Walter Helmerich, heiress - with hubby - to a substantial oil fortune, is considered to be one of the top bets around town. If Hollywood has a future - and even Hollywood is prepared to admit that it may have - they young Peggy Dow is market to have a large slice of it
(The Picturegoers Film Annual 1952-1953, Connery Chappell)

The magic of first love - that's the strong suite of JEANNE CRAIN, real-life mother of four
(The Picturegoers Film Annual 1952-1953, Connery Chappell)

Off duty for a moment, Susan Perry watches some scenes from "Knock on Any Door" in which her leading man is also the producer - Humphrey Bogart
(Hollywood Album Edited by Ivy Crane Wilson, probably 1948)

BEAUTY QUEEN makes good! Believe it or not, Mr Ripley, it still can happen in Hollywood where the beauty route ends more often in the breadlines than in the headlines. So behold the Miracle of Dolores Moran. 
In 1941 a talent scout saw her crowned Queen of the Butte County Fair. Instead of ducking away through the crowd before the judges could pester him for a Hollywood contract, the scout actually moved in for a closer look - which in itself is a miracle. A 15-years-old natural blond, five-feet-seven, weighting a perfectly proportioned eight-stone-four, Dolores had that something extra which clinched a screen test. 
Six months' training in the studio dramatic school found a rich vein of talent beneath her beauty. You don't remember seeing her in "Yankee Doodle Dandy" do you? Neither do we. She was only there for adornment. But everybody remembers her vivid moments with Bette Davis in "Old Acquaintance," playing Miriam Hopkins' daughter of discontent. And there were times in "To Have and To Have Not" when she challenged Lauren Bacall. Beauty along can't do that!
Two hits in quick succession, and "Too Young to Know" coming next, stamp Dolores Moran as a girl to be watched during 1946, if you like a little game of star picking with your picture going. 
(Preview of 1946 by Martin Macall)

In a sweeping gown combining the new colour combination of white and gold, Warner Bros' beautiful Dorothy Malone makes a truly lovely picture. The gown is of white crepe embroidered with gold sequins. 
(Hollywood Album Edited by Ivy Crane Wilson, probably 1948)

Jane Wyman, Warner star in NIGHT AND DAY
(Film Review by Maurice Speed, 1946)

MARSHA HUNT - Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer star
(File Review by Maurice Speed, 1946)

IN ANALYSING STAR PROSPECTS experienced judges have named three youngsters as definite discoveries, selections being based on how they handled their first important roles. With Martha Vickers, not yet 20, her only film appearance won distinction - "The Big Sleep". Now cast in "The Time, The Place and The Girl". 
(Preview of 1946 by Martin Macall)

Invitation to comment

So who did you already know about here, and which starlet was new to you?

Who's life story was the most surprising when you looked it up?

What is Vintage Copywriting? 

Gorgeous vintage finds, described with adoration and photographed up-close by English fashion copywriter Angela Montague. This blog fuses my day job as a fashion copywriter with my two obsessions: beautiful old things and photography.

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