We all know Hollywood as a glamorous and flashy place, but is it as good as it looks? You might have heard the saying, “All that glitter is not gold,” and that is true for Hollywood as well. Many people look at the glamorous lifestyle of celebrities and think they can also become part of Hollywood and live and luxurious lifestyle. However, they don’t realize that Hollywood has a dark side and no actor is safe from it. This was more prevalent in the early years of Hollywood. Even superstars like Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, and Katharine Hepburn, along with many others, were victims of this. Today we are going to take a look at 40 upsetting Hollywood secrets that will shock you.
MGM Forced Ava Gardner To Get An Abortion
Ava Gardner was a famous diva married to Frank Sinatra. She starred in many successful movies and was loved by the fans. However, the cost of her success was her baby. The diva got pregnant by Sinatra during her prime time and was forced by MGM to get an abortion.
MGM had placed a clause in her contract that she would have to pay a fine if she became a mom during that time. So the studio flew her to London, where she secretly got an abortion. Frank Sinatra also didn’t know about abortion years until after it was done.
Charlie Chaplin Loved One-Sided Attention
Charlie Chaplin is one of the best comedians because of his silent films. Many people still see his scenes to enjoy good laughter. Interestingly, the actor was also famous among the ladies. He claimed to have been with at least 2,000 of them during his peak time in the industry.
However, Chaplin was not as innocent as he was in his roles. The actor admitted that he preferred one-sided attention from the ladies. He wasn’t in love with them, but they were head over heels for him. This fact pleased the actor, so he was not big on reciprocation.
Margaret Hamilton Had To Wear Toxic Makeup
Margaret Hamilton’s green makeup in The Wizard of Oz made her character stand out. Many people thought that she wore face paint during her scenes. That is far from true. The actress had to wear poisonous makeup. She was also put on a liquid diet to manage the poison level.
The makeup contained high levels of copper, which was toxic to the actress. This is why her makeup artist had to ensure her face was thoroughly clean after removing the makeup. Of course, such poisonous items are no longer used in the industry due to the invention of dyes.
Alfred Hitchcock Was Creepier In Real Life
Alfred Hitchcock was known for his creepy roles and excellent performances. Shockingly, the actor was a greater creep in real life, so the behavior came naturally to him. He also harassed one of his costars by stalking her on set, getting her handwriting analyzed, and following her outside business hours.
Hitchcock also locked the same costar, Tippi Hedren, in a room with live birds. The actress screamed significantly and suffered from a breakdown because of this action. Later, she was hospitalized after getting removed from the room. So if you’re a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, you should reconsider your decision.
Judy Garland Had To Endure Power Abuse By Executives
Judy Garland became famous after her stint in The Wizard of Oz. She was 17 years old when she entered the film industry. However, her journey was far from easy. The actress suffered from power abuse by executives and high authority staff. This was the reason behind her drug addiction.
She had to face body image issues because of the high industry standards. One of the executives also made her get an abortion, while staff members on film sets made her work longer by forcing her to take odd substances. The drug addiction led to her death due to overdosing.
Jean Harlow Was Not Allowed To Get Married
Jean Harlow was a famous diva who worked under the banner of MGM. The studio was famous for controlling the lives of actors to profit from their movies. This is why Harlow was not allowed to get married after finding her true love because of a clause in her contract.
The studio believed that the actor was more appealing as a single woman. This is why executives prevented her from getting married or getting entangled in dating rumors. Morality clauses were prevalent during that era. It is also not shocking to hear this, considering Harlow was an MGM actress.
Margaret O’Brien Cried Real Tears On Set
Margaret O’Brien was a famous child actress who worked under MGM. Another child actress that she had to compete with was June Allyson. O’Brien’s mom used to tell her that she would tell the makeup artist to apply tears on her face because she couldn’t cry in real like Allyson.
This used to make Margaret actually cry for her scenes so that she could outdo June Allyson. It is surprising that a mother did that to her daughter to make her cry. Margaret may have become a good actress, but the cost of being compared to others was significantly high.
Louis Mayer Destroyed John Gilbert’s Career
Louis B. Mayer was a famous executive in Hollywood. He was the co-founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM). Mayer turned MGM into one of the biggest studios at that time by using mean behavior to get what he wanted. For instance, he destroyed John Gilbert’s career because the actor was annoying.
Mayer planted stories in the film industry that Gilbert was rude to his colleagues and gave them a difficult time on set. He also placed the actor in flop scripts purposely to make the audience lose interest in Gilbert. Shockingly, Gilbert was not the only actor whose life Mayer destroyed.
Fay Wray Was Misinformed About King Kong
King Kong was a big success in 1933 and got a few remakes in the 21st century. The old film starred Fay Wray and was directed by Merian C. Cooper. Unfortunately, Cooper tricked the diva into taking the role by giving her incorrect cast information about the male lead.
Wray was made to believe that she would be filming the movie with Cary Grant. This was the main reason she agreed to take the role. Of course, Cooper didn’t inform her about the cast and used a vague description by saying that she would have the tallest leading costar.
Montgomery Clift’s Downhill After An Accident
Montgomery Clift was one of the most handsome actors back then. He had the looks and skills to make it big in the industry. The actor has also starred in movies with famous divas such as Marilyn Monroe. His career went downhill after an accident due to a silly mistake.
In 1956, he fell asleep while driving his car and got into an accident. The recovery was difficult, and Clift had to rely on painkillers and alcohol to manage the pain. He didn’t show up on sets punctually and got sued by his studio. Eventually, Montgomery died young in 1966.
Lana Turner Was A Victim Of Hollywood’s Dark Side
Hollywood was ruthless and dark in the early to mid-20th century. If the things that went around in Hollywood at that time happened today, the actress would sue the studio and get millions out of them. Actresses were threatened with being fired from the studio if they didn’t terminate their pregnancies.
On a publicity tour, beautiful Lana Turner found out that she was pregnant. She was forced to get an abortion in her hotel room during the publicity tour. The studio itself sent doctors to her hotel room who performed the procedure without anesthesia. To top it all, they took the abortion charges out of her paycheck.
Jackie Cooper Was Threatened To Cry On Set
Jacky Cooper got an Oscar nomination for his film Skippy at the age of nine. Many people were impressed by the emotional scene of the child actor. Unfortunately, the director threatened the kid to make him cry on set. He told him that he would kill the actor’s dog.
Cooper admitted that the threat worked like a charm because he hysterically cried during the scene. The actor imagined his dog dying, and the director had to calm him down by telling him they would see his pet. Many people don’t like this fact because such childhood trauma may persist later.
Asbestos Was Used As Snow In Films
Asbestos was a famous construction material before scientists revealed that the component was harmful and caused fatal cancer. The ingredient was also used in movies to replicate fake snow. The perfect example of this material being used in films is the snow scene in The Wizard of Oz.
Actors got significantly close to the harmful element. No one from the cast of this film reported suffering from cancer. So the actors got lucky that the fake snow didn’t harm them. You can understand from this example how dangerous it was for stars to work in movies that endangered their lives.
Old American Accent In Films Was Fake
Many classic American movies have actors with funny accents. Some people believe that this is how people actually talked during that era. That is a misconception. The old American accent was actually fake and used only in movies to attract the audience. Boarding school students mainly had such an accent.
The accent was a combination of British and American accents. Hollywood used it to make films more appealing and generate greater profit. Today, this accent is called the Transatlantic accent. Perhaps only a small number of people spoke in such a way because the audience considered this accent unusual.
Audrey Hepburn’s Eyelashes Were Separated Using A Safety Pin
Breakfast at Tiffany’s was a commercial success and turned Audrey Hepburn into a big star. Many women were impressed by her makeup and tried to replicate the look. The actress had to undergo a scary application process to achieve that appearance. Alberto de Rossi was her makeup artist back then.
As to Hepburn’s son, her makeup artist used to apply mascara on her eyes slowly. Then he used to separate every eyelash using a safety pin. It must have been a scary process because the pin could have injured her eyes seriously. This is why many cannot replicate Audrey’s look.
Lauren Bacall’s Sultry Face Was Due To Anxiety
Everyone has been a fan of Lauren Bacall’s sultry appearance on the big screen. The actress’s charming voice also attracted viewers to the theater. However, Bacall did not mean to appear in such a way. Her classic chin-lifting move was a way to cope with anxiety and stay steady.
She used to shake on screen because of anxiety and positioning her face that way used to help her face remain steady. Lauren also admitted this in an interview once. She revealed that childhood fears never disappear, but her coping methods were visually appealing to the audience and benefited her.
Actors Couldn’t Reject Roles
Hollywood actors today thoroughly read their scripts and decide whether they want to take the movie offer or not. Stars who believe the movie will fail at the box office reject the offered role. However, this was not possible in the old era. Actors couldn’t say no to different parts.
Stars who signed with studios did not have a say in their film roles. They had to play the part the production house offered or risk losing their careers. For instance, Warner Brothers suspended Better Davis after she refused to accept a role and did not show up on set.
The “Misfits” Movie Was Cursed
There are a number of curses associated with Hollywood. The Superman curse is one of the more popular ones, but did you know that there was another movie that was considered to be cursed? The movie was called Misfits, and it starred Marilynn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Montgomery Clift.
Both Monroe and Gable passed away just a little time after the filming, whereas Clift got into an accident that changed his life for the worse. Following the accident, he became an alcoholic. It is also reported that on the day of his death, he refused to watch the Misfits.
Munchkins Of The Wizard Of Oz Were Paid Less Than A Dog
The Wizard of Oz was a commercially successful film with a long cast. You may remember the Munchkins who helped with the yellow brick road. Meanwhile, Toto the dog was also a favorite character of many. Sadly, the dog was paid more than the Munchkins, with a more significant role.
Toto was paid $125 every week for the scenes. Meanwhile, Munchkins got $50 for their hard work every week. It is sad to know that the team of the movie ripped off its actors and underpaid many staff members. They may not have known about the pay difference back then.
Rock Hudson Had To Hide His Identity
The world has evolved, but being queer is still considered taboo in many countries. Of course, homophobia was significantly high during the era of Rock Hudson. Gay actors were not accepted in the industry, and the audience boycotted them. This is why Rock Hudson had to enter a fake marriage.
Film executives persuaded him to get married for appearances. The actor had to hide his identity using this sham. His marriage lasted for only three years, but Hudson stayed in the closet until his death. He passed away due to AIDS, finally allowing fans to learn about his sexual orientation.
Katharine Hepburn Was Told To Wear Skirts Only
Katharine Hepburn was a famous diva with a unique personality. She was feisty and had excellent acting skills to make the audience swoon for her. The actress also loved wearing pants to sets and other places. She also ignored the studio when they ordered her to wear short skirts only.
During one of her shootings, the staff also took her pants away on the set. To rebel against the studio, Hepburn walked around the set in her underwear. Katharine said she would only get dressed if she could wear what she wanted to. At last, she got what she wanted.
Studios Decided To Change The Names Of Actors
You might have seen many celebrities use a stage name. In the present day, it is mostly done by the celebrity themselves. However, there was a time when studios were the ones that decided on the name change, and the actors had to comply with the decisions made by the studious.
There are many who had to change their name, including Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe, whose real name was Margarita Carmen Cansino and Norma Jeane Mortenson, respectively. Sometimes the studios held a name-changing contest to rename the actors. Shockingly the superstar Joan Crawford also got her name as a result of name changing contest.
Billy Haines Refused To Enter Into A Fake Marriage
Billy Haines was one of the few openly gay stars during the old Hollywood era. He started his career with silent films but became a bigger star later. Everyone knew about his sexual orientation and did not have a problem. However, a Hollywood executive asked Billy to enter a fake marriage.
The actor refused to hide his identity and deceive people through a fake marriage. This led to the end of his acting career. Of course, Billy was a talented man and decided to perform interior designing for actors. He already knew many actors and didn’t have a hard time.
Bette Davis Was Asked To Terminate Her Pregnancy
In the modern day and age, celebrity mothers get a lot of attention; however, things weren’t as good in the old days. In fact, movie studios frowned upon their female talent becoming pregnant. If they became pregnant, it meant that they would have to take a leave of absence which the movie studios did not want.
These movie studios and the actresses had an image to maintain, and the movie studios were willing to go to extreme lengths to maintain that image. This is why many unfortunate actresses, including Bette Davis, were asked to terminate their pregnancies in the 1930s.
Onscreen Kisses Could Only Last For Three Seconds
A few decades back, the world was relatively more conservative than it is today. If the content was too sexualized, then there was a big chance that a large percentage of the population might boycott the movie. This is ad there were rules to prevent this from happening.
The onscreen kisses could only last three seconds. Even if the actors kissed longer than that, it had to be cut in the editing process. Movies that had kissing scenes longer than three seconds did not get approval from the censorship board.
Joan Crawford Removed Her Teeth For A Sharp Jawline
Facial surgeries have become prevalent today and allow many stars to improve their body structure. However, during Joan Crawford’s era, such procedures were not common. This is why divas had to undergo cruel processes to enhance their beauty. For instance, Crawford got her back teeth removed for a sharp jawline.
The removal of teeth allowed her to create a hollower jaw with prominent cheekbones. Another actress that was rumored to have gotten her molars removed for the same purpose was Marlene Dietrich. These cruel procedures were not gruesome for the actresses because of their prevalence and industry benefits.
Hollywood Superstars Usually Had Very Humble Beginnings
Superstars like Jane Fonda and Marilyn Monroe both started their careers as acting students in Los Angeles. They were not alone in this, as there were many people in these classes who later became some of the big names in Hollywood.
These days many actors start off as models or singers and then make their way into acting. They work on Broadway as well, so they already have a very flamboyant lifestyle. However, celebrities in the first half of the 20th century weren’t always as flamboyant as they later on became.
Dorothy Dandridge Had To Go Through A Messy Situation
Dorothy Dandridge was an exceptionally beautiful actress, but she was part of Hollywood during a time when racism was quite prevalent. She had an affair with a director who was white and ended up getting pregnant. The studio asked her to get an abortion.
Dandridge did just that. If she did not get an abortion, then that meant her career was over. Actresses were often asked to terminate their pregnancies, but in Dandridge’s case, the scenario was a bit more complex because she was an African American and she had a baby with an already married white director.
Loretta Young Adopted Her Own Baby To Avoid Pregnancy Ban
It is no secret that actresses weren’t allowed to get pregnant during the old Hollywood era due to contract clauses. Loretta Young’s studio also prevented her from having a baby. However, the diva developed an extended scheme to give birth when she got pregnant by her beloved, Clark Gable.
The actress told the studio that she had been diagnosed with an unknown illness and should rest in bed. She also held an interview with a reporter while being bedridden to make her story convincing. After giving birth, the diva claimed to have adopted an orphan to get support from people.
Elizabeth Taylor Was A Natural Beauty
Elizabeth Taylor has to be one of the most beautiful people to ever grace the big screen. She was beautiful and had great acting skills, which made her perfect for Hollywood. Many people don’t know this, but Elizabeth Taylor had two rows of eyelashes.
This is actually a rare genetic mutation, so not many actresses had this. In addition to this, her eyes were a shade of purple which also made her unique. Even now, you don’t find a lot of people with purple eyes, which only goes to show that the actress was one of a kind.
Clara Bow Was Fired By The Studio Because Of Her Metal Health
These days mental health is given as much importance as physical health; however, a few decades back, that was not the case. Employers weren’t as compassionate towards their employees as they are now, and studios were no different. The beautiful silent film actress Clara Bow was a victim of such an incident.
Due to the turmoil in her personal life and her bad reputation, she started suffering from mental health issues, and because of this, Paramount pictures fired her. Due to the mental stress, she tried to commit suicide at one moment, but fortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful.
Hollywood Wasn’t Too Friendly Towards Child Actors
Child actors are protected in modern times, but in old Hollywood, Child actors were punished a lot. It was difficult to make the children act the way the directors wanted, and if a child actor was becoming hard to work with, the directors could ask to punish the kids.
One of the major punishments given to child actors was that they were forced to sit on an ice block until they were ready to act the way the director wanted. Globally popular actress Shirley temple was also forced to sit on the ice block as a child star.
Vincente Minnelli Had A Very Big Secret
Vincente Minnelli was a very prominent director of his time. He was married to Judy Garland; however, the couple ended up getting divorced when Garland found her husband in bed with another man. Even though there were many people who knew this, Vincente never officially came out as gay.
Being a homosexual wasn’t as acceptable at that time, and Minnelli knew that if he officially came out of the closet, then it might affect his career as a Hollywood director. Even though he was a homosexual, he married three more women after Judy Garland.
The Hollywood Sign Wasn’t Always Like This
We all know the iconic Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. For many people, that is how the sign has always looked, but if you see the old photos of the area, you would realize that the sign once said HOLLYWOODLAND. You can see the old sign in its full glory in this picture.
The sign didn’t always look as good as it is seen in the picture. Over the years, it got damaged, and there wasn’t any maintenance being done on the sign. It was in 1978 when Hugh Hefner decided to do something about it. He arranged a fundraiser for it and got the sign rebuilt to what it is now.
Celebrities Acted According To The prevalent Culture
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are known for their work in I Love Lucy. One of the major reasons that the show was a hit was that the onscreen couple was actually married in real life as well. However, fans of the show might have seen that their characters used to sleep in separate beds.
You might wonder why they did that. Well, it wasn’t because they didn’t get along; they were husband and wife, so they got along really well. The reason for their separate beds was that it was common for husband and wife to have separate beds at that time. So this made them more relatable to their viewers.
Studios Acted As Nutritionists
A few decades back, studios had a more dictatorial role when it came to the talent they hired. These days celebrities hire their own nutritionist to stay healthy and fit, but they do it because they want to do it and not because the studio has forced them.
It is true that the studios still demand the actors to look a certain way but in the old days, studios used to give strict diet plans to actresses who were gaining a little weight. It was so important for the studios that they used to incorporate weight management in the celebrity’s contract.
Sean Connery Wore A Toupee During James Bond Filming
For many young people, Daniel Craig is the ultimate James Bond, but for some older people, there will always be one James Bond, and that’s Sean Connery. Seann Connery was the first person to ever play the character of James Bond in movies.
You might have seen videos of Sean Connery as James Bond and noticed that his appearance also adds value to the character. He has slick hair and always wears a tuxedo, but I am sure that James Bond wouldn’t look that if he was bald. This is why Connery wore a toupee to hide his receding hairline.
Debbie Reynolds Suffered From Harassment
Singin’ in the Rain was a famous film that starred Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. The latter was 19 years old when the movie was shot. Unfortunately, the film was not the best experience for the actress because of harassment by Kelly, who was 39 years old at that time.
Gene took the young diva in his arms and French-kissed her forcefully after shooting one of the scenes for the film. The actress pushed him away and looked for something to cleanse her mouth. Professional conduct in Hollywood may have improved, but it still has a long way to go.
Frank Sinatra Made Fun Of Marlon Brando
Only a man of Sinatra’s caliber could do something like this to Marlon Brando. Frank Sinatra was one of the best singers in the world, but he was sometimes mean to his costars. When they were doing a musical together, Sinatra made fun of Brando’s voice.
He also came up with a nickname for Brando, i.e., “mumbles.” Sinatra making fun of someone’s voice can be accepted, but then he went ahead and called Brando a terrible actor. Brando had the last laugh as he deliberately kept ruining a scene where Sinatra had to eat a cheesecake in every retake.
Plastic Surgery Was Very Common At That Time As Well
Nearly all celebrities get some sort of cosmetic surgery done on them, but did you know that it was also very common in the early years of Hollywood? Even actresses like Marilyn Monroe got a nose job done. It wasn’t always the decision of the actors to do it.
Sometimes it was the studio that asked the actors to get some sort of plastic surgery done. This was done so that the actors could become more ‘marketable.’ Some celebs like Rita Hayworth were asked to change their hairline by electrolysis which is an extremely painful process.