3 Hollywood actresses who endured terrible suffering | by Jacob Wilkins | August 2022
The dark side of success
Hollywood is an integral part of american culture. It symbolizes the idea of the American dream, enticing us with images of luxury, beauty and opportunity. But we all know the reality is much darker. Beneath the shiny exterior, Hollywood has always been a place of scandal and exploitation.
For more than a century, Hollywood stars have suffered behind the scenes, unable to escape the pressures of fame and the abuse of their overlords. Although there have been many grim cases over the years, these three actresses have endured some of the most unsettling ordeals in Hollywood history.
Before Marilyn Monroe’s rise to fame in the 1950s, there was another platinum blonde actress who took Hollywood by storm: Jean Harlow.
Jean began working as an extra in her late teens before landing her first major role in Angels of Hell (1930). She became an overnight sensation, captivating audiences with her sex appeal. Jean went on to star in many other successful films, including red dust (1932) and Bomb (1933).
However, her marriage to MGM executive Paul Bern was a tragedy from start to finish. Bern was a troubled man who abused Jean on their wedding night by biting and beating her. He was also impotent and could not consummate the marriage despite Jean’s natural youth and beauty.
Two months after the wedding, Bern committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. In addition to coping with the traumatic nature of this event, Jean had inherited a considerable debt from her husband. MGM then took advantage of all the publicity by forcing Jean to play a showgirl whose husband commits suicide at Reckless (1935).
Unsurprisingly, Jean’s mental health deteriorated. She started drinking more than usual and having sex with a series of partners. Jean then collapsed during the filming of Saratoga (1937) and was diagnosed with kidney failure.
Doctors tried to stop the disease, but their attempts failed. Jean died on June 7, 1937. She was twenty-six.
Marilyn Monroe had a difficult childhood. Due to her mother’s poor mental health, she moved back and forth between various foster homes and orphanages. But her life changed when she was spotted by a photographer while working in a munitions factory.
Her modeling career quickly took off, catching Hollywood’s attention. Marilyn signed a contract with Twentieth Century Fox and became the most recognizable face of Hollywood thanks to films like Men prefer blondes (1953), How to marry a millionaire (1953), and The Seven Year Itch (1955).
But behind the scenes, Marilyn was struggling. Insomnia, anxiety attacks and chronic fatigue are now part of his daily life. She battled these ailments with sleeping pills and stimulants, developing drug addiction in the process.
Things weren’t helped by Marilyn’s troubled relationships. Her marriage to baseball player Joe DiMaggio – which had involved physical abuse – was short-lived and Marilyn filed for divorce after just nine months. Marilyn’s marriage to writer Arthur Miller lasted longer, but the couple finally separated in January 1961.
Childless and lonely, Marilyn continued to depend on drugs and alcohol. She spent a lot of time alone, locked in her room, listening to music and refusing to eat. On August 4, 1962, Marilyn died of a drug overdose at the age of thirty-six.
Despite Marilyn’s mental health issues, people questioned the official verdict. Although it’s impossible to know for sure, some believe there was a miscommunication between Marilyn’s doctor and psychiatrist, resulting in a deadly combination of drugs. In other words, Marilyn’s death was an accidental murder, not a suicide.
Judy Garland’s mother was a horrible woman. Determined to make her daughter a success, she overworked Judy by dragging her to endless classes, auditions, and rehearsals. She even used highly addictive drugs to boost Judy’s energy levels.
In 1935, Judy was signed to MGM. Although she was eventually freed from her mother’s tyranny, the abuse did not stop. The studio continued to regulate Judy’s mood by feeding her a concoction of drugs, and they also kept her on a strict diet and used spies and informants to monitor her behavior. Worse still, producers and directors repeatedly tried to seduce Judy.
But despite all this, Judy’s abilities remained intact. No one could deny her talent, and she went on to star in one of the most beloved films of all time: The Wizard of Oz (1939). The film received critical acclaim and solidified Judy as a Hollywood legend.
However, the physical and mental well-being of the young actress was far from ideal. Anxiety attacks, insomnia and tension headaches have become commonplace. In 1950, MGM fired Judy, saying she was too mentally ill to perform.
Although Judy continued to perform and sing on stage and made a Hollywood comeback with A star is born (1954), his personal life shows no signs of improvement. She was always addicted to drugs and alcohol, which led to aggressive mood swings. Judy’s relationships also fell apart, and even her voice started to weaken at the end.
Two weeks after her forty-seventh birthday, Judy swallowed ten Seconal capsules in a London hotel bathroom, resulting in a fatal overdose.