Paul Bern: The Life and Famous Death of the MGM Director and Husband of Harlow

Paul Bern: The Life and Famous Death of the MGM Director and Husband of Harlow

by E.J. Fleming


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Paul Bern, known throughout the movie business as “Hollywood’s Father Confessor,” earned a reputation for being a loyal and supportive friend and for becoming one of MGM’s most respected and creative directors. After his death, though, he was said to have grown so depressed and despondent over his own apparent sexual inadequacies that he committed suicide, and he would be denounced for attempting to rape his new bride Jean Harlow.
In this biography, the author uncovers startling new facts and argues that MGM knew the real story of Bern’s death—that an estranged, mentally ill common-law wife murdered him. MGM understood that the earlier spouse rendered Bern’s marriage to Harlow, its fastest-rising star, ambiguous if not bigamous, so the studio staged a suicide and embarked on a very public tarnishing of his memory. Included are 93 rare photos, many lost for decades, along with three appendices examining the handwriting on an alleged suicide note and Bern’s will and estate.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786439638
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 01/09/2009
Pages: 396
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

E.J. Fleming has been researching Hollywood for decades and has penned biographies of Carole Landis and Wallace Reid, among other books. He lives in the country in Connecticut.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface 1

1. Paul and Dorothy 3

2. The Movies 28

3. Hollywood 49

4. Director and Father 75

5. Paul and Irving 97

6. Sound 124

7. Garbo 146

8. Platinum Blonde 173

9. Red-Headed Women 202

10. Death and Disgrace 241

11. Who Killed Paul Bern? 284

Epilogue—Shadows 298

Appendix I: Handwriting Comparison 305

Appendix II: Paul Bern’s Will 306

Appendix III: Paul Bern’s Estate 309

Filmography 311

Chapter Notes 327

Bibliography 355

Index 365

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