Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Blonde Bombshell

Any spark of recognition mention of the name Katharine Brush might generate today certainly owes more to Jean Harlow's fame as an actress than to Katharine Brush's own fame as an author.

But an author she was, and a damn fine one at that.  Her wildly popular novel 
Red-Headed Woman was turned--almost instantaneously--into one of pre-code Hollywood's raciest, and most notorious pictures, one that helped catapult the 21-year-old Harlow to superstardom.

And while Katharine Brush outlived Harlow by fifteen years, the Blonde Bombshell's fame has proven far more durable, lasting far and long beyond the grave; Brush's, by contrast, was short-lived, and essentially died with her in 1952.
Jean Harlow with Chester Morris

Such, of course, is the nature of fame: writers seldom last as long as motion picture stars, and books generally do not attain classic status at the same rate as movies.

Though she later credited Harlow and her performance for making the picture the smash-hit that it was, Katharine Brush was, quite ironically, initially disappointed with MGM's choice of Harlow, who hadn't had that many big roles up to that time.  

And of course Harlow's hair was the wrong color...

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