Hello friends: As the Labor Day holiday draws near here in the U.S.A, we approach the aniversary of a couple of tragedies from the House of MGM, namely the death & scandal of Paul Bern & the 1936 death of Metro's wonder "boy" Irving Thalberg.
It was namely 78 years ago that Bern died from his own hand & created a scandal that is still controversial today. Many a lesser star would have been ruined by the fallout, & the fact that Jean survived & then florished proved positive that the public loved her & did not blame her or accuse her of his death. Thalberg, who we've previously mentioned, was one of the men on the scene that fateful morning, and played a large part in "damage control", i.e. trying to stem the fallout from the situation & protect their star, and their company (he was an MGM executive) from ruin. Handling the press & the police was probably the least MGM had to worry about. Jean was devastated and had to be sedated. It's still not clear if she had been in the house at the time of his death. At the time it was thought that she wasn't and showed up the next morning. But in Sam Marx's book (he was also an MGM honcho) he stated she was there, and was removed from the place for protection.
Remember, they wanted to remove her from the time & place of the death, so she would not be suspected, even in error.
I don't think she had anything to do with it. It was the last thing she or her career needed. And if the marriage didn't work out, she could have divorced him. I always wondered if that was the real reason for his suicide. Or if it was because he was a closet gay? Or just impotenet? Thankfully we'll never really know. I say that because to me, some things are private & really none of the public's business. I just believe Jean was innocent of any wrong doing in the matter.
The suicide note allegedly was forged & given to the authorities by none other than Louis B. Mayer himself, according to Marx's book.
A photocopy of this note was on ebay U.S.A with the Chicago "Tribune" watermark on it for sale this past week. The public is invited to bid--78 years later they still remember.
Miss JH herself grew & matured and left this sadness behind her. And went back to work---for retakes on Red Dust.
Just a sign of the resilience of this fine actress--who would also live just barely 5 more years.
Any thoughts at all out there of this tragic event? Scandal, nor the Code of Decency couldn't kill her. Only a Kidney ailment.
Let's hear, dear members, of your thoughts on this as the anniversary of it nears...