Skip to main content

Jean Harlow's Husband Commits Suicide...Or Does He?

Jean Harlow

Paul Bern was a writer/director and producer at MGM. He was not a great looking guy, but somehow he had caught the eye and heart of Jean Harlow. Harlow was one of the biggest sex symbols of her day, known as the blonde bombshell. But getting the girl that most if the men in America wanted to have did not bring Paul happiness. Harlow's family was demanding, and they put a strain on the marriage. Two months after the marriage Jean was spending the night with her mother and Paul Bern was found dead. He had apparently shot himself in the head.

Jean with 2nd husband Paul Bern

I say apparently because the police were not called in until after the studio fixers had been on the scene. A note was found that apologized for the frightful wrong he had done her and that this was the only way to wipe out his "abject humiliation".  It also said "You understand that last night was only a comedy".  His doctor said he knew the reason for Bern killing himself, but wouldn't say what it was. The MGM studio fixers said it because Paul was biologically unfit for marriage, in other words he had a ridiculously small penis. There were other rumors that he was gay.

Dorothy Millette

If he had some sort of sexual dysfunction, which almost everyone involved seemed to suggest (Jean refused to say anything at all on the subject, even at the coroner's inquiry) it didn't slow him down too much. Not only had he been having a fling with his secretary, but he was already married. It turned out that he had a common law marriage to Dorothy Millette. That marriage had been as tragic as his marriage to Harlow's, if not more. First, Bern's mother carried through on a threat to commit suicide over the relationship. Then Dorothy had some sort of illness, and went to a sanitarium. While she was there Bern moved to California and left her behind.

He continued to support her financially, and wrote to her regularly, but they were not together as man and wife even though they were still legally married. There are theories that Dorothy actually killed Bern and the studio covered it up to protect Harlow from scandal. I'm not sure being a bigamist who is murdered is more scandalous than committing suicide because you either have a little dick or you can't get it up, and her motive would be questionable. Bern had recently changed his will to leave everything to Harlow. Since he had been Dorothy's sole source of income, the moment he died she became destitute. The day after his death she threw herself off a boat and followed her husband into oblivion.

Harlow moved on with her life. She continued working in movies. She married again to Harold Rosson, but that was mostly to deflect from her scandalous affair with the married boxer Max Baer. Still, this sham marriage lasted 8 months, 4 times longer than her genuine marriage to Bern. She had a long relationship with William Powell, of Thin Man fame. He refused to marry her. Harlow suffered from some health issues, and fell ill while working on a movie in May of 1937. After getting misdiagnosed for several days, it was finally found that she was in the final stages of kidney failure. She was 26 years old when she died. She had been married 3 times, been one of the biggest stars in the world, even written a novel which was published after her death. She packed a lot of life into those 26 short years.


Popular posts from this blog

The Tragedy of Judith Barsi

This one may be shorter than the others, for the most tragic of reasons. The reason is that Judith Barsi didn't get to live long enough to have a long article detailing her life. She was born to Hungarian immigrants in 1978. Her mother, Maria, began grooming her for stardom at a young age. Her father, Joe, was said to treasure her, but he was also an alcoholic with a trigger temper. Her Hollywood story begins like one of the old myths. She was discovered at an ice skating rink where a commercial was being filmed. The people making the commercial were so taken with the 5 year old that they cast her in the commercial. She went on to do 72 commercials.  She also did t.v. shows like Cheers, St. Elsewhere, Punky Brewster and the  1985 version of The Twilight Zone . She also made a t.v. movie that proved to be sadly prophetic. It was the true story of a little girl who was was murdered by her father alongside her mother and sister. If your morbid curiosity has been aroused the title of t

Carol Landis Throws It All Away For Dr Doolittle

Carole Landis was a pin-up girl. Carole Landis was a movie star. Carole Landis was a very damaged young woman. She was born on January 1st 1919 as Frances Ridste. Her father split when she was young. Her mother married another man after that, who may have actually been Carole's biological father as her mother was having an affair with him. He also left when she was young. Being abandoned by two dads really did a number on her psyche. The sexual abuse she was said to have suffered at the hands of a family member surely didn't help. Frances was obsessed with movies and wanted to be a star. She changed her name to Carole after  Carole Lombard . She dropped out of school and went to work as a dancer and as a singer before heading off to Hollywood to become a star. She got a bit part in the original A Star Is Born, but her big break was in One Million B.C.  Her figure and skimpy costume shot her to stardom, just as would happen to Raquel Welch decades later when she starred in the r