Jean Harlow and her mother

Jean Harlow (shown with her mother, Jean Bello, in 1932) was born Harlean Harlow Carpenter on March 3, 1911, in Kansas City, Mo. She eloped at age 16 with 20-year-old Charles "Chuck" McGrew, a wealthy socialite and heir, and in 1928, the couple moved to Los Angeles, where she was noticed by movie studio executives. When pressured by her overbearing mother, who dreamed of acting herself, Harlean began taking bit parts in silent films such as "Moran of the Marines" and "Chasing Husbands." She took the stage name Jean Harlow, her mother's maiden name, and lived out her mother's dream in front of the movie cameras. She blamed the demands of her early career for her troubled marriage, which ended in divorce in 1929, and moved in with her mother and new stepfather, Marino Bello, after the divorce.
R R Stuart Collection / Los Angeles Times file photo
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