The portrait above may look somewhat artsy, but it was Carole Lombard's very lack of pretense (not in posing for photos, but in how she lived her life) that made her so popular during her lifetime -- and perhaps more fondly remembered today than so many of her equally talented contemporaries. And lest you think we're dealing in after-the-fact conjecture, kindly examine this piece Dorotny Manners wrote in the October 1934 issue of Modern Screen:
The comment, "Unlike Jean Harlow, her name has been on the front pages of the newspapers only during two periods of her life, her marriage and subsequent divorce from William Powell," makes it evident this went to press just before the bizarre death of Russ Columbo that Sept. 2. In fact, there's a full-page pic of Columbo elsewhere in the issue:
Manners notes other segments of the fanmag press tried to sensationalize Lombard, even though her conduct on and off screen belied such beliefs. Carole was herself amused to read she "had a vocabulary like a longshoreman," and while she admitted "I have a habit of being abruptly outspoken and not mincing my words," she added, "never in my life have I said anything for the purpose of embarrassing anyone, or for any 'effect' of being the most shocking woman in Hollywood."
Later, while discussing misconceptions about her relationship with Paramount, Lombard talks about the business of pictures, citing how perceptions of both Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable changed following the unexpected success of "It Happened One Night." (This interview occurred nearly a year and a half before Carole and Clark became romantically linked.)
Lombard ends the interview by saying, "I'm sorry if I've spoiled the Hollywood attempts to make an eccentric, or a sensationalist out of me by explaining all my problems in such a simple fashion. But fooling myself, or other people, has never been a talent of mine."
Manners then concludes the piece with, "How can you help but like her for it?" Indeed.
Lombard's latest film, "Now And Forever," received a B grade from Modern Screen:
In the "Good News" gossip section was this tidbit about an up-and-coming actress and her uncanny resemblance to Carole:
Here are some pics of Ann from about this time...whaddya think?
Perhaps the Lombard-like photo in question was from George Hurrell; it ran in the June 1934 issue of Shadoplay:
Modern Screen ran a story on makeup, and listed the daytime and nighttime preferences of 23 actresses of the day, Lombard among them:
Here's what was shown for Carole:
The issue had Janet Gaynor on the cover:
One of the articles was advice from four fortyish actresses on how to please the man in a mature woman's life:
Several films were advertised including MGM's "The Barretts Of Wimpole Street"...
...Paramount's "Belle Of The Nineties," with tiny Mae West casting a gigantic shadow...
...Leslie Howard and Kay Francis in "British Agent" from Warners...
...and the long-forgotten musical "Gift Of Gab" from Universal:
You can buy this issue, listed in very good condition, for $30. For more information, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/JANET-GAYNOR-Carole-Lombard-LESLIE-HOWARD-Ginger-Rogers-BARBARA-STANWYCK-Colbert-/121460896253?pt=Magazines&hash=item1c47a231fd.