Even if you've never seen "North By Northwest" (and if not, why haven't you?), you know what that image is. It's the Mount Rushmore National memorial in the Black Hills of western South Dakota -- a carving of four noted American presidents...from left, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
The memorial has become an American icon and a major tourist atraction. The idea of choosing four and memorializing them has also become part of popular culture; I've seen the concept used in discussions on sports, music and so on.
In that vein, let's do a classic Hollywood Rushmore, one that deals specifically with actresses. Assuming Carole Lombard gets one of the four spots (and keep in mind this is a Lombard fan site, after all!), who are your other three selections?
You can base your choices on artistic achievement, historical impoctance, personal favorite, whatever -- this is your mountain, and you can carve it as you deem fit. My lone requirement is that the actress must have had a starring role before 1960. (So as much as I may love Goldie Hawn and Michelle Pfeiffer, they're not eligible to be carved onto my mountain.)
My three alongside Lombard are (in alphabetical order):
Jean Harlow: Say, aren't sex symbols supposed to seem threatening to other women? That's certainly not the case with Harlow, whose sheer likability draped her like one of those gowns she wore in "Dinner At Eight." And the offscreen Jean was every bit as genuine.and generous. It's no wonder the entire film community mourned her shockingly early passing.
Myrna Loy: She viewed the "men must marry Myrna" campaign with the same wry bemusement she frequently displayed on screen as "the perfect wife" (or companion). Yet she knew it was a big step up from her earlier stereotype of Asians and other one-dimensional ethnic roles. Loy's intelligence and integrity shone in just about every part she played.
Barbara Stanwyck: Funny how you often hear the term "actor's actor," but never "actress' actress" -- because if you did, Stanwyck's name would come up frequently. The lady defined versatility, from screwball to film noir, from biopics to straight dramas, from pre-Codes to westerns. Stanwyck could do it all -- and what's more, she did it for more than half a century. A consummate pro.
Okay, folks, start planning your mountain, with three companions for Carole.