No, don’t panic, I havent yet found the love of my life, that title is definitely a Jean Harlow moment. And despite my lookalike status, and at least one person thinking I’m Jean reincarnate, lets keep on safe ground for now.
On this day, in 1892, William Powell was born. Yes, thats right, the man who was the love of Jean’s life at the time of her death, the one who bought her that amazing sapphire ring, that Jean at least regarded as an engagement ring, and Powell never to our knowledge minded her thinking of it as that.
The funny thing is, long before they met, and became romantically involved with each other in Hollywood, they lived a mere few blocks apart in Kansas City, Powell’s family having moved close to where the Carpenter family would live, in 1907. There is no record of how much interest the 19 year old Powell took in the birth nearby of a baby, Harlean Carpenter, I suspect little, or none at that point. But in hindsight, its amusing to think how close they were, in one sense, even then.
History shows they never met until Hollywood, 20 years later, but given the age gap, at that point in her life, thats hardly surprising. He might have seen her in her pram, but never imagined what history would have in store. By the time they got together in the 1930’s, she’d been married 3 times, him twice! He was in fact to marry again, and this time around, it lasted 44 years! Would he and Jean have been married that long, who knows, but from all reports it does seem to have been a happy match. Of course, we were never to know.
Its said that Powell paid for the palatial resting place, where Jean has been since she died, and its known that it was built with 3 people in mind, Jean’s mother (who did end up there), and Powell, but of course, in history, he was buried elsewhere, with his 3rd wife, after he died in 1984. Is that space still free, hmm? Kidding, kidding!
As to Powell, and Jean, and the biographies, and films of her life made in the 1960’s, Powell lacked for kind words. To quote, ‘The only things they got right were her birth, her death, and the movies she made’, a pretty damning indictment, I would say.
So, on this day, lets spend a few moments to remember the love of Jean’s life, the one man that she was supposedly truly happy to be with. There are tales of an abortion, after getting pregnant by Powell, but no concrete evidence. The comment she made shortly before her death that she wanted to stop making films, and have children with him, suggest that the opportunity hadnt already arisen, but that may just have been a press thing?
Also, on this date, in 1905, Clara Bow was born, and in 1914, World War 1 officially broke out. 29th July, quite a day.
The video, what Powell and Harlow were, back in Kansas City.
This video just seems so right. Most of it is in black and white, the girl has a beauty spot, so all in all…
Rest in peace, William, Jean’s darling.