During the last century, dreaming of becoming a glamorous movie star has always been a dream millions of women around the world have- but are these dreams realistic, or fantasy-infused Cinderella stories gone bad?
After reading the tabloids and listening to the news media every day; we are unfortunately getting a real glimpse into the world of past iconic Hollywood sex symbols, such as Marilyn Monroe, Jane Mansfield, Clara Bow, and the British version of Marilyn Monroe: Norma Ann Sykes a.k.a. “Sabrina.” Since these ravishing curvy beauties have all passed on, more about their personal lives have surfaced in recent years. These women are only but a few of the thousands of celebrities who worked hard to reach stardom, but there is always a high price to pay for wanting to.capture the public’s attention and adoration.
I’m sure these beautiful women originally believed they would meet their Prince Charming and they would live happily ever after in La-La Land, but instead, were utterly disappointed to learn: fairytales can turn into nightmares.
This article will pertain to three famous starlets that had some mind-boggling, similarities with the magnificent glamor queen, Marilyn Monroe, along with a glimpse of their “behind the scene” realistic lives.
Clara Bow, Jayne Mansfield and “Sabrina” (Norma Ann Sykes)
Clara Bow, Jayne Mansfield, Norma Ann Sykes and of course, Marilyn Monroe will always be idolized for their talent, seductive curvy bodies and sublime facial features.Their makeup and clothing were meticulously selected to create a sex symbol starlet that the public would adore. Unfortunately, the facade was usually too much to handle, and these women turned to extravagant luxuries, liquor, or pills to cope with the pressures of stardom. They wanted to be what every woman wants to be, and what every man wants in a woman.
Born in 1905, Clara Bow was a vivacious young lady who came from the slums of Brooklyn. She rose to stardom during the silent-film, Flapper Era. She was the youngest of three siblings-and only siblings to survive an abusive home. Like Marilyn Monroe (birth name-Norma Jeane Mortenson), her mother suffered from several mental disorders.
Clara loved watching early movies where she escaped the chaos of her home and dropped out of school at 16-years old.after winning a talent-spotting contest. She persuaded a career of fame and fortune but instead found several rejections from talent agencies and studios. After much perseverance, she finally made her way to Hollywood and starred in numerous films throughout the ’20s.
During this time, the young actress also had to contend with the institutionalization and death of her mother, who had once tried to kill Clara. Contrary to all her successes in Hollywood, like Monroe, Bow was snubbed by the in-crowd for being herself, not fake. Although her films made Hollywood studios lots of money at the box office, the studio bosses tried relentlessly to manipulate her intelligence, calling her a dumbbell, or birdbrain.
Clara knew what meant to be a flapper “jazz baby,” but her life wasn’t always a party. She had romances with some men off-screen-and became the bulk of salacious tabloid gossip. Underneath all the fame, Clara held a feeling of tragedy. In reality, she was depressed and broken inside and suffered from mental (schizophrenia, like her mother), and health issues from her rigorous film industry career demands, along with Hollywood exploitation. She ended up having a nervous breakdown in 1931.
Unfortunately, both Marilyn Monroe and Clara Bow had attempted suicide during their careers. During the 1940s, her husband-Rex Bow-had decided to re-enter the public scene as a politician, an idea that hadn’t made her happy. (I get it!).
In 1965, Clara Bow-now living as a recluse died of a heart attack at age 60. By three years, she had outlived Marilyn Monroe- her successor- who ended up with Clara’s similar traits of pure innocence; sex appeal; vulnerability and intelligence. Nevertheless, they each ended up glum and bitter on the inside through most of their lives.
Some unknown notes about Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe (a.k.a Norma Jeane Mortenson) had been typecast as a “dumb blonde,” but in reality, she had a high IQ and was also a film producer. It’s utterly remarkable that Marilyn became an iconic movie star considering her mother “Gladys” had psychotic mental issues. Additionally, her grandparents on her mom’s side were placed in an insane asylum, and her uncle killed himself-Not a good start for a little girl.
Jayne Mansfield was born and 1933 and died in a horrific car accident in 1967 at the age of 34. Jayne had married and divorced three times. Her 2nd husband was Mickey Hargitay-who was Mr. Universe in 1955. (a great couple who accentuated each other.) Jayne was a “boobacious” blonde bombshell sex symbol, and actress during the 1950s and ’60s. She gained fame with her famous pin-ups and modeled for early Playboy magazines.
By no means was she a “dumb blond!” Jayne had a high IQ; could speak five different languages and could play the violin. When she was 3-years-old, Mansfield also endured childhood tragedy when her father died of a heart attack while driving the family car.
Her looks and sensual poses resembled Marilyn Monroe, who was not too pleased with the similarities. Another thing she had in common with Marilyn Monroe: Allegedly she had affairs with both Jack and Bobby Kennedy. Sadly, both Marilyn and Jayne ended up dead during the best years- in their 30s.
Norma Ann Sykes a.k.a. “Sabrina”
Norma Ann Sykes was born in 1936 in Stockport, England. Not only was her birth name Norma-like Marilyn’s; Sabrina- during her superstar- sex kitten years (during the ’50s)- was labeled “The British Marilyn Monroe.” Additionally, she had that cutie-pie voice like Marilyn. Sabrina had a dreamy lifestyle and was envied by millions across the world with a curvy figure measuring: 41-17-36! ( I had a 25″ waistline back in the day, and I thought that was tiny.)
When she was at the height of her acting and modeling career (during the 50s and ’60s); Norma received over 1000 letters a day from fans all over the world. (Believe it, or not-her breasts were insured at Lloyds of London for over £100,000-which is equivalent to over 2.9 million dollars today), but sadly, just like Jayne, Marilyn, and Norma, her Cinderella days were short-lived. She married a wealthy German doctor in 1967, but he divorced her after a brief marriage without her signing any papers.
In the ’80s, Sabrina ended up paralyzed from a botched medical procedure to help with back problems, which left her confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Since she was unable to care for herself, she moved in with her mother who lived in a small North Hollywood, Ca, house. After her mother died, she fell victim to a few male opportunists who took advantage of her. Sabrina’s last days were spent as a recluse; handicapped and addicted to pain-killers. It was stated by a close friend, that Sabrina became a hoarder of QVC promoted products, who lived in cramped, near-poverty conditions for years.
Her final film was “The Ice House” (1969) where she was asked to replace Jayne Mansfield who had died in a car accident, two years earlier.
Like Marilyn and Clara Bow, her personality was genuine. Bruce Cram, a caring friend, said about Sabrina “She wore her heart on her sleeve; nothing was held back,” Sabrina died in 2016 with Cram at her side.
Personally, after reading about the hardships these sex-kitten starlets had incurred during their lives, I have great respect for their resilience and perseverance.
Quote of the day:
“A 41-inch bust and a lot of perseverance will get you more than a cup of coffee… a lot more.”
Video of Jayne Mansfield’s Sunset Strip Pink Mansion with clips of her life-