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Carole Lombard in Supporting Roles: 3 Times Star Shined Without Being the Lead Actress

By    |   Wednesday, 13 May 2015 09:18 PM

Carole Lombard started in cinema before they had sound, and once sound was possible, she mainly took on leading lady roles, with only occasional supporting roles out of 80 films. Tragically, Lombard died in a plane crash when she was only 33 years old, and one could guess she would have added many more films to her roster had she not been taken so young.

Part of the reason that Lombard was so sought after as a leading lady was that she was one of the few actresses who made the transition smoothly into talkies. She also was married to two leading men, William Powell first and later Clark Gable, which put her firmly in the spotlight during her adult life.

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Here are three supporting roles when Lombard shined:



1. Griggs’ Sister, “Perfect Crime” (1921)

Lombard had a small role in this film, but it was her first time on screen and paved the way for a future in show business. Hollywood.com’s Jenna Girard said that “the part was small; the movie forgettable, but for the 12-year-old beauty, none of that mattered. Bessie (her mother) and Lombard resolved together that she would someday become a movie star.” This film is also the one and only time she used her real name, Jane Peters.

2. Pauline, “Safety in Numbers” (1930)

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This film was one of Lombard’s first talkies and proved she could hold her own splitting the screen with two other female actresses, Kathryn Crawford and Josephine Dunn. AbeBooks.com states, “The musical film depended on Rogers’ popularity, but it is Carole Lombard who proved to be the most adept at acting in the early talkie genre and, of course, it is she who would become the big star of the new medium.”

3. Alice O’Neil, “Fast and Loose” (1930)

This film was important for two reasons outside just Lombard’s portrayal of a downtrodden chorus girl who catches the eye of wealthy Bertie. The film’s posters mistakenly added an “e” to her name, and she reportedly exclaimed, “‘What the @#%! Let’s keep it ... I sorta like it.” Also, in traveling to New York to start filming “Fast and Loose,” Lombard stopped in her hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana – the one and only time she did so, according to the city's newspaper, the News Sentinel.

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Carole Lombard started in cinema before they had sound, and once sound was possible, she mainly took on leading lady roles, with only occasional supporting roles out of 80 films. Tragically, Lombard died in a plane crash when she was only 33 years old.
carole lombard, roles, actress, movies
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2015-18-13
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 09:18 PM
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