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In 1937, while filming a romantic comedy, “Saratoga,” with Clark Gable, Harlow began to complain of fatigue, nausea and abdominal pain. Her doctor didn’t believe it was anything serious and, after her condition had first worsened, reports soon surfaced that Harlow began showing signs of improvement. Those reports would later be questioned by many including Gable who, during a visit, found her to be bloated and with a strong smell of urine on her breath – both known to be signs of kidney failure. On June 6, 1937, Harlow took a turn for the worse. She was admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, where she slipped into a coma. The following day, just before noon, she died at the age of 26 of cerebral edema, a complication of kidney failure. After Harlow’s death, rumors circulated that she had not received any medical treatment for her condition because Mama Jean, a devout Christian Scientist, would not permit it. While this story circulated for years, there was no hard evidence to support the allegation. Devastated by Harlow’s death, Powell purchased a $25,000 private mausoleum on the main terrace of Forest Lawn’s Great Mausoleum in Glendale, California to serve as her final resting place. Following an emotional service at Forest Lawn’s Wee Kirk O’ the Heather chapel, Harlow’s body was entombed in the Sanctuary of Benediction behind a European marble slab that simply reads: “Our Baby.”


There have been numerous books written about Jean Harlow. Among them are: • “The Jean Harlow Story” (Popular Library, 1964) by John (Harlow) Pascal • “Bombshell: The Life and Death of Jean Harlow” (Lightning Bug Press, 2000) by David Stenn • “Harlow in Hollywood: The Blonde Bombshell in the Glamour Capital, 1928-1937” (Angel City Press, 2011) by Darrell Rooney • “Platinum Girl: The Life and Legends of Jean Harlow” (Abbeville Press, 1991) by Eve Golden

Mark Hammermeister is an award-winning artist. His work is available for purchase at February 2015 LIFEAFTER50.COM 29

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