Hollywood 1960's

Barbara Loden (Dead Blondes Episode 12) by Karina Longworth

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Barbara Loden won a Tony Award for playing a character based on Marilyn Monroe in Arthur Miller’s After the Fall. Like Marilyn, Barbara was a beauty with no pedigree who fled a hopeless upbringing in search of the fulfillment of fame. Like Marilyn, Loden found some measure of security as the mistress (and eventual wife) of a powerful man, in Loden’s case Elia Kazan. But instead of satisfying her, her small taste of fame and her relationship with Kazan left Barbara Loden wanting more, which would lead her to write, direct and star in a groundbreaking independent movie of her own.

Author Arthur Miller, Barbara Loden and Jason Robards Jr.,  After the Fall, 1964

Author Arthur Miller, Barbara Loden and Jason Robards Jr.,  After the Fall, 1964

Barbara Loden and Elia Kazan, 1969

Barbara Loden and Elia Kazan, 1969

Barbara Loden, writer-director-star of  Wanda

Barbara Loden, writer-director-star of Wanda

Show notes:

Sources:

I wrote about the restoration of Wanda for the LA Weekly in 2011. Though I did additional research for this episode, I incorporated some text and research from that earlier piece here.

Other sources:

Elia Kazan, A Life by Elia Kazan

Suite for Barbara Loden by Nathalie Leger

Elia Kazan: The Cinema of an American Outsider by Brian Neve

The Mommie Dearest Diary: Carol Ann Tells All by Rutanya Alda

“Conversation on Wanda by Barbara Loden” by Marguerite Duras and Elia Kazan

“The Lonely Female Taxi Driver: Barbara Loden's Wanda” by Jacqueline Valencia

Barbara Loden clippings files, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Credits:

This episode was edited by Sam Dingman, and produced by Karina Longworth with the assistance of Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.

Jayne Mansfield (Dead Blondes Episode 9) by Karina Longworth

Mansfield, Jayne (Kiss Them for Me)_01.jpg

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More famous today for her gruesome car crash death than for any of the movies she made while alive, Jayne Mansfield was in some sense the most successful busty blonde hired by a studio as a Marilyn Monroe copy-cat. Mansfield’s satirical copy of Monroe’s act was so spot-on that it helped to hasten the end of the blonde bombshell, paradoxically endangering both actress’ careers. But she did manage to star in Hollywood’s first rock n’ roll movie, Hollywood’s first postmodern comedy, meet The Beatles, experiment with LSD, cheerfully align herself with Satanism for the photo op, and much more.

Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield, 1957

Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield, 1957

Jayne Mansfield in  The Girl Can't Help It  (1956) 

Jayne Mansfield in The Girl Can't Help It (1956) 

Anton Lavey and Jayne Mansfield, 1966

Anton Lavey and Jayne Mansfield, 1966

Marilyn Monroe: The End (Dead Blondes Episode 8) by Karina Longworth

Marilyn Monroe by Bert Stern, 1962

Marilyn Monroe by Bert Stern, 1962

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How did a star whose persona seemed to be all about childlike joy and eternally vibrant sexuality die, single and childless, at the age of 36? In fact, the circumstances of Marilyn Monroe’s death are confusing and disputed. In this episode we will explore the last five years of her life, including the demise of her relationship with Arthur Miller, the troubled making of The Misfits, and Marilyn’s aborted final film, and try to sort out the various facts and conspiracy theories surrounding her death.

Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot, 1959

Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot, 1959

Credits:

This episode was edited by Sam Dingman, and produced by Karina Longworth with the assistance of Lindsey D. Schoenholtz. Special guest appearance by Rian Johnson as John Huston. Our logo was designed by Teddy Blanks.