Hi all. E.J. again.
The research and writing for my next book continues. It is a biography about Paul Bern, who was a famous MGM director in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s and close friend to Irving Thalberg and almost everyone in Hollywood. Everyone loved Paul Bern; he was kind of a mentzch who was kind to everyone, but Hollywood was still stunned when he and Jean Harlow announced in June of 1932 that they were getting married. They were even more shocked two months later when he was found dead in the house in Benedict Canyon that they shared. The listing in the Directory is at 9820 Easton Drive. What nobody outside of MGM knew was that Paul had a common-law wife – Dorothy Millette (actually Mellett, but the Millette spelling survives) – from a decade earlier who had been institutionalized since 1921. Her medical bills were paid for by Paul.
For reasons nobody understands, at about the time Paul and Jean announced their engagement, Dorothy “woke up” and began pestering Paul to meet. He finally relented and she came to visit him during the Labor Day weekend. The next day, she was gone and Paul was dead on the bathroom floor with a bullet in his brain. He had apparently been killed while undressing and drying after a dip in the pool. MGM knew that Paul being labeled a bigamist would have ruined Jean, so they arranged the scene to look like a suicide and directed the press coverage depicting Paul as a duplicitous scumbag who beat Jean. She knew the truth but could never say anything and to this day people still think he killed himself.
It’s a great story and should be done by the end of summer.
Thanks for visiting. If you have any questions for me please don’t hesitate to ask.