Femme Fatales | Carole Lombard

The “Femme Fatale” segment on NoirWhale.com is designed to highlight the life and merits of exceptional film noir actresses. These women are the embodiment of the femme fatale archetype, and propel possibly the most recognizable and integral theme in the noir genre.

Femme Fatale Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard 1908-1942 (via ponponbunny.tumblr.com)

“Personally, I resent being tagged ‘glamour girl.’ It’s such an absurd, extravagant label. It implies so much that I’m not.”

Carole Lombard may seem an odd choice for our first femme fatale because of her heavy involvement in screwball comedies, a far-cry indeed from the musty darkness of the film noir cinema. Yet, her image has become iconic, and the fiery magnetism of her photos exude the femme fatale vitality. She was born Jane Alice Peters in Fort Wayne, Indiana on October 6th 1908. She made her film debut in Los Angeles at the age of 12, and rose to become the highest paid star in Hollywood by the late 1930′s (earning nearly $500,000 dollars per year). She is considered the “Queen of the Screwball Comedies” that were so popular during the Great Depression era.

“Platinum blonde, with a heart-shaped face, delicate, impish features and a figure made to be swathed in silver lamé.”

-Grahame Greene

She conducted a notorious affair with Clark Gable (while they were both still married), which eventually led to their own wedding in March of 1939. She died tragically in a plane crash on January 16th 1942. Said biographer Dina-Marie Kulzer in Carole Lombard: Lovable Madcap:

“When the US entered World War II at the end of 1941, Lombard traveled to her home state of Indiana for a war bond rally with her mother, Bess Peters, and Clark Gable’s press agent, Otto Winkler. After raising over $2 million in defense bonds, Lombard addressed her fans, saying: “Before I say goodbye to you all, come on and join me in a big cheer! V for Victory!” Lombard, anxious to return home to husband Clark Gable, wanted to take a plane instead of a train. Her mother and Winkler were both afraid of flying. They begged her to take the train. Lombard said they would flip a coin, heads the train, tails the plane. The coin came up tails.”

Some of her closest friends included: Alfred Hitchcock, Marion Davies, William Haines, Jean Harlow, Fred MacMurray, Cary Grant, Jack Benny, Jorge Negrete, William Powell, and Lucille Ball.

Femme Fatale Carole Lombard

(via doctormacro.com)

Femme Fatale Carole Lombard

(via cosmosonic.tumblr.com)

Femme Fatale Carole Lombard

(also via cosmosonic.tumblr.com)

Femme Fatale Carole Lombard

(via elleryqueen.tumblr.com)

Femme Fatale Carole Lombard

(via hollywoodglamouricons.tumblr.com)

Femme Fatale Carole Lombard

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Femme Fatale Carole Lombard Shirley Grey Virtue 1932

Carole Lombard and Shirley Grey, Virtue (1932) (via classicfilmheroines.tumblr.com)

Femme Fatale Carole Lombard Clark Gable

Carole Lombard and Clark Gable (via sylviascarlett.tumblr.com)

Film Noir Mr. and Mrs. Smith 1941 Carole Lombard Alfred Hitchcock

Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941) (via deforest.tumblr.com)

Her death at age 33 cut short a wonderful career and robbed the world of a beautiful femme fatale.

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7 Comments

Filed under Femme Fatales

7 responses to “Femme Fatales | Carole Lombard

  1. I really love those first two photos. Especially the one of her by the plane, very neat.

  2. Count M

    Outstanding collection of Lombard pictures – thank you for posting these

  3. Nice tribute to Carole, but just a clarification: Lombard was not married at the time of her affair with Gable. She had divorced William Powell (her first husband) in 1933, barely two years after they had married, but they remained on friendly terms up to her death. Lombard had made a film with Gable in 1932, but there was no romantic interest then; that didn’t ignite until early 1936.

    I run a site dedicated to Lombard, “Carole & Co.” (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com); we’ve been up nearly five years, with an entry virtually every day on Lombard, her life and times, and classic Hollywood in general. All of you are cordially invited.

    I should also note that plans are underway for a Lombard exhibit at The Hollywood Museum later this year, though it’s still in its embryonic stages.

  4. o, are you going to edit the inaccurate reference above to Carole being married at the time of her affair with CG? De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

  5. so, are you going to edit the inaccurate reference above to Carole being married at the time of her affair with CG? De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

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