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Hard-Boiled HollywoodCrime and Punishment in Postwar Los Angeles$
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Jon Lewis

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520284319

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520284319.001.0001

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Hollywood’s Last Lonely Places

Hollywood’s Last Lonely Places

The Sad, Short Stories of Barbara Payton and Marilyn Monroe

(p.152) Chapter 4 Hollywood’s Last Lonely Places
Hard-Boiled Hollywood

Jon Lewis

University of California Press

Transition-era Hollywood began with the dead body of Elizabeth Short and ended with two more discarded young women, Barbara Payton and Marilyn Monroe, two more casualties found at the crossroads between a dreamed-of life in the sunny city of angels and the reality lived by so many naïve arrivals after the Second World War. Payton and Monroe were glamorous movie stars who began their careers at the very moment Short ended hers. The Black Dahlia murder maybe did not register much with them. Or maybe it did and they figured a shot at movie celebrity was worth the risk. Payton and Monroe believed they were going to be different. They believed in what men had for years been whispering in their ears: “you’re so pretty you should be in pictures.” They were (pretty that is)… and they did (appear in pictures). But movie-land success was for them a mixed blessing at best, their dreamed-of Hollywood celebrity hopelessly complicated by a new breed of industry middlemen, gangsters, and gossip, their lives cut short before their fortieth birthdays.

Keywords:   Marilyn Monroe, Barbara Payton, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Mobsters (gangsters), Movie stars, Hollywood scandals, Arthur Miller, Hedda Hopper, Louella Parsons, Gossip, Confidential Magazine

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