Harlean Harlow Carpenter (March 3, 1911 – June 7, 1937) was an American film actress and sex symbol of the 1930s. She lived a complicated life, adored and dead by the age of 26, as a result of acute renal failure.
Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, she moved with her mother to Los Angeles as a child after her parents separated. At age five, she contracted meningitis and suffered from scarlet fever at age 15.
She started to pursue a career as an actress from an early age and in 1932 she was signed to MGM by Paul Bern, who bought her contract from maverick film producer Howard Hughes for $30,000.
In an acting career that lasted 10 short years, Jean made 36 movies. Interestingly enough, the now commonly used 'platinum blonde' expression was coined by Howard Hughes as a moniker to promote Harlow’s image.