Friday, 18 February 2011

Style Icon IX: John Gilbert

Satuday's icon will be Valentino's greatest rival; the tragic John Gilbert, The Great Lover (1897-1936), seen here with sometime real life clinch, Greta Garbo, in A Woman of Affairs (1928):
Gilbert was an early silent film star and a best remembered early film is Monte Cristo (1922). Moving from Fox to MGM, he starred in The Merry Widow (1925) and La Boheme (1926) and it was in 1926 that he first starred with Greta Garbo in Flesh and The Devil. He would have counted her amongst his four wives but she failed to turn up to the ceremony and and an argument erupted; he decked Louis B Mayer, who then gradually destroyed his film career. However, Garbo and Gilbert continued to be paired on screen in Love (1927), and A Woman of Affairs. He did move into talkies but his career declined. He starred once more with Garbo, in Queen Christina (1933) but he was already in the grips of alcoholism and even an affair with Marlene Dietrich couldn't keep him alive. He died, aged 38, in 1936.

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