The Truth About Jean Harlow's Death


"I've found everything I've never found before. And when it ends - as it probably must - well even then I won't feel that life has cheated me too much." ~ Jean Harlow in 1937

Jean Harlow's life came to a tragic end on June 7, 1937. The blonde superstar was just twenty-six years old. In her short life Jean had starred in more than forty films, married three husbands, and created hundreds of scandalous headlines. At the time of her death she was in an on-again off-again romance with actor William Powell. After she died wild rumors started spreading about what had really happened. Some people claimed Jean's hair bleach had killed her or that she died from a botched abortion. The truth was much more simple but just as tragic. When Jean was just fifteen years old she came down with Scarlet fever. She never fully recovered and the illness slowly weakened her over the next decade. In March 1937 Jean began work on the film Saratoga with he good friend Clark Gable.

Jean's final resting place at Forest Lawn

She complained that she wasn't feeling and missed several days of work to have her wisdom teeth removed. On May 29 William Powell took her home after she almost fainted on the set. Although her mother "Mama Jean" claimed to be a Christian Scientist several doctors were called to examine Jean. At first they thought she had gallbladder infection but it was soon clear that her kidneys were failing. She became very bloated and her breath smelled like urine. Jean was taken to Good Samaritan hospital on June 6 where she slipped into a coma. She died the next morning at 11:37AM.  Her official cause of death was kidney failure and a cerebral edema. William Powell paid $25,000 for a large crypt at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. The inscription on her grave reads simply "Our Baby".

                                                                                                William Powell at Jean's funeral