15 Facts That Show How Crazy Hollywood Used to Be

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Though things are certainly far from perfect in Hollywood today, things used to be a lot worse.

Actors and actresses were subjected to horrific treatment and conditions, all because they wanted to be famous.

Here are 15 facts that show just how messed up Old Hollywood was.

1. Live birds were thrown at Tippi Hedren during filming of “The Birds.”

Actress Tippi Hedren had to endure live birds being tied to her and thrown at her during the filming of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”

She revealed that doves, ravens and pigeons were thrown at her in her new memoir “Tippi.”

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2. Actors were forced to film in unsafe conditions, including near a nuclear testing facility.

The 1956 movie “The Conqueror” was filmed next to a nuclear weapons testing facility in Utah.

Many of the cast and crew later developed the same type of cancer, which killed 46 of them.

3. A silent film star’s fingers were blown off during an explosion.

Harold Lloyd was a prominent silent film star in the early 1900s.

He was posing for a publicity photo for an upcoming movie when a bomb that was supposed to be fake blew off his right thumb and forefinger.

4. Audrey Hepburn used a safety pin to separate her eyelashes.

If you’ve ever wondered how Audrey Hepburn got his signature glamorous look, you might be dismayed when you find out that she used a safety pin to separate each individual lash.


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5. Marlene Dietrich had her molars removed to accentuate her cheekbones.

Actress Marlene Dietrich famously had her molars removed so that her cheekbones would appear higher and more pronounced.

Talk about commitment to beauty!

6. Gay actors and actresses faced discrimination.

Being gay was looked down upon so much that actors and actresses would hide their sexuality behind fake “lavender marriages.”

7. Charlie Chaplin was known for sleeping with teenage girls.

Star Charlie Chaplin may have been popular on screen, but in his real life, he was kind of a creep.

He made a habit of sleeping with teenage girls.

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8. Sexual assault was swept under the rug.

It’s probably not surprising to learn that Old Hollywood didn’t’ take sexual assault very seriously, often sweeping it under the rug.

That’s exactly what happened with actress Patricia Douglas was sexually assaulted at a party by an MGM salesman.

9. Judy Garland was forced to stay slender with a horrific diet.

While filming “The Wizard of Oz,” actress Judy Garland was forced to take “pep pills,” sleeping pills and appetite suppressant pills.

She was also forced to follow a strict diet of chicken soup, cigarettes and black coffee.

10. A struggling actress died by suicide at the famous “Hollywood” sign.

Struggling actress Peg Entwistle climbed to the top of the “H” in the famous “Hollywood” sign and jumped to her death in 1932.

Photo Credit: Wikimeda Commons

11. Forced abortions were commonplace.

Forced might be a bit of a strong word, but actresses who accidentally became pregnant were certainly strongly encouraged to terminate their pregnancies if they wanted to stay in show biz.

12. Joan Crawford used boric acid to make her eyes sparkle.

Actress Joan Crawford reportedly kept her eyes sparkling on film by cleaning her eye with boric acid.


13.  Child stars were forced to sit on a block of ice if they misbehaved.

It was called the “black box,” according to Shirley Temple.

Photo Credit: Wikimeda Commons

14. Gene Kelly made Debbie Reynolds cry during “Singin’ in the Rain.”

Gene Kelly criticized his “Singin’ in the Rain” co-star Debbie Reynold’s dancing so much that she hid under a piano crying.

15. Child star Jackie Cooper was threatened so he would cry on camera.

Jackie Cooper’s director threatened to kill his dog so that the child star would cry on camera.

Know of an Old Hollywood legend or story that we missed? We want to hear from you.

Let us know what we left off this list in the comments!