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Lights, camera, romance! Five hot Hollywood couples

Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh

By Lucie M. Winborne, ReMIND Magazine

It gets hot under those studio lights … in more ways than one!
He was 44 and on wife No. 3. She was 19 and still at home with her mom. But within two years of meeting on the set of To Have and Have Not in 1943, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were pledging “I do.” And while director Howard Hawks notably disapproved of their budding relationship, Bogart knew this round was for keeps. “You are my last love,” he told Bacall in a letter. Their union lasted until his death from cancer in 1957.
Young, gorgeous and talented, Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis were one of Hollywood’s hottest couples of the ’50s, partying hard with Frank Sinatra’s “Rat Pack” and eventually making five films together, including a biopic of Harry Houdini. “If any couple is in love, they’ll have a happy marriage and no amount of gossip will ever break it up,” Leigh said in 1953. But as daughter Jamie Lee would later remark, “Show business does wreak havoc on personal lives.” Eleven years and two kids later, Curtis left for actress Christine Kaufmann.
He was a struggling actor seeking relief from the summer heat in an agent’s air-conditioned trailer when he laid eyes on another struggling actor named Joanne Woodward. But though Paul Newman was bowled over, the reaction wasn’t mutual. Besides, he was married and a father. Still, sparks started flying when they worked on the Broadway production of Picnic, and the obvious chemistry in 1958’s The Long, Hot Summer mirrored their real-life longing. Though opposites in many ways, that chemistry and the fact that, as Woodward remarked, “Paul and I were good friends before we were lovers … there was trust,” kept them together for 50 years until Newman’s death.
Clark Gable was already an established (and married) ladies’ man when he filmed No Man of Her Own with Carole Lombard in 1932, but Cupid didn’t strike until several years later, at a party where he and the now-divorced blond beauty danced together all night. During a break Gable had from shooting Gone With the Wind in 1939, the inseparable couple, who called each other “Ma” and “Pa,” finally wed, but their happiness was cut short on Jan. 16, 1942. Lombard, returning home from a tour to raise money for the U.S. military, boarded a flight that crashed on Nevada’s Potosi Mountain, killing all aboard. She was only 33.
They didn’t just play impassioned lovers onscreen; they became them. When filming on Cleopatra began, Elizabeth Taylor was already on husband No. 4 while Richard Burton, another inveterate ladies’ man, was still with wife Sybil. But the onscreen passion between “Antony and Cleopatra” made headlines around the world, even prompting a rebuke from the Vatican. The end of filming and their respective marriages merely marked the start of a sometimes torturous saga that included 11 years of wedlock and two divorces.
As they say … only in Hollywood.

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Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
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