Classic Hollywood wasn't all bright lights and beautiful stars...
4. And About Those Pregnancies…
Judy Garland wasn’t the only female star who was made to have abortions. In fact, it seems like all of the most famous women in Hollywood were forced to give up their babies if they got pregnant without permission.
For many of the women, a pregnancy would violate morality clauses or other parts of their contract. If you were a sex symbol, you can’t have a baby because mothers aren’t sexy. If you were an ingénue, you couldn’t have a baby because you were meant to be a virgin. If you were a mother? Well, you weren’t in Hollywood.
You Can’t Have Them
The list of stars who were convinced (or forced) to end pregnancies is astoundingly long and the stories behind them are deeply disturbing. Jean Harlow, Tallulah Bankhead, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Dorothy Dandridge, and many more women were all put into the impossible situation of having a baby or outright losing their jobs.
Perhaps the most upsetting tale is that of Lana Turner who, upon getting pregnant in her late teens, was forced to have an abortion in a hotel room without any medication or anesthesia while her mother held her down. To make matters worse, the studio deducted the cost of the procedure ($500) from her paycheck.
5. Rock Hudson was Forced to Be Straight
Rock Hudson (born Roy Harold Scherer Jr.) was something like the Ryan Gosling or Liam Hemsworth of his day. He was signed by Warner Brothers in the late 1940s and first appeared on screen in the 1948 picture, Fighter Squadron. He was tall, dark, and devastatingly handsome which made him one of the most popular choices for a leading man in during the 1950s and 60s.
Although the studio system proper (the one that allowed the “Big Five” to oversee everything from pre-production to exhibition) was legally ended in the mid-1950s, the star system stuck around for a while longer. Warner Brothers worked hard to create a fantasy of masculinity for their female viewers in Rock Hudson, and although he was genuinely that charming and handsome, there was a bit of a problem in maintaining the image off-screen. See, Rock’s problem was that he was gay.