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Source: Getty Images | unsplash.com/deeezyfree

Strict Rules Golden Age of Hollywood Stars Had to Follow Which Seem Odd These Days

Busayo Ogunjimi
Sep 13, 2021
10:00 A.M.
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Many A-listers have successfully achieved fame and fortune in Hollywood. It is often believed that their success is attributed to consistency. However, the Hollywood stars have had to deal with more than consistency.

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Rules and regulations are set up to maintain order in any society, organization, home, etc. While some are broken, others are subjected to change in due course, and Hollywood is not an exception.

 Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale in 'The Wizard of Oz', 1939, Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in 'Gone with the Wind', 1939 & Shirley Temple circa 1940 | | Sources: Getty Images

Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale in 'The Wizard of Oz', 1939, Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in 'Gone with the Wind', 1939 & Shirley Temple circa 1940 | | Sources: Getty Images

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Known for its glamour and glitz, Hollywood has produced many stars whose careers have spanned several decades. However, these A-listers have had to put up with strict and difficult rules. Below are some weird rules that governed old Hollywood.

ACTORS ACCEPTED ANY PART

In old Hollywood, actors were not allowed to refuse movie roles. Refusal was forbidden and always attracted consequences. Report had it that Warner Bros suspended Bette Davis for turning down parts.

Bette Davis in a promotional photo for the film, "All About Eve," circa 1950 | Photo: Getty Images

Bette Davis in a promotional photo for the film, "All About Eve," circa 1950 | Photo: Getty Images

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THEY SIGNED LONG-TERM CONTRACTS

During the Golden Age, film studios often signed superb talents for a four to seven years contract. While signed to the studio, actors and actresses were not allowed to move onto a new studio for new acting roles.

STARS TOOK ACTING AND VOICE CLASSES

In old Hollywood, upcoming actors and actresses who had signed contracts with major studios often took acting classes. These classes enabled the talents to improve their acting skills. In addition, stars were sometimes subjected to voice lessons.

Portrait of American actor William Holden circa 1965  | Photo:  Getty Images

Portrait of American actor William Holden circa 1965 | Photo: Getty Images

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Many are oblivious to how American actress Lauren Bacall developed her signature low, sultry voice. Bacall was first signed by movie director Howard Hawks and underwent a series of voice lessons.

WOMEN HAD TO STAY FIT

While present-day Hollywood allows for plus-size actors and actresses, the Golden Age forbade weight gain. Often, actors and actresses were given dietitians before studios heavily promoted their talents.

Marlene Dietrich at Stage and Screen Cinema Personalities circa 1930 | Photo: Getty Images

Marlene Dietrich at Stage and Screen Cinema Personalities circa 1930 | Photo: Getty Images

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NO FREEDOM IN CHOOSING A PARTNER

Nowadays, movie stars have the liberty of enjoying romantic relationships with their preferred partners. But in old Hollywood, studios often had a great role to play in choosing an actor or actress' love life. Several stars were forbidden to walk down the aisle with their partners if the studio disagreed with their choices.

ACTRESSES HAD TO UNDERGO ABORTIONS

Being a mother is often regarded as one of the most rewarding jobs. However, some Golden Age actresses had to choose between being a parent or continuing their acting career. Actresses who got pregnant had to undergo abortions to protect that studio's image.

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A portrait of Actress Jean Harlow circa 1920 | Photo: Getty Images

A portrait of Actress Jean Harlow circa 1920 | Photo: Getty Images

Over the years, sexism in Hollywood has been a topic that has kept many talking. Sadly, the actresses in the Golden Age were victims, as they either ended up being sex workers once they were inside the film colony.

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Apart from sexual abuse, old Hollywood experienced several deaths. In 1921, reports had it that comedian Roscoe Arbuckle allegedly abused actress Virginia Rappe at a party in a San Francisco hotel room.

American film actress Joan Crawford at the Oscars award ceremony in Hollywood on April 11, 1962 | Photo: Getty Images

American film actress Joan Crawford at the Oscars award ceremony in Hollywood on April 11, 1962 | Photo: Getty Images

After the incident, Rappe suffered a ruptured bladder and passed away. At the time, Arbuckle was overweight, and his excess weight had caused the actress' bladder to burst. The comedian was exonerated but remained blacklisted from Hollywood.

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