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Classic Hollywood's Famous Couples

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Classic Hollywood Couples: Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford

Classic Hollywood Couples: Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford

Hollywood Couples Find Love on Screen and Off

There have been countless unforgettable romances portrayed on the big screen throughout Hollywood's history. Some of these romances continued off-screen as well. These were relationships that, at least for a time, withstood the pressures of celebrity and became legendary classic Hollywood couples.

Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford

Douglas Fairbanks fell in love with Mary Pickford during a Liberty Bond tour in 1916. They married in 1920 and lived together at Pickfair, their Hollywood mansion. They were considered Hollywood's first celebrity couple, drawing crowds in the 100,000s during their European honeymoon. In 1927, they were the first stars to place their hands and feet in the cement in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater. Pickford referred to Fairbanks as "A little boy who never grew up." They were divorced in 1936 after 16 years of marriage.

Douglas Fairbanks: 1883–1939

Mary Pickford: 1892–1979

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard first met in 1924 while on the set of Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ. They remained acquaintances until 1931 when they were officially introduced. They married in 1939, bought a 20-acre ranch in the San Fernando Valley and tried to live a simple life away from the Hollywood glamour. They nicknamed each other Ma and Pa.

Unfortunately, their romance was short-lived. Lombard died in an airplane crash in 1942. At her husband's request, Lombard was on a war bond tour when her plane went down. After drinking heavily for six months and an unsuccessful attempt at suicide, Gable enlisted in the army to honor her. Lombard's dog, a dachshund named Commissioner, wouldn't leave Gable's side after her death.

Clark Gable: 1901–1960

Carole Lombard: 1908–1942

Classic Hollywood Couples - Vivian Leigh and Laurence Olivier

Classic Hollywood Couples - Vivian Leigh and Laurence Olivier

Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier

Vivien Leigh fell in love with Laurence Olivier's Romeo in 1935. They starred together in Hamlet in 1937 and married in 1940. They portrayed lovers in three movies: Fire Over England, 21 Days and That Hamilton Woman. Their 20-year marriage ended in divorce in 1960. Leigh kept Olivier's photograph on her dressing table even after they divorced and was addressed as "Lady Olivier" until her death.

Laurence Olivier: 1907–1989

Vivien Leigh: 1913–1967

Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn

Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn

Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy worked together for the first time in 1942 on the film Woman of The Year. Over the next 25 years, they made eight more films together and carried on a clandestine romance. Because of his Catholic upbringing, Tracy never divorced his wife and was never able to openly express his feelings for Hepburn. He died a few weeks after their final movie together, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner. Hepburn didn't go to his funeral out of respect for his family. She also never watched the movie, because it was his last.

Spencer Tracy: 1900–1967

Katharine Hepburn: 1907–2003

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall met and fell in love on the set of To Have and Have Not in 1944. Bogart was 26 years older than the 19-year-old Bacall and was married to his third wife Mayo Methot at the time. While keeping their affair quiet, the two starred in The Big Sleep. In February of 1945, Bogart divorced his wife. A few months later, he married Bacall. They made two more movies together; Dark Passage in 1947 and Key Largo in 1948. In 1949 their first son was born, followed by another in 1952. By the mid-1950s Bogart's health started failing. He died in 1957 from cancer and the age of 57.

Humphrey Bogart: 1899–1957

Lauren Bacall: 1924–2014


Jazz on December 15, 2012:

Olivier and Leigh have to be number 1!!!!!!!!!

Sarah from Melbourne, Australia on November 24, 2010:

This is awesome, I really enjoyed it, thanks :)

Alfreta Sailor from Southern California on September 03, 2009:

I am so enjoying your hubs. I just ran across your hubs by accident, and I am glad I did. I am a fan.

lafenty (author) from California on August 15, 2009:

Thanks Rose and William for your comments. The old movies and their stars were definitely better than most of what we have today. They just seemed to have something that is missing these days.

William F Torpey from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on August 15, 2009:

I'm delighted to have found your Hollywood hubs, lafenty. These are not only classic Hollywood couples, but the top stars of the 1930's and '40's -- who just happen to be the best of the best for any time period. I've seen virtually every one of these stars and movies... mostly at or near the time they were made. I'm very glad that Bing Crosby (with Grace Kelly in the video) was not left out. He was not only a singer, but a top movie star. Your other Hollywood hubs are now at the top of my own list for viewing. I only wish these great films would be revived for viewing on today's big screens.

Rose Ella Morton from Beverly Hills, Michigan on August 15, 2009:

They were in an era when smoking was tough and beatiful. which cause a lot of their deaths. and rapidly aged the beatiful women. but I love to watch old movies. In fact most of them were aready dead before I saw their movies.

cgull8m from North Carolina on April 09, 2009:

I doubt we will see such long-term couples now, most of them are jealous of each other. The best were Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn.