What Makes a Star
Do you think of plastic surgery as a recent phenomenon? Think again. Even during the golden age of Hollywood, actors were having work done to jump-start or extend their careers. And word has it they include the following screen legends, some of the biggest stars of their day.
Doctors' records unearthed last year indicate that Marilyn Monroe had a cartilage chin implant. Inserted in 1950, it began to dissolve over time. Monroe is also believed to have undergone a rhinoplasty.
From a 1930 article in Photoplay Magazine: "'Flop ears' sent Rudy Valentino to the plastic surgeon. Before the operation, they stuck out like a mad elephant's. The surgeon pinned them back, and Rudy became the great sheik."
The '60s sex kitten underwent massive reconstructive surgery after she fell from a 22-foot stage scaffold during a 1972 performance. The fall resulted in a broken jaw, a concussion, a fractured left arm and five fractures of facial bones.
From a biography of the actor: "Lancaster revealed to the director [Bernardo Bertolucci] that so much work had been done on his face, his teeth, his body … that 'the most real thing on my face are my eyes.'"
Dietrich denied rumors that she'd had her molars pulled out to accentuate the hollows of her cheeks. According to another report, she had her nose narrowed.
The Duke, a paragon of Old Hollywood masculinity, is said to have had a neck lift, a face lift and upper eyelid surgery.
Late in her career, the actress known as the Love Goddess reportedly had a facelift. When she was just starting out, she endured extensive hairline electrolysis and dyed her dark locks red, a color that would become her signature.
The King of Cool allegedly underwent a rhinoplasty at 27, before he teamed up with Jerry Lewis, who would often joke with Martin about his "old nose."
In her early 60s, Turner reportedly took a photo of herself at 27 to a plastic surgeon, Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, and said, "This is what I want to look like."
One of the biggest stars of the '20s, Pickford is said to have had one of the earliest facelifts, which left her "unable to smile."
It's said that Cooper had a facelift to smooth out deep lines and eliminate a double chin. His daughter Maria broached the subject in 2001 when she told the Daily Mail: "The fantasy of Hollywood was that these are perfect, beautiful people who are perfect and beautiful always … and perfect people don't go and have plastic surgery, because they're perfect already."
After undergoing cosmetic surgery in 1953, the year of her MGM comeback, Crawford was quoted as saying, "The face and boobs are new, only the ass is the same."
According to fellow actress Mamie Van Doren, Swanson had "everything" done in preparation for he role as Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard." Swanson told Mike Wallace in 1957: "I think it's the male who has done this to the woman — made her self-conscious about a wrinkle here and there."
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