Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller
Married for an astounding 61 years, Meara and Stiller had a popular comedy duo in the 1960s in which they played a bickering Irish Catholic and Jewish couple with nothing in common but love. That description accurately summed up the real twosome, who went their separate ways professionally in 1970 but remained side by side until Anne's death in 2015.
Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon
Both were southern born (Bebe in Dallas, Ben in Atlanta) and both were successful silent screen stars who transitioned to talkies. They married in 1930. Bebe retired from films in 1935 while Ben's acting career stayed strong until the 1940s. He became an executive at 20th Century Fox, where he discovered an ingénue he renamed Marilyn Monroe and signed to a contract. He and Bebe would move to London during World War II, where they would work for the BBC. They remained married until Bebe's death in 1971.
Bette Davis and Paul Henreid as Charlotte Vale and Jerry Durrance in Now Voyager (1942)
Perhaps the ultimate ugly duckling-turns-into-a-swan story, Davis is swept off her feet by Henreid, whom she meets on a cruise and embarks on a passionate affair with. But Henreid is married and father to a young teenage daughter who, like Davis, has been rejected by her mother and so the two go their separate ways. Henreid would start a romantic trend by lighting both his and Davis' cigarettes at the same time.
Carole Lombard and Clark Gable
The zany screwball actress and proclaimed King of Hollywood were the ultimate power couple of the 1930s and the stuff of fans' fairy tales. The two originally met on set in 1932 while filming the only movie in which they co-starred (No Man of Her Own) but sparks didn't truly fly until 1936. It would take three years and Gable's divorce before the two finally married in 1939. Two of the most popular and well paid stars in Hollywood, the Gables lived relatively modestly and were happiest on their ranch in Encino, among their horses, chickens, cats and dogs. A tragic airplane crash in January of 1942 that claimed Carole, along with her mother and Gable's publicist Otto Winkler, devastated Clark who, despite remarrying twice more, reportedly never stopped loving Lombard. When Gable died in 1960, he was interred next to his beloved Carole.
Oona O'Neill and Charlie Chaplin
Oona, the daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill, was introduced to Chaplin, a performing genius and known womanizer, under consideration for a film role. The movie part never materialized but the 18 year old and 54 year old fell in love and married, which created a scandal. Despite the naysayers and Chaplin's three previous marriages and divorces, he and Oona had eight children together and remained happily married until Charlie's death in 1977. When Oona died in 1991, she was buried next to Chaplin.
Clara Bow and Rex Bell
The "It Girl" and Western star married in 1931 and two years later, bought a ranch and moved to Nevada. While Clara was the bigger draw of the two - - she was receiving 45,000 fan letters a month in 1929 - she seemed happy to settle into life as a rancher, while Rex continued making Westerns, and then a politician's wife when he become Lieutenant Governor. The couple became parents to two sons and remained married until Rex's death in 1962. When Clara died in 1965, she was interred next to Rex in California.
Joan Crawford and Clark Gable
When MGM cast Gable in a small part in Dance, Fools, Dance, a Crawford film, the electricity the two generated couldn't be denied. By the time they appeared in Possessed in 1931, pictured above, both were massive stars on equal footing and were in the midst of a torrid affair. While the romantic aspect of their relationship flamed out, their friendship did not and neither did their wonderful chemistry on film. They would appear in a total of six films together, leaving the audience happy and wishing for more, and remained loyal to each other until Clark's death in 1960.
Doris Day and Rock Hudson
Rock was a Hollywood heartthrob and Academy Award nominated actor and Doris a popular singer turned actress when they were first teamed together in Pillow Talk in 1959. The film's immense commercial and critical success led to two other "bedroom" comedies - Lover Come Back (1961) and Send Me No Flowers (1964). While the follow up films were not as successful as their freshman outing, they helped to cement the image of Day and Hudson as the quintessentially sweet, all American couple.
Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve as Elise McKenna and Richard Collier
in Somewhere in Time (1980)
The film, based on a book by Richard Matheson, about a play wright (Reeve) who travels through time, nearly 70 years in the past, to meet an actress (Seymour) he has obsessed over after seeing her portrait, is a film for the true romantic. Aided by a haunting and beautiful soundtrack, gorgeous costumes and filming locations, the movie is sold by the touching chemistry between the equally stunning leads. Considered a bomb upon its initial release, thanks to a wider viewing audience via cable and home video, as well as devout fans, it's since become a classic.
Greta Garbo and John Gilbert
The MGM duo first heated up movie screens in 1926, when they costarred in Flesh and the Devil. Gilbert was already a prolific and established star, while Garbo was a relative unknown. Their onscreen attraction carried off screen, driving the fans (and their studio bosses) mad. The two moved in together; he was reportedly crazy for the notoriously fickle Garbo and wanted to marry her. She turned down his proposals numerous times before finally agreeing to marry him and then broke his heart by leaving him standing at the altar. After Jack's career faltered with the death of silent films and his declining health, Greta insisted on him being cast as her leading man in Queen Christina in 1933. That film would be their fourth, and final, appearance together. Jack died in 1936. Garbo never married.
Gloria Hatrick McLean and James Stewart
One of Hollywood's most well respected and popular actors, Jimmy was also one of its most eligible bachelors. When he met Gloria Hatrick McLean, a former model and divorcee with two young children, he was ready to take himself off the market. After their marriage in 1949, Jimmy adopted Gloria's two sons from her previous marriage, and the Stewarts went on to have twin daughters. They had an amazingly normal home and family life, active in philanthropy, travel and sports, with Jimmy continuing to make film and television appearances and rising ranks in the Air Force, where he eventually became Brigadier General. He and Gloria remained happily married for nearly 45 years, until she died in 1994. Three years later, Jimmy joined her, after suffering a pulmonary embolism. Before he slipped away, he told his family "I'm going to be with Gloria now."
Veronique Passsani and Gregory Peck
Veronique was a French journalist in 1953 when she interviewed Gregory before he left for Italy to film Roman Holiday. Six months later, he asked her to lunch and the they were soon inseparable. They married in 1956 and had two children together. They were respected in Los Angeles for their charitable endeavors, notably The American Cancer Society, and patronage of the arts. After Peck's death in 2003, Veronique took control of The Gregory Peck Reading Series, a charitable organization that raises money on behalf of the Los Angeles Public Library. She died in 2012 and was entombed next to her husband.
Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy
Katharine Hepburn was never conventional, an early feminist who wore trousers, bristled against the stereotypical role of women and aggressively shunned the Hollywood publicity machine. Conventional is certainly not the word to describe the fiercely independent actress' 26 year relationship with Spencer Tracy. It was on the set of Woman of the Year in 1941 that she met Spence, the man whom she would devote a great portion of her life to. She initially told him he was too short for her; he retorted by telling her that he would soon cut her down to size. Their real life banter would translate marvelously to the reel. Tracy had been married to his wife Louise for almost 20 years at the time he met Hepburn. He was an avowed Catholic but engaged in affairs with Loretta Young, Joan Crawford and Ingrid Bergman, among others. With Kate, he had met his match, both personally and professionally. While he and Louise remained legally married until his death, once he had begun his relationship with Hepburn, he left the family home and did not return other than to visit. This arrangement, with Spence legally married to Louise but in a relatively committed relationship with Kate, seemed to suit both Mrs. Tracy and Ms. Hepburn. In order to protect Tracy's family and the reputations of two of MGM's biggest stars, the couple's relationship was carefully shielded from the public. Kate and Spence never lived together until the final years of his life, when they shared a cottage on George Cukor's estate in Beverly Hills. The couple seemed to temper each other out - - Kate could have a calming effect on the sometimes depressive, anxiety-ridden and alcoholic Tracy; he could cause the normally strong willed and almost arrogate Hepburn to nurse and cater to him. For 26 years, their partnership would work. Seventeen days after filming his final scene in his last movie - - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, alongside Hepburn - - Spence died. Out of respect for Louise Tracy, Kate did not attend his funeral. When she won an Academy Award for her portrayal in her ninth and final film with Tracy, she stated she felt that she won for both of them. She would never publicly acknowledge her relationship with Tracy, until Louise died in 1983. Kate said her 26 years with Spence was "absolute bliss," but she claimed to have no idea what he felt for her. She died in 2003 at the age of 96.
Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman
This may be the celebrity relationship to which all others are measured. When Paul Newman first met Joanne Woodward in 1953, he was starring in a Broadway production of Picnic and she was an understudy. She thought he was just another pretty face; he was charmed by the Georgia native. He later said he was intrigued by her modern and independent nature, which contrasted to his generally shy and conservative personality. Since he was then married to someone else, he and Joanne became friends and kept in touch until 1957, when they made The Long Hot Summer. Their chemistry and attraction couldn't be denied and following his divorce, the two married in Las Vegas in 1958. The two settled down in Connecticut, raising a family and continuing to make films (his, hers and theirs.) They also became involved in charitable endeavors, notably Newman's Own Foundation, which has collected nearly $500 million for charities to date. They admitted they weren't perfect and their union was turbulent at times but they persevered. They celebrated 50 years of marriage at the time of Paul's death in 2008. He famously said "People stay married because they want to," and "I have steak at home, why should I go out for hamburger?" while Joanne attributed their lengthy and successful marriage to the fact that Paul made her laugh every day.
Myrna Loy and William Powell
The movie pairing of Loy and Powell was cinematic gold. While they appeared in many pictures together (14 all told), they were best known for their Thin Man series, in which they appeared as loving, bickering and playful detectives Nick and Nora Charles. So convincing were they as an onscreen couple, many fans believed them to be married in real life. They were never romantically involved but enjoyed a true friendship that endured for decades. Bill later said "Even my best friends never fail to tell me that the smartest thing I ever did was to marry Myrna Loy on the screen," and "We weren't acting. We were just two people in perfect harmony." For her part, about Bill, Myrna said "I never enjoyed work more than with Bill. He was a brilliant actor, a delightful companion, a great friend, and, above all, a true gentleman."
Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio
The real life pairing of the beauty and the ballplayer was tabloid heaven, at least for the brief time they were paired. Marilyn was already a star when she met Joe, then retired from baseball, in 1952. She reportedly did not want to meet him, believing he was a stereotypical arrogant athlete. The two would marry in 1954 but did not get their happy ending. DiMaggio, a devout Roman Catholic, did not approve of her fondness for nudity nor her sex bomb image. They filed for divorce less than a year into the marriage. However, after their split, Joe underwent therapy, ceased drinking alcohol and expanded his life outside of the baseball world. He and Monroe became friends, even reading poetry together. His loyalty and devotion to her continued even after her death in 1962. He claimed her body, arranged for her funeral and burial and kept certain members of Hollywood's elite, as well as the Kennedys, away from the proceedings. He had a half dozen red roses delivered to her crypt three times a week for 20 years. He never spoke publicly about Marilyn or their relationship and he never remarried.
Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks
Little Mary and Doug were Hollywood's first golden couple, successful onscreen and off. They met at a party in 1916 but had to keep their romance under wraps, as both were married to others. "America's Sweetheart" and "Everybody's Hero" finally married in 1920 and moved into a residence that would encapsulate the golden era of their careers and life together -- Pickfair. So popular were the couple that riots ensued in Europe during their honeymoon, with fans desperate to see them. Their marriage only seemed to increase their popularity, something that would eventually prove to strain their union to the breaking point. In the meantime, they had founded United Artists with Charlie Chaplin and director D.W. Griffith the year before their marriage and, in 1921, The Motion Picture Relief Fund. In 1927, Pickford and Fairbanks were the first to place their handprints and footprints in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theater. Public scrutiny, as well as little time to spend together given their hectic acting and producing schedules, and wandering hearts, led the pair to divorce in 1933. Doug died from a heart attack in 1936. Mary continued to reside at Pickfair until her own death in 1979.
Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg
Norma and Irving met at work - - MGM, more specifically, where he was a producer dubbed "The Boy Genius" and she was an up and coming actress. He was a hard worker and she was tough and ambitious - - both were attracted to these qualities in the other. Some critics felt their 1927 marriage was a career move for Norma but she was already on her way to success by that point. She did have to convince her husband that she was sexy enough to portray Jerry in The Divorcee (via a series of Hurrell portraits); her performance won her an Academy Award. Whether it was because of his backing and protection, or in spite of it, she went on to become the First Lady of MGM. Irving was Louis B. Mayer's right hand man and given great respect in the industry. He had suffered with a heart ailment since childhood and it was Norma that would care for him when he fell ill. He died unexpectedly in 1936 at the age of 37. Norma had "My Sweetheart Forever" inscribed on his grave marker. It was said that everyone who worked with Thalberg, loved him.
Norma Shearer and Martin Arrouge
After her first husband, Irving Thalberg, died in 1936, Norma devoted herself to work and dated the occasional actor, like James Stewart and George Raft. In 1938, she met Martin Arrouge when he taught her and her two children to ski. In 1942, the same year she retired from movies, she and Martin married. She remained active in the Hollywood social scene; he was a Navy aviator during World War II and then became a real estate developer. Despite marrying a man 11 years her junior and outside the industry, the Shearer-Arrouge marriage stuck. They were married until Norma's death in 1983. Martin arranged for Norma to be laid to rest next to her first husband, Irving, as "Norma Arrouge."
Olivia de Havilland and Errol Flynn
One of filmdom's most notorious drinkers and womanizers coupled with a good girl possessing an unblemished reputation seemed like an odd pairing but de Havilland and Flynn sizzled onscreen. From their first appearance together, in 1935's Captain Blood, the two fell in love, on set and off. However, Errol was married and Olivia had no desire to become involved with a married man. Although the two would remain attracted to one another until Flynn's death in 1959, and despite rumors throughout the years, their relationship was never consummated. They would make eight films together.
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta as Sandy Olsson and Danny Zuko in Grease (1978)
The success of the Broadway musical almost surely guaranteed the success of the film version but without Newton-John and Travolta in the lead roles, Grease simply wouldn't have been the same. Olivia, with her blue eyes and blonde hair, was a perfect Sandy; John, with his bad boy good looks, nailed Danny. Together, with their singing and dancing ability, they were screen magic. As Olivia later recounted, John encouraged her to take the part, was helpful to the-then inexperienced actress and the two became great friends. The duo was reunited onscreen in 1983's Two of a Kind but that film came nowhere near the brilliance of Grease.
Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring
Celebrated men's hairstylist Jay met beautiful up and coming actress Sharon in November of 1964 at a party and the two were almost immediately inseparable. By all accounts, he treated her with class and respect and was deeply in love with her. He wanted marriage but she wasn't sure. The romance ended in 1966 when Sharon fell in love with Roman Polanski, but Jay continued not only his friendship with Sharon but became good friends with Roman. Sharon and Jay's deep and loving friendship would endure until their deaths in 1969. The two died side by side with his last act in defense of her. During their romance, Sharon had gifted Jay with her high school ring. He was still wearing it around his neck when he died.
Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor
The two actors met on a blind date in 1936, shortly before filming His Brother's Wife, and soon had adjoining properties together in Los Angeles, a nice front for their (then unacceptable) cohabitation. Taylor's previous engagement had been scuttled by MGM but the studio could hardly object to their leading man marrying Stanwyck after the couple was exposed as one of "Hollywood's unmarried couples" by Photoplay magazine in 1939. There has been much debate over the true nature of the Stanwyck-Taylor union, with some saying their relationship was more mentor-student and Taylor using Stanwyck to get ahead but Barbara was and is generally regarded as being more committed than Bob. The two divorced in 1951 but remained friends. Bob remarried the following year and died in 1969. Barbara, citing Taylor as the love of her life, never remarried and died in 1990.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
1963's Cleopatra became one for the record books, not only due to its leading lady's then record breaking $1 million salary (as well as an additional 10% of the profits) but also for the scandalous extramarital affair going on between said leading lady and her leading man. As both Liz and Dick were married to others, they were condemned by the Vatican and U.S. Congress was besieged with calls from persons who wanted them banned from re-entering the country. Both obtained divorces and married in 1964, leading to an iconic and tumultuous decade of excess. They divorced in 1974, reunited and remarried in 1975 and divorced again in 1976. They starred in 11 films together and led the brigade in having their private lives become public fodder. Burton died in 1984; Liz reportedly fainted at hearing the news. Before her own death in 2011, she is to have said "Richard is the only one I truly loved."
Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift
Liz Taylor married many times in her life but the one man she could absolutely trust was a man she never had a romantic relationship with. While Clift cared little for appearances, famously owning one suit, driving around town in a 10 year old car and maintaining a $10 a month apartment, Taylor loved the finer things in life, including jewels and furs. His private life was dull, with no desire for public appearances. She ate up the spotlight and attention. Yet these opposites attracted on the set of A Place in the Sun and forged a friendship that would endure. Both were stunningly gorgeous and emotionally fragile people. Taylor was addicted to love, Clift was hiding his sexuality. Midway through the filming of their second picture together, Raintree County, Clift crashed his car into a telephone pole down the street from Taylor's house, following a party. It was Taylor that saved his life, by pulling broken teeth that were choking him from his throat. When photographs arrived on the scene, Liz told them if they took any pictures of Monty - - whose face was mangled in the wreck - - she would see they never worked again. The threat worked. No picture has ever surfaced. Monty's face was reconstructed but the alcohol and painkillers would eventually do him in, with the final decline in 1966. In 1991, Taylor would say that she and Clift had "the ideal relationship" and "ideal friendship."
Diana Lewis and William Powell
By 1939, Bill had been divorced twice, lost his girlfriend Jean Harlow to illness and himself had been diagnosed with and beaten cancer. MGM wanted to do a photo shoot by the pool at his home and sent over contract players to model. One of them was Diana Lewis. Diana had grown up in vaudeville but had no desire to become a big star, unlike Harlow or Powell's second wife, Carole Lombard. Despite the 27 year age difference, and only dating for 3 weeks, the 47 year old Bill and 21 year old Diana married in 1940. Friends may have been skeptical but it turned out to be the real thing. Diana, nicknamed Mousie, retired from acting in 1943 and Bill retired in 1955. They moved to Palm Springs, where they would become supporters of the LPGA. They remained married for 44 years, until Bill's death in 1984. In 1986, the LPGA created The William and Mousie Powell Award, so named in the couple's honor. Diana died in 1997 and was buried alongside Bill in Cathedral City.
Norma Shearer and Robert Montgomery
From the time the two stars made their first film together (Their Own Desire in 1929, pictured above), they had mad chemistry. While Montgomery didn't always get the girl, he did get the laughs. In Private Lives, one of their best together, he got both.
Joan Crawford and William Haines
Haines is little known today, at least for acting, but when the newly christened Joan Crawford first arrived on the MGM lot in 1925, Billy was one of the studio's biggest stars. The two became firm friends while filming Sally, Irene and Mary together, with Haines nicknaming her "Cranberry" when she bemoaned her stage name. Crawford and Haines reunited in 1927 for Spring Fever, a successful film that elevated Haines' popularity, and West Point. In 1929, both appeared in The Duke Steps Out and The Hollywood Revue of 1929 and both successfully made the transition to talkies. However, the clock on Haines' film career was running out. Billy was gay and unlike other homosexual stars of the time, refused to enter into a sham, or lavender, marriage. When he was arrested in 1933, along with a sailor he had picked up, he was fired by the studio he had made millions for. Joan refused to abandon her friend, and stood by Billy and his partner, Jimmie Shields. Joan would be one of their first clients, as they started an interior design and antique business. Throughout her four marriages, affairs and lengthy film career, Joan never wavered in her loyalty to Billy, right up until his death in 1973.
Gracie Allen and George Burns
Meeting at a vaudeville theater in 1922, the duo teamed up for a comedy act, created by Burns, where he was the straight man to Allen's comedienne. Gracie was engaged to another man at the time but was soon won over by George. They married in 1926, a time when an interfaith marriage was daring. Always dependable as entertainers, George wrote the comedy scripts they would use on stage, radio and screen, although he rarely got credit. They performed on radio from 1932, when they were featured performers, until 1950; in 1950, they transitioned their show to television. The show was an immediate success, with 291 episodes that ran until 1958. Gracie retired in 1958, devoting herself to gardening and being a housewife. She had a major heart attack in 1961 and died in 1964. George would continue to live in the house they shared until his own death at 100, in 1996. Before his death, he remarked that he looked forward to seeing Gracie again. They were interred together, with the inscription "Together Again." Gracie's name was listed first so that, as George said, she could have top billing.
Jean Harlow and William Powell
By the time Harlow and Powell filmed Libeled Lady, their second movie together, in 1936, the two had been an off-screen couple for 2 years and the fan magazines couldn't get enough of them. Powell, it was said, was reluctant to marry another young blonde actress (his previous wife was Carole Lombard) while Harlow pined to marry the man she called "Poppy." She reportedly wanted children while he did not (he already had a son from his first marriage.) He last saw Jean on Sunday, June 6, 1937, visiting her while she was suffering with what was thought to be the flu. She claimed she couldn't see him properly and couldn't tell how many fingers he held up. She died in the hospital on Monday, June 7. Devastated, Bill paid for her funeral and the beautiful marble crypt in which she was interred at Forest Lawn. Jean was buried wearing her Libeled Lady gown, with a gardenia in her hand, and a note from Powell which read "Goodnight, my dearest darling."
Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney
America fell in love with all American teens Judy and Mickey, who may have been among MGM's youngest stars, but were certainly two of its most profitable as well. They first met in 1933 and costarred in 10 films altogether, striking gold with Babes in Arms, Babes on Broadway and their Andy Hardy series. Bonded by a shared early stardom, Mickey would say about Judy: "She was my sister from the beginning, the sister I never had."
Jean Harlow and Clark Gable
The wisecracking Harlow and smooth Gable were frequent co-stars at MGM, lighting up the screen with Red Dust, Wife Versus Secretary and Hold Your Man, among others. Close friends, Gable nicknamed the bombshell "Sis." Her final picture, Saratoga, would co-star Gable, who was reportedly the last Hollywood friend, outside of William Powell, to see Jean alive, shortly before she died. Only weeks before her death, Clark and Carole had double-dated with Jean and Bill Powell (Carole's ex husband) to the Academy Awards. The public spectacle of Jean's funeral led Carole to ask Clark to prevent her own service a like fate. When Carole died in 1942, he followed her wishes. William Powell was one of the small group invited to Carole's service.
Jimmie Shields (on left) and William Haines
Haines was a wildly popular and appealing actor at MGM when he met James "Jimmie" Shields in New York during a publicity trip. Some say Jimmie was down on his luck, perhaps even prostituting himself, but it didn't matter to Billy. He fell in love and brought Jimmie back to Hollywood with him. It was 1926 and being outwardly gay was not acceptable but Haines was never one to live a lie. The Shields-Haines relationship was very well known within Hollywood, both men very well liked and treated as any other couple around town. When Haines was forced by Louis B. Mayer to choose between his career or Jimmie, Billy chose the latter and effectively turned his back on acting. He would make several smaller pictures following his dismissal by MGM, and offered a role in Sunset Boulevard in 1950 (he turned it down), but found his true calling in interior design. He and Jimmie ran a successful interior design and antique business for nearly four decades, counting Joan Crawford, Carole Lombard, Gloria Swanson, and Ronald and Nancy Reagan among just a few of their notable clients. Billy's death in 1973 left Jimmie bereft; he would take his own life just months later. Joan Crawford, who shared a friendship with Billy for nearly 50 years, said of his relationship with Jimmie: "They had the happiest marriage in Hollywood." Jimmie and Billy are buried side by side in Santa Monica.