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16 Shocking Things You Never Knew About Old Hollywood Actors

Eartha Kitt had a threesome with James Dean and Paul Newman.

We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us their favorite facts about Old Hollywood celebs that are truly wild. Here are the jaw-dropping results.

1. Shirley Temple was such a talented child actor that there was a rumor she was actually a dwarf, so the Vatican literally sent someone to investigate.

20th Century Fox, Wikipedia / Public Domain /

This was a popular rumor in Europe, but "most of those fears were put to rest after the Vatican dispatched Father Silvio Massante to verify that she was indeed a child."


2. Eartha Kitt had a threesome with James Dean and Paul Newman., Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox

Goals, tbh.


3. A month before dying in a car accident from reckless driving, James Dean filmed a PSA urging young people to not speed and race on the highway.

4. Lucille Ball was told by drama and acting teachers that she didn't have enough talent to make it and should just "give up."


5. Hedy Lamarr helped develop a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes in the beginning of World War II. This technology basically led to the inventions of Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi.

Wikipedia / Public Domain /, MGM

This iconic badass was so much more than just an actress and the inspiration for Snow White and Cat Woman. If you want to learn more about her, I definitely suggest watching Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.


6. Audrey Hepburn survived starvation during the German invasion of Holland in World War II by eating tulip bulbs.

Wikipedia / Public Domain /,

This was also most likely the reason she stayed thin the rest of her life: “By the end of the war, she was very close to death. She survived by eating nettles and tulip bulbs and drinking water to fill her stomach. She was almost 5'6" and weighed 88 pounds. She had jaundice and edema. She suffered from anemia the rest of her life, possibly as a consequence."


7. Rock Hudson had affairs with both of his Giant co-stars: Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean.

Warner Bros.

The rumor was that Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson had a bet to see who could sleep with James Dean first, and apparently Rock won.


8. Rita Moreno had an on-and-off affair with Marlon Brando for eight years, and she later dated Elvis Presley, just to make Brando jealous.

United Artists, Warner Bros., MGM

9. Joan Crawford became a recluse toward the end of her life after seeing unflattering photos of herself and fellow actor Rosalind Russell at a party.

Warner Bros. / FX

“I couldn’t bear people saying, ‘Oh, look, she used to be Joan Crawford!’ I would rather stay in my home and answer my fan mail... I couldn’t control other people’s actions. I could only control my own, so I did the only thing I could do: I said, ‘Goodbye, world.’”


10. Lana Turner's abusive boyfriend was stabbed to death by her 14-year-old daughter, Cheryl Crane.

Wikipedia / Fair Use /, Wikipedia / Public Domain /

Turner's boyfriend, John Stompanato Jr., was a bodyguard and enforcer for a famous gangster. One night Crane heard him threaten to disfigure her mother: “I ran back upstairs, the door burst open and mother was there looking at me and John was coming toward me. I stepped through the door, and he literally ran into the knife.” The death was deemed "justifiable homicide," and Crane was released without trial.


11. Bobby Driscoll, the voice and model of Disney's Peter Pan, died penniless, unclaimed, and unidentified in an abandoned apartment building at the age of 31.

Wikipedia / Fair Use / / Disney

Driscoll was awarded a Juvenile Academy Award for his work in 1949. As a teen he was making over $50,000 a year but spent most of it on drugs. He died in New York in 1968 and was buried in an unmarked grave because no one claimed his body. It wasn't until over a year later that his mother (and everyone else) discovered what happened to him, thanks to a fingerprint match from the police station.


12. Elizabeth Taylor saved Montgomery Clift's life after he was in a car accident and began choking on two of his own teeth that were lodged in his throat.

Wikipedia / Public Domain /,

Actor Kevin McCarthy was driving in front of Clift when the accident happened, and he ran back and saw that “his face was torn away—a bloody pulp. I thought he was dead.”

Elizabeth Taylor retold the event in an interview, saying: "I pulled his head off the dashboard and the steering wheel, and I probably shouldn't have touched him, but his head was getting bigger and bigger. And by this time it was almost level with his delicate shoulders. And he opened his eyes and they were bright red, so the blue of them looked even bluer – he looked like an alien."


13. Katharine Hepburn was the maid of honor at Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier's wedding.

Wikipedia / Public Domain /, Wikipedia / Public Domain /, United Artists

Kate was one of four guests invited to the wedding. She was also responsible for driving Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier to their ceremony, but apparently they got lost while en route.


14. Greta Garbo was Adolf Hitler's favorite actress, and he'd often send her letters and invite her to visit him in Germany.

Wikipedia / Public Domain /, Wikipedia / Creative Commons / German Federal Archive /

15. Garbo also revealed to close friends that she would have killed Hitler if she had the chance: "If the war hadn't started when it did, I would have gone, and I would have taken a gun out of my purse and shot him."


She claimed she probably would have gotten away with it too, saying, "I'm the only person who would not have been searched."


16. And Audrey Hepburn sat next to Marlon Brando at a lunch event in 1955. She introduced herself, but he didn't say a single word to her. She went her whole life thinking he despised her. Forty years later, she was in the hospital and received a letter from Brando that revealed he was actually just awestruck.

Warner Bros. / Paramount Pictures

Hepburn's son said that Brando's letter expressed "how in awe of her he had felt and how speechless it had left him. For 40 years, she had thought that he had shunned her, when it wasn't that at all. He was just awestruck, just like she had been."


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An earlier version of this article included a story about Clara Blandick from The Wizard of Oz, which has since been removed to fit BuzzFeed's editorial standards.