Hair color and style can make or break an actor’s career. Classic Hollywood movie stars were under a spotlight in more ways than one. Being the right look can catapult an actor into a movie star overnight.
Looks that make female actors famous
Many people know that Rita Hayworth famously colored her hair red and went through painful treatment to raise her hairline at the direction of the studio… all so she would have the right “look”. Hayworth also tried out blonde hair for a movie under the care and direction of studio hairstylist Helen Hunt, whom I personally worship.
I worked with a hairstylist from LA on a movie years ago and he told me that we was the one that talked Zooey Deschanel into those famous bangs and that those bangs made her career. And as you can see, she has never veered away from those bangs. They are her signature look.
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Non-blondes Go Blonde
Hayworth wasn’t the only female actor to try out a new haircolor for a special roll in a movie. The images below are of actresses who tried the different looks of being brunette or blonde for parts. With the popularity of blonde bombshells, studios commonly tried out the haircolor on other actresses.
Some went back to their famous haircolor and others became known for the blonde instead.
Actress Marion Davies switched to the blonde hair early in her acting career. I honestly think she looks great with both haircolors. She pulls them both off well.
I will always prefer Joan Crawford as a brunette, mostly because of how much she, in the movie Mildred Pierce, has influenced my ideals of vintage hair. But I have to admit that, as a blonde, she has a sort of Cruella DeVille energy I really like.
It isn’t really accurate to say Carole Lombard was a brunette. Her natural haircolor is more of a dark blonde. But the bleach blonde is dramatic enough that it really changes her energy. Definitely like both on her.
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Greta Garbo looks like an alien creature as a blonde. Or a marble art deco statue. Definitely brunette is best for the goddess Greta Garbo all the way.
Betty Grable spent 95% of her acting career as a blonde, but she is so adorable that the brunette works well too. She is also vintage hairstyle icon. Her movie hairstyles are some of the most famous from the 1940s.
I know Constance Bennett spent much of career as a blond, but I really like the brunette hair on her. Her eyes are mesmerizing and the darker hair frames them beautifully.
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I do not know a lot about Lyda Roberti. I am ashamed to say that I have not yet seen her movies. But comparing these 2 images of brunette vs blonde hair on her, I have the same opinion as Constance Bennett. The darker hair brings out her eyes better.
Alice Faye also wasn’t really brunette. She was a darker blonde or bleach blonde. She looks beautiful in both.
Joan Blondell was sometimes a bleach blonde, sometimes a dark blonde, and sometimes a light brunette. I think, above all else, she was best as a dark blonde.