Year 1932

Top Money Making Stars: Actresses 

  1. Marie Dressler
  2. Janet Gaynor
  3. Joan Crawford 
  4. Greta Garbo
  5. Norma Shearer 

Canadian-born Marie Dressler was a star of stage and screen in the 1900s and 1910s. Her career declined in the 1920s, and she was reduced to living on her savings while sharing an apartment with a friend. In 1927, at the age of 59, Marie returned to films and experienced a remarkable string of successes, including an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1931.

Top Money Making Stars: Actors

  1. Charles Farrell
  2. Wallace Beery
  3. Clark Gable
  4. Will Rogers
  5. Joe E. Brown

Charles Farrell is best remembered for his onscreen romances with actress Janet Gaynor (the number two money-making female star of 1932 and a very talented actress). They starred in over a dozen films together.

Charles Farrell proposed to Janet Gaynor in real life, but she rejected the proposal because he was outgoing while she was more reserved. Gaynor married three times. Husband number two was Adrian, a costume designer and openly gay man. Some sources state that Gaynor was bisexual and that this was a lavender marriage.

Active in business and civic affairs in Palm Springs, California, Charles Farrell served for a time as mayor. He married actress Virginia Valli, a marriage that lasted until her death in 1968.

1932 witnessed a number of notable movie debuts. They included: Ingrid Bergman, Robert Donat, Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Alan Ladd, John Mills, David Niven, Shirley Temple and Mae West.

Katharine Hepburn made her debut as the female lead in A Bill of Divorcement, a story based on a British law that allowed a woman to divorce her husband on grounds of insanity. The Hollywood Reporter stated that Katharine Hepburn was, “A new star on the cinema horizon.”

📸 Katharine Hepburn and David Manners in A Bill of Divorcement. 

Top Grossing Movies

#3 Emma

A comedy-drama, Emma starred Marie Dressler who was riding the crest of a wave on her movie comeback. The story was written by Frances Marion, a leading writer of the era. Myrna Loy co-starred as Countess Isabelle ‘Izzy’ Smith Marlin.

#2 The Kid from Spain

The Kid From Spain featured musical scenes by Busby Berkeley. Jane Wyman made her debut while Betty Grable and Paulette Goddard joined her as one of the “Goldwyn Girls”.

#1 The Sign of the Cross 

The third movie in Cecil B. DeMille’s biblical trilogy – The Ten Commandments and The King of Kings came before it – The Sign of the Cross starred Fredric March, Elissa Landi, Claudette Colbert and Charles Laughton.

The movie featured a famous scene in which Poppaea (Claudette Colbert) bathed in asses’ milk. This scene took several days to shoot. Powdered cow’s milk, not asses’ milk, was used. Under the hot lights, the milk turned sour, which meant that Claudette Colbert was surrounded by a very unpleasant stench.

1920s – 1960s