15 Classic Film Stars Who Were Really Strange In Real Life

Classic film stars might seem like sophisticated, classy people. But in reality, Hollywood was plagued with wailing drunks, drug-addicted nut jobs, and overwhelming egomaniacs. You won’t believe #13, #10 and #5!

#15. Cary Grant

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In 1960, the editors at Good Housekeeping magazine got a strange call from Cary Grant. The film star who almost never gave interviews wanted to talk about the magnificent amount of LSD he’d dropped. He also wanted everyone else to start dropping acid. The actor was born into a very poor family in Bristol. His cheating father had her mother committed to an insane asylum for no reason. Grant spent most of his acting life dealing with his hidden demons. After decades of torment, he was finally turned onto LSD therapy by his third wife and those sessions blew his mind. From 1958 to 1961, Grant dropped acid a minimum of 100 times, which turned him into an evangelical LSD fanatic. It was only when the counterculture went acid crazy that Grant stopped. Seems like he didn’t want to be associated with hippies. You’ll never guess who was addicted to morphine!

#14. Peter Lorre

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Pictures of Peter Lorre show his eyes: all droopy, like he’s about to fall asleep. Lorre took advantage of his weird looks in his long career playing oddballs and villains. But as it turns out, his distinctive expression had less to do with genetics and more to do with what he was getting inside his system. Lorre spent his entire career on morphine. His addiction started long before he appeared in the Hollywood screen. Because of an appendix operation in his native Europe, his doctors kept the young actor so full of morphine that he wound up hopelessly addicted. It is rumored that M, Lorre’s addiction was so well-known in acting circles that his friends joked the “M” stood for “morphine.” And when he moved to Hollywood, he carried the addiction over with him. There, he also got addicted to prescription pills and cough medicine. His addiction was so severe that Lorre was even choosing roles based on how they interfered with his drug taking. He took the part of Mr. Moto in an eight-film series not only because he needed drug money, but also because they’d let him shoot up in his trailer. Many films were shot with him under the influence and he still out-acted everybody else on set. We’re still trying to make some sense out of the next one.

#13. Orson Welles

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Orson Welles thought his nose was way too small for his round face. So what did he do? He had a studio makeup department at his beck and call to make a whole bunch of fake noses, specially created for each role he played, the bigger the better. In nearly every movie appearance he made, Welles sported a fake nose. At the beginning of his career, the noses were relatively normal, but by the end, they were misshapen, bulging things that swelled out the center of his face. And he was unwilling to work without them. Whenever a film finished, Welles kept his noses, named them, and stored them in his Hollywood home, where he would occasionally take them out at parties and perform magic tricks with them! You’ll never guess which actress was an egomaniac mother.

#12. Joan Crawford

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Joan Crawford seemed like a woman living the dream, but according to her adopted daughter, Christina, she was an egomaniac who was consumed by jealousy. The accusations came the year after Crawford died in the infamous book Mommie Dearest. In the book, Christina exposes Crawford like the mother from hell. She reveals that Crawford had told Christina her birth mother was dead when in reality she wasn’t; her constant meltdowns about trivial things; and harrowing descriptions of the physical abuse Crawford occasionally unleashed on her children. Although two of Crawford’s other adopted children have disputed the book. It still remains plausible, partly because Crawford’s madness is so well-documented elsewhere. There’s also her never-ending rivalry with Bette Davis, which culminated in Crawford sabotaging her own film’s box office to stop Davis winning her third Oscar.

#11. W.C. Fields

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W.C. Fields was an alcoholic. He wasn’t really an actor, turns out that the misanthropic, alcoholic jerk he played in all his movies wasn’t a character. Fields was more or less continuously drunk for his entire career. And he was such a fanatic that he was obsessed by the thought of being caught short without a drop, so as a precaution he hoarded enough liquor in his attic to keep him going for 25 years. It is rumored that this was an insurance move in case Prohibition returned. His addiction would impact his career later, Fields would demand $15,000 for each screenplay he wrote. But he never delivered the screenplays and just took the money. The next one is so bizarre we’re still trying to figure out what was going on in this actor’s head.

#10. Peter Sellers

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Peter Sellers was terrified of the color purple. The British actor who was cast as Doctor Strangelove was maybe stranger than even that iconic weirdo. He’d throw screaming tantrums on set. He’d freak out at his wives, smash crockery, and threaten them with his shotgun. He’d get low-level people fired on movies as a way of venting his frustrations against those — directors, producers — who were more powerful than he was. He was vaguely racist and profoundly superstitious. But his fear of the color purple started when he worked with famed director Vittorio de Sica (Bicycle Thieves) and he became convinced that the Italian was a source of supernatural knowledge. When they were working on After the Fox, Sellers saw de Sica freak out at a script girl for wearing purple. The director told him it was the color of death, and Sellers took that literally. Sellers was under the conviction that the color purple could kill. He refused to be in rooms with it and would have a meltdown if he came into contact with it. The next actress is a timeless icon, slide to learn about her crazy love whims.

#9. Elizabeth Taylor

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Elizabeth Taylor would get engaged out of spite. Taylor was as addicted to two things, pleasure and controversy. Over her lifetime, she married eight times, had endless affairs, got drunk at every opportunity, and took great pride in the offense she caused with her truly outrageous behavior. After marrying and divorcing Richard Burton twice, Taylor was so upset that she got engaged just to spite him! When working on Noel Coward’s Private Lives, Taylor and Burton brought separately turned up drunk, broke character, skipped performances, and just brought up the worst on each other. When Taylor missed a show, Burton just had enough, he went to Vegas, and married Sally Hay. And when Taylor heard the news, she was so furious she announced her engagement to Victor Luna, upstaging Burton. The weird thing about their relationship was that she ever hated her ex-husband. Later in life, Taylor said they would have married a third time if only Burton hadn’t died. The next actress had serious issues that barred her from performing the roles as directors had originally thought.

#8. Katharine Hepburn

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Katharine Hepburn hated nudity. After allegedly trying intercourse just once and hating it, Hepburn became repulsed by nudity. And her hatred wasn’t just confined to the idea of her being personally naked or people in real life being naked around her. Hepburn was so disgusted with anything that even faintly hinted nudity that she’d storm out of movies if a scene came on in which someone was undressing. Next actor was obsessed with cleaning, but not enough to brush his teeth…Ugh!

#7. Clark Gable

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Clark Gable was obsessed with cleanliness. Warren G. Harris’ biography of Clark Gable includes interviews with an old Army soldier who revealed that Gable shaved his chest and armpits, because he hated the way a hairy body encouraged you to sweat more. He hated baths too because for Gable, having a bath meant sitting in your own filthy water. So, during his time in the Army, Gable carried around his own portable shower. This is even more weird considering Gable’s on-set reputation for having atrociously bad breath. Vivien Leigh wrote that kissing him in Gone With the Wind was not enjoyable at all. For all his determination to keep his body clean, it seems flossing was just not on the list. Our next actress was so obsessive that she got a co-star fired!

#6. Bette Davis

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Bette Davis was as explosive as she was obsessive. Her mood could turn on a dime, get on the wrong side of Bette Davis and she would detonate with all the force of a thousand bombs. The producer William Frye said that meetings with the star that began well, only to end in the social equivalent of Armageddon. And immediately afterward, she would go back to being her usual self, like nothing had happened. Davis’ obsessive attention to detail was almost equally notorious. During the film A Stolen Life, Davis personally auditioned every dog in L.A. instead of letting a pet casting director do the job. The dog only appeared in one key scene so, according to the director, Davis’ efforts were wasted anyway. The dog was too scared of her to do any canine acting. And there was the issue with her endless feud with Joan Crawford. Davis once spent an entire movie manipulating the crew to get Crawford fired! Slide to find out which actor turned out to be a smuggler!

#5. Jimmy Stewart

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Jimmy Stewart was an international smuggler. Stewart was tasked with moving the mummified hand of a yeti! He smuggled the hand from Nepal to the United Kingdom by hiding it in his wife’s lingerie. This was in the 1950s, at a time when it still seemed possible that there was an abominable snowman hiding out in the Himalayas somewhere. A group of Nepalese monks were known to have a “yeti” hand in their possession, and since Stewart was in India at the time, he was considered the best person to smuggle it out for testing.  It’s a shame the object turned out to be fake! People were shocked to find out this actor was a real bully.

#4. Alec Guinness

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The original Obi Wan Kenobi, Alec Guinness, was one of Britain’s biggest screen icons. Off screen, Guinness was a control freak who wouldn’t let anyone make their own decisions and a bully who spent his every waking hour seeking to undermine his wife. Guinness apparently loved to meet for meals, he’d ask everyone at the table what they wanted and when they replied, Guinness would declare, “No, no, you wouldn’t like that!” then call the waiter over and order them the exact opposite. Guinness had an obsessively precise idea of how every interaction should go and refused to be contradicted on such matters. His home life was also odd as he was always belittling his wife, Merula, whom he considered stupid… Merula, for her part, seemed to ignore her husband. Up next, an actor who desperately attempted to stay in-closet.

#3. Humphrey Bogart

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The actor wasn’t completely sure he was straight. So he did what any man with an early 20th-century view on the subject would do: He bedded over a thousand women in a desperate attempt to prove to himself that he was straight. From a modern perspective, this can be hard to understand. But in his time, admitting you’d ever even glanced at another guy was enough to trigger an avalanche of guilt worthy of its own disaster movie. For Bogie, taking those legions of women to bed was the only cure he knew for his bi-curious feelings. If only the poor guy had been born a century later. Slide next to find out the strict diets this recluse actress would submit herself to! 

#2. Greta Garbo

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Greta Garbo was so obsessed with the health benefits of fad diets that she subjected herself to meals that were plain harmful. Garbo was a total recluse renowned for wanting to be alone. Just about the only person she allowed in her house was Gayelord Hauser, who just happened to be a nutritionist gone mad. He convinced Garbo to spend decades following his strict dietary plans; one of these involved eating nothing but raw yeast, with occasional treats of buttermilk. Another involved Garbo dining only on spinach for a full three weeks. Hauser liked to claim that following his bonkers diet plans would allow anyone to live to a 100 years old. Garbo and Hauser were bonded by their love of calorie restriction. You’ll never guess what wild animal ran free in this actress’ house!

#1. Tippi Hedren

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The actress shared her Hollywood home with a fully grown, 400-pound male lion. This unlikely companion came into her life as a result of Hedren’s conservation work. She’s been active in the field of saving big cats for decades and has won hosts of awards for her efforts. So it might not be just a crazy fashion statement, but it’s an eccentric behavior nonetheless. Hedren’s lion, Neil, was free in the house and would run through the living room when guests were visiting. At the time, Hedren was living with her teenage daughter, Melanie Griffith. Every now and then, she’d let Griffith and Neil share a bed, which is exactly as terrible an idea as it sounds! Thankfully, the seemingly inevitable never actually happened. No accidents were ever reported. Hedren has since come to her senses and now admits that keeping a lion in her house was “stupid beyond belief.”

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