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The star system created and promoted film stars by creating personas for them. In the process new names and backgrounds were created. Cary Grant, Joan Crawford and Rock Hudson were film stars who were created by the Hollywood star system. The system expected men to be gentlemen and women to wear stylish clothes when leaving the house. There were special clauses within the actors’ contracts which called for strict moral regulations to be adhered to (de Cordova, 52, 2000).
The star’s public image was fiercely guarded by the Hollywood executives. Any scandals or incidents that damaged the star’s image were covered up. Sham dates were introduced for actors who were homosexual. Actors and actresses were matched together in order to create a public image of a romantic couple. Money was given to witnesses to hide incidents of drugs, adultery, drinking and divorce. Some tabloid papers were on the Hollywood payroll which exclusively reported on the stars to update their public image. Celebrity scandals were hushed up by giving money to tabloid papers and journals (Walker, 57, 1970).
During the initial years of the film industry, actors and actresses were reluctant to perform in films. They felt embarrassment in working for movies. The film industry was considered at the level of carnivals and freak shows. Only silent movies were considered to be acceptable. Producers also feared that by working for films actors would gain more fame and prestige. Thomas Edison’s Motion Picture Patents Company forced companies to follow their rules and equipment during the design of films. The Motion Picture Patents Company did not promote stars. The star system eventually arose from the public desire to know the names of the actors. Film audiences gave their own nicknames to performers in movies they liked (McDonald, 77, 2000).
Star promotion was first done by Carl Laemmle when he acquired Lawrence from Biograph. He promoted the star by spreading rumors of her being killed in
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Therefore the bigger stakeholders of the movie industry forced filmmakers to use their equipments and follow their rules under pretext that they owned the patents of much of the motion picture equipment. The star system was then inaugurated and it put more emphasis on image rather than on acting, although discreet acting, voice, and dancing lessons were a common part of the regimen.
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