Did you know Mollie Cox Bryan, author of the delightful Cora Crafts Mysteries, was related to famed Hollywood movie star, Jean Harlow? We didn’t, but apparently a German game show did. Read the wild story below.
Mollie’s also doing a giveaway for Macrame Murder, the latest book in her delightful Cora Crafts Mystery series! The winner will be announced in Monday’s post.
MOLLIE: If I had written this crazy plot twist of a life experience, I’m not sure who would have believed it.
A few years ago, I was contacted by a German game show “I Have a Famous Relative.” They wanted to fly me to Germany to be a guest on their show. I’d be asked clues about my famous ancestor, Jean Harlow, and the German celebrity panelists would attempt to figure it out. Next, the host would interview me about her.
At first, I thought it was some kind of crazy scheme, right? A free trip to Germany?
To be on TV? But it turned out to be legit. So legit that I was able to add on a few days to explore Germany and Paris.
Backing up a bit here to tell you that it was about this time I was regretting not traveling much in my life. King Ludwig’s castles in Germany had always been on my bucket list. I had also just dedicated a book to my long-gone grandfather, Paul Carpenter, and based a character on him. The next thing I knew, I was being contacted to talk about his cousin, Harlean Carpenter, otherwise know as Jean Harlow. I like to think he hand a hand in all this.
I wanted to do him and the rest of the family proud. I decided I’d be the best panelist ever.
I read everything I could about Jean. As a result, I’ve thought more deeply about my famous ancestor. And I was over-prepared for the ten-minute interview after the actual game portion of the show. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the impolite and cold vibes from the show’s host, an older man with steely blue eyes. (Everybody else was lovely!)
He asked all of us guests, relatives of famous people, if we resemble our relative. And I said “No.” He said, “And it’s a damned shame, too.” (He didn’t say this to the lovely, very young granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin. Nor did he say that to the relative of the famous designer Tiffany.)
I don’t know who the famous German actress was at the celebrity desk. But she shot me a look of confusion and embarrassment. The translator in the booth translating English in my ear bud paused. This was live TV.
If only I had a comeback!
I tried my best to ignore him, and I continued answering questions about Jean. It was over soon after that. But even at the gathering after, and breakfast the next day, it was pretty clear the host was unhappy with me. I stopped trying to be friendly and did my best to pretend I did not care or notice. Was he really expecting a Jean Harlow lookalike? New flash: even Jean Harlow didn’t look like Jean Harlow—if you catch my “platinum blonde” drift.
What bothered me the most was the memory of Jean herself, a woman that was either blessed or cursed by her looks, depending on how you look at it, still only being regarded as that “man eating” (yes, he used that term) platinum bombshell. She was, of course, so much more than that.
While I’ve still not thought of the perfect comeback for his earlier remark, I have thought of the perfect retort for the man-eating remark. If only I had thought of it during the show. “Of course she was a man eater. All of the women in my family are.” Cue evil grin.
Mollie Cox Bryan writes cozy mysteries with edge and romances with slow, sweet burn. She’s just published the third book in her new Cora Crafts Mystery Series: Macrame Murder. The first book in the series, Death Among the Doilies, was selected as “Fresh Fiction Not to Miss” and was a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award. The second book, No Charm Intended, was named a “Summer 2017 Top 10 Beach Read” by Woman’s World. She also wrote the Agatha-award nominated Cumberland Creek Mysteries. Several of the books the series were short-listed for the Virginia Library People’s Choice Award. She makes her home at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Va., where she works as a researcher and fact checker and writes in the early morning hours. Visit her and sign up for her newsletter at molliecoxbryan.com. Or follow her on Twitter @molliecoxbryan, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/molliecoxbryanauthor/, Pinterest or Instagram.