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When Hollywood stars were portrayed as gods

Exhibition of super-glamorous photographs will show big-name actors in the years when film studios ruled their lives

Nearly 70 super-glamorous photographs harking back to the days when film stars radiated, glowered and sizzled are to go on show this summer at the National Portrait Gallery.

Called Glamour of the Gods, the show will examine how Hollywood stars were created between 1920 and 1960, a period when studios controlled every aspect of their actors' lives.

The pictures are from the London-based John Kobal Foundation and include portraits of Marlon Brando, Rock Hudson, Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.

The photographers include George Hurrell, Laszlo Willinger, Bob Coburn, Ruth Harriet Louise and one of the few Britons working for the studios, Davis Boulton.

There will also be previously unseen studio portraits of actors including Clark Gable, Joan Crawford and Carole Lombard – and film stills including Lillian Gish in The Wind, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Swing Time and James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.

The show, organised by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in California, will explore pre-paparazzi times when the studio star system meant actors were always depicted as impossibly glamorous and inaccessible.

Glamour of the Gods: Hollywood Portraits is at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from 7 July to 23 October.

Photograph: George Hurrell © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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