Hazel Brooks is an actress and model that seem as if she is graceful for stardom during the late 1940s. The actress’s career ended up fizzling out, but she also preferred the quiet life to that of a star. Though she’s out of the spotlight, the former model and actress make an interesting life before passing away in 2002. She loves flaunting her beauty! Join Facts Verse as we take a look at rare photos of Hazel Brooks.
Hazel Brooks was born on September 8, 1924, in South Africa. At the age of only two, her mother moved her to Boston, Massachusetts. During her young adulthood, Hazel began modeling for several notable agencies. She begins a modeling career at the age of 17. It didn’t take her very long to start getting attention with her red hair, green eyes, and attractive cheekbones. After the start of Hazel’s modeling career, it isn’t long before Hollywood discovers her. Her first opportunities in Hollywood came as a result of MGM. Executive Arthur Freed sweeps her, who makes her name for himself as one of the studio’s preeminent talent scouts.
Arthur Freed was a great talent scout, and Hazel Brooks was a great talent. However, MGM couldn’t figure out what to do with the burgeoning star. One role that Hazel receives while at the studio is a bit part in the musical film Ziegfeld Follies. But she fails to make much of an impression in the film amongst the incredibly impressive cast. Despite MGM’s high hopes for Hazel, they didn’t end up finding much to do with the star besides shoving her into bit roles in any random motion picture they could find.
While she was working at MGM, Hazel Brooks became romantically involved with the head of the studio’s art department. That figure was a man by the name of Cedric Gibbons. The two announced their engagement in 1943 and became married the next year. At the time of their marriage, Hazel was only 19 and Cedric was 49. The age gap shocked everyone, but their marriage lasts for many years, only ending upon Cedric’s death in 1960.
A year after marrying Cedric Gibbons in 1944, Hazel Brooks requests to release from her contract with MGM in 1945. Spending time maintaining her husband’s household while he continue working at MGM, didn’t satisfy her. Later on, the actress receives her breakthrough when a production company makes her by the name of The Enterprise Studios.
MGM didn’t dedicate enough time and resources to finding Hazel’s niche in the entertainment industry. “The Enterprise Studios” is intent on not repeating this problem. The Enterprise Studios is founded by John Garfield, and a man by the name of Charles Einfeld as its president. Charles allotted a sum of $1 million in order to make Hazel a star.
Before becoming president of The Enterprise Studios, Charles Einfeld is a notable producer that is credited with making such actresses. He would subsequently go about trying to do the same thing with Hazel Brooks. The endeavor proves a success, though she will not become as big of a star as the prior two. The Enterprise Studios fail to rise the ranks and become not just an independent studio failing to match mature guys.
The Enterprise Studios’ efforts to make Hazel Brooks a star include not only several notable performances in films. Also, they create a great deal of press that drew attention to the star’s most defining and appealing attributes. Press caught the attention of the fledgling star’s intellectualism, ambition, and fixing the age gap of her first husband. She claims that the esteemed actress only pursued men that had already found career success. Hazel’s biggest selling point proves her beauty, and she isn’t afraid of showing a bit of skin to get ahead! If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be the first to know when more Facts Verse upload videos!
According to Charles Einfeld, his initial vision for The Enterprise Studios didn’t allow for contract players such as Hazel Brooks. Although the producer make her a name for himself including contract players such as mentioned Lauren Bacall and Ann Sheridan. He claims that he is a different vision for The Enterprise Studios. According to him, his aim with the independent studio was to only hire actors and actresses on a picture-by-picture basis. The goal of the studio is to rely on the high caliber of its work instead of one star’s status.
Despite Charles Einfeld’s ambitions to make The Enterprise Studios different than the companies that he works before. Plans change when he met actress Hazel Brooks one day at the studio. Charles saw a great deal of potential in the fledgling star, and couldn’t believe that no one had swept her up yet and made her the next big thing. Believing this was The Enterprise Studios’ ticket to the big time, Charles left behind his initial pledge not to hire contract players and signed Hazel on full-time. Hazel became the studio’s first and only contract player, and the producers spent a million dollars making her a star!
After Hazel Brooks signed with The Enterprise Studios, she and husband Cedric Gibbons moved to Bel-Air so that they could be closer to her new work. The world may have balked when Hazel and Cedric got married, but the pair proved a loving couple. Hazel considered Cedric to be the kindest man that she had ever met, and the two remained married from 1944 all the way until his death in 1960.
When Charles Einfeld set about making Hazel Brooks a star, he used the same tactics that he had used previously with actresses such as Lauren Bacall and Ann Sheridan. Sadly, his efforts to make Hazel a star didn’t prove quite as monumentally successful. Hazel’s first film with The Enterprise Company was 1947’s Body and Soul, which was a fairly big hit and has since gone down as a classic boxing film. In the film, Hazel played a gold digger by the name of Alice. The film’s premiere brought significant attention to Hazel, along with the aforementioned intense press that the studio had paid for. Following the film’s release, Hazel could be seen vacationing in Hawaii, with newspaper press releases drawing great attention to the actress’s swimwear.
Following her performance in Body and Soul, The Enterprise Studios cast Hazel Brooks in a 1948 feature titled Sleep, My Love. The melodrama was notable for it’s inclusion of plots elements that regarded illicit substances. The Production Code had previously prevented the production of any film involving drug use, but had recently incorporated a loophole that allowed minimal drug content so long as it was integral to the plot. Sleep, My Love was one of the first Hollywood features to take advantage of this loophole, and it certainly got some attention for it!
While MGM had a tough time finding a place for Hazel Brooks, The Enterprise Studios was better about finding roles that fit her talents. However, Sleep, My Love, ended up being the only film made by the studio featuring Hazel in a starring role. Hazel’s career ended up fizzling out yet again for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that the actress simply wasn’t that into it. The whole time Hazel was in Hollywood, she was slowly beginning to realize that she preferred the quiet life to superstardom.
Although Hazel Brooks was certainly an immense talent with plenty to bring to the screen, she never came into her own quite like stars Lauren Bacall and Ann Sheridan had. Despite her and Charles Einfeld’s best efforts, Hazel failed to make a significant impression on audiences, even if the few films that she did appear in for The Enterprise Studios were successful. Hazel only appeared in a few more films after Sleep, My Love, and was retired from the entertainment industry by the mid-1950s.
First husband Cedric Gibbons subsequently died in 1960. Instead of ever coming back to Hollywood, Hazel found other avenues to explore in life. She apparently went on to become a fairly successful photographer, and also worked actively for a variety of children’s charities. Hazel remarried several years after her first husband’s death. Her second husband was a surgeon by the name of Rex Ross. The two married in the late 1960s, and stayed married until Rex’s death in 1999. After the death of her second husband, Hazel survived him for a few years before passing away herself in 2002. At the time of her death, she was 78 years old.
Although many people believed that Hazel Brooks was set to be the next big star of the 1940s, things didn’t quite work out that way for the talented actress. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that that Body and Soul actress Hazel Brooks started her career as a model at the age of 17, and married a man over twice her age before she was 20?