Jean Howard

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Jean Howard
Jean Howard publ.jpg
Howard in 1930s
Ernestine Hill

(1910-10-13)October 13, 1910
DiedMarch 20, 2000(2000-03-20) (aged 89)
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California, U.S.
OccupationActress · Photographer
Known forPhotography
(m. 1935; div. 1947)

Tony Santoro
(m. 1973)

Jean Howard (born Ernestine Hill; October 13, 1910 – March 20, 2000) was an American actress and professional photographer.[1] She was born in Longview, Texas and died in Beverly Hills, California.

Early years[edit]

Howard was born Ernestine Hill on October 13, 1919, in Longview, Texas. She grew up in Dallas, and her father traveled as a salesman. When she was a teenager, she accompanied her nephew to a photographic studio to have his portrait taken. Paul Mahoney, the photographer, took her photograph, which led to his becoming her teacher and mentor. "Young, eager, and frustrated," Howard changed her name to Ernestine Mahoney and began participating in beauty contests and fashion shows.[2] Her father paid her expenses while Mahoney taught her.[2]

Howard acted in local theatrical productions before she went to Hollywood in the late 1920s and became a part of the Studio Club, a group for women who hoped to act in films.[2]


Howard's time as a Goldwyn Girl began when she responded to an advertisement. Her film debut came in Whoopee (1930). Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. selected Howard as one of four women from that film to appear in his upcoming musical production, Smiles, but she had to go to Dallas after her father died in an automobile accident. Ziegfeld gave her a role in the 1931 edition of the Ziegfeld Follies, billing her as Jean Howard. She next appeared in Ziegfeld's Hot-Cha (1932).[2]

A contract with MGM resulted in Howard's appearing in The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933) and Broadway to Hollywood (1933). She also appeared in Claudia (1943),[2] Break of Hearts, Dancing Lady, and The Final Hour.[3]

Howard studied photography at the Los Angeles Art Center. She appeared on Broadway in the productions: The Age of Innocence with Franchot Tone and Evensong.

Howard and Cole Porter in early 1954

She often used her camera to capture moments from Hollywood during the 1940s and 1950s. She photographed parties, gatherings, sports tournaments, etc., shooting Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, Richard Burton, Cole Porter, Judy Garland, Grace Kelly, Hedy Lamarr, Jennifer Jones, Deborah Kerr, Geraldine Page, Ethel Barrymore, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. Two books of her photographs were published, Jean Howard's Hollywood: A Photo Memoir (1989) and Travels With Cold Porter (1991).[4]

Personal life and death[edit]

Howard married Hollywood talent agent Charles K. Feldman on August 25, 1934, in Harrison, New York,[5] and they divorced in 1948, the couple continued to live together until his death in 1968. The union was childless.[6] She married Tony Santoro, a musician from Italy, in 1973.[2]

Howard died on March 20, 2000, in her Beverly Hills, California, home.[3] She was buried in Hollywood Forever Cemetery.[7]


  1. ^ Martin, Douglas (March 24, 2000). "Jean Howard, the House Photographer For Hollywood's Glamour Set, Dies at 89". New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Vallance, Tom (April 1, 2000). "Jean Howard". The Independent. England, London. p. 39. Retrieved October 15, 2022 – via
  3. ^ a b Willis, John; Monush, Barry (March 25, 2002). Screen World 2001. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 344. ISBN 978-1-55783-478-2. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  4. ^ Reed, Christopher (April 8, 2000). "Jean Howard". The Guardian. England, London. p. 24. Retrieved October 15, 2022 – via
  5. ^ "Jean Howard married". The New York Times. August 26, 1934. p. N 6. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  6. ^ Vanity Fair: "Pictures of Jean" by Ben Brantley February 3, 2014
  7. ^ Ellenberger, Allan R. (May 1, 2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-7864-0983-9. Retrieved October 15, 2022.


External links[edit]