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Betty Boop and Helen Kane

It has long been theorized that Paramount studios based their character Betty Boop on the looks of a popular actress of that era, Helen Kane. To look at a picture of Ms. Kane one can immediately see a resemblance.

actress-helen-kane

The inspiration for Betty Boop - Helen Kane

In 1932 Ms. Kane filed a lawsuit again Paramount Corporation for “exploiting her image.” After a two year legal struggle Ms Kane lost the case as Paramount was able to prove that Ms. Kane did not uniquely originate or have claim to the Betty Boop style of singing or look.  Paramount proved this by showing Clara Bow (a Paramount Actress) also had the Betty Boop style of dress and hair.

Actress Clara Bow and Singer Baby Esther

Lastly, Ms. Kane had alleged that the singing style given to Betty Boop was her own, however evidence was produced that Ms. Kane actually derived that singing style from watching Baby Esther, a popular African American singer she heard perform at the Cotton Club in New York City several years before the creation of the Betty Boop Character.