Jean Rogers (born Eleanor Dorothy Lovegren on March 25, 1916 in Belmont, Massachusetts; died February 24, 1991 at age 74 in Sherman Oaks, California) from complications of surgery, was an American actress. She won a national beauty contest in 1933 and was offered a contract by a Hollywood producer. Rogers got her biggest assignment when she played the role of Dale Arden in the first two Flash Gordon serials between 1936 and 1939. Buster Crabbe and Jean Rogers were perfectly cast as hero and heroine in the first serial (Planet Mongo), and Rogers' fragile beauty, long blonde hair, and revealing costume endeared her to thousands of moviegoers during the late 1930's. She was lusted after by "Ming the Merciless" (Charles B. Middleton) and most of the male audience as Flash Gordon rescued her from one life threatening situation after another in the serial. Rogers also competed with Priscilla Lawson (Princess Aura) for Flash Gordon's amorous attention in the first serial. Rogers and Lawson were two completely different character actresses. Jean Rogers was fragile, small-chested, diminutive and totally dependent on the all-powerful Flash Gordon for her survival. Lawson, on the other hand, was domineering, independent, voluptuous, well endowed, conniving, sly, and determined to take Flash for herself. The competition between the two women for Buster Crabbe's attention is one of the main highlights of the film. In the second Flash Gordon Serial (Trip to Mars), Jean Rogers sports a totally different look. She has dark hair and wears the same full length, modest costume in each episode. Rogers matured both physically and mentally after the first serial, and there are no sexual overtones in "Trip To Mars" as there were in "Planet Mongo."
As a teenager, Jean Rogers won a local beauty contest sponsored by Paramount Pictures, which helped launch a career in Hollywood. Rogers starred in a number of serials for Universal from 1935 to 1938, including Ace Drummond and Flash Gordon. Fearing that she was becoming a "serial queen," she asked the studio to allow her to do feature films, which they did. She eventually left Universal and started working for 20th Century Fox, and shortly before retiring in 1951, she moved on to working for MGM.
Rogers is said to have become an artist after retiring. Jean Rogers and Buster Crabbe were reunited in 1975, thirty-nine years after the first Flash Gordon serial was filmed in 1936. They met under less hostile and dangerous conditions the second time around.