Choose Your Stars!
The time has come, again, for you readers of PHOTOPLAY to shine as the star-makers of Hollywood. All of Hollywood is aware, by now, that you are the best of all talent scouts when it comes to picking the most outstanding from the newest and freshest talent in motion pictures. In past years you have proved the value of your judgment time and again, year after year.
Last year, for instance, your top choices were Tab Hunter and Lori Nelson. You’d seen Tab in only one movie role, but he’s proved you right in the year since. He has made three other pictures, and insiders are betting on him to be a bright star for many seasons to come. As for Lori, she’s doing all right, too, playing with Barbara Stanwyck in “All I Desire” and with Tony Curtis in “All American.” Your other winners have done more than all right: Elaine Stewart is the honey of the M-G-M lot, just as Keith Andes is at RKO. You read of Zsa Zsa Gabor all the time now; and others like Dawn Addams, John Forsythe, Joan Rice, Robert Horton and Arthur Franz are high in fan and studio favor.
Your winners of previous years are shining bright, too: stars like Tony Curtis, Bob Wagner, Pier Angeli, Mitzi Gaynor, Charlton Heston, Howard Keel, Jeffrey Hunter, the Champions—you star-pickers know what you’re doing!
Oddly enough, you have picked the males better than the girls—though this latter could mean, as in the case of Pier Angeli, for example—that the men have been better handled by the studio casting departments. But out of the approximate eighty names per year we have presented to you for the past five years, you have called the turn right more than sixty per cent of the time.
This year of 1953, however, is different. Different because Hollywood itself is different, waiting for the test of the various 3-D vs. Cinerama vs. Cinemascope vs. Warnerscope. To say nothing of the inroads made by TV. So uncertain is movieland of just what will emerge in the immediate future that no plans for productions are very definite.
As an example of this, a girl at Twentieth Century-Fox was chosen, almost by accident, to play a scene with David Wayne in a Cinemascope demonstration. Her name is Charlotte Austin, and she came through very prettily. Charlotte is talented, young, with immense theatrical background, her dad being Gene Austin, whom your mother will remember as warbling “My Blue Heaven.” But right now Twentieth Century-Fox is agog over Charlotte, just because they did see her in Cinemascope. But, suppose they had used some other girl in this demonstration? Wouldn’t they have been equally excited about her? Or would they?
Because there is no telling what, may be happening even six months from now, the studio contract lists have been cut to the vanishing point.
This year, rounding up every young eager-beaver who seems to have any future opportunity, PHOTOPLAY could still find only fifty-one. Or to put it another way, where last year M-G-M had ten promising newcomers on its contract list, this year, it has only three. Quite a drop—and this is typical of all studios.
It means, therefore, that this year more talent is free-lancing than ever before. This may also mean that a spectacular personality, a la Marilyn Monroe, may blaze into importance, with no one aware of such a performer five minutes before fame.
For these reasons, this year we are putting the names, not in studio groups, but alphabetically. In PHOTOPLAY’s opinion almost any fellow or girl on this list has a better-than-average chance to reach stardom. But you tell us the specific ones—as you have so wonderfully for five years now.
Richard Allan: Current picture, “Niagara.” Dark and handsome, a singer, a dancer, a good actor, Richard is under Twentieth Century-Fox contract. His versatility—remember his dance for Ava Gardner in “Snows of Kilimanjaro”—has kept him on the Twentieth payroll for nearly five years now. Yet the very’ fact. that he hasn’t clicked terrifically in that time may argue against him.
Charlotte Austin: Current picture, “Farmer Takes a Wife,” then “How to Marry a Millionaire.” To the information given on her a couple of paragraphs back should be added the word that she’s amber-eyed, chestnut-haired, has the talent to be equally good in musicals or dramas, and is a vibrant nineteen.
Byron Palmer: Current picture, “Tonight We Sing.” Here is Twentieth Century-Fox’s entry in the “he-can-sing” classification. He’s another you can put your money on, too, because he’s not only dark, tall, handsome, young, rich—but also wise.
Ruth Hampton: Current picture, “Law and Order.” Just twenty-one, Ruth Hampton has been winning beauty contests ever since her first birthday—which is one of the things which earned her a U-I contract. More in her favor besides her looks: She’s a ballerina who can sing and act. A right combination, you’ll admit.
John Baer: Freelance. Current picture, “Mississippi Gambler.” Red-haired, tall, thin, he stood out with charm in a completely unsympathetic role. Young, sharply sensitive, the right casting in stronger roles could turn him into a hit.
Milly Vitale: Columbia found Milly inItaly, to which she returned after she played opposite Kirk Douglas in “The Juggler.” Pretty and blonde, Milly will probably stick to foreign pictures.
James Andersen: Current picture, “Ruby Gentry.” He’s free-lance, but his sensitive, brooding face, his fine, if not too tall, figure, and his outstanding acting ability make him worth watching.
Peter Baldwin: Current pictures, “Stalag 17” and “Houdini.” Was under Paramount contract when he appeared in “Girls of Pleasure Island,” but is now freelancing. Five feet eleven, distinctive looking, a Stanford U. athlete, his outstanding intelligence may help him win the battle of Hollywood.
Dorothy Bromiley: Current and debut picture, “The Girls of Pleasure Island.” Cute, brown-eyed and brown-haired, she was so pert as the sixteen-year-old in her first film that Paramount picked up an option on her. Now busily engaged in trying to get over her British accent.
Mary Castle: Current picture, “Lawless Breed.” Blonde with a fine figure, she suffered at Columbia under being tagged “a second Hayworth” and being made up to look like Rita. At U-I last year she also got lost, somewhere between Piper Laurie and Lori Nelson.
Touch Conners: Current picture, “Sky Commando.” A tall, dark and handsome guy, he might make the grade. Happily married, intelligent, his handicap may be that he looks a shade too much like the other tall, dark and handsomes. But he made a tremendous hit in “Sudden Fear” with Joan Crawford.
Chuck Connors: Current pictures, “South Sea Woman” and “Trouble Along the Way.” He is one of Warners’four new people under contract. Tallest of the current crop (6’5’’), he was the amiable, lanky first baseman of a ball team when discovered, still has the same type of lazy, muscular charm. Married, thirty-two, blond, blue-eyed—a good actor.
Kathleen Crowley: Current picture, “The Farmer Takes a Wife.” This little but athletic “Miss New Jersey” of bathing-beauty fame, belongs to Twentieth Century-Fox. Five feet two, redheaded, unwed, she’s had summer stock, radio and TV experience. Experience plus beauty should do the trick for her.
Pat Crowley: Under contract to Paramount. Pat gets her first starring role with Ginger Rogers in “Forever Female.” You’ve seen her on TV in “A Date With Judy.” Unmarried, 5’4’’ tall, weighing 109 pounds, she has hazel eyes and dark brown hair. Paramount is really behind Pat, and she’ll be in “Money from Home” with Martin and Lewis and in “Red Garters” with Rosemary Clooney.
Ben Cooper: Current picture, “Thunderbirds.” Republic never carries a big contract list, but they have been very successful with such as they have (witness John Wayne). They have this dark, handsome boy on their dotted line. Still in his teens, with sharp acting ability, he stands a great chance.
Audrey Dalton: Current picture, “Titanic.” Brought over from England by Paramount with Dorothy Bromiley and Joan Elan, Audrey has clicked the best of the trio so far. Serenely beautiful, dark haired, with grey-green eyes, she is eighteen, intelligent and Irish. Looks like a winner.
Mark Dana: Current picture, “Desert Song.” Extra tall, super-lean, with brown hair and eyes. Mark stood out as the junior officer in “Desert Song.” Good acting ability, but has he that plus value?
Joan Elan: Current, debut picture, “Girls of Pleasure Island.” Born in Ceylon, but British, Joan is another of Paramount’s English trio. Twenty-three, she has a sexy, pixie charm that may flash her to the top.
Race Gentry: Current picture, “Lawless Breed.” Tall, dark, very virile with distinctive dramatic talent. The fan mail response to this nice guy has been so marked, a special contract is being worked out for him at Universal-International. Definitely out to make the grade.
Joanne Gilbert: Debut picture, “Red Garters.” Twenty-one, five feet six, this hazel-eyed, perfectly formed, dark-haired chic lass is literally an overnight sensation. Booked into Hollywood’s Mocambo, known only as the daughter of a song writer, she clicked so big that before a month was up she was making $3,000 a week in the smart night clubs. A girl who can do that can probably do anything—and that’s what Paramount, who has her, hopes.
Robert Graham: Current picture, “The I Don’t Care Girl.” A fine singer with much radio and theatrical experience, five eleven, with blond good looks. Though Twentieth dropped him, Bob should be quickly repacted by another studio.
Jacqueline Green: Current picture, “Girls in the Night.” About twenty-five, this dark-eyed actress is distinctly the character type. Which can be a handicap—but occasionally works out a la Bette Davis.
Merv Griffin: Current picture, “By the Light of the Silvery Moon.” Like Chuck Connors, here’s another athlete snared by Warners—but primarily for his fine singing voice. A recording artist, he’s had lots of radio experience, is smart, young and good-looking—what more does he need?
Patricia Hardy: Current picture, “Girls in the Night.” Not too long ago Pat was a Copacabana chorus girl—and she looks the type, meaning wonderful figure, Irish little face, big blue eyes. Is this enough?
Laurence Harvey: Young, attractive, brunette, Larry is in the English-made “I Believe in You,” and will be in “Romeo and Juliet.” On his recent trip to Hollywood, Larry made no movies but as a young-man-about-town he was Terry Moore’s frequent escort.
Bill Hayes: Current picture, “Stop, You’re Killing Me.” Only the sharply curtailed contract lists would leave such talent as Bill’s unsigned. Twenty-seven, a Navy vet, Bill is darkly handsome and has a superb singing voice. He’s now on Broadway in a hit musical.
Roberta Haynes: Current picture, “Return to Paradise.” Columbia will give this twenty-three-year-old, very brainy beauty the works, a la Hayworth, so great is the promise she shows in “Return to Paradise.” Stage experience, dancing, ultra-smart, she has IT.
Marcia Henderson: Current picture, “Thunder Bay.” Universal-International, the studio which has developed more young stars than any other in recent years, regards Marcia as one of its most talented.
Audrey Hepburn: First American picture, “Roman Holiday.” You may have caught glimpses of this tall, dark-eyed doll in British films, but Paramount has her now, and believes with her beauty, extensive stage and film experience and international background she will be a major star.
Tom Irish: Current picture, “Island in the Sky.” He’s handsome, a slim six feet of socko manliness. He’s young, just twenty-one. He can act. TV has him—but some studio should spot him soon.
Rick Jason: Current picture, “Sombrero.” Here’s another candidate for that “tall, dark and handsome” label. An outstanding actor, too, with a distinctive face. It is all a matter of his getting the right part.
Keith Larsen: Current pictures, “Daughter of Belle Starr” and “Flat Top.” Tennis, at which he is good enough to have won international tournaments, gave Keith his fine shoulders, slim height. Black-haired, brown-eyed, unmarried, in his mid-twenties, Allied-Artists have him, and are pushing him along the stardom route.
Connie Marshall: Current picture, “Saginaw Trail.” Not too long ago, Connie was just a kid in “Mother Wore Tights.” Can act all right, but may get lost in a town where beauty often goes begging.
Carol Mathews: Current picture, “Meet Me at the Fair.” She has a beautiful figure, red-gold hair, a handsome face. Good actress, and sexy, too. But she’s been around several years, which can mean she’s passed the golden hour.
Maggie McNamara: Current and debut picture, “The Moon Is Blue.” A sexy dish from the New York stage, she’s different enough looking, and has the theatrical experience to make her click and big.
Michael Pate: Current pictures, “Face to Face” and “Houdini.” Tall, distinctive looking, he may fall into the character-actor classification, for he has definite ability.
Marisa Pavan: Current picture, “What Price Glory.” Pier Angeli’s nineteen-year-old twin sister, dropped by Twentieth, she hasn’t quite Pier’s haunting loveliness but she has marked dramatic talent.
Rex Reason: Current picture, “Salome.” Here’s another of the lucky guys, with a studio solidly behind him, Columbia, in this case. Brown-haired, blue-eyed, unmarried, traveled, well-educated, lots of sex sock, he looks like Mr. Stardom.
Glen Roberts: Current picture, “Girls in the Night.” Young husband of Paramount’s young Joan Taylor. Originally a football UCLA star, came to Hollywood as a writer, but his height, handsome face got him in front of the camera. If brains and charm count, Glen is in, but def!
Georges Saurel: Current and debut picture, “South Sea Woman.” Here’s the type of dark, intelligent, charming Frenchman whom Hollywood glamour girls like Lana Turner have already discovered. Unmarried, not quite thirty, his slight accent probably won’t be a handicap—not when balanced against his sex appeal.
Marjorie Steel: Current picture, “Face to Face.” Wife of the very rich Huntington Hartford, who produced “Face to Face.” Marjie of the very pretty face and curvaceous figure, proved she is a sensitive actress, too. She’ll bear watching.
Betta St. John: Current picture, “Dream Wife.” She’s also in “All the Brothers Were Valiant” and “The Robe.” M-G-M had her, and in less troublesome times, would certainly have kept her, because this frail, beautiful brunette can sing, dance, act and look enchanting.
Carlos Thompson: American debut picture, “Fort Algiers.” Not since the Gable discovery days has M-G-Mgone so overboard on any personality as on Thompson Studio is solidly in back of him from executives to messenger girls, who sigh as he passes. Six feet two, green-eyed, young, unmarried, a singer, a writer, a fine actor, there seems to be no way he can miss.
Patricia Tiernan: Current picture, “Battle Circus.” A good looking girl, and a good actress, the brutal fact remains that nobody at M-G-M can remember her despite her having been in June Allyson’s picture. Bad career sign, that.
Bobby Van: Current picture, “Small Town Girl.” A kid born to show business, he started blowing a horn, advanced to Broadway musical comedies, is now M-G-M’s red-hot hope for comedy stardom. Tall, with a funny face, he’s cute.
Joan Vohs: Current picture, “Fort Ti.” A twenty-three-year-old blonde, with a fine figure, Joan is the wholesome type. And you count up on the fingers of one hand how many girls of that description click in the long Hollywood run.
Chris Warfield: Current picture, “Take the High Ground.” A handsome Los Angeles college man who wouldn’t take the studio “No!” for an answer, Chris has a superb singing voice, six feet of height, blue eyes, brown hair, and now finally an M-G-M contract. He’s socially sought after, which helps all careers.
Dennis Weaver: Current picture, “Column South.” U-I had Dennis under contract for a long stretch, but dropped him recently in face of the Hudson-Curtis-Gentry competition. A good actor, he possibly isn’t handsome enough.
Joan Weldon: Current picture, “The System.” Warners seldom handles the careers of girl stars well, but with any casting wisdom (which she hasn’t had so far) Joan should make the top. A statuesque brunette with flashing blue eyes, just out of her teens, Joan sings magnificently and can act besides.
Cara Williams: Current picture, “Girl Next Door.” She’s pert and pretty and Mrs. John Barrymore, Jr., but even at that, Cara has been around Hollywood so long she probably won’t make the top grade. Too bad, because she acts well.
Natalie Wood: Current picture, “The Star.” Not under contract currently, because she’s in that in-between of child star not quite grown up. But watch her, for potentially she’s a beauty and she has always been a great actress.
—BY WYNN ROBERTS
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 1953