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Christmas Dreams

Young Pier Angeli is one of the dreamiest girls of the younger star set in Hollywood. And when she came alone, without any escort, to the fabulous filmland party tossed by Sonja Henie, I took her aside and said severely, “See here, Private Angeli, this sort of solo nonsense has got to stop. Why didn’t you bring a guy?” “Because there was no guy, as you call heem, to breeng,” said Pier with sadness in the sweet smile. So I told her to relax, to hang up her stocking on Christmas Eve and maybe old Santa will fill it with an honest-to-goodness man she can call her own. Of course, she may have one by the time you read this, because she was leaving for Rome alone, without Mama Pierangeli, shortly after our talk. And it’s my belief that Pier’s man shortage stems from Mama’s over-supervision. Up to Christmas 1954, she has enjoyed, or suffered, through only two serious datings: mature Kirk Douglas and young James Dean—sometimes known in Hollywood as the poor man’s Marlon Brando. But this is the time of year when dreams come true, and Dear Santa, Pier wants a real romance!

Every self-respecting little star counts minks instead of sheep at Christmastime and, when I looked over Pat Crowley’s shoulder while she wrote her letter to Santa, she was crossing her T’s with the tails of expensive little rodents by Teitelbaum. On her they look good. And for extra measure Pat, who was raised in the mining town of Scranton, Pennsylvania, was asking the gentleman with the white beard to travel down her chimney in a red convertible, which he could leave behind. We’ll see that he’s told, Pat.

Incidentally, I had an Xmas conversation with Zsa Zsa Gabor. “For a change, dollink, I’m going to wish for something very practical and not frivolous. These are serious times, so for Christmas I’d like a reversible stole. mink on one side and ermine on the other. So I can go directly from a cocktail party to dinner without having to go home and change furs.” And if there is still room’ in the stocking, Santa should toss in a spare black eye-patch and Rubirosa.

Kim Novak, whose father is still working on the railroads, was discovered by a Columbia talent scout while riding a bicycle in Beverly Hills. Kim’s Christmas dream is very much on the way to becoming reality. She wants to see her name in lights ninety feet high! Well, after “Pushover” with Fred MacMurray, her name already means something on the marquee, although it may take a few more Christmases to achieve the length of her longings.

The only thing Elaine Stewart ever rode before she became a movie star was the train from her home in New Jersey to New York where she was a model. Her stocking will have to be a very big one this year for the horse, cup, coat and derby she wants from Santa. A girl who was not born to the saddle can still dream of winning a blue ribbon at a swank horse show, can’t she?

Christmas 1948, Donna Lee Hickey was kicking up her heels in the chorus at the Copacabana. But as May Wynn, Yuletide 1954, she is dreaming of Paris in the Spring, on the Boulevard, sipping an aperitif at the Cafe de Paris, where if you sit long enough, says the legend, you will see everyone you didn’t know was in Europe.

Anne Francis is dreaming closer to home. The best holiday gift for Annie would be to see her name on the jacket of a best-selling novel. Her desk drawers are full of poems, plays and short stories. This is one beautiful blond with lots of brains.

Susan Cabot was born in Boston and raised in the Bronx, and she isn’t dreaming of a White Christmas this year. Susie, who has played more Indians than you could throw a movie hero at, gave me a private preview of a palatial mansion on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills that she would like Santa to wrap up for her. And while she’s asking, Susan would like to find some true-blue American-girl roles in her bobby socks.

When I asked Jane Powell what she was wanting for Xmas, she replied, unhesitatingly: “A baby!” Then blushingly, “Not this year, next!” Janie never wastes time on daydreams either. And to make room for the new baby she wants, she and Pat Nerney are already looking for a bigger house. That’s what I call being really premature.

And I don’t have to remind you what Grace Kelly wants in her stocking—Oleg Cassini, who’s so mad about the socialite cinema queen. Grace admits she’s been very lucky in Hollywood and says, “I hope Santa Claus will continue to be good to me and bring me more good movie parts.”

Ava Gardner isn’t writing to the North Pole about romance this year. She’s had it—north, south, and you name it. After three husbands and bullfighter Luis Dominguin, all Ava wants this year is a chance to eat Christmas pudding and turkey at home. “Last year I was in Rome with ‘The Barefoot Contessa.’ The year before, in Africa with ‘Mogambo.’ ” I wonder where and with whom lovely Ava will Xmas next year?

Jean Simmons wants Santa to act as her house agent this Christmas. “We need a buyer for our other home in Bel Air. Oh, how I would love to get rid of that white elephant.” But husband Stewart Granger wants something harder. “An end to those never-ending and totally unfounded rumors that my wife and I are on the verge of a separation. Jean and I have learned to laugh off such reports, but it would be real nice to have the holiday season at least pass by and not have to deny them.”

Bette Davis is one movie star who will have a White Christmas—in Maine with husband Gary Merrill and their two children. It’s incredible, but the First Lady of Filmland has been off the screen since “The Star”—two years now! That’s too long for her and for us. Her jaw is healing, and now Bette would like to find a good movie script in her stocking.

Richard Burton was on the whimsical side when I put the gift question on behalf of Santa. “Is there any way I can arrange to have some of this California sunshine shipped over to England for my friends?” Nothing is impossible for Mr. Claus.

Maureen O’Hara’s big Christmas present is already here. For the first time in seventeen years, Maureen’s entire family will celebrate Christmas together. Her mother and father are ensconced in the home she bought for them near her own, her two handsome brothers are here, also her sisters from Canada and Washington, and her sister from the convent in Ireland has been transferred to close-by Long Beach. This is one Christmas tree in Hollywood that will be super-loaded with love and affection.

I have a great present to suggest for June Haver and Fred MacMurray—a baby of their own in the near future Fred’s adopted children are crazy about gentle June. And their cup of happiness would overflow if the Stork could promise a landing.

Jerry Lewis calling Santa, “The best present my partner and I could have for Christmas, or any time, is one year without a story that Dean and I are splitting up. The time we wasted denying these stories in 1954 we could have used making another picture.”

And from Dean Martin: “A South African head-shrinking kit, complete with instructions. Oh yes, and a book of New England bird calls. And don’t go, my own company. I figure that’s the only way to save money.”

Big likable Rock Hudson is afraid to look into his Christmas sock this year in case Santa gets his signals mixed. Rock wants to establish himself as an actor before he marries. He proved in “Magnificent Obsession” that he has what it takes to rank with the top-notch actors. A wife is sometimes a hostage to fortune. You have to accept roles you don’t like to pay those bills. Rock wants to be free to concentrate on his career. So this is to ask Mr. Cupid to stay home and not bother him this Christmastide.

Not so with Debbie Reynolds. The cutest love story of the year started when Eddie Fisher told me he would like to meet Debbie Reynolds, and I said, “Why don’t you call her and say I said for you to introduce yourself to her.” He did, and you all know what happened. Who knows, maybe they’ll marry at Christmas—if not before. And Debbie couldn’t wish for a nicer present.

Rosemary Clooney calling. “Is it too much to hope that Santa Claus will send me twins?” While Tony and Janet Curtis will settle for one, just one lovely baby, for their happy Christmas wish.

Gary Cooper’s asking for a fishing stream that no one else can find.

You’ll never guess what Robert Wagner wants. Money! Bob’s parents have all the money they can ever use, but their movie-star son wants to be financially secure in his own right. And he will be. Bob earns $1,500 a week and he also owns a chunk of his 20th Century-Fox studio. R. J. borrowed the money from Pop when the stock was very low and cleaned up. But he wants more.

Calling all Santas for Elizabeth Taylor, who pleads, “If I go to see a sick friend in the hospital, someone will say I’m splitting up with Mike Wilding. Please, a truce.”

Bob Hope would like to find Bing Crosby in his stocking, so he could tie him up “and prevent him from buying all the tv stations in the country just to keep me off video.”

As for Bing, the best present his son Gary can give him now is to finish his senior year at Stanford before plunging into show business. I’m not sure Gary can wait. “I have twenty thousand dollars worth of jobs waiting for me,” he grumbles, “but Dad wants that sheepskin.” Methinks Dad is right. And so will Gary, later.

Some Xmas quickies . . . Doris Day: “Health and happiness for my family.” Ginger Rogers: “To improve my backhand in tennis.” Jack Palance: “No more movies with snakes; they scare me.” Gregory Peck: “My three sons for Christmas.” Rita Hayworth: Her release from Columbia. And from June Allyson and Dick Powell: “Please Santa, no telephone calls on Christmas Day and no fights between Ricky and Pammy and some peace and quiet. And Christmas, it’s wonderful!”





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