Welcome to Vintage Paparazzi.

Come Along With Cobina To The Best Hollywood Parties!

July is bringing Hollywood out of doors, where the patios, lanais and gardens, now in full bloom, make colorful and effective settings for most of the important parties of the month. I’ve even had an outdoor bamboo bar installed in the open patio adjoining my own garden, and I christened it the other evening with a cocktail party for my friend, the Baroness de Selys Longchamps, a distinguished visitor.

That lovely Italian star, Valli, Sonja Henie, Robert Mitchum and his wife, Dorothy, Mary Pickford and Buddy Rogers, Diana Lynn, Ann Miller and Turhan Bey were among the many who came to welcome the Baroness to her first Hollywood party.

Below my garden the lights of the city spread out a carpet of glistening diamonds, and I saw Beatrice Lillie watching the scene with apparent fascination. “Isn’t it beautiful, Bea?” I asked her. “Don’t tell me, Cobina. I know. In just a minute they all come together and spell “MGM’!”

It was at this party that I introduced Turhan Bey to exquisite Arlene Dahl, and he was quite smitten with her titian-tressed beauty. Now they’re seeing each other quite regularly. Diana Lynn came with the young Texas oil millionaire, Bob Neal. but they both deny that there are any wedding bells ringing in the immediate future and claim that that heavily chaperoned trip to Mexico was just a vacation, a colorful change of scenery.

I had invited Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, but they called to say that they were both working so hard in “Key Largo” that they wondered if they could have a rain check.

“You know, Cobina,” Bogey said, “it’s the worst-dressed picture of the year. I wear the same old suit throughout the entire film. Lauren’s one-change wardrobe only cost seventy-five dollars and Claire Trevor’s single dress is a forty-five-dollar one. Edward G. Robinson wears just one suit and a sleazy robe and Lionel Barrymore’s outfit consists of a shirt, dungarees and a straw hat. We’re such a disreputably dressed crew that even the producer. Jerry Wald, feels obliged to wear a five-year-old suit when he visits the set! So you can see we’re hardly groomed to meet a Baroness.”

A rugged appearance, however, didn’t halt Robert Mitchum. He arrived. apologizing for wearing a six-day growth of beard, explaining that the studio wouldn’t let him shave because of his current role in “Blood on the Moon.” The Baroness was fascinated. and called “Beaver” when Bob was introduced to her.

Bette Davis didn’t give her party out of doors for her friends. Mr. and Mrs. Williams of Columbus. Georgia. but she did the next best thing. She literally brought a garden into the Rodeo Room of the Beverly Hills Hotel with some of the most stunning floral arrangements I have seen. Bette used great pink and green elephant ear leaves at the base of several bowls piled high with giant pink tulips. roses and pink carnations, all on candle-lit tables with pink satin cloths.

Bette’s invitations were so cute. She sent out wires saying that she and her husband, Bill Sherry, hadn’t given a party in a long time and.that she wished us to come for cocktails and a dance or two—or twenty-two! And we did dance until we were out of breath, because Bette and Bill insisted on teaching the Robert Montgomerys, Rosalind Russell and Fred Brisson, Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer and both Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper how to do the “zapateado,” or Mexican hat dance as it’s commonly called.

Bette’s guests of honor proved to be most charming and most Southern. Because Bette lives at Laguna most of the time she arranged with the studio to let Mr. and Mrs. Williams stay in her beautiful house right on the Warner lot. Mrs. Williams was particularly thrilled since this was her first trip to Hollywood. although she has entertained Bette on numerous occasions when the star was in the South. As Mrs. Williams said in her delightful Southern accent, “Imagine, Mrs. Wright, openin’ your front dohr every mahnin’ and seein’ Joan Crawford and Humphrey Bogart!”

The opening of my friends, Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt, in their comedy success, “O Mistress Mine,” drew a host of celebrities to greet this gifted couple, who haven’t been seen on the West Coast since before the war. Among the first nighters for the brilliant affair were Barbara Bel Geddes, Ann Miller, Jacqueline White, Cesar Romero, Clifton Webb, Bebe Daniels, Ben Lyon, the Louis Jourdans and the Tim Whelans.

After the final curtain several of us dropped by at the Rouben Mamoulians’ who were leaving for New York the next day. It was a balmy summer evening and the Mamoulians had their garden festooned in tropical fashion To make it even more exotic. Rouben’s colorful net macaw, Pancho, kept flying about, scolaing the waiters or landing on Rouben’s shoulder to say something confidential in the host’s ear. “Pancho does everything but mix the drinks.” Azadia (Mrs. Rouben Mamoulian, the noted sculptress,) said to me. “He’s the pet of all our pets. We’d be lost without him.” In fact, everyone was amused by Pancho’s chatter except Reginald Gardiner, who was trying to concentrate on a game of gin rummy. After the macaw had given one particularly raucous screech, Reggie looked up and said in his clipped British way, “Goodness, that bird needs oiling!”

At a cocktail party at Atwater Kent’s the other afternoon, Gregory Peck told me that Lassie now has a lawyer! It’s true. The lawyer’s name is Sidney Resnick. So when I was having dinner that evening with Bob Hope and his charming wife, Dolores, at the Town House, I told Bob, thinking he would get a kick out of it.

Bob looked at me seriously. “You know, Cobina,” he said, “the way business has been this last year, Lassie needs one! Why, just the other day,” said Bob continuing with the mock-serious expression, “I was outside the office of an important producer when the door opened and a dejected-looking agent came out with a furiously angry horse. ‘All right, wise guy,’ neighed the animal, ‘maybe next time you’ll let me do the talking!’ ”

One of the most amusing evenings I’ve spent recently was at the birthday party which Preston Sturges gave for his protegée, Frances Ramsden. Rupert Hughes, the distinguished author, was there, and when Rudy Vallee finished singing the birthday serenade, he said to me, “Now that’s one of the best imitations of Rudy Vallee I have ever heard!”

Earlier in the evening Rupert introduced himself to Linda Darnell, who looked ravishing in an ivory satin and gold-brocaded gown, by saying, “How do you do? I’m Rupert Hughes. I’m the man who wrote ‘Forever Amber.’ ”

The Rex Harrisons (Lilli Palmer), Linda and her husband, Pev Marley, Kurt Krueger, Selena Royle, Barbara Lawrence and her husband, John Fontaine, Pat Van Iver, Vic Orsatti and the rest joined in singing “Happy Birthday” to Frances when the cake was brought in with a typical Hollywood director’s touch. It had a spotlight focussed on it!

It was so nice to see adorable little Jean Simmons again at a cocktail party which the Walter Wangers gave for the petite British brunette in the red and white Crystal Room of the Beverly Hills Hotel. I had met Jean at the J. Arthur Rank studios when I was in England and I thought her most charming. Jean was visiting Hollywood en route to the Fiji Islands, where they were going to make location shots for “The Blue Lagoon.”

Walter and Joan Bennett wanted to give Jean a real Hollywood welcome, and all the guests were delighted with Jean’s sweet, retiring and naive manner. She actually brought with her a blue and gold autograph album and asked June Allyson, Dick Powell, the Louis Jourdans, Dinah Shore and George Montgomery, Gene Markey, and Peter Lawford to sign it.

Everyone was pleased, too, to see Lady Mendl, who is quite recovered from her recent serious illness. She was in great spirits, and when she saw little Elizabeth Taylor in a “New Look” dress, she quoted the Duchess of Windsor’s remark to reporters when she landed in New York. “My legs are still ‘see-worthy,’ ” said Lady Mendl. Sir Charles and Lady Mend also gave a dinner party for the Alfred Lunts which attracted a record crowd of filmland favorites, including the seldom-seen Greta Garbo.

I had a long talk with Garbo, who told me that she had planned on producing a picture in her native Sweden, but that the present state of affairs in Europe had caused her to abandon the idea.

Maria Montez, dressed to the teeth, came over and asked me how I liked the very dapper mustache which her husband, Jean Pierre Aumont, was wearing, while Sam and Frances Goldwyn counted votes on the various opinions. Before the evening was over, Jean Pierre went home and shaved it off!

While I was chatting with Paulette Goddard, artist Salvador Dali came over and asked Paulette if he could do her hands, because he thought they were the most expressive he had ever seen. Paulette smiled prettily and said, “Can’t you just do the nails? I haven’t had a decent manicure in months!”





No Comments
Leave a Comment