Get These Men!
Sometimes I think Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors would prefer crawling on their hands and knees over broken glass to keep their freedom rather than walk well-shod down a plushly carpeted aisle to the dulcet strains of the wedding march.
But, by their own admission, they each have an Achilles’ heel, so don’t give up, girls. They, too, can all be had—by the proper girl.
Gwen Verdon is a flashy blond with a lithe figure, whistle-provoking legs and the know-how to use both figure and legs to capture the fancy and fancies of half of Broadway. And Gwen is the one who finally has captured that long-time man about town, that confirmed woman-hater, Scott Brady.
Yes, Scott has finally fallen and, as happens to all who dodge the wedding bells with a kind of dedicated fervor, he’s fallen hard.
Scott met Gwen when they were both in London making “Gentlemen Marry Brunettes.” And though the script called for him to prefer those two luscious lovelies, Jane Russell and Jeanne Crain, Scott didn’t follow the script when the cameras stopped rolling. He and Gwen lit a small blaze on the Continent and it’s now a roaring fire. When she opened in “Damn Yankees” on Broadway—and incidentally scored a tremendous hit in the part of a goodhearted Jezebel who tries to make the hero forget his wife—Scott was in the audience cheering her on. He wasn’t alone either. He’d even brought Gwen’s daughter with him from California for that great event. That’s how bad he has it.
“I don’t wanna get married yet,” Tab Hunter assured me when I put the eternal question to him after he’d made an appearance on my television show. Then in the next breath he sighed: “But I do get lonely going home to an empty apartment every night.”
When a man admits that, he’s ready for marriage, whether he thinks he is or not.
Who is the girl who’s going to win this reluctant Romeo? Here’s what Tab told me: “I don’t like ’em sexy. You know, all face and front, and then—nothing. I like them small and cuddly, like Debbie Reynolds and Lori Nelson. They’re not obvious about their sex. You know they’re girls, but they don’t advertise the fact with banner headlines. And I don’t like a girl who starts giving orders almost right away, like ‘You call me tomorrow.’ When a girl does that. I stop right then and there.
“Or I go overboard the other way for the sleek, sophisticated woman-of-the-world kind like Annie Sheridan or Marlene Dietrich. There’s no in-between for me.”
“What about Dorothy Malone?” I asked, since she’s the girl he’s been dating most frequently.
“She’s wonderful,” Tab told me, and he was sincere about it. “The man who gets Dorothy for a wife will be one lucky fellow.” But he left a big doubt in my mind that he intends to be that lucky fellow. He washed the whole thing up with this statement: “I’m Catholic, and I don’t believe in divorce. When I get married, it’s going to be for life, so I don’t want to make a mistake. I’ll wait until I’m sure.”
Another one who’s waited—and waited—and waited—is Rock Hudson. However, I don’t think he’s going to wait much longer, for this new “King” has found his Queen in the person of pretty and intelligent brunette Phyllis Gates.
I spotted this romance almost a year ago, and it’s been growing steadily into the very real thing. Phyllis is no glamour star, no shimmering beauty with a glib tongue and a flashy phony smile. She’s a secretary from Minnesota who’s much more interested in a home and children than she is in mink coats. caviar and Cadillacs.
I’ve said all along that when Rock marries, it won’t be to a movie star, or to a girl who has any ambitions of becoming one. He was burned once when he fell in love with Vera-Ellen. After that was over, he told me, “Never again, Sheilah.” And I knew he meant it. Through the years he’s dated dozens of actresses, including some of the biggest stars in the business, but when he got down to the serious business of love and marriage. it had to be with a girl like Phyllis.
And what is she like?
She’s like the girl next door. She’s old-fashioned enough to want her parents to announce her engagement (and look for that announcement after Rock finishes his acting chore in “Giant,” sometime after November). She’s a wonderful cook, a “neat but not gaudy” dresser, intelligent enough to have been promoted from secretary to agent by her boss, Rock’s own manager, Henry Willson, and even more intelligent than that, willing to give up her job to stay at home and be Mrs. Rock Hudson.
Donald O’Connor has been carrying a torch for his ex-wife, Gwen (now Mrs. Dan Dailey). But I know a girl—and so does Don—who can extinguish it—Gloria Noble. Here are all the things she is, as told by Don himself: “She’s done a few things in pictures, but she’s not terribly competitive. And she’s a lot sweeter than most of the girls in this business. You know how we spend our time? We have a quiet dinner together at my place then sit and watch TV. She’s a very nice girl and the only one I’m seeing at present. But then I’m not much for this business of dating a different doll every night. What for?” he added with a shrug. “It’s much better to find someone you can be relaxed and comfortable with.” And Don is relaxing and being comfortable with pretty little Gloria almost every evening.
It isn’t the taste of sugar about Kay Spreckels that attracts Clark Gable, but the similarity she bears to his much beloved third wife, the late Carole Lombard. Kay has the same vitality and effervescence. And if anyone can take her place in Clark’s affections (and many have tried and been found wanting), the sparkling Kay can.
Carole somehow managed to infect everyone around with contagious gaiety. When she married Gable, she was not an outdoorsy girl. But to make him happy, she learned to ride and shoot and fish. He never has been that happy since—until he started seeing Kay some months ago.
They deny marriage plans with the regularity of a time clock. “Look.” protests Kay, “if we were going to get married, the spark would have been kindled years ago. I’ve known Clark for twelve years. It was during the war. He had just come back from the Air Force in Europe. We went to parties and dinners, and it was fun. Nothing else. I’ve got no intention of walking down the aisle with anyone. Clark feels the same way and that’s why we hit it off. We go out for laughs.” All I can say is they’re doing a lot of laughing.
Marlon Brando has the same taste for foreign spice that has led John Wayne to wed three different south-of-the-border senoritas. However, Brando is much more difficult to snag than was Wayne. Big Duke is as amenable to marriage as a girl is to make-up. He likes it; he likes it. He can’t stand being single. On the other hand, Brando can’t stand the thought of marriage—yet. But when he finally gets around to it, he’ll marry a dish with a very definite foreign flavor.
Practically every girl he’s ever gone with has conformed to this type. Movita, Rita Moreno, Josanne Mariani. They have something that could make him set aside his midnight bongo sessions for the more conventional voodoo of “I do.”
Josanne may still be able to do it. She slipped into town very quietly while Marlon was in the midst of “Guys and Dolls,” and they had a few romantic bouts before she slipped as quietly out of town and returned to New York. If they do wed, it’s been one of the weirdest courtships on record, from the obscure newspaper announcement of their engagement to their long-distance romancing separated by the thousands of miles between Hollywood and New York.
One thing’s for sure though. Marlon will never settle for the ordinary type of girl. She’ll have to be a girl to match his moods and also anticipate them. She’ll have to be as unpredictable as he is, and keep him so busy guessing that he won’t have time to think of himself.
James Dean, the newcomer who has been called a road-show edition of Brando, sometimes acts like him on-screen, but nothing like him in private life, except for the fact that neither will be forced to live by the rules of a young actor’s conduct as prescribed by Hollywood. Each is an individual.
Jimmy revealed the type of girl he would marry almost as soon as he came to Hollywood to work on “East of Eden.” He fell in love with the devout, simple, beautiful Pier Angeli. He will not talk about Anna (all of Pier’s friends call her by her real name) now that she’s married to Vic Damone. But before the marriage, Jim spoke poetically of her “wonderful soul and her soulful eyes and her overwhelming beauty.” He would have married her if he could. But too many things stood in their way, particularly Mama Pierangeli, who had no use for him at all, at all, at all.
At the moment though, he carries no torch. He loved and lost and that’s that. This setback in his romantic life has caused him to go to the other extreme of Anna in the girls he dates—and the greatest extreme possible is Vampira, the Charles Addams type beauty who used to introduce spooky movies over one of the local Hollywood TV stations. Younger glamour dolls are dying for dates with Dean, but he’s been playing like he couldn’t care less. This disinterest intrigues the gals. One of them told me, after a brief introduction in which Jimmy did little more than nod to her, “He appeals to me. I guess because I’m the type who likes to take in stray cats and dogs.”
Dean is as closemouthed about his romantic feelings as an oyster is about the pearl it contains, but good-looking Bob Wagner is the complete opposite. He’ll talk about the girls in his life.
“The main reasons are: I’m not in love. I’m not interested in falling in love. I don’t want to marry yet. And I don’t want to waste all of my time, my thoughts and my energies on something that doesn’t yet make sense. On top of that, I find it sort of silly, embarrassing and undignified to have this heartbeat fiction floating around when it’s so crazy.”
I asked Robert what the girl will be like when he does find her. “That I wouldn’t know. I’m not too sure she’ll be an actress. It might be rough having a professional rival for your wife. But on the other hand, when you’re in this business you’re really in a world apart. People who aren’t actors can’t understand a lot of things you have to do, ways you have to act. Why, even my own folks give me blank stares sometimes when I try to explain, and they’ve lived around Hollywood quite a time. So, I don’t know, I really don’t. My type? Well, I’m not being particularly original, but I like Grace Kelly’s type—smart, independent, beautiful and a lady.”
Rumors persist that Bing Crosby is pricing wedding rings and he has the girl picked out that’ll wear the one he finally buys. She’s Kathryn Grant, the young brunette under contract to Columbia, whom he’s been dating frequently. I checked with him on this matter, and Bing chuckled: “She is a nice girl and Kathryn’s not the typical Hollywood glamour type. As a matter of fact, she’s quite proper and quite religious, though she’s not of my church.” But as for those reports that he’s getting serious about the girl, he shakes his head. And, as if to prove his point, he began redating Mona Freeman.
Ben Cooper is currently in the throes of his first love, and it may be his last, for he’s serious about the girl. She’s a super-curved blonde named Lee Sharon who headlines night-club shows in such seaports as New York, Miami, Tokyo, doing dances which Ben describes as modern, but which more professional critics seem to think are strip routines. It’s Lee’s picture that occupies the place of honor in his billfold.
Ben has gone out with Anna Maria Alberghetti, whom he admittedly likes; he gets really animated when he talks about Pat Crowley, with whom he went to high school in New York; and he’ll slick himself up sharp and shiny for a date with Lori Nelson. But the plain fact, say those in whom he confides such matters, is that he’s crazy about Lee. She flashed into his life last November when a friend of Ben’s dated her and introduced them. The friend was soon minus one girl.
The girl who wants to marry George Nader, Universal-International’s newest heartthrob, is going to have to wait for a while and bide her time. When I put the marriage question to him, he didn’t flip it off, but said, “I’ve got to have a more secure foundation in my work before I get married, because I hate insecurity.”
He admits he likes girls and this is fortunate since he’s the sort of date girls go for. He always dresses neatly, takes his dates to restaurants where the food and music are both good, never talks about acting or himself, dances to music with a slow, romantic beat, is a wonderful audience and knows how to act like a gentleman.
George claims he’s been in love only three times, the last time during his Navy days. “While I was stationed in the Pacific, she mailed me a ‘Dear John’ letter,” he said. “It hurt at the time. But I wasn’t ready to get married then, any more than I am now.”
Everyone thought he had the answer to the type of girl who would attract Eddie Fisher, myself included. The girl was, of course, Debbie Reynolds. But though he keeps a large framed photograph of himself with Debbie on a table in his living room, it’s an empty gesture to an engagement that skidded. Debbie is still Eddie’s type and, if they marry, it will be a case of Debbie’s mind over matter—the matter-of-fact plans of Eddie’s advisers. It’s difficult enough for a girl to please the man she’s going to marry, but to please nearly a dozen others who advise him is impossible.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 1955