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Glamour Gab Of Hollywood

Poor” Marilyn

I feel sorry for Marilyn Monroe every time I think of her acting opposite so accomplished a pro as Sir Laurence Olivier. In spite of all her fantastic success, Marilyn has never before been in a picture with a top male star. Dick Widmark was the nearest she came in this category. But for all his fierceness on-camera, Dick is a gentle soul. When Marilyn gets a boy like Don Murray in his first screen role. as happened with “Bus Stop.” it is, of course, a walk-through for her.

Laurence Olivier is a smoothie who knows every acting trick in the book, and he is married to an actress who knows any other tricks he might possibly have forgotten—the subtle-minded Vivien Leigh. On-screen, Larry usually plays heavy roles, but off-screen he is a witty, wily man. And, for all his apparent dignity—which is really an act—-he is not the least bit averse to publicity. He knew exactly what he was doing when he agreed to make “The Sleeping Prince” with Marilyn. With his almost-wicked sense of humor, backed up by Vivien’s equally laughter-given reactions, I am sure it tickled him to stand in the background during the taking of all the news pictures, while Marilyn and Arthur Miller took the important positions.

Larry’s last picture was a heavy piece of Shakespearean drama, “Richard III.” A comedy is exactly what his career needs—and he knows it.

Poor Marilyn. During the shooting of her pictures, she always suffers spasms of nerves—she “ails” in the old-fashioned meaning of that word. So, on the days when she couldn’t appear on the set of “The Sleeping Prince,” Sir Laurence worked ‘around” Marilyn, rather than hold up production. It’s enough to get a girl well in a hurry. Enough, too, to make one speculate whether or not Marilyn has at last met her master.

A Word to the Wise

Tony Perkins, one of the fastest-rising young stars, recently was quite ill. A high-keyed, too-thin fellow, Tony has had only a half-day off since he landed in Hollywood more than a year ago. And with so many more pictures lined up, he probably won’t have a full week off for another year or so. Which, to me, makes the following story about Tony all the more appealing.

Not so long ago, Tony heard that someone had said that his head had swelled over all his triumph. So he went to a particular pal at Paramount and asked if this was the general impression. The pal said yes, it was.

Instead of being hurt or taking offense, Tony sought out the person who was supposed to have been most offended by his uppityness, and apologized. After that he.sat down and wrote to all his friends of the press who had written nice words about him. Then he called a dozen old friends and ot them all together for a party. I predict that Tony’s head won’t swell again. Getting over the first rush of adulation is like being vaccinated—you’re protected against future threats of the disease.

Learning the Hard Way

In the bliss of their honeymoon rapture, Victoria Shaw and Roger Smith decided they would never eat dinner out, even though neither of them knew anything about cooking. Excitedly and hungrily they dreamed of eating rare roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, made according to the old English recipes, and all sorts of other delectable dishes.

This, however, was before they discovered Vicki is accident-prone. The night they gave their first dinner party, Vicki cut her hand on a broken cup so severely that she had to be rushed to the hospital and have several stitches taken. A few weeks later, when they were entertaining again, Vicki tumbled off a ladder, on which she’d climbed to get some canned goods, and nearly broke her arm. The final payoff came the evening one of their guests brought her three-year-old son with her. The little boy went quietly to bed and to sleep, and everybody forgot him. Just as they were putting the meal on the table, the toddler got out of bed and fell against Vicki’s night stand, upsetting a vase of flowers and cutting himself badly.

Final result: “Now,” says Roger firmly, “we eat all meals out—including breakfast.”

Ups and Downs of Stardom

You can understand why actors believe in soothsayers, charms or any form of fortune-telling when you know the case of newcomer Leslie Neilsen. If you saw “The Vagabond King,” which was made two years ago but wasn’t released until last September, you may remember Leslie in the role of Thibault.

In “The Opposite Sex,” a musical version of “The Women,” Leslie showed up as a delightful leading man, opposite June Allyson and Joan Collins. Yet he probably wouldn’t have got his chance if Steve Forrest hadn’t kicked over the traces a year back. Steve was hot stuff at M-G-M then, but when they presented him with a role in “Forbidden Planet,” he rejected it, saying the role was too small for him. So M-G-M dropped him off the contract list, put Leslie in the space epic—and both were hits.

Poor Steve, who has talent as well as looks, still hasn’t become a big success.

However, players aren’t always wrong in turning down roles. Poor Kathryn Grayson tried to buy herself out of “The Vagabond King” after the first week’s shooting, but they wouldn’t let her. It certainly would have been much better for her if they had.

Love Comes to Lori

Happy encouragement to all those who fear that “nice” girls can never really get anywhere romantically is this month’s news about Lori Nelson. Sweet and refined little Lori is finally in love, and is loved, and the object of her affections couldn’t be more ideal. Because how much more desirable can a man be than to be barely thirty, very handsome, unspoiled, energetic and a self-made millionaire? That’s Lori’s beau. His name is Bob Peterson, and he’s the publisher of a whole flock of auto-racing magazines.

Only a few years ago, Bob came to Los Angeles as a smart kid with a smart publishing idea—to put out a magazine just for hot-rod enthusiasts. By a crazy coincidence, Lori’s greatest personal success has been in a quickie film, recently released, called “Hot Rod Girl.” The title is the coincidence, and Bob had nothing to do with it. Nobody expected much of it, including Lori. She wanted to do it only as a change of pace, to prove she could play something other than gentle girls. But the movie is prospering almost as much as Bob’s magazines.

That Bob, who could have his pick of the glamour gals, chose Lori doesn’t astonish Hollywood too much. Lori is like Ann Blyth. She lives quietly with her folks, dresses conservatively, is serious bout her career, and radiates a kind of lady-like sex appeal that even such a worldly character as Dean Martin found very potent. Last winter, when Dean was separated from his Jeanne, Lori was the girl he pursued. They could be seen dancing and dining in the glitter spots, and you could see Lori was very amused by Dean’s wonderful antics.

With Bob Peterson, however, Lori is radiant. I won’t be a bit surprised if they have already announced their engagement by now.

Lady Luck’s Stepchild

Cleo Moore is a girl who’s had more hard luck than most in her movie career. First, under contract to Columbia Pictures, she found herself cast in one prison role after another until she began to feel like a girl convict. Released by Columbia at her request, Cleo had several offers from independent producers. There was talk of casting her in “The Jean Harlow Story” and in the re-make of “Red-Headed Woman,” the Katherine Brush novel that helped make a star of Jean. But neither bright promise materialized, and Cleo is still holding out against any more B pictures that might consign her to movie oblivion. With talent and looks, plus the ability and willingness to work hard, Cleo’s is one of the many stories that happen in Hollywood which seem to have no explanation. Maybe 1957 will be her lucky year. Meanwhile, her romance with movie executive Charles Simonelli is on ice. Occasional escort John Smith is just a friend.

Incidental Information

It’s all, all over with Piper Laurie and Gene Nelson. Funny, how Gene can get the girls but not hold them. Like his ex-wife, Miriam—then Janie Powell—now Piper. .. . Every cloud should have a gold lining for the newest member of the Eddie Fisher family. Debbie’s friends baby-showered her with golden gifts, including gold-handled toothbrushes, gold porringers, and gold spoons. Hollywood, it would seem, has tired of the silver-spoon treatment. . . . His serious illness has changed Humphrey Bogart and made him almost sentimental—he who has always hated any expression of sentiment, probably because his mother was an artist who drew cute baby pictures and painted Christmas cards. Says Bogie of Lauren Bacall, who is less than half his age, “I must say the old lady has stood by me quite wonderfully during this period.”

Romantic Merry-Go-Round

While Frank Sinatra was in Spain making “The Pride and the Passion,” he seemed most interested in Peggy Connelly, the luscious model, whom many people (probably including Peggy) thought Frankie was very serious about. Also, no they matter what Frank and Ava say, did see one another in Spain, at private houses and at dinner parties. Frank also flicked a very attentive eye at vivacious, very young, very beautiful Carmen Sevilla, Spain’s greatest star. Back in America, just in time for the Democratic convention, Frank did a lot of wining and dining with Betty Furness, an old friend of his. If that old feeling wasn’t still in their hearts, there in Chicago, they surely gave a good imitation of it.

In the background of Frank’s life there is always Nancy Sinatra, a real love of a girl, who would take him back tomorrow if he’d so much as invite her out for a soda. There’s young Nancy, too, nearly grown-up and Frank, Jr., of whom Frankie is becoming increasingly proud.




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