Glamour Gab Of Hollywood
BY RUTH WATERBURY
Ruth Waterbury, whose stories and articles have appeared in nearly every national magazine, started her writing career as a teenager, with the New York World, then joined the New York Daily News. In her early twenties, she went to work for Photoplay, next originated and became editor of Silver Screen, then returned to Photoplay as editor. She has worked with Louella Parsons in Hollywood for the last ten years, has been a reviewer for the Los Angeles Examiner, and is a frequent contributor to Photoplay. Starting this month, she will regularly present interesting and intimate items about America’s ever-ever land.
There’s always something new, colorful, fascinating in Hollywood, as I shall try to show you. The newest and the most this month, in my opinion, is this tall, dark and handsome fellow named Ray Danton.
It’s taken Ray only four pictures to hit it big. “Chief Crazy Horse,” “The Looters” and “The Spoilers” were his first three, and he played quite nasty villains. Then came “I’ll Cry Tomorrow,” in which Ray played a dreamboat with such masculine tenderness and understanding that you really could believe his death would drive Susan Hayward into alcoholism. M-G-M wanted to buy half of Ray’s contract from U-I after seeing him in “Cry.” They even tested him for “Ben Hur,” but U-I wouldn’t give.
Ray is fantastic to talk to. He has the quickness of mind that was so enchanting in Jimmy Dean, plus a sureness. Although he’s only twenty-four, he’s had twelve years’ acting experience. Ray is so in love with his wife, Julie Adams, that he finds no matter what subject he begins talking about he ends up mentioning Julie. “We have monumental fights,” he grins, “but on February 20th, our first anniversary, I could see how much I had changed Julie. Thought she was very improved, in fact. Then I thought she was probably looking at me, thinking how I had changed—and that she had improved me.” Then he adds seriously, “I believe that to give of yourself is the greatest gift you can present.” Ray’s very sharp, interested in everything, handsomer than he photographs, and undoubtedly temperamental. But, personally, I think he’ll go farther than anybody I’ve met since Jimmy Dean, and I certainly nominate Ray for top stardom. You can check me later and. see how right—or wrong—I turn out to be.
Natalie Wood and Tab Hunter came together to the Photoplay Award dinner—but don’t try to make anything of this. They don’t. Come July 20, Nat will be nineteen, and right this moment I think she’s just about the smartest of the younger acting set. Proof: Her contract with Warners is a big deal indeed; and Nat’s attitude toward her work is strictly professional. Given a scene, she knows how to send it.
But it’s off-screen, in the date department, that this chick is slick.
Nat has all the sharp boys, including ambitious Tab, flocking around her, and she handles them as expertly as a page of dramatic dialogue. Two thrill males who are always jangling her phone are Nick Adams and Dennis Hopper, and a smoother, more aggressive pair of young guys you’ll never find. For example, Dennis has a bit in “Giant” and, during the shooting, he spent every off-screen moment amusing Henry Ginsberg, the producer. Similarly, Nick, who does a fine job in “Picnic,” saw to it that he charmed the whole company between takes with smart tricks.
So what does Missy Wood do when they, or Tab, or half a dozen others want to date her? Does she insist upon the Romanoff-Mocambo routine, which would kill their salaries for a month? Not this brainy gal.
She comes up with such ideas as the one she gave out the night “Helen of Troy” was premiered. Nat proposed that they corral their whole crowd and mingle with the lights-stars-glamour group—but with one important difference. The Wood clan would not be plushed up, but dressed down—crazy clothes, real-gone hair, wild make-up.
The gang all went for it, sitting in the bleachers outside the theatre with the regular fans. When such buddies of theirs as Rock and Phyllis Hudson, Kim Novak and Mac Krim, Tony and Janet Curtis entered, Nat’s bunch really spooked them, asking for autographs, clowning around. All stellar dignity was riddled that night.
Result: fine time by all. Cost: nothing but laughs. Double result: more fun dates on Nat’s calendar for every night.
The Kelly Look
The imitation Grace Kelly vogue which Linda Christian, of all people, was featuring at the Kirk Douglas party, was also featured by Martha Hyer at the Photoplay Gold Medal Awards party. It highlights the lily-white skin routine, the sleeked-back blond straight hair, and the unadorned, pastel-colored satin evening gown.
Apparently the Purdom thing is over with Linda Christian. This girl has courage: She dares to come to Hollywood parties alone. The air was a little cool around her at the Douglas party, held in honor of Favre LeBret of the famous Cannes Film Festival.
It was a brilliant crowd, yet Anne Douglas was the center of attention when she told about the robbery of hers and Kirk’s home. The looters escaped with al: Kirk’s suits, all Anne’s evening gowns, hats and furs. But, curiously enough, they didn’t touch her lovely French slippers or the two dozen gossamer evening stockings which Kirk had bought her as.a gift, only the day before.
It was this omission that gave the police the tip-off. “There’s been a woman in on this job,” they said, “but there is something the matter with her feet.” With that clue, they finally tracked down a girl with a wooden leg. She had once worked in Kirk’s office, and she was part of the gang who had also robbed Ginger Rogers’ home. On her list were the names of a dozen other movie celebrities whose homes she was planning to invade next. Now doesn’t this all sound just like something the great Alfred Hitchcock would dream up on a rainy Monday?
I’ve always taken a dim view of Hollywood’s contention that it originates important fashions. Because the clothes worn in movies must, above all, always be becoming, no Hollywood designer can exhibit the daring of a Dior of Paris or a Simonetta of Rome. However, when it comes to an entire ballroom of the most beautiful women in the world wearing the last word in style—here Hollywood is supreme.
For example, it was genuinely exciting merely to walk into the Screen Producers’ Dinner, honoring Cecil B. DeMille, or the Photoplay Awards dinner, and note how magnificently our glamour dolls wore their fabulous duds.
Big moment at the Screen Producers’ affair came after the speeches when, all over the room, stars who had appeared in DeMille pictures—starting with 1913 and continuing to 1956—stood up in the spotlight. Forty-four personalities, yet, going all the way back to Winifred Kingston and Kathleen Williams, through Bill “Hop-along” Boyd, Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Claudette Colbert, Susan Hayward, and on up to Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner and Anne Baxter, who are the stars of DeMille’s latest, “The Ten Commandments.”
To me, it was very touching to see Babs Stanwyck clutch Fredric March’s hand and beg him to stand up with her when her name was called. With her silvery hair, she looked very chic in a pink ball gown, its bodice made of the sheerest chiffon, and the skirt of voluminous pink satin. But her loneliness stood out as much as her costume.
Incidentally, it was raining the night of the DeMille dinner. Therefore, I really flipped when I saw Anne exiting. Over her black satin dress she’d donned a floor-length coat of cream-colored satin. She was with her constant escort, manager and director Russell Birdwell. When their car pulled up, Anne swept grandly out to it, her cream satin coat dragging through the puddles.
That’s nonchalance for you. Also cleaner’s bills.
When Millionaires Meet
Whether or not Prince Rainier knows it, while visiting Hollywood, he saw the most charming side of Glamour Town—one not usually revealed to visitors, not even to one of his importance and charm.
Take, for example, the dinner given by Director William Seiter and his lovely wife, Marian, in honor of Grace Kelly’s parents. This occasion provided a perfect illustration of Jerry Lewis’ crack at the Screen Producers’ dinner, when Jerry said, referring to the speaker’s table, “Anybody up here can buy anybody up here.”
This was even more true of the Seiter affair. Everybody in the room could buy everybody and everything, but they were all there, very old friends, honoring an old friend whose daughter was making a particularly brilliant and romantic marriage. Bill Seiter has been a friend of handsome Jack Kelly for ages. Both are self-made men of means, and practically every guest present was in the same class, including Marian Seiter, who in the old silent-film days, was pretty little Marian Nixon. Among those present for the Kelly dinner was a very quiet oil millionaire, and a very quiet millionaire architect, and an equally quiet millionaire realtor.
And who was the one top Hollywood personality present, besides exquisite Miss Kelly? June Allyson—naturally, with Dick Powell, who seldom points out that he, too, is in the million-dollar category. Little June is always busting out all over rich groups like this. Personally, salute her for it.
It is a rare girl who knows in her teens just what she wants, gets it in her twenties, and in her early thirties still looks much too girlish and naive to have attained it. Not only by marriage either—it’s a bad year when bouncy little Mrs. Powell doesn’t bring in at least a half-million.
Grace Kelly’s Trousseau
A similar type of clear-thinking smartness got Prince Rainier’s bride-to-be out of an embarrassing diplomatic spot that might well have floored such an expert as the Duchess of Windsor.
Every dress designer in the world wanted to make Grace’s trousseau. It would cost her nothing. In fact, the coutouriers wanted to pay Grace handsomely for the privilege.
Grace listened with her unfailing politeness and then gave the nod to Helen Rose of M-G-M. Miss Rose, who has designed Grace’s screen clothes ever since she made “Mogambo,” is certainly a great artist, and she knows that Grace prefers what she calls “pretty colors,” which means soft pinks, blues and yellows.
However, this had nothing to do with Grace’s choice. Miss Rose is under contract to M-G-M, just as Grace is. Consequently, she cannot design for anyone not under contract to the studio, as Grace will not be after her marriage. Therefore, there could be nothing commercial about these designs for the most solemn moment of Grace’s life. No vulgar money would pass hands. And there was no possibility of a follow-up, when Grace would be a reigning royalty.
It was “right’”—as Grace always is.
Spencer Tracy, of all people, hearing about this decision, came up with the best nickname to date for Grace. With witty affection, he tagged her “Snow White”—also a cool girl, you remember, who found her Prince.
The newest and most charming additions to the ultra-ultra social set of Hollywood are the Jacques Sernases. They belong to the very chic young group—they live elegantly, speak several languages, have a beautiful baby, and always appear to be having a wonderful time.
The “going-out” crowd is a very differ- ent one from the “stay-at-homes,” though both sets include top names. The James Masons, Ginger Rogers and Jacques Bergerac, Kirk and Anne Douglas, the Jack Bennys, Greg Bautzer and Dana Wynter, Jeanne Crain and Paul Brinkman—this group you encounter at almost every party. Beautiful, dark-eyed, Italian-born Maria Sernas, and blond, gallant Jacques fit into this group as perfectly as diamonds on a slender debutante.
Lately, at such gatherings, everybody has been noticing that Bing Crosby continually turns up with a very sweet little girl, Kathy Grant, who is usually dressed in a quiet little dress of untrimmed black, wearing no jewelry except a tiny string of pearls.
Other nights, Kathy turns up at an un-important little dine-and-dance place in an unfashionable section of Los Angeles, where the younger crowd goes to hear an extra-good jazz pianist. And who escorts here there? Philip Crosby!
Hollywood Who’s Who
Crazy, the way Hollywood’s third generation is approaching prominence. For example, looking at Jennifer Jones with David Selznick, and remembering that David is the only descendent of Hollywood’s first generation who has made good in a terrific way (his father was Louis J. Selznick, one of the earliest film producers), I thought how wild it is that his stepson, Robert Walker, Jr. is Alana Ladd’s favorite escort.
It’s like the new game Hollywood is playing these days. One person asks, “How is Lili Damita related to the Aga Khan?” The answer is: Lili was married to Errol Flynn, who was married to Nora Eddington, who was married to Dick Haymes, who was married to Rita Hayworth—who was married to Aly Khan.
All of which reminds me,of the two stellar children who met at a Hollywood school. Since they didn’t know one another very well, they decided to pick a quarrel.
“My father can lick your father,” said one.
The other was very scornful. “Don’t be silly,” he said. “My father is your father.”
Star Styles For You
At glamour-do’s, Marisa Pavan wears her hair in a long braid, with pearls braided into it. It’s very severe, but also very chic, and it’s a hairdo you can easily manage yourself.
At the Palm Springs Racquet Club, guests are presented with tote bags, on the side of which, in sequins, is the motto: “Remember, happiness doesn’t buy money.”
Joan Crawford has her name embroidered on the tops of her sports shoes—Joan on one shoe and Crawford on the other.
And there really is a married couple in Hollywood, though not in the film industry, who have two swimming pools—one marked “His” and the other marked “Hers.”
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MAY 1956