Glamour Gab Of Hollywood
My personal nomination for the star who is developing with the greatest good sense is Rock Hudson. Ever since the day he married the Hollywood whispers have been trying to separate Rock and Phyllis, a situation that would make most men violently angry. But not Rock. He’s in love with Phyl. She’s in love with him. He wastes no energy in answering people who don’t know what they are talking about when they say there is trouble between them. A couple of small examples of his serenity came up recently at U-I. While Rock was in Africa making “Something of Value,” a magazine published a story that was in itself harmless but with a most misleading title on it. The studio was up in arms, thinking particularly of what he might say when he saw it. All Rock did was grin and say, “Can’t you guys get me better titles than this?”
Like all stars, Rock has always had the privilege of okaying all photographs taken of him and of destroying the ones he didn’t like. He’d rarely exercised the privilege, until he got married; now he exercises it only when the pictures in question include Phyllis. He goes over any shots of her with great care. “She’s so pretty,” he says. “I want to be sure the camera does her full justice.”
Proof positive of Rock’s devotion to Phyl was his taking her to Paris for a week before they went to Africa for the shooting of “Something.” Rock is mad for Italy, particularly Rome and Venice, but he hates Paris. Yet—“I never knew a woman who wasn’t crazy about the place,” he said, “so I guess I have to take my bride there the first chance I get.”
A Woman Alone
At the party the night “High Society” premiered, it was touching to see Jeanne Crain, virtually unescorted and looking so very lonely. The gentleman who had brought her to the party was a visiting and very distinguished New Yorker, very much married and just in town for his work, so that you knew Jeanne was strictly a friend. And since he is very popular, he was constantly on the floor, dancing, while Jeanne sat there magnificently dressed and registering animation. But sometimes her head drooped, for all the world like a beautiful flower.
The pathos of this is that, except for this swank affair at Romanoff’s, I haven’t been to a party all month where I haven’t seen Paul Brinkman, whom Jeanne has just divorced at a very high money cost to her, their community property being what it is. Paul is definitely a charmer, definitely handsome and, in a society where there are not enough men to go around, he is a very real catch.
At the Romanoff party, there were Russ Tamblyn in his pioneering dress-up Bermuda shorts and his Venetia, holding hands, Jeanne and Dean Martin doing rumbas together, and expertly, Mitzi Gaynor and Jack Bean never leaving one another’s side, Janie Powell and Pat Nerney quite lost in one another’s arms. Venetia Tamblyn all in misty white, Janie Nerney enchanting in a lovely green and Mitzi, poured into the tightest white satin I ever saw, were all dreams dancing. Yet none of them looked lovelier than Jeanne Crain, sitting there, looking so lonely. Real rough place, this Hollywood, romantically speaking.
Walk on the “Buffalo Grass” set at Warner Brothers and you see a pattern of family devotion that is startling. This is the new Alan Ladd picture that will get out some time next winter. Every day that it was shooting the whole family, as well as numerous Ladd friends, were always there.
Before the camera was Alan himself and small David Ladd, now a fast nine years old. Davie was out of his young mind with delight when they told him he could be in his dad’s picture, yet he said he’d have much more fun if his pal, Jackie Wrather, was with him. That meant writing Jackie into the film.
Even though it was vacation time, Los Angeles has strict laws to protect children working in pictures. The court would have appointed a social worker to be on the set with David and Jackie, except that Jackie’s mother, who is Bonita Granville, said she’d be there every hour they were. Bonita’s millionaire husband doesn’t like to be separated from her except by absolute work pressure, so that put him in the gathering on the Ladd set most of the time, too.
Of course, Sue Ladd is always where Alan is, so Sue was in constant attendance, usually discussing the details of his TV series, Box 13, with Alan’s business manager. To complicate it still more, Susie and Alan appointed Carol Lee Ladd Anderson, Sue’s daughter, to be casting director on the series. Said Carol Lee, “Tell any actor applying to me for a job that he must be between twenty-four and thirty, very handsome and strictly unmarried.” Not being on a man hunt, she was just funning, of course.
Add this all together and you see why every day’s shooting on “Buffalo Grass” was a great big family ball.
Young Love Department
Natalie Wood has by no means made up her mind about the man in her life, and why should she, at her age? But she telephoned Nick Adams for a word of comfort during a downbeat moment—at three in the morning—and got it, too. “Nickie will make some girl a wonderful husband,” says Natalie, telling the story. It’s no secret “Nickie” thinks Nat would make an adorable wife. . . . Nomination for the most-in-love girl of the month: Karen Steele. The man? Vic Mature. Karen’s so much lost in Vic’s star that she flew all the way across the country just to have ten minutes with him before he left for Europe.
Short Takes and Topics
With three sons by his first wife, Greg Peck is hoping that Veronique is about to present him with a girl. Perhaps after her child is born the lovely V. P. will go in for the movie career she has often talked about with Greg. . . . Nomination for the most-in-love wife of the month: Marisa Pavan. She hangs on Jean Pierre Aumont’s every word. She never takes her eyes from his face. Hollywood wonders how Barbara Stanwyck feels when she observes this idolization. Once upon a time Barbara was quite serious about Jean Pierre. . . . Marlon Brando says that Machiko Kyo is one of the greatest actresses he has ever encountered. Machiko is the Japanese beauty who plays opposite him in “Teahouse of the August Moon” and whom you’ll remember if you saw “Gate of Hell.” All the weeks Machiko was in Hollywood she learned to say only one thing. That was “hot damn,” and she said it every time she saw Marlon heading her way. . . .
Glamour on Auction
Saddest sight of the Hollywood month was the hordes of bargain hunters pouring into the once-palatial home of Walter Wanger and Joan Bennett, which was up for auction. It wasn’t too many years ago when Walter Wanger was president of the Academy and one of Hollywood’s most influential producers. At the same time Joan Bennett was one of the prettiest and most pursued young divorcees, having broken up with John Fox, Jr., while still in her teens, then having married and divorced Gene Markey. Gene later married Hedy Lamarr, whom Walter Wanger had discovered and brought to America.
When Wanger and Joan married, few couples had ever started off so romantically. They were both rich and witty, the life of all the parties they gave and attended. Yet, somehow, Walter’s pictures began to be not very successful; and Joan, often casting her lot with and in them, found her career hampered, too. So things began going badly with them, until that black day that Wanger shot Joan’s agent in a parking-lot brawl. They separated after that, then forgave one another; they are still together.
But their house and their wealth is gone. Wanger is now not a well man. At the auction, the mob of strangers was invited to snatch up and buy anything and everything, including such touching items as a gate to their room which had painted on it the words. “No, no, Stephanie”—an injunction addressed to their lovely little girl as a baby. Other mementoes available for a price were photographs of Joan and her sisters, Connie and Barbara, with their famous parents, Richard Bennett and Adrienne Morrison, and pictures of Joan and Walter, laughing together in the sun on some long-ago, happy day.
Beautiful Lost Lady
Hollywood has seen its share of tragedies, but never one more needless and touching than the heartbreak of Gene Tierney. This beautiful, mentally brilliant, wonderfully brought-up girl simply cannot recover from having lost the love of Ali Khan.
Currently, Ali is gone on the subject of the lovely French model Bettina. There are even rumors of his marrying her, just as there were with Gene. If Bettina is as worldly as she looks, she probably has sense enough to wait and see, and not get too involved.
Yet poor Gene should have been that worldly, too, educated as she was in Europe, divorced from a Continental, Oleg Cassini, accustomed to Hollywood and stellar personalities of all kinds, and a mother as well.
She wasn’t, though. I discovered this personally when I happened to meet her on a plane bound for Mexico City three years ago. I was en route to visit the Burt Lancasters down there during the shooting of “Vera Cruz.” The moment I spotted Gene, trying to hide from the photographers, I knew she must be meeting Ali in the Mexican capital. He wasn’t entirely free from Rita Hayworth, legally, at that time, and so it was infinitely easier for him to slip into carefree Mexico than into our country.
We were little more than airborne when Gene began talking about Ali. Like any other woman madly in love, she just couldn’t keep off the subject. She had to talk about him. She told how, originally, he had tried and tried to date her and she had resisted, afraid of his charm. Finally she had yielded; after that she never saw any other man. I particularly recall how she called Ali “un homme fatal,” which even my high-school French could translate into “a fatal man.” I said to her that I didn’t know the phrase existed. Like everyone, I knew only the “femme fatale” crack as applied to women.
Said Gene, “I don’t think it does exist. I the phrase was made up just for Ali.”
This month it is very sad to know that Gene has been moved from the sanatorium where she has been for many weeks, not cured, but to go on to another where they take more serious cases.
Man in Luck
Do you remember Joe Mantell, who was so good as Marty’s pal he won an Academy nomination for supporting player? Well, Joe comes up with the best good-luck story of the month. He drove across country late this summer to go into “Beau James” with Bob Hope.
En route, Joe and his wife made a special point of stopping in Abilene, Texas. This was because when they came West for “Marty” Abilene was the point where they had to decide whether they’d eat or buy gas to go on to California. That’s how broke they were before the “Marty” click. They decided to buy gas—and the hit picture, the Academy nomination and all the rest followed.
So this time, flush and prosperous, they pulled up to Abilene’s toniest motel. Whereupon the motel manager rushed out to greet them with open arms. Joe was agreeably surprised, not knowing his fame had spread so far. It hadn’t. It just happened that the motel had a lucky guest per week, and this time Joe was it. The Mantells were given everything, for free, and when they left Abilene they were pals with the whole town.
But the topper came when they hit Hollywood. First Joe was signed for Climaz, on TV, as well as the Hope picture. Then, to top it all, Mrs. Mantell discovered that, after three years of very happy marriage, she was going to have their first child.
What’s with Katie?
I want to go on record as saying that I think nobody surpasses Katharine Hepburn as an artist before the camera. To my mind there has never been a screen performance that touched hers in “African Queen.”
But just because she is so fine, it’s beyond me to understand why she chooses to be such a difficult human being. Take her didoes recently while making “The Rainmaker” at Paramount. She wouldn’t permit a press agent on the set. She defied any news cameramen to get within miles of her, and as for reporters—well, I got involved in that, quite innocently.
I’d been lunching with Burt Lancaster, her co-star in “The Rainmaker,” and Burt asked me to come on the set and see the shooting. Hal Wallis paled at the very idea, and I suggested to Burt it might not be the best way to please Miss Hepburn. Burt just didn’t believe it. “Why should she mind you?” he asked.
So I went tiptoeing in and stood quietly at a safe distance. It wasn’t enough, however. Katie saw me and immediately ran off the set. Now why? I had no intention of questioning her, as she must have known.
A week later Hepburn performed the well-reported stunt of refusing to let anyone talk to her or make a little publicity copy out of Shirley Booth’s luncheon visit. They were lunching in the studio commissary, and Shirley, always a living doll, would have cooperated with the studio boys. But not Hepburn. Then, as a final defiant and childish gesture, she insisted upon taking the flowers off the table, toting them from the commissary back to her dressing room with her.
A great artist should be above such silly capers.
—BY RUTH WATERBURY
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 1956