Have You Ever Wondered About Your Husband?
“A good wife is a dame you need and who needs you and that means you want to five together—every day of your lives. All this talk about the sanctity of marriage is hokey, all this business about a holy experience. Marriage depends on two people needing each other. To me, it is the basic business of living. I saw this dame in the middle of a mob scene, at Lucey’s, one night. There was a free feed going on and the place was crammed with people and everyone had a gimmick to get attention to themselves, and all of a sudden I saw this dame with her lovely open Janet-face and no gimmick. There was a sweet, wholesomeness about her that nailed me. None of this jazz about showing her figure in a too-tight dress, just this face and, in it, more than I’d ever seen in a woman’s face before. More than I knew there could be in a woman’s face.
“From that minute, I was going to have her if I had to steal, rob, cheat or fight! Swing that route? And remember I was absolutely nothing. But I was going to get her and whatever religious rites were involved were okay with me.
“What’s made this kid a great wife is exactly what I saw in her face that first night: where all the other cats were clawing for attention, Janet was primarily and, it seemed to me, obviously a woman who wanted a woman’s life. I can’t imagine being married to a woman who wasn’t talented and beautiful, imaginative, quick, animated and full of beans. But Janet has neither the desire nor the need to be great. That would be the one threat to a marriage like ours—too much success. If two people are competing for success, they’re eventually going to run out of time for each other. Marriage takes a lot of time and a lot of work. Besides, I was not very sure of myself and I don’t know how I’d have stood up under competition.
“Let me say right here and now that this dame has everything in the world necessary to be a top star. She has the acting ability, the beauty, the wonderful inner warmth of a Madonna, and you can see it all in her face. But nothing the world can offer, in terms of glory, could force her away from a woman’s life. And no picture in the world could give her the satisfaction she’s had from our kids.
“What makes Janet a great wife, is her zest for life. It almost killed us both in the beginning. She wanted to be the best wife in the world. She felt a sense of responsibility to all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons. After a couple of years of trying to do everything ‘the most,’ we had to re-aim our sights and see where our responsibilities were. We began learning to say no—to things that we’d have liked to do but which robbed us of the time so vital to our marriage and our sanity.
Our backgrounds were different
“I remember when we were first in love and everyone was trying to talk us out of it. Janet was a star, I was not. There were those who thought I was looking for publicity. They really bugged me. And there were others who felt I’d hurt my career, the kids wouldn’t go for me married. Our backgrounds—educational, religious—were certainly different, but that never meant anything to us. We had the same belief in God. Anyway, if you dig someone, everything’s right. If you care enough, you’ll get Ivy League stripes or talk like an Englishman, you’ll acquire what you need.
“The fans not only accepted our marriage, they let us know how they felt to the tune of 15,000 letters a month. The biggest obstacle we ever faced, was being so much public domain, we never had a chance to kiss without a shutter clicking. Our marriage started as a three ring circus, and the way it worked out, astonished friends and marriage counselors alike. Why should it, if you bring sensitivity, understanding, and intelligence to a good basic love? Janet said to me before we were married, ‘I have only one prayer for our future: that one of us should become a big star and it should be you.’ Many girls say this, but Janet proved she meant it. This is something great when a man can know it on his ninth anniversary. And believe me, that I do!
“Janet has been a good wife because she, unlike some women, is able to allow a man freedom, and by freedom I mean the right and the leeway to express his own personality. I’ve had at least three dozen hobbies since we’ve been married. I’ve flirted around with the flute, the trumpet, cameras, drums, model planes—oh, all sorts of stuff. We both express ourselves in a million ways and that’s great, that keeps it interesting. We fight, of course we do—but not in an anger that can’t be overcome with humor.
Neither of us were secure
“I love this doll—she has a wonderful sense of humor and yet she’s dead serious about life, she has to know the whys and wherefores. She’s family-minded and understands my relationship to my family. Neither of us were very secure but, together, we’ve achieved a good measure of security. She leans on me for business ad-vice and now she lets me guide her on picture making. For years, Janet did pictures simply because she was paid to do them. She never figured out whether they were good for her or not. The fact is, she didn’t know. Now she does pictures primarily because it gives us a chance to work together or travel together. I thought she was great in ‘Who Was That Lady?’ It gave her a chance to show what a flair she has for comedy.
“The one thing that could have bugged us, would have been constant separations. If she had put her career ahead of our marriage, or if she’d been finicky about traveling with the baby—first one, then two—we could have had trouble. But Janet has never been uncertain about the basic issue—who is the woman, who is the man, and what is their need. You don’t jeopardize this by separations. Face it, there’s a physical as well as an emotional problem. You have to express yourselves with each other, or you don’t survive. Janet knows this. She’s not coy, she’s a woman and she acts like one!
“It happened to us only once, when she was working on ‘Safari’ and I on ‘Trapeze.’ At first, she was shooting in London and I was working in Paris. Her working schedule was for five days, mine for six. So, every Friday night, Janet would fly to Paris to spend the weekend with me. It wasn’t good, but it was bearable. Then off they went to shoot in Africa, in the middle of a jungle. I couldn’t even phone her. She was able to phone me once every six or seven days. Five weeks of that’ When Janet got off that plane, we grabbed each other and said ‘Never again.’ And we meant never again.
Janet’s a different broad
“I think children are essential to a marriage, they give an added dimension, they allow both adults a chance to develop and grow. Janet is a different ‘broad’ since she’s been a mother. She has a wonderful time with Kelly and Jamie. All the tensions melted out of her and a lovely, inner glow has taken over. She’s completely relaxed and secure.
“Only two people ever know about a marriage: the two who make it, who have found in it their security and their answer. This dame of mine has class. She’s never had to prove how big she can be, she just is! I’m very lucky—my wife is primarily and always my wife and always a woman first.”
SEE TONY IN “THE RAT RACE” FOR PAR. WATCH FOR HIM IN U.I.’S “THE GREAT IMPOSTER” AND “SPARTACUS.” JANET CAN BE SEEN IN “PSYCHO” FOR PAR. AND GUEST STARS IN COL.’S “PEPE.”
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE AUGUST 1960