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He Truth About Hollywood Wolves

There are plenty of wolves in Hollywood—not enough to be alarming, but annoying nevertheless. There are male wolves and females, too. It’s hard to say which is the deadlier variety.

The important thing about wolves is to be able to spot one, or else you’re courting disaster. There was once a young and naive actress in Hollywood who ran into a wolf so experienced and subtle that she was helpless to fight back.

This girl—you may call her Mary—had a nice contract with one of the major studios. She was married to a very personable boy who worked for an investment corporation. It seemed like an ideal arrangement. She would become a big star, and he would become her financial manager. And also—they were in love.

One day Mary had trouble on the set: She couldn’t put the right emotion into the lines she was delivering, and after fruitless coaching by the director, the director took a stand. He told her she’d better improve or else he’d get another girl. Mary left the stage in a great depression. To add to that—it was raining. So, naturally enough, Mary started to cry.

Suddenly the associate producer was at her elbow, with a big handkerchief and a friendly (but not flirtatious) smile. He persuaded her to come back to the studio where he’d coach her on the next day’s scenes.

She was grateful, and he was really very nice. He seemed honestly interested in helping her. But when Mary got home that night, her husband was wild with worry. “I called your set,” he said. “Your company broke at six. I thought you had an accident.”

Mary explained the situation to him, and although he didn’t like the idea of the lessons too well, he understood.

But he grew less understanding when night after night Mary was late because she had been coaching with the associate producer. Since it was all so extremely innocent Mary was furious because her husband was suspicious. So they had bitter quarrels. And all the time the associate producer, so immaculately dressed in sheep’s clothing, was biding his time.

The husband became the heavy in the girl’s eyes. She thought he was unreasonable, foolishly jealous and distrustful. So they separated, and she turned to the associate producer for comfort, as he had known all along she would. And after that it was not so innocent.

A few months later, when the producer had tired of her and was “helping” another pretty girl Mary was bitter and disillusioned. She tried to return to her husband, to tell him he had been right all along but he didn’t want her.

Was that a wolf for you! And the interesting thing is that he was so subtle and patient in his campaign that studio executives couldn’t pin a thing on him. They would have liked to, though, because they do not approve of wolves.

That’s one approach. What about the wolf howls of the younger set—boys like Scott Brady, Peter Lawford, Robert Stack, Farley Granger, Rock Hudson, Howard Duff, Vic Damone—to name a few. Are they wolves? They’ve all dated a lot of different girls.

The truth is that young men in pictures are good, healthy American males. Certainly they are excited by girls. But they are much busier than the average young man. They work on the set sometimes 12 hours a day and they have to look alert early in the morning. They don’t spend their lives in night clubs. In fact, the big complaint of Hollywood news cameraman when he covers the night clubs is, “Where is everybody!” You may think they nightclub often because you see so many candid shots of them, but that’s because a photographer shoots a lot of pictures at once and keeps circulating them in a hundred different publications.

As for chasing girls, these fellows are so good looking and sought after they don’t have to. Whenever they want a date all they have to do is take out the little black book, start thumbing through it, and pick up the telephone.

The other day the room-mate of a pretty important star snitched his friend’s telephone book and dialed a number. It was the number of a girl. But who was she? She turned out to be a middle-aged lady who worked for one of the important fan magazines. Was the kid embarrassed! And that’s another thing that keeps the Hollywood wolf from howling even if he wants to. He’s afraid of publicity. For everything that goes on in Hollywood is public property.

You ask a girl who’s been out with him if Scott Brady is a wolf, and she’ll say, “You bet!” What is she doing? Trying to make herself seem important and desirable, trying to cash in on his fame. Scott’s no wolf. Ask Ann Blyth.

Scott and Ann appeared at the press photographer’s ball together. Ann was dressed as Sadie Thompson and Scott was the lamp post she leaned on. “What’s happened to our Ann?” everybody asked. They should have been asking what had happened to Scott.

Scott’s favorite forms of entertainment are baseball and boxing. So everybody was very amazed to see Scott all done up in a dinner jacket at the Ballet Russe with Ann. When someone asked him how he liked it he said fine, and added, “Ann was crazy about it.” Which is certainly a case of Little Red Riding Hood leading the wolf around by the nose. And, this is for sure, if Scott showed any wolfish traits around Ann she would never go out with him again.

Peter Lawford has dated so many girls over a period of years that there’s no space to list them all. One of the girls complained about him—but not the way you think. Elizabeth Taylor, who was 16 when Pete took her out, wailed, “He treated me as if I were just a little girl” She may have been 16 but she was still the most beautiful creature in town—and a wolf wouldn’t have let age come between them. Pete is much too much of a gentleman to ever let himself fall into the wolf category.

Incidentally, a little known fact is that one of the big loves of Pete’s life was a tall, charming society girl older than he. And when Gloria McLean married the inveterate bachelor, Jimmy Stewart, Pete was broken hearted. But even his best friends didn’t know, and he went right on dating—a different girl every few weeks. Not because he’s on the prowl; he’s just looking for his ideal.

Bob Stack is another like Pete—the perfect gentleman. His taste is so perfect that when he made a date with Barbara Stanwyck shortly after her separation from Bob Taylor, he invited Barbara’s friend, Helen Ferguson, to join them. He knew it was wrong for a woman to be seen in public so soon after a separation.

Not all of Hollywood’s young stars are perfect gentlemen. One of them owns a little bachelor house tucked away in the hills of Hollywood, and it’s as much asa girl’s reputation is worth to be seen there. The parties go on until all hours, and would shock the most sophisticated and worldly. But this is a fellow who has a weakness for tramps. Tramps are easy to find in any state of the union. And the kind of men who like them don’t always live in Hollywood. Nice girls have been warned about this guy and simply steer clear of him.

Actors like Rock Hudson don’t have the money to spend on a lot of girls. Besides, Rock is so much in love with Vera-Ellen he wouldn’t look at anyone else.

So check them off the wolf list. And make another check for a certain very well known star who was dating a girl not so well known. He liked her a lot. She was crazy about him. Undoubtedly they talked of marriage. But because she was a most neurotic girl, the actor postponed marriage. Then he met another girl, fell in love with her and married her. This neurotic friend started telling everybody what a horror he was and what a wolf. She told her story in every bar on Sunset Strip and undoubtedly a great many people believed her. But a guy can jilt one girl for another whether he lives in Hollywood, East St. Louis or Montgomery, Alabama. Unfortunately this poor neurotic girl killed herself.

The female wolf pack in Hollywood (and elsewhere) are the kind who’ll do anything for a job or publicity. There are a certain group of extra girls—and you can spot them when you see them time and again on the screen—who go on the make for men in the casting offices. If the studio executives knew about this, the men would be fired. But the casting men are only human. And very few are immune to the charms of a pretty girl when she is willing to give them away. Actually, these girls do not just give their charms away. They make a trade, and wind up getting a lot of bit parts.

Then there is the predatory female who latches on to the big new personalities. When Jeff Chandler burst upon the Hollywood scene and became “the hottest thing in Hollywood,” he was married. The lady wolves left him alone because they’re not poachers as a rule. But now Jeff and Marge have separated, and the gals find him fair game. When it is known that Jeff has accepted an invitation to a party the hostess’ telephone rings all day long. The calls are from the girls—trying to chisel an invitation.

While there’s no denying that some potential actresses have been literally chased around the desk by casting directors and producers, the wolves give up easily enough when they know they’re chasing the wrong girl. And, when dealing with a very young girl they are more protective than the average man. It is simply not true that in order to get a contract a girl has to compromise herself. The Hollywood producer knows that sex is a salable screen commodity, and is therefore highly aware of sex. But he also knows that sentiment is a salable screen commodity and is, therefore, extremely sentimental.

Joan Evans was 14 has she played the romantic lead in Roseanna McCoy. People who knew nothing about Hollywood asked her parents, “Aren’t you terrified of the Hollywood wolves?” Joan received more protection from so-called wolfish producers than she would have from any other group of men. One studio executive said, “If any guy so much as makes a pass at Joan, I’ll knock his teeth in.” The studios try to take good care of their young stars. After all— they’re more than just girls, they’re moneymaking properties!

In what category can a man like Cesar Romero be placed? “Butch” as he is known to his friends, has dated the best known glamor girls—Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Barbara Stanwyck, Ann Sothern. But Butch is no wolf. Despite his villainous looks he is always the old family friend and when there’s trouble in the house it’s Butch’s shoulder that the girls cry on. When Ann Sothern’s marriage we the rocks, Butch listened and sympathized. And even if there is no trouble, Butch is the perfect escort. Whenever Jack Benny is out of town Butch takes Mary out with Jack’s knowledge and consent.

Very often, as is the case of Butch Romero, the guy who looks like a wolf isn’t at all. Often the fellow to watch out for is the quiet, not extremely attractive type with the halo ringing his head.

A popular young female star was once dating a big male attraction, when she had to make an appearance at a premiere and he had to be out of town. She told her beau, “I’ll ask anybody you tell me to ask.” Her fellow suggested little milk-toast juvenile. So the juvenile took her to the premiere, and now he’s her steady beau. He was the real wolf—he handed her the big line and now her first beau can’t understand it.

Farley Granger is the big swoon boy of 1951. When he’s on a personal appearance tour fans tear him apart. Once when he was leaving a theater, the kids rushed the car that was taking him to the hotel and literally bashed in its hard top. You’d think that this kind of adulation would make him so conceited he’d say to himself, “Why, I can have any girl I want,” and start howling. It has the opposite effect. Female devotion reached the saturation point with Farley. And now, he either dates Shelley Winters, or spends a quiet evening at his or a friend’s home.

In a recent survey a reporter, interviewing 25 young Hollywood bachelors, asked the question, “Do you want to get married?” All answered, “Yes.” Various times were set—“when I can afford to,” “when I find the right girl,” “if my next option is picked up.” If they were wolves, they would have laughed that reporter out into the street.

So the truth about Hollywood wolves turns out to be the truth about wolves anywhere. There are wolves in Hollywood, of course. But there are even more sheep who just look like wolves to the undiscerning eye.





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