Hollywood Party Line
Biggest and most celeb-studded affair in a really frantic month was the enormous dinner tossed by the Producers’ Cuild honoring Darryl Zanuck. It was unique in that people didn’t just dine, sit through a bunch of speeches and then speed away. Nope! This affair was tres gay because Chairman (Producer) Bill Perlberg had arranged for Freddie Karger to beat out dance music—and with Karger’s rhythms on tap, the glamorous throng took to the dance floor for hours on end before and after the food.
I was the guest of the Bill Perlbergs, whose table included Jane Wyman (her waistline looked a trim nineteen inches!) in a simple, short, white evening gown of satin; Nancy Sinatra, in a stunning, low-cut, square-necked shortie of beige crepe and black lace; Mary Benny, ablaze with diamonds—as Jack’s wit blazed forth as toastmaster. After Shirley Temple made a cute speech thanking Zanuck for the way he’d handled her career, Benny flipped, “Shirley had her first million when she was ten. I was twelve before I got mine.”
Getting as much attention as the most active glamour-pusses was June Haver (with long-time beau Joe Campbell) who had only been in Hollywood two weeks after leaving the convent. She wore a very decollete, strapless, white crepe number, and her short, short hair was blonder than it’s ever been. Terry Moore, in rust-toned lace over cream satin, was Jeff Chandler’s date. Others on hand were the Van Johnsons; Jane Powell, with Jacques Mapes; the James Masons; Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart; the Rory Calhouns; the Jeff Hunters; George Nader (over whom the gals were gasping); Bella Darvi (who is stepping out like crazy); Cary Grant; Walter Pidgeon—and scads more . . . Time out for a note on a yummy evening gown—Ava Gardner’s newest. She just has to be knocking ’em dead in Rome (where she’s making “The Barefoot Contessa”) whenever she shows up in it. It’s starkly simple, made of pure silk, dead-white taffeta, with a tightly fitted Empire waistline and a skirt that flares, out for miles. The bodice is low back and front, and it has long, tight sleeves.
Back to after-dark doings—and now it’s the preem of Joan Crawford’s “Torch Song,” which drew a fancy crowd even though sudden high winds almost blew the lovely ladies clear across the street as they were entering the theatre. Among the crowd were Don Taylor; Marlene Dietrich; John and Marie Lund (she in jet-trimmed black); Joan Caulfield, a blonde dream in a white beaded sheath, with Frank Ross, of course; Jane Withers; Judy Garland and Sid Luft, and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Then there was the party Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis gave at The House of Murphy for Marilyn Erskine and Tab Hunter, who’d opened in the stage revival of “Our Town” that night. Jane Powell was with Pat Nerney—but Mona Freeman didn’t show; Steve Crane brought his (and Lana Turner’s) dotter, Cheryl; Debbie Reynolds brought her mother. And others there were Wanda Hendrix with Jim Stack; Donald O’Connor; Betty Lynn; Dick Clayton, who used to be Ann Blyth’s best beau.
Poor June Allyson, bedded after an appendix operation, couldn’t get to the glittery premiere of “The Glenn Miller Story” in which she co-stars with Jimmy Stewart. Jimmy, usually so shy, seemed to love facing photogs in the lobby. Donald O’Connor, beauing Sheilah Connolly, mournfully proclaimed, “I wish I had my piano with me. That’s where I left my tickets!” But people scrambled around and got him two good seats anyway. Jeff Chandler was with Marilyn Maxwell; Lori Nelson and Tab Hunter; Julia Adams and Rock Hudson. With her Vittorio in Rome, Shelley Winters came dateless.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MARCH 1954