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Hollywood’s Most Amusing Love Stories

Falling in love is Hollywood’s most amusing pastime—as I’m sure it is in Cucamonga, Oshkosh and points North, East and South. The big difference is that when they make love in Hollywood, the kiss is heard around the world. The laughter, too, sometimes.

Love, like’ everything with Joan Crawford, is a Great Production. She plays all notes—and crescendo, never sotto voce. That’s probably why she stayed in love with Gregson Bautzer so long. Greg has a flair for the dramatic. After one quarrel, I’m told, when Joan proudly told Greg to go and never come back, he did not return until the following evening. He scaled the back-yard fence. He stormed into the house, excited, his hands bleeding. Joan, oddly enough, just happened to be wearing her prettiest hostess gown and her most forgiving expression.

Now that all is over between these two, I wonder who will come along to take their colorful place. Whoever it is will have to possess a real sense of the dramatic!

Bob Hope, talking about the great Hollywood lovers, said, “When Kirk Douglas meets a girl, lights go on in his head.” That’s a wonderful description of Kirk on the love rampage. But Kirk didn’t turn on the switch until after “Champion” and his separation from his wife. Until then, he seemed a quiet kind of sheep. However, wolf’s clothing becomes him. Evelyn Keyes found it so attractive she even joined his gymnasium.

Back a few months when Howard Duff was romancing Ava Gardner, before Pat DiCicco bought her the beautiful seven-carat diamond ring that she still wears, Howard lived at the beach. And had a party line telephone. He never received or made a call that everyone on the line didn’t lift their receivers. They hoped, of course, that it was Howard calling Ava or vice versa. It usually was. And what the listeners heard shouldn’t happen to eavesdroppers.

It did seem that Ava and Howard never were let off anything. Mother Nature should have been on their side. But she wasn’t always. There was that day Howard got his new Cadillac convertible. He dated Ava for that evening, of course. Ava lives up a mountain road which becomes steep just before it reaches her hilltop house.

The Cadillac took that hill like a purring kitten. Howard was bursting with pride when he parked in front of Ava’s house. It was, presumably, simultaneously with the goodnight kiss that there sounded the most frightful roar, then a crash. The hillside had caved in! On Howard’s Cadillac!

Hollywood gossip isn’t the fun it used to be before D.O.S. (David Oliver Selznick to you) took Jennie for his bride. There was the day David was having a big musical scoring at the studio. The phone rang. Jennifer Jones was calling. She had something important to ask David, what dress she should wear that day, probably. He must see her right away. “Wait,” David is said to have told the musicians, “I’ll be right back.” He was back all right, three days later!

When Shelley Winters was on location in the mountains with Montgomery Clift for “A Place in the Sun,” and she cracked, “It’s so cold up here I’ll just have to get married,” Monty couldn’t take the hint. His companion of ten years, Mira Rosovskaya Letts was on location with him. This is one of the oddest duos Hollywood has seen in a long time. But Monty swears Mira, from whom he is inseparable, is his drama coach only. Happy coaching!

To get back to Shelley. Her romance with Farley Granger has been publicized so (yes, I plead guilty, too), that some people can’t believe Farley would go out with anyone else. When he was in New York he made a date with Geraldine Brooks to see a movie. “Meet me outside the theater,” Gerry told him. Farley, pliable in the hands of the so-called weaker sex, arrived on time. No Geraldine. A group of young girls who collected from nowhere began whispering. Then they descended upon Farley. “Pardon us!” said one of the giggling girls. “You look so much like Farley Granger. Are you?”

“Well . . . er. . . .” Farley started.

He was cut short by the arrival of the now brunette, short-haired and hard-to-recognize Gerry.

“That isn’t Farley,” said one of the girls disappointedly. “Sheilah Graham says Farley dates steady with Shelley Winters!”

Hedy Lamarr feels ill unless she’s in love. Starting with Reginald Gardner, she has run a romance gamut from Morton Downey to George Sanders to Mark Stevens to———. The blank is for you to fill in the name of Hedy’s current beau.

I remember when a well-known Hollywood writer, associated with a large studio, was in love with Hedy. Every day he sent her a sonnet. Also a daily dozen roses. Hedy gladly accepted both. Then, never stupid, Hedy wrote a story. “I want you to read it,” she telephoned the writer.

“I will,” he promised. “Very soon!”

The telephone banged in his ear. Hedy, of course, had expected him to dash over to her house and read the story immediately. Hollywood laughed. During the months this writer had been courting Hedy he had argued that she was the most unassuming girl he ever had met, that it was incredible that a girl with such beauty, not to mention Hedy’s European background, could have remained so unworldly, so generous of heart.

Stewart Granger’s courtship of blonde bombshell Betty Hutton was short and bloody. Stewart arrived at Betty’s house one night to explain with impulsive British charm that he had come to take Miss Hutton to dinner. Betty laughed. Stewart retaliated with a nosebleed. Betty put his key down his back. And Stewart’s agent, who had come to give his client moral support, took Stewart home, bloody but unbowed. When last heard from Betty was having a mad fling with Robert Sterling, ex-husband of Ann Sothern.

Yvonne De Carlo is in love with love. She sighed over a photograph of the handsome Italian bandit Guillamo, “I’d like to meet him.” She is supposed to have spent her vacation in Sicily looking for him. I hope she catches up with him. We could use him in Hollywood.

Olivia de Havilland’s love temperature first zoomed sky-high with the charming Brian Aherne who later married sister Joan Fontaine. Olivia then turned from Jock Whitney to Jimmy Stewart to John Huston, before leveling off with Marcus Goodrich.

Marcus and Olivia knew each other only a few weeks before they married. And Marcus kept telling Olivia that the man she should marry should be a year or two her senior and a business man; no one associated with the arts, not an actor, not a writer, not a director nor anyone of the kind. Olivia, he pointed out, was so creative that she needed a practical husband.

Olivia told everyone what Marcus told her. Then she told everyone she was going to marry Marcus, considerably older than she, attractively impractical and not a business man at all but a writer!

All of which proves that Marcus’s instinct when he proposed was better than all his intellectual reasoning. For this, so far at any rate, is a happy marriage.

In contrast, the most tragic love story in Hollywood, I think, is that of Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini. If there ever were any laughs in this I suspect they’re gone now. And who can tell how soon the romance will be gone, unless Ingrid and Roberto feel permanently tied to each other, because it would be too awful to have given up too much for too little.

That funny thing called love trips many a romance—away from the altar.





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