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How Good A Talent Scout Are You?

This cut-up job was the kid’s own idea—but the director promptly put it into the finished film. If you didn’t know that the boy’s mother is a great actress, that his father was a famous if eccentric writer, would you spot him as star material? Hollywood did. The boy began his acting career when he was eight, in summer stock. Before this movie debut, he did the same role in the TV original, first titled “Deal a Blow.” The Hollywood version of the story was a triumph for youth, with producer, director and author all under thirty—and a star under twenty. But the young actor is going at his new career with caution. He leads a double life. After completing “A Light in the Forest” for Walt Disney this summer, he’s returning to the routine of a Harvard scholar. Movies must wait till next summer. Like many adopted children, this boy has taken on the talents and characteristics of the parents who lovingly chose him, carefully guided him.

If you concentrate on your movies, you might have caught this topnotch fashion model introducing a top tune-film. Ironically, it was the feminine star of that movie who, without jealousy, recommended the newcomer for a lead opposite Cary Grant. The producer was skeptical. “Can she act?” Anyhow, he shot a wire to Paris. Our girl thought the screen-test offer was a gag. Money? Glamour? Who needed them? As a $120-an-hour cover girl, she enjoyed more of both than movies could give her. When she finally arrived for the test, studio people weren’t enchanted. “Tall and lean as a Texas Ranger,” they said. “No sex.” But the camera disagreed. She got the part.

You couldn’t have missed her. The Greenwich Village girl with her crazy, lonesome chatter must have surprised you as much as she did the hero of the recent shock film. But did her temporarily dark hair fool you? The actress herself is a blonde (and another Texas girl). She made her first movie impression in Bill Holden’s “The Turning Point,” as a brassy, little gangland sweetie. Later, she played a non-talking dog-walker for Sinatra. Now much in demand, she’s married to a writer. A chronic worrier, she goes in for yoga, studies Hindu philosophy and stands on her head “to ease her brain.” 

Half Italian, half Irish, tall and voluptuous, she gave glamour the go-by for her first lead, as wife (and widow) of a union organizer. From her childhood in Rome, she remembers a game her mother devised to keep her quiet. “Tomorrow,” Mama would say, “we go to America.” The little girl would eagerly pick up her toys and get ready. When young friends asked her what she’d do in America, she’d say confidently, “I’ll be a secretary.” She moved to New York at fifteen; now, six years later, she’s an American citizen; U-I and Columbia share her contract; M-G-M borrowed her for two choice roles.

Philadelphia-born, but also of Italian descent, this classically beautiful and firmly virile youth took on the juvenile-delinquent guise for his initial picture. Before that, his only show-business experience had been as a teenage singer in small neighborhood nightclubs—for no dough and with Papa always on hand as a chaperone for the under-age youngster. Now twenty-one, he’s currently playing a brother of Richard Conte’s for Columbia.

Here’s another newcomer who started her career at the top—with the chief feminine role in a much-discussed exposé film. She admits she was halfway through the picture before she really knew what she was doing. Suddenly, everything clicked, and she felt assurance. She was raised in the solid family atmosphere of the Bronx, New York. Jobs as a waitress and a model came first. Modeling, the girl says, was pretty dull.

Like other movie beauties before her, she hails from Sweden, but you can’t hear any trace of the Svenska in her voice. That’s because she came to the U.S. with her parents when she was thirteen. She had summer-stock experience, played the night- club show girl, sold soap and acted dramas on TV before she broke into movies. This she did in a big way—as heroine to Mr. Show Business himself.

Well, more than one guy has struck it rich with a guitar! This hulking, amiable character from North Carolina is no threat to Elvis; he’s a personality all on his own—actor first, singer only incidentally. With wife Barbara, he did an off-hand vaudeville act that was applauded in the South and finally made our hero a recording star. On Broadway and TV, he scored a smash as a lovable GI, but on film you saw him first playing a thoroughgoing heel.



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