“I’m In Love With A Wonderful Guy”—Sheila Connolly & Guy Madison
When Guy comes home from work, he always whistles. By now, I know the slam of the car door, the number of steps to the living room. And I wait for the tune to break and the words that follow. “Hey, Mrs. Madison, where are you?”
If I’m not right there to meet him, it takes only a moment for me to get to the door.
“Now I know where you are,” Guy says, taking me in his arms, adding, “Mrs. Madison.”
“Say that again,” I ask. “That part about being ‘Mrs. Madison.’ ”
“Well, since you’re still a bride, maybe I’d better humor you,” he answers, ‘Mrs. Madison.”
“Humor me that way for the rest of our lives,” I beg. For, you see, the first time I heard those words, on our wedding day, I could hardly believe them.
We were standing on the courthouse steps in Juarez. It was a warm, dusty day, and the sun was beating down as if it were concentrating upon this one little town and no other place in the world. It was our wedding day.
“Hello, Mrs. Madison,” Guy was saying.
For a moment, I couldn’t answer. “Am I?” I asked him in my happy daze. “Am I really your wife, Mrs. Guy Madison?”
True, the honeymoon was over. But in a way it had seemed like a hurried, incomplete dream. At first, we were supposed to have been married on a Tuesday. Then we received word that we could be married on Monday. We were told to rush to the Mexican border town.
Guy’s business manager, Charles Trezona, accompanied us, and his friend, Louis Mijares, who had made the arrangements, joined us in Juarez. It was only when we arrived that we found we had a problem. Everyone seemed far more in favor of lunch than matrimony.
The gentleman issuing marital permits was on his way out. “I’m sorry,” he said. “But if I don’t eat now, I may not have another chance. My replacement will be along in ten or fifteen minutes.”
We sat down to wait an eternity.
We reached the courthouse at last, only to discover that the judge had also gone to lunch. “Sounds like a good idea,” said Guy, because apparently we had no choice. “Let’s find a restaurant.”
After two untouched desserts, we returned to the courthouse and filled out some more papers. Guy nudged me. Louis had disappeared. However, in a few minutes he was back with a stranger. “This,” he announced triumphantly, “is the judge.”
The ceremony was such a brief one, we were slightly uncertain as to whether or not there had actually been one. And, to our surprise, the judge himself placed the ring on my finger.
So afterwards, we stood outside. “Hello, Mrs. Madison,” my husband was saying to his dazed wife. Then he did something I’ll never forget. He took the ring from my finger, studied it for a moment, as though he were silently repeating the marriage vows again, and then put the ring back on my finger. He tucked his hand under my chin and looked straight into my eyes. “Now you’re married to me,” he said. “You’re really Mrs. Madison.”
And I really am. The dream is complete. It grows more wonderful each day.
My dream is one that I believe every girl hopes will come true—that of sharing a lifetime with the man she loves. A lifetime in which there are no uncertainties, in which doubts get lost, one by one. I’ve learned that this is something you have to work for, build on, grow with. The foundation is composed of many qualities, honesty, kindness, thoughtfulness, understanding—to name a few. All girls know the importance of these qualities. And I hope that all of them, like me, are fortunate enough to find a man who possesses them.
But there are the inevitable uncertainties in every meeting and courtship. When you first set eyes upon the fellow you think may be the man, you wonder, “Will he like me?” Later, it becomes, “Will he love me?”
You find yourself wanting to be able to talk of the things he knows best, to talk about them expertly. And if they are new to you, you’ll wonder if he thinks your interest is sincere. You want to enjoy the activities he enjoys. And when he tells you about the things he believes in, you want to believe in them, too. You want to be the kind of person he wants you to be, and yet, you know that in all respects you have to be yourself, honestly yourself, or you’ll only be creating a person who can’t last as long as the forever you’d like to spend with him. If you disagree, if you sometimes flounder, if you aren’t perfection, will he walk away?
Guy, I found, knows the meaning of understanding—patient understanding. He has a theory that stems from his early bewildering days in Hollywood when his initial success came before he was prepared for it, bringing him fame and a feeling of uneasiness. “If people like you and really want to know you and be your friends, they’ll stick around and figure you out,” he says. “They’ll stay to understand you.”
With him, it’s the same. If a first impression is good, that’s fine. If it isn’t so good, it’s by no means final, as far as Guy is concerned. He studies people, gets to know them. And, as it turned out, he knew me better than I knew myself.
I hadn’t intended to fall in love. I’d placed my dream of husband, home and family in the future. I’d come to Hollywood to be a movie star. I’d had some good tv roles and a lead in a Western. I studied dramatics, went to press events, posed for publicity pictures. I wasn’t any Bernhardt, but I figured there was hope. Until, one night, something happened. To my heart.
I must confess, to me, a crowded room had always been a crowded room. More often than not, slightly stuffy. Then, upon this particular night, I looked across a jam-packed auditorium and saw Guy.
My first thought was, “How handsome he is.” When I glanced his way again, he was gone.
The Sportsman’s Show was in progress at the Pan Pacific Auditorium. I’d gone along with my roommate who works for the publicity firm that handled the show. After we’d seen the exhibits on the main floor, I was asked to make an appearance at a cocktail party upstairs and I agreed. While I was at the party, someone inquired if I would pose with Guy in one of the boats and I said I would.
I remember, later when I saw him again, my second thought was, “How nice he is.” He seemed a trifle shy, but there was quiet strength in his shyness. “Might he take me home?” he asked. “Why, yes,” I replied.
When we reached the door of my apartment, he asked if he could call me sometime. Neither of us had a pencil and I was sure that he would never remember the telephone number.
Later, when I was in bed, the phone rang. It was Guy. “See,” he said. “I remembered.” We talked for a long while, and when he hung up, I found myself hoping he would call again. Nothing serious, of course. That wouldn’t make sense. After all, we’d just met.
He didn’t call. Later, much later, I learned that he was away on a hunting trip. To me, it was the lengthiest hunting trip on record. When he returned, I heard from him once more. But there was still no mention of a date. Not that it actually mattered—much. However, when my ex-roommate whispered, “Why not ask him to dinner?” suddenly I began thinking that this was the most wonderful idea ever thought of.
Guy seemed to like it, too. “I’ll bring the meat,” he told me.
“Fine,” said I, never guessing what was in store.
The following day he arrived with a large leg of lamb. To me, it looked like a whole lamb. He also had with him about two dozen roses. I knew what to do with the flowers and got out a vase. But the lamb had me baffled.
When Guy left, I called my roommate’s mother and asked for some badly needed instructions. Then I went to work. And how I worked!
At dinnertime, Guy returned. “How’re things going?” he wanted to know.
“I seem to learn something every day,” I said, because I felt I had to prepare him for the results of my afternoon in the kitchen.
“Like what?” he began to grin.
“Like how to roast a leg of lamb,” I confessed feebly.
Guy carved the meat and served it. It seemed like a year went by till he tasted it. I waited. Then Guy said, “It’s different,” took a few more bites and added, “it certainly is.”
And it was. My instructions had included cloves. I didn’t know my roommate’s mother had meant garlic cloves. I’d simply added spice and roasted away—and lived to wish that I’d also put my head in the oven! But when I looked up from my plate, I saw that Guy was laughing. “You need a lot of training,” he said. “But you’ll learn.”
So I couldn’t cook a leg of lamb. So what? Guy thought I could learn! And life was beautiful again. Since then, I’ve learned so many things from Guy—and so many things about him. I’m told that he has greatly matured since he first came to Hollywood. But, as for other changes, I remember what he once told me. “It would be so easy to change and not even realize it here,” he said. “To lose what you started out with and to forget what you meant to be. That’s not for me.”
I knew then that if success ever interfered with his ideals, here was a man who would simply pack up and leave his success behind him. Correction, please, we would pack up and leave.
I learned that his career is a job to him. One that he wants to do well. But there are other considerations. Guy believes that actors and actresses can give something to people through pictures. “And if God has given you the ability and the chance, you should enlarge upon it, develop it,” he says. And he works at his job accordingly.
We talked so much after that first dinner, about movies, about our early lives, our families, about little things we had in common.
I told Guy about my life in Ireland. Although I was born in New York, our family returned to Ireland when I was a year old to live on our farm. My mother died just before the war. During the war, my father, who had been in the racing business, turned to carpentry. Everyone had to give away his horses at that time. We couldn’t afford to keep them or feed them. We all worked on the farm, my sisters, Patty, Maureen, Dolores and Joan, brother Timmy and I. There was work to be done and we sold our extra crops.
After the war, we climbed aboard the first New York-bound boat that came along. My brother and I didn’t want to leave and, before our departure, we decided to run away. We ran into the town of Cork. My father alerted the police and there was a frantic search. They found us in the nick of time.
“I’m glad they found you,” said Guy. And I had never been so glad.
I learned that Guy, too, had once been uprooted from his home and had come to know the feeling of loss and insecurity. He was eight at the time. One day he came home from school and heard his mother talking to someone in the living room. The man was a doctor. “The report from the last examination shows that your son is decidedly underweight,” he was saying.
“But he eats well,” said his mother. “Plenty of meat and vegetables. He drinks a lot of milk, perhaps not as much as the others.”
Guy stood in the hallway and listened as the man went on. “I’d recommend a year of controlled diet,” he said. “There’s a place in the hills, we call it a preventorium. It might do him a world of good.”
“If it’s a matter of my son’s health, he’ll go, of course,” his mother said quietly.
It was Guy’s first time away from his family. At first, he didn’t understand. All he knew was that his security had been taken away from him and he was alone. During the next few weeks, he cried himself to sleep each night. But, after a while, he realized that it was for the best. He learned the value of good health and an outdoor life. And when he returned home, he continued to build his health.
He’d been taught to swim at the preventorium and had come to love the water. And, once home, he began camping out, going hunting. Sometimes he’d take his brothers along. Like me, he comes from a large family, three brothers and a sister. Although Guy wasn’t the oldest, he kept the others in tow. For one thing, he told me, he didn’t let them smoke. Once he caught his brother Wayne smoking at a football game and turned him over his knee and spanked him.
Spending money was sometimes scarce for the Moseleys. When Guy was thirteen, he worked in the orchards near Bakersfield for seventy-five cents a day to buy school clothes and hunting equipment. At nineteen, he became a telephone lineman and was saving his money to buy a boat and become a deep-sea fisherman.
This was the Guy who went into the Navy and soon afterwards was discovered by Hollywood. “I was pretty well stunned by the thought of an acting career,” he told me. “And as for the social life, I was really confused.
“Where I came from, if you met a girl at a party and liked her, you could just call her up the next week and ask her to go to the movies or something. But here, I couldn’t do that. I found that the girls just thought you wanted to be seen with them to get your name in the papers or else they wanted to be taken to expensive clubs to gettheir names in the papers,” he grinned.
I began hoping that he knew he could call and ask me to go to a movie just any old time. But still there was no mention of a date. Although he and Gail had been separated for a long time and had both agreed that a divorce was best, final arrangements had not been made. When the divorce was scheduled, Gail didn’t feel up to going through with it and asked Guy to cross file to obtain it. And, typically Guy, he thought it was best not to become involved with one person until the other matters had been settled. When I found this out, I loved him even more.
Our first real date was like my very first date. I had the strangest feeling. I opened the door and there stood Guy. It was the first time I’d seen him in a dark suit and tie. And again, he’d brought flowers.
We drove to the Holiday House at Malibu for dinner. After that night, we began dating steadily. We’d go to the beach and sometimes we’d fish. I’d fished before, but I’d never caught anything until a halibut came along one afternoon. I nearly fell out of the boat pulling it in and was so excited that my Irish accent came back. “Will it be splashing about in the boat?” I asked him.
“It undoubtedly will,” he laughed.
And now, wherever we go fishing, he mimics me. “They’re at it,” he’ll say when he feels a tug at his line. “Sure’n’ they’ll be splashin’ about soon!”
Another afternoon, Guy took me for a drive to a hilltop on Outpost Road—a place where you can look down and see all of Hollywood. “This is where I’m going to build my home,” he said. He seemed to be watching closely for my reaction. “What do you think of it?” he asked.
You’re in heaven and someone asks your opinion of it and what do you say? Just that.
Our house will be in a rambling ranch style—Early American. There’ll be a large living room, a dining room and a gigantic kitchen. The latter is especially for my benefit. “You’re in charge of that department,” Guy told me. “And I’ve heard that the Irish like to keep everything in the kitchen.”
We’ll have a glassed-in breakfast room, so that we can breakfast with a view, and two bedrooms. And there’s space for additional rooms as our family increases. We think about four or five additions will do nicely and we’re wanting a family soon.
“I’ll bet the first thing down on paper for the house was a gun rack for the living room,” Lita Calhoun guessed one day.
“And I’ll bet you’re right,” I told her. Furthermore, she was.
Rory and Lita are two of Guy’s best friends. It seems foolish now, but I think I lost five pounds when I first met them. “Will they like me?” I kept wondering. But they were so nice it was as if I’d known them all my life.
We were having dinner at their house one evening when I found a surprise in store. I’d told Guy about a dog I’d had when I was a child. I’d just mentioned it in passing. Before we sat down to eat, I glimpsed a little black poodle running around. “Like him?” asked Lita.
“How could I help it?” said I.
“He’s yours,” said Lita.
“A gift from Guy,” she replied.
I looked around for Guy, but he had disappeared. He was embarrassed!
Our first dinner with the Calhouns also proved to be my first encounter with a bow and arrow. Rory has a target in a backyard tree. After the meal, we went outside for some practice. I’m not certain how I did it, the luck of the Irish, I think, but I managed to hit the target every time. “Good girl,” said Guy and I felt as if somebody had handed me a million dollars.
We were driving to the beach one evening and I noticed that Guy was unusually silent. I thought it was simply because he was tired and I didn’t say much either. Finally he said something. “Do you think you could put up with me for the rest of your life?” he asked.
It had been smoggy along the beach road but suddenly the stars seemed to come out. “I think so,” I told him quietly.
When Guy’s divorce was granted, we decided not to wait to be married. Guy was scheduled for a location trip and afterward he planned a hunting expedition. And after that, there was another location trip to be made. “Doesn’t seem as if we’ll be seeing much of each other,” he told me.
“No,” I said, “it doesn’t.”
And, as the saying goes, so we were wed. The other day I was talking to a friend of his, his press agent, who was with us the night we met. “Know what Guy said the next day after you two met?” he asked me. “He said he thought that you were the girl he’d like to marry someday if you’d have him.”
As for the career, mine, it’s all over. I believe Guy knew it would be.
Mr. M. is of the opinion that one career in the family will do nicely, and when he walks through that doorway calling, “Hey, Mrs. Madison,” you can bet I’ll be there. Under the circumstances, what girl in her right mind would want to be Bernhardt?
—BY SHEILA CONNOLLY MADISON
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MARCH 1955