Look Who’s Here!
Janice Rule is a name that’s bound to hit the marquees of the country. That is, if beauty, talent and determination have anything to do with it. When “Goodbye, My Fancy,” the Joan Crawford-Robert Young starrer, was previewed in 1951, the main comment on the preview cards was “Who is she?” They didn’t mean Joan Crawford. Everybody knows who she is. They meant the pretty, well-proportioned teenager who played Bob’s vivacious daughter.
Janice would rather work than eat or go to parties. But that doesn’t mean she’s—stuffy. She’s just ambitious. And truly intense about it.
From the age of five, Janice has had one all-consuming desire—to be a dancer. When she was twelve, to help her family pay for the lessons, she’d baby-sit at night with the neighbors’ children. By the time she was fifteen, she was in show business. In the morning, she’d attend classes at the Glen Ellyn, Illinois, High School; in the afternoon she studied ballet, and at night she worked in three shows at the famous Chez Paree in Chicago. Between shows, she studied her lessons in the back room of the night club surrounded by night club employees. They’d buy her ice cream sodas, and offer to help her with her American History.
In 1948, she got her first break. She went on tour with “High Button Shoes,” which led to a role in the Broadway company of “Miss Liberty.” While in the play, Janice injured her foot and had to take a two-month layoff. It was during this period that she took her first dramatic lessons—with the American Theatre Wing. She was doing a night club routine when Warner Brothers signed her for “Goodbye My Fancy.” They failed to pick up her option after “Starlift,” and M-G-M pounced immediately. At M-G-M, she has appeared with Gig Young and Keenan Wynn in “Holiday for Sinners,” and was co-starred with Peter Lawford in “Rogues’ March.” Big things are planned for her.
Janice lives in an enormous one-room studio in Laurel Canyon, in Hollywood. One wall of the room is completely mirrored. “I’m not an egotist,” she says, “put if I wake up in the middle of the night with a ballet idea I can practice it then and there.” Janice’s name is rarely, if ever, in the Hollywood gossip columns. She’s much too career-minded for dating right now. She claims she is anemic and eats quantities of steak and liver. She also claims she is allergic to sunshine, and an amusing sight at the studio lot is Janice dodging from shadow to shadow of the sound stages. She has probably the most beautiful skin of any actress in Hollywood. She doesn’t like to be “fussed over” by studio people. She spends almost every evening at the Arthur Kennedy Little Theatre Group, reading scenes, working on choreography and acting in plays. If she’s not there she’s at a neighborhood movie. She loves movies.
(Born: Cincinnati, Ohio, Aug. 15, 1932. Height: 5‘ 5½”. Weight: 112. Hair: auburn. Eyes: green.)
Arthur Franz gave such an outstanding performance as the psychologically disturbed killer in Stanley Kramer’s “The Sniper” that he is today one of the most talked about actors in Hollywood. Producer Kramer rushed him immediately into “Eight Iron Men.” Arthur—shy and gentle—was a little worried over his success as a killer. “Do I look like a killer?” he’d keep asking his wife. “I think I look normal.”
The Franzes, with their little three-year-old daughter, Melissa, live very conservatively in a Westwood apartment. His extravagance is dabbling in photography and he has one room with an expensive developing and printing apparatus. This time last year Arthur was waiting on tables at a Highland Avenue restaurant in Hollywood, trying to help make a living for his family between picture parts. Although he had been an actor for eight years on Broadway, and had had several minor roles in films, his big break didn’t come until he was picked for the lead in “The Sniper.” From now on, it should be smooth sailing, and ho tables, for Arthur.
“Arthur loves to putter in the kitchen,” his wife boasts. “He makes excellent Spaghetti, hamburgers and strawberry shortcake.” And when Adele, who also works in pictures, is kept late at night at the studios, he baby sits.
Arthur and Adele had a wildly exciting romance. Arthur became a first lieutenant and was assigned to a bomber crew very soon after Pearl Harbor. Before the war was over, he had been shot down twice—over Yugoslavia and Italy, earned an Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters and a Purple Heart. Arthur and Adele met at a party at an air base in Italy where Adele had come as a USO player with Ruth Gordon’s “Over 21” troupe.
But soon after they met, Arthur was shot down on a mission over Yugoslavia, and a pal in a rear plane, seeing no one parachute from the falling plane, told Adele he was killed. She almost fainted dead away when a few nights later he showed up at the base, having been freed by Tito’s Partisans. Next, she was told that he had been shot down over northern Italy. He was made a prisoner this time, but he managed to get a code message through to her APO address on a postcard. When Arthur returned to New York he found Adele making a big success on the stage. He was shy about asking her to marry him. But when he got a job in “Command Decision” it bucked him up considerably, and he popped the question. They were married in September, 1948, in Princeton, New Jersey.
As a child, he was passionately fond of the circus and was always planning to run away and join one. He is still a circus enthusiast. In high school, he learned to play the trombone, and got a music scholarship to Blue Ridge College in Maryland. Summers, he worked as riding master and stable boy for a camp. Got fifteen dollars a month, room and board. The acting bug hit him about this time and he was off to New York where an obliging friend let him sleep on the floor while he was job hunting. His first appearance behind the footlights was as a spear carrier.
(Born: Perth Amboy, N. J., Feb. 29, 1920. Height: 6‘. Weight: 170. Hair: Brown. Eyes: Blue.)
Alex Nicol says, “Actors go crazy in Hollywood because they have too much time off. They wind up in night clubs spending more than they make.” But this won’t happen to Alex. He and his pretty wife, Jean, have bought a small ranch (anything in California over half an acre is a ranch) out in Tarzana, in the San Fernando Valley, and Alex does all the odd jobs, such as laying the sprinkler system. He recently acquired a tractor which stands second only to his 16mm movie camera in his affections.
Tall, blond Alex is one of the very best actors in the movie colony. And a most intelligent one too.
Universal-International signed him to a long term contract in New York after they saw the rushes of “The Sleeping City.” In his recent pictures he has played a heavy in “Red Ball Express,” Sinatra’s piano-playing friend in “Meet Danny Wilson,” and a real meanie to Loretta Young in “The Magic Lady.” In “Cattle Kate,” opposite luscious Maureen O’Hara, he gets his first starring role. Alex doesn’t mind playing heavies. “Those roles are more interesting,” he says. And he adds, “The most exciting jobs in pictures are not in front of the cameras.” His ambition is to become a director.
Alex met his wife in a drugstore. It was Christmas, 1945, and he was rehearsing a play in New York. He had just been released from service after spending three and a half years in Europe. Suddenly he realized it was Christmas and he was all alone. “I looked through my pre-war little black book,” he says with a grin. “But I got some very strange answers from the numbers I called.” Disheartened, he was coming out of the phone booth in the drugstore when he ran into a girl who was in the play he was rehearsing. “Please,” he said, “please, have dinner with me.” “I can’t,” she said, “but my friend here can. Jean, this is Alex. Have fun.” Three years later they married. “She was slow about making up her mind,” says Alex. They have a darling little girl named Lisa, born in June, 1951.
Alex played football at the St. Francis Xavier prep school in Ossining, New York, and was so skillful a tackle that he was nicknamed “Little Poison.” During summer vacations, he got a job as a lifeguard at Briarcliff Lodge, and admits that he just ate it up when he heard the ladies coo, “He’s so handsome he ought to be an actor.” When he finished school he decided that’s just what he would be. He got the job of understudying Henry Fonda in “Mr. Roberts.” Not once during the ten months did Fonda miss a performance. It was back-stage blues for Alex.
John Lund is one of his best friends. Alex and John once shared a sixteen dollar a month walk-up in New York. He has long admired Loretta Young. When he met her on the set of “The Magic Lady” he suddenly became so shy he couldn’t even say hello. “Loretta is a wonderful actress,” he says. “She’s a perfectionist.” Alex is a perfectionist too.
(Born: Ossining, N. Y., Jan. 20, 1919. Height: 6‘ 2”. Weight: 185. Eyes: blue. Hair: blond.)
Hildegard Knef—sexy, languorous, German-born—has been touted as “another Marlene Dietrich” ever since ‘she first came to Hollywood. The consensus of opinion seems to be that she has more talent than Marlene, but not quite the beauty or the glamour. Be that as it may, the two German girls have much in common, including some shapely gams, and, what’s more important, a love for their adopted country. In April, 1951, Hildegarde proudly avowed her allegiance and became an American citizen.
The low-voiced Hildegarde was brought up in Berlin where her father was a representative at the Reichstag. In school she showed great ability with both paint brush and drawing pencil. Her first job was set painter at the UFA motion picture studios in Berlin.
Life was at lowest ebb for Hildegarde in September, 1945. She was hungry, miserable, and still shaken from the years of constant air raids. She was standing on a Berlin corner waiting for a bus when a nice young American lieutenant insisted that she let him drive her home in his jeep. Lieutenant Kurt Hirsch and Hildegarde were married two years later. They came to Hollywood (David Selznick had signed her in the meantime) on their honeymoon. But as happened with so many war marriages, it didn’t last.
After seven of Germany’s top actresses had tried out for the role of Hilde in “Decision Before Dawn,” director-producer Anatole Litvak tapped twenty-four-year-old Hildegarde for the choice assignment. For American purposes, her name was changed from Knef to Neff. Following her hit in her first American picture (it was made in Germany), Hildegarde has been going great guns at Twentieth Century-Fox: “Diplomatic Courier,” “Night Without Sleep,” and in Ernest Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” in which she gives real stiff competition to Ava Gardner and Susan Hayward.
Since the crackup of her marriage, Hildegarde has been wooed by a number of Hollywood eligibles. When in Hollywood she lives in a small home in Benedict Canyon. Although she likes to swim and ride a bike, her favorite exercise is walking. And as it happens sooner or later to all walk-loving foreigners, she was picked up in Beverly Hills by the police patrol. Beverly Hills does not encourage walking. Much too pedestrian.
Hildegarde looks taller than she is, wears her blonde hair in a modified pageboy, likes good food and has a lot of trouble keeping her weight just right. She once drove across the country from Hollywood to New York, stopping in small towns along the way, and made this interesting observation: “Cities like Hollywood, New York, Berlin, London, are full of envy. In between those cities are the little towns. And in the little towns, there is a spirit of charity and friendliness.”
Born: Ulm, Germany, Dec. 28, 1925. Height: 5‘ 6”. Weight: 120. Hair: blonde. Eyes: green.)
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 1952