Look Who’s Here
ELAINE STEWART, if she lives up to 15 her billing as the “Girl with 3-D,” says the dimension she’ll be proudest of is Depth. M-G-M’s fast-rising, long-stemmed beauty is a thinker, of all things, and doesn’t consider the habit one she necessarily ought to break.
“That’s why you usually see me around town with good Joes instead of good looks. The men I date don’t see anything comical about my having wanted to be a surgeon if all these wonderful things hadn’t happened to me in Hollywood. When I mention the serious novel I have outlined, they don’t fall over laughing. In short, they aren’t phonies and they don’t insult my intelligence with that tired old line of what do I need brains for. They’re interested—so they’re interesting.
“The trouble with dating leading men is that they’re so conscious of themselves and their beauty. I’ve had to resist the temptation to say, ‘Look, boy, get with it. There are a lot of things in this world more important than your profile. A lot is going on that you are missing because you can’t see beyond the end of that nose.’ ”
When the name of Marilyn Monroe was mentioned, Elaine settled comfortably into the role oi a photogenically perfect girl in deep thought. “Well,” she said finally, “it’s perfectly ridiculous for anyone to say that I’m Metro’s answer to Marilyn. It wasn’t the studio’s idea—that isn’t the kind of publicity treatment they give their players. I think the whole idea is ridiculous, because Marilyn and I couldn’t be more different; we are opposite types physically, we have different philosophies about life. I’ve said before, and I’ll say again that to me sex appeal is an inner quality. If a girl has it, she can be bundled up to her chin and it still comes across.”
Elaine, born in Montclair, New Jersey, is the daughter of a retired police officer. It was her father who told her to set her sights on a goal and work for it once she was sure what she wanted—and after her first appearance on stage in a grade-school pageant, Elaine knew she wanted to become an actress. During her high-school days she ushered in a local movie house, watching every scene on the screen in an effort to learn everything she could. After high school she found modeling the road to her goal of being an actress. After being cover girl for True Story magazine for the entire year of 1952, she came to Hollywood under contract to M-G-M. Her bit role in “The Bad and the Beautiful” was one of the most talked-about things in the film. She’s following it with the part of Ann Boleyn in “Young Bess,” and in “Take the High Ground” she has the only feminine role.
“What will my life be in ten years if everything goes according to plan? Well, there hasn’t been a plan, exactly, for all the wonderful things that are happening. First there was a dream, and then I realized that dreams can’t come true by themselves, so I helped mine along a little. Mostly, I’ve been very lucky.
“In ten years I’d like to be married and have a family—I don’t care how many children, but I want a girl first. I’d like to be living in the house I’ve already designed. It’s crazy. Expensive, too. For one thing, it’s going to have a den of fieldstone and that white wood with the worm holes in it. And the living room, which is enormous, is going to have deep purple carpeting.
“No, I don’t consider it important whether the man I marry works in the movie industry. If you’re enough in love and adult enough to get married, you ought to have enough other interests in common to make that part of it incidental. I have very strong convictions about marriage. People are always talking about its being a fifty-fifty proposition—why not seventy-five- seventy-five? Why not give a little more and have some insurance on your love? I wouldn’t consider getting married now for that very reason: my career is too new and absorbs me so much that I know I couldn’t give as much of myself to my husband and my home as I’ll want.
“But in ten years all that will be changed. By that time I should know how I stand as an actress, should have found the guy and married him and had some of the kids. . .
“Hey, wouldn’t it be crazy if everything worked out just this way?”
TOM MORTON does one thing badly—and that is resting. The only reason he doesn’t rest better is that he’s too busy forging a many-faceted career for Tom Morton, using all his varied talents.
In his first picture, “Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie,” Tom was seen as a dancer; in the current “The Stars Are Singing,” he adds his vocal charms, as well. And in M-G-M’s soon-to-be released “Main Street to Broadway, his most important picture ‘to date, Tommy plays his first straight dramatic role.
A boy from the sidewalks of New York, Tom says California is great. A boy who broke into show business on Broadway, he loves Hollywood and everything about picture business. A boy who likes girls. What type? Tommy’s eyes light up and a grin stresses the off-beat appeal of his face. “I’d love to date girls like Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe, just to hear the other guys say, ‘Hey, get a load of that Morton! Does he rate!’ They’re really movie queens, glamorous the way kids think all movie stars are.”
Morton didn’t start out as a ball of fire in the Hollywood hearts-and-flowers department, however. When he was signed to an option contract at Twentieth, the first girl on the lot he asked for a date was Debra Paget, whose views on that subject were presumably known to everyone in the world except Tom Morton.
He does date Debbie Reynolds. (“But I’m not the kind of guy who can use a woman as a steppingstone. I’ve got to make it on my own or not at all. I like to be with Debbie because she’s fun, not because it’s good for my career to be seen with a star.”
Another favorite Morton date is Lori Nelson. “What a doll! Like I said, it might give me a kick if I ever dated a top movie queen, but when I can afford to marry, Lori is the kind of girl I’ll be looking for.”
At the moment Tommy’s only attachment is to his career. He is completely honest about what he wants from life, and his candor is refreshing in an industry where coyness or the blasé attitude prevail. “I want to be a star,” he says, and intensity burns in his dark, deepset eyes. “From the time I was a little kid in the wrong part of Manhattan, that’s been it for me. I taught myself to dance, even then, because I could raise myself a notch or two with it. Nobody taught me to sing. I added that because you stand a better chance on Broadway if you can sing and dance. I’ve learned everything I could from every source I could, and I won’t be satisfied until I know every job in my trade.
“I’m willing to work twenty-four hours a day for it. In fact, I wish I could. If there’s nothing doing on my home lot, maybe one of the other studios is looking for a new dancer. If they don’t need a dancer, maybe a singer. Or a straight dramatic actor whose face hasn’t been seen around so much. I want to be working every day, at Paramount or on loan-out, and I don’t care how small the part is—I’d make it into something worthwhile.”
Energy, furious and electric, crackles through the words and gestures of Tommy, who’s gotta get goin’, gotta keep movin’.
While he is in production, Tom’s life enters a phase of relative calm because he is then doing the one thing he prefers over anything else in the world. It is, contrarily, while he is “between pictures” that Mr. Morton is in a spin of frenetic activity—practising his dancing, doing choreography for a new show, rehearsing a new song—exhausting the new crop, he records his own arrangements of old hits.
One of his many dreams is a projected Playhouse in Los Angeles; he hopes to produce plays here one day. With every check (and a new seven-year contract with Paramount suggests that they’ll be coming in regularly), his agent also receives a poem—written by Tommy Morton, who really wants to concentrate on that particular art in the future. “All this time on my hands drove me nuts,” he says, so he picked up brushes and oils and began to paint.
It was pointed out to him that the studio couldn’t very well put him into a picture when they didn’t have a story. “I know,” said Tommy. “I know they don’t—but I could write one.”
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE JULY 1953
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