Louella Parsons’ Good News
“I FEEL FREE AND HAPPY for the first time in two years,” Susan Hayward told me. I had thought Susie would be down in the dumps over Jess Barker’s decision to fight Judge Walker’s ruling that he is not entitled to any community property in their divorce and that Susan gets custody of the children with only rights of visitation for Jess.
But I didn’t know my girl. She telephoned me and said, “I’ve been through so many months of horror I’m completely accepting the judge’s decision as final.
“At no time did I want to drag our dirty linen through the courts. I even offered Jess a settlement because of the children. This he turned down, preferring to make a bad fight of it.”
I had heard that Susan wanted to give Jess $100,000 to get her freedom and he turned it down! If this is true he must feel like jumping out the closest window, now that he gets nothing!
The irony of it is that at the time of their marriage it was Jess who insisted that Susan make a pre-nuptial arrangement that the California Community Property Law be waived and that she would get nothing from him, should they separate!
He was earning much more at that time than Susan was.
What few people know is that they separated in a matter of months after their marriage. She came to see me at that time. It never has been my policy to advise my friends about their marriage troubles. That’s a personal thing. But I couldn’t refrain from saying to the weeping Susan, “Oh, Susie! If he hit you and walked out on you once there’s nothing to keep him from doing it again.”
Susan, today, says: “You were right, Louella. But if I had taken your advice I might not have my wonderful twin boys.”
WHEN THE BELLES GET THEIR HEADS TOGETHER at parties and talk “girl talk,” they say Gene Kelly is the actor who puts the least ardor into love scenes.
Gene heard about his “rep” and cracked: “I don’t mind roughing them up if they like it. I just worry about their make-up.”
Jack Palance admits that he blew his top and was way out of line when he shouted and raved at two extra girls playing slaves just because they were chattering on the set of The Silver Chalice.
The company was shocked by his language and Jack is sincerely sorry it ever happened.
He called me to say, “The reason for my outburst is that I was working with a terrible case of poisoning from a snake bite on location. My doctor advised me to stay at home for several days under medical treatment.
“I didn’t want to do this because there were about 1000 extras working in the scenes we were shooting and I didn’t want to put the director and producers to the expense of keeping these people idle because of my illness.
“All I can say is that my nerves snapped when the girls kept chattering between scenes when I was trying desperately hard to memorize my lines under my terrific physical strain.”
Okay, Jack. What more can you say than that you are sorry, and I’m sure you told the girls as well as me.
ALTHOUGH BARBARA RUSH and Rock Hudson sent me a beautiful scarf from Ireland when I was in London, I didn’t get to see them emote in Captain Lightfoot for the very good reason that I didn’t get tc Ireland and they couldn’t get to London.
So I was surprised my first day back at my desk in Hollywood to get a phone call from Barbara who returned home the day after I did.
She was both happy and upset—happy to be home and upset over rumors which had been flying that she and Jeff Hunter were on the verge of parting.
“The only parting we’ve had is that my work took me to Ireland and Jeff’s picture took him to Mexico City.
“Really, there’s not a bit of truth in the reports of a rift,” she told me, and I believe the gal. In fact, she was so eager to see Jeff she was flying to Mexico to catch up with her traveling bridegroom.
Speaking of Rock, he stayed on in Europe for a holiday on the continent, not a honeymoon with Betty Abbott, as had been freely touted.
Betty was the script girl on Captain Lightfoot as well as being Rock’s best girl, so she had to return with the company to Hollywood to work on the cutting of the film and so on.
Sooner or later I believe Rock and Betty will get around to getting married. He dates others now and then, but she seems to be the real heart interest in his life.
THE PARTY OF THE MONTH was the lovely affair hosted by Cyd Charisse for her ever lovin’ husband, Tony Martin, following his debut at the Hollywood Bowl.
Cyd took over the new room at Ciro’s and turned it into a garden of flowers. At first some of the candid camera boys got miffed because Cyd wouldn’t let them in to take pictures. But when Tony, who is a very easygoing guy, showed up, he had a little chat with Cyd and said, “Come on in, boys.”
Esther Williams surprised everyone. by dancing all evening in her bare feet. Someone asked her, “Do your shoes hurt?”
Esther said, “Nope, I just like to dance this way,” and that was that.
Late arrivals were surprised to see Nancy Sinatra, ex of Frankie, apparently teamed up with Harry Karl, estranged husband of Marie McDonald. But Nancy laughingly explained that Harry wasn’t her date. He was just her supper partner and later drove her to her car which she had left in front of Barbara Stanwyck’s house.
Speaking of Barbara, she decided to have some fun and showed up in the red wig which she wears in her new movie. Everyone thought it was striking but preferred her own natural silvery locks.
Gary Cooper and Rocky looked thoroughly made-up. They danced mostly with one another and he was quite devoted to her.
Judy Garland and Sid Luft were excited about leaving the following day for Europe, all expenses paid by the boss, Jack Warner. Judy looked cute in a black and white chiffon.
No one admires Audrey Hepburn more than I. She is a superb actress.
But I’ve got some news for her firsthand: She has hurt a lot of friends and estranged many of the press by making—then breaking—interview appointments in New York and by later refusing to talk with even the people who have helped her build her career when she arrived in London.
I was in London at the time and some of her closest friends told me they were unable to reach her even by phone.
She left immediately for Switzerland where she again went into hiding.
There are many reports that Audrey’s health is bad. It is also pretty generally believed that she is emotionally upset over Mel Ferrer, the big romance in her life.
Although Mel is divorced, he is devoted to his children and is in constant communication with Mrs. Ferrer.
Audrey, apparently, is so deeply in love with the actor, without whom she made no appearances in New York, that she is unduly jealous and unhappy about him.
SPEAKING OF AUDREY, I bet she never expected to be compared to cute, peppery Debbie Reynolds. But one of the London critics wrote:
“Debbie Reynolds in Susan Slept Here is the logical successor to Audrey Hepburn.” Pretty nice compliment to Debbie, I calls it.
My favorite love story of the month: The Glenn Fords relive their romance.
I GUESS I’M THE LEAST SURPRISED person in the world that Vic Mature and his wife, Dorothy, got in such a battle at Del Mar that they went flying to their lawyers to talk divorce.
Like the Matures, I used to spend my own vacations at the little racetrack by the sea, and each season Vic and Dorothy staged some sort of a head-on collision.
This one was more spectacular than usual.
They had been sitting in the cocktail lounge of the hotel before going in to dine, apparently very friendly.
Then, Dorothy went to a phone booth. Suddenly, in a towering rage, Vic went to the booth, jerked the door open, stepped inside arid other cocktail loungers were treated to a full view of the battle through the glass door although not a sound came through!
Sooooo, they say they are headed for divorce although you can pick up some easy bets that before this latest vacation brawl reaches the judge, these two ardent battlers will make it up as they have done three times in the past.
SHORT SHOTS: Two new children are living at Lana Turner’s house these days. Don’t get excited, they are the son and daughter of Lex Barker who have come to live with Lana and Lex while their mother is in Mexico City for a year. Lana is a good mother, wonderful with the kids, and they adore her.
Can’t make up my mind whether I like Arlene Dahl’s new short and straight hair cut or not. But with that face she can do almost anything.
The reason Ava didn’t divorce Frankie when her six weeks were up in Nevada is because not only does she want him to pay all court costs but also defray all expenses on the big house which she occupied with her family at Lake Tahoe. And he ain’t about to do it, he ain’t.
Ethel Barrymore is crazy about Frank Sinatra, whether Ava is or not. The Grand Lady of the theatre took to Frankie and vice versa like chocolate syrup to ice cream. Ethel couldn’t get over Frankie’s blowing her to a champagne and cake birthday party on the set of Young At Heart. “Frank is,” drawls the one and only Ethel in that magnificent voice of hers, “a livin’ doll.”
Speaking of dolls, no one in years has given such expensive gifts to the crew and cast following a picture as those Johnny Ray handed out after There’s No Business Like Show Business—gold watches and cuff links, traveling bags, cases of champagne, expensive briefcases, and to the assistant prop boy, a new TV set!
I was really miffed about JANE POWELL
I really don’t know what got into Jane Powell to deny so vehemently that she had any idea of marrying Pat Nerney—and then, a bare ten days later, to announce to the world that she had received her engagement ring and that the marriage would take place soon!
As I told you in this department last month, I didn’t believe Jane’s denials even when she herself was making them to me.
Who in the world did she think she was fooling? She and Pat have been inseparable ever since they fell in love and all the stuff about their “never even discussing marriage” was a lot of nonsense and I knew it. And printed it!
A reporter friend of mine wasn’t so lucky. This writer spent two hours with Jane at her home interviewing her about her romance with young Nerney. Now get this:
Not only did Jane say she wasn’t marrying Pat, she indicated that she was still in love with another man in her life!
My friend wrote her story as Miss Powell gave it to her and it was in publication, too late to stop, when the blonde actress sprang her plans to marry Nerney just a few days later.
All we reporters ask is a little fairness and honesty now and then. Is this asking too much?
I nominate for stardom: MARTHA HYER
She has the same look of quality Grace Kelly has and an even more exciting figure. In Sabrina Martha loses Bill Holden (temporarily) to Audrey Hepburn but she’s so lovely to look at it’s understandable that she gets him back.
She’s twenty-five years old, weighs 116 pounds, is five feet, six inches tall and is currently redheaded. Her hair has been bleached, dyed and tinted different colors so often she has almost forgotten she’s a natural brownette.
Every time she’s cast in a new picture she has to switch her hair color to contrast with that of the woman star.
She says she will know she has reached official stardom when another girl has to dye to contrast with her.
She was born in Dallas, Texas, where her father is an assistant district attorney. She’s one Texan who doesn’t hesitate to admit she prefers living in California.
For two and a half years she was married to Ray Stahl, the writer-director son of the late John Stahl. At that time she rated (careerwise) only leads in westerns.
It’s probably just a coincidence that her career took a sharp upturn just about the time she divorced Stahl. She had excellent roles in So Big, Sabrina and Lucky Me.
Unlike many babes in the Hollywoods, Martha has had solid training in her profession at both Northwestern University and the Pasadena Community Playhouse.
An important man at Paramount tells me, “Watch Martha Hyer. She can and may be another Grace Kelly.”
—BY LOUELLA PARSONS
It is a quote. MODERN SCREEN MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 1954