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Louella Parsons’ Good News

It isn’t the easiest thing in the world to be the wife of a movie actor no matter how famous, good-looking and rich he is. There are no sure-fire recipes for keeping a movie hero a husband.

But, close friends say that blonde Mrs. Dean Martin couldn’t have taken a more mistaken course with Dean. One of her closest pals told me:

“With the best intentions in the world, Jeanne set out to see that Dean didn’t get a swelled head. Because she was so afraid his great success with Jerry Lewis would spoil him, she bent backward in the wrong direction.

“She made a point of never playing his records and song hits at home. Instead, Jeanne would play Bing Crosby and Perry Como recordings.

“If Dean told a joke, Jeanne had a way of laughing it aside with an implication that his humor could be saved for his routines with Jerry.

“When they appeared in public, she resented having photographers’ flashlight bulbs popping in her face. Did you ever notice how few smiling candid camera shots there were of Jeanne with Dean?

“It’s all right for a wife to try to keep her famous husband’s feet on the ground and his head out of the clouds—but, movie star or not men like to be appreciated at home.”

That’s very true. And, no doubt it is the correct version of one side of the story. But I’ve never known of an argument or a separation where there aren’t two sides and I’m sure Jeanne has hers.

I know she is a very broken-hearted girl. Since their parting neither she nor Dean have said anything other than their initial statement that they “are sorry.”

Jeanne has spent almost every minute at the home of her good friends, the Gordon MacRaes. The night Dean left home, Gordon and Sheila brought Jeanne to their house and stayed up all night trying to comfort her.

Shelley Winters’ baby girl was born prematurely and was in an incubator for two days before the “scoop” leaked out just in time for my radio show.

I talked with Shelley in the hospital and she was still a very groggy girl. “Our little girl weighed just four-pounds ten-ounces,” said Shell, “and for 24 hours it was touch and go whether she would live. Oh, Louella, I’m so happy that the doctor now says everything is all right—and she will be all right.”

Shelley has been such a miserably lonely girl all during her pregnancy (Vittorio Gassman had to return to Italy to fulfill contracts with the Italian government). I don’t believe she could have stood it if anything had happened to her baby.

The first thing she did after the arrival of little Vittoria was to call the “papa” in Rome. She caught him right in the middle of a performance of Hamlet on the stage.

“He is so excited,” Shell said huskily, “he will fly here as soon as he possibly can. My poor darling had the flu and he has been so worried about us, the baby and me.”

Shell proudly reports that Vittoria looks just like her father. “She has the same big blue eyes and dark hair and she’s so cute!”

When “His Royal Highness” Prince Mike Romanoff gives a party with his Confort, Gloria, believe me—it’s one to remember.

Mike spares no expense (and kindly do lot remind me that he owns his own café in which to splurge ).

The Red and White Valentine Ball he and Gloria hosted in the Imperial Room of Romanoff’s was the first I’ve ever known for which he feminine guests did as requested and yore either a white or a red gown. Usually, it least one free soul will show up in purple green just to show her independence.

Not this time. It was such a lovely effect, all the girls in red or white—many such lovely creations. I wore my wonderful Don Loper Inauguration dress.

Gloria Stewart spent the day of the party practically in tears because she was sure Jimmy wouldn’t be back from Palm Springs where he was recording a show with Bing Crosby in time to take her to the party. And she had such a lovely dress to wear.

(Believe it or not, Jimmy arrived in Palm Springs at 3:30 in the afternoon, taped the show with Bing, and was back in Hollywood to pick up his lovely Gloria at 8:05 on the nose!)

Lauren Bacall wore the shortest dress I’ve ever seen—even in the flapper days. But far from being hey-hey she was another almost in tears when she told me about her old man’s (Humphrey Bogart) automobile accident in Europe.

“He bit his tongue so badly he had to have three stitches taken in it and he’s never been so lonesome for me and the children,” said Baby Bacall too upset to care about a little non sequiter in her conversation.

Lauren was sooo upset I had to take a second look at her. Usually, she is cool, calm, detached and never overly sentimental about her “old man.”

While I was dancing with William Haines he said, “You know, there are only two women stars in this town who keep up the perfect illusion of glamor and excitement throughout the years.”

“And who are they?” I asked.

He pointed to Joan Crawford, who was with her director, David Miller. Joan with flowers in her hair and a big red heart on her dress did, indeed, look every inch the fascinating movie Queen.

“Gloria Swanson is the other,” said Bill. “Joan and Gloria are individualists; too many other stars look like carbon copies of each other.”

Rocky Cooper seemed to be lonely wandering around. If she had an escort I didn’t see him. Peter Lawford, who is often with her hasn’t been going out since his father’s death.

I wonder if Bill Haines spotted Mari Blanchard escorted by her devoted Greg Bautzer? Mari seems to me to have plenty of oomph and individuality for a new personality.

What’s all this about Marilyn Monroe “crashing” the birthday party Jane Wyman gave for Freddie Karger at Chasens and, “everybody being SOOOOO embarrassed because Freddie used to date Marilyn before he married Jane!” Oh, now—Please!

In the first place, a guest at Jane’s party in the new private room at Chasen’s ran into Marilyn (dining in the cafe proper) and insisted that the Monroe join the party for a cocktail. Marilyn didn’t even know whose party it was until she dropped in for a hot) five minutes.

As for Janie and Freddie being embarrassed—that’s a lot of mush. That Wyman girl whom I love so much is far too good a scout for such nonsense. She asked Marilyn to remain for dinner—but the gal had a couple of escorts waiting for her in the café.

Poor Marilyn. No matter what she does she usually gets a blast from some quarter.

Getting back to Jane’s party—it was one of the few real surprises ever pulled in our town. She kept her plans for a birthday celebration so secret from Freddie that she had the invitations sent out in the names of her good friends, Bobbie and Bill Perlberg.

When Janie walked in with Freddie, 85 guests were already assembled and his band broke into the strains of “Happy Birthday To You.” Freddie almost fell over in surprise and delight.

Jack Benny’s birthday was the next day, so Janie had a cake for him, too.

Joan Crawford danced miles around the floor with Jennings Lang. Ditto Diana Lynn and director Freddie de Cordova.

In Hollywood it’s hardly safe to say any two people are romancing. By the time you get the paper out of the typewriter it’s pretty apt to be yesterday’s news. However, I have seen Diana with de Cordova at two or three different parties, dancing and looking into each other’s eyes as though they meant it.

Diana was very hard hit by the break up of her marriage to John Lindsay. I’m glad she seems to be finding the good-looking and charming director such good company.

Notable Quotables:

Terry Moore: “It’s my press agent who makes me sound silly in print!”

Marilyn Monroe: “I’m not worried about how I’ll look in 3D or 4D or any old-D they think up.”

Jane Powell: “It was a mistake to gray my hair. Nature takes care of that soon enough.”

Bing Crosby: “Do I watch television? Like a snake charmer watches a cobra!”

Jerry Lewis: “I’m on Dean’s side, naturally. But there’s no law against hoping that the two sides will soon be one side again.”

The Donald O’Connor separation has been expected for a long time. But never let it be said that Donald and Gwenn didn’t try to hold on to their marriage of nine years.

They made no secret of the fact that both were consulting psychiatrists. Time after time they quietly separated with Donald taking an apartment in Hollywood while Gwenn remained in their home with their six-year-old daughter.

The temporary “absent” treatment seemed to work. They always made up and Donald always moved back home—until the final break.

Their troubles are said to be centered in their teen-age marriage. Don was 18 and Gwenn just 17 when they were married in 1944. The day after the wedding, he went into the Army.

One bit of gossip, definitely not true, is that Gwenn was dying for a career of her own and Don wanted her to stay home with the baby. He did all he could to promote Gwenn’s professional life even to having her appear several times on his TV and radio shows. Even their child has appeared twice on his shows.

I’m sorry to say that I doubt if the O’Connors will patch up their differences this time. However, give them E for “effort” during these many years of problems, separations, and kiss-and-make-up reconciliations.

Baby Talk: Esther Williams and Ben Gage are expecting their third child. They have two little sons, so naturally, they’re hoping for a girl this time.

As usual, Esther was a long time admitting she was on the stork’s list again. I called her in Florida, where she’s making a picture, and she didn’t call back (as expected). This, however, did not keep me from breaking the story. I’ve dealt with Esther before on these matters.

Her excuse was she “wasn’t sure. Maybe it was the difference in climate in Florida. Or the water scenes she had been making,” and so on and on.

It’s all right for a gal to keep a secret as long as it’s a secret. But when her studio gets around to confirming the news—it makes you wonder why Esther doesn’t break the happy tidings herself.

Don’t—I repeat, don’t try this style unless you have a derriere like Corinne Calvet’s, but her glamorous peddle-pushers are the talk of the town.

They are short, tight pants fitted half way down the legs and Corinne’s gaudiest pair are of black velvet with red polka dots!

Too often our movie producers pay too much attention to the East Coast and the West Coast and more or less slough off the reactions of fans in the middle of the country. This is why I am particularly interested in the results of a poll conducted in seven states in the Rocky Mountain district.

150,000 people voted these results:

Favorite Pictures:

Greatest Show On Earth

Quo Vadis

African Queen

Snows Of Kilimanjaro

High Noon

Favorite Women Stars:

Susan Hayward

Doris Day

Marilyn Monroe

Jane Wyman

Betty Hutton

Favorite Men Stars:

John Wayne

Gregory Peck

Gary Cooper

Roy Rogers

Robert Taylor

Montgomery Clift has set up bachelor diggin’s at the Roosevelt Hotel and every day Monty walks the half-block over to Hollywood High School and goes through track workouts with the team and the instructor, a good pal of his.

The athletes are so used to Monty they pay no attention. Even more surprising, the co-eds either don’t recognize him (which seems unlikely) or else high school girls in Hollywood are so immune to stars, there’s not a good gasp left in ’em.

Clift is becoming very interested in the school activities. He attends lectures on subjects that interest him—usually at night.

So far the most excited group about Monty is the drama class. He has attended several rehearsals of the Spring play, The Road To Rome and given many helpful hints to the young thespians.

He is a strange boy, this Monty. He’s far happier training and coaching with the high school kids than he would ever be as a social lion attending Hollywood cocktail parties.

The Letter Box: My apologies to the State College of Washington, in Pullman, Washington, where the Crosby twins, Philip and Dennis, are students of animal husbandry. I mistakenly placed the boys at the University of Washington. Maynard Hicks, director of State’s news bureau, calls the error to my attention, “because we are very proud of the twins here.” All Hollywood is very proud of them, too.

Charlton Heston has been mentioned more than any other actor in this month’s fan mail— and it’s all complimentary, Charlton. Take a bow.

Bengt Overgaard, Studentgatan 28, Lund, Sweden, writes: “Lew Ayres is still tremendously popular in Sweden—why is there no news of him?” For one thing, Lew shuns publicity.

“Lola,” of Kansas City, wants to know, “How does 41-year-old Ginger Rogers think she will be happily married to 26-year-old Jacques. What’s-His-Name?” His name is Jacques Bergerac. As for Ginger, she looks no more than 26 herself, Lola. Happy marriages are built on understanding and companionship, anyway. Not ages.

I’m omitting addresses of servicemen who would like to correspond with film fans this month to print the news and views of other correspondents. But I haven’t forgotten the boys—and next month I’ll print some new names and addresses.

That’s all for now. See you next month.




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