Louella Parsons’ Good News
I’ve never enjoyed a party more than the beautiful “get well” garden party in my honor given by songwriter Jimmy McHugh.
I was not only feeling completely well and rarin’ to go, but it had been six long weeks since I had seen many of my friends, and Jimmy thoughtfully invited over 250 to the garden of his beautiful home in Beverly Hills.
The decorations were so unique I think they deserve special mention. In place of the conventional bowls of flowers, our host had ordered pink plastic poodle dogs with wide skirts of pink net decorated with real pink rosebuds. The little dolls were so different and unique.
In the swimming pool floated large bouquets of pink, orchid and white water lilies, a beautiful background to the all-white tables, chairs and umbrellas.
Among the first to arrive was Olivia de Havilland wearing a brown taffeta cocktail dress and matching hat. Livvy seems so happy these days, so contented. She’s a different girl from the repressed person she was as Mrs. Marcus Goodrich.
Ann Blyth wore a white feathered turban with a blue cocktail suit. Ann said that after years of never wearing a hat she’s suddenly gone crazy about the smart, chic chapeaux of this season so she’s stocked up on them.
Rosalind Russell, who ALWAYS wears a hat, came hatless wearing a white dress trimmed in green and looking as pretty and fresh as an apple blossom.
Jack Benny, just back from Europe, had much to tell us of his experiences—and when Jack tells it, everything is funny.
Jeanne Crain wore a bright green jacket Over a green and white print dress and someone remarked that there’s no handsomer couple in Hollywood than Jeanne and her devoted Paul Brinkman.
It was a warm afternoon, but Jane Wyman looked like a fashion plate in a violet wool dress with a deeper violet velvet jacket and chiffon scarf at the throat.
Looking like the happiest bride and groom in the world Ginny Simms never let go the arm of Bob Calhoun. And, then, just ten days later, they were SEPARATED!
Ginny refused to move into the house Bob had bought for her. Instead, she took a smaller place, moved in with her two sons by her marriage to Hyatt Dehn, and Calhoun didn’t know anything about her plans until he read my “scoop” in the papers!
Break-ups in Hollywood marriages frequently come suddenly. But this one was so REALLY out of the blue that even one of the principals didn’t know it was over.
Most couples in love spend their time trying to escape relatives of all people! That’s why it seems so amusing to me that whenever Marilyn Monroe and the love of her life, Joe DiMaggio, get a spare moment together they hie themselves to San Francisco to visit Joe’s uncles, aunts and young cousins.
As an Italian, DiMaggio is naturally a family man. And Marilyn, an orphan who has never known real family life, just loves it!
Instead of haunting the nightclubs and gay spots, Marilyn and Joe spend most of their time at Uncle Louie DiMaggio’s cooking spaghetti dinners and watching shows and sports events on TV.
The DiMaggio cousins bring their teen-age girl friends home and Marilyn shows them how to make up, set their hair, do their nails, etc. Joe calls Marilyn “baby.” The kids call her “doll.”
One night, Marilyn-and Joe hosted a party for 16 teen-agers in Chinatown feasting on chop suey, rice and tea and dancing to juke box music.
When Marilyn is with the kids she dresses just as they do—sweaters and skirts and NO publicity-type, low cut gowns, thank you.
If you ask me, one of the nicest things Joe has brought into the life of the lonely girl who is the “hottest” property in Hollywood today, is sharing his family life with her. All the fame and fortune in the world couldn’t bring this happiness to Marilyn.
The figures in the John Waynes’ property settlement sound like telephone numbers. According to Mrs. Wayne’s attorney, John and Chata spent $13,000 monthly during their marriage; John made $500,000 last year and he is many times a millionaire.
I’ve talked with John—and I know he has his dander up. This promises to be one of the most bitterly fought divorces in years.
Shelley Winters Gassmann is the funniest expectant mother of all time.
“I got morning sickness,” quoth Shell, “and afternoon sickness, and evening sickness. I’m nauseous all the time. And the things I wantta eat! Pickles and eggs! I’ve always hated bananas—and now I gotta have ’em. The other day, after I’d HAD luncheon, I stopped by a drive-in and had a peanut-butter sandwich and a root-beer float.
“Before we got pregnant, Vittorio was the one who could not sleep at night. He’s the nervous type and was always pacing around thinking of his role the next day.
“Now he sleeps like he was hit over the head—and I’m the one getting up all the time. The other night I was so restless I got the car out and went for a two-hour drive—and when I came back he didn’t even know I’d been gone!
“He’s sweet though, bless him. He doesn’t get angry with me no matter what I do. Of course, I can still start a battle, but it’s one sided. He just says, ‘Mama, you’re upset because the bambino is coming.’
“I’ll be glad when the baby is born and he’ll yell back at me like he used to.
“How long does this nauseous business last, I want to know? How long will it be before I start looking like all those pretty pictures of expectant mothers in women’s magazines?”
Hollywood Chit-Chat: The first thing Arlene Dahl did after separating from Lex Barker was to change the color scheme of the bedroom they WERE to have occupied together from beige and green to three shades of pink . . .
Before Marilyn Morrison Ray (Mrs. Johnnie Ray) left the Chicago hospital after losing their expected baby, Johnnie showed up with a big square cut diamond to take the place of that little-bitty engagement ring so many columnists ridiculed at the time of their marriage. . . .
Ursula Thiess doesn’t like Robert Taylor’s mustache. You can expect it to go any time now . . .
Dale Robertson has turned thumbs down on 20th’s idea to “glamorize” his publicity, soft-pedaling his home life, for instance. “I’m a home boy and a cowhand,” said Dale, “and you can‘t change me. There’s no sense trying to get me to list the ten sexiest actresses in Hollywood—because I don’t know who they are, or care. . . .”
No star from Broadway has so completely enchanted her co-workers in a movie as Ethel Merman making Call Me Madam. Around the 20th Century-Fox lot, they‘re calling Madam—doll. . . .
Nicky Hilton may be “completely over” Elizabeth Taylor—as he says. But his new honey, Sheila Connolly, is a deadringer for Liz. . . .
Fernando Lamas wants to adopt Lana Turner’s little daughter, Cheryl, after he and Lana are married.
When I asked Rosemary Clooney if she was going to marry Jose Ferrer she said, “Louella, I love Jose. But I don’t want anyone to be hurt.”
I knew she was referring to Phyllis Hill, Jose’s wife, from whom he has been separated just five months. From what I have beea reading about Mrs. Ferrer’s dates in New York with an attractive young man, I doubt thot she has any intentions of hanging onto Jose.
No young personality in years has come up as fast as Rosemary, the young singer who first attracted attention last year with her “Come On A My House” record.
When Paramount signed her for The Stars Are Singing it’s no secret they thought she might be just a “one shot” star, an attraction to the jive kids who loved her records.
So what happens? Rosemary comes across with such a wallop she’s now being touted as the girl to step into Betty Hutton’s shoes in Paramount pictures.
I’ve come to know her very well during the short time she has been in Hollywood and I can tell you that she is a very honest and sincere person.
Jose Ferrer will be a lucky man when an if Rosemary says, “Yes”—and I’m sure she will.
When Joan Crawford and William Haines, the decorator who used to be ai silent screen star, decided to give a party for Mrs. Ann Windfohr, a Texas-friend, they really did things up red and-white.
Joan used her garden, covering over half of it with a bright lipstick red tent in which white and red balloons floated against the tent top. Red and white candles outlined the swimming pool, their flames flickering slightly.
There were 120 guests for dinner and dancing and without any doubt the most startling couple were Kirk Douglas and youthful, Italian beauty Pier Angeli. The sophisticated Kirk was really something to watch being very, very boyish and utterly gallant to the wide-eyed Pier who would have looked like a child in her flowing gray chiffon if the neckline had not been cut so low!
The infanticipating girls, Judy Garland, Eleanor Parker and Nancy Davis Reagan were present with their respective husbands, each wearing a different type of maternity gown. Incidentally, Nancy and Ronnie Reagan held hands all evening under the table not caring whether anyone watched them or not.
It never seems to bother Ronnie and his ex-wife, Jane Wyman, when they meet at parties. They are always very cordial and seem to have much to talk about.
About four o’clock in the morning, after most of the guests had left, Judy Garland (with Roger Edens playing for her) started to sing as only Judy can.
At that late hour, in such a beautiful setting, it seemed to everyone that Judy had never sounded so thrilling and her listeners were torn between tears, laughter and applause.
Speaking of Judy, a few days later, I ran into her shopping in Beverly Hills. It was the day I had run the “lead” story in my column about her new contract to make movies for Warner Brothers.
“Rre you going to diet strenuously for your screen come-back?” I asked her.
“I’m going to diet a little, Louella,” she told me. “But I’m not going to ruin my health by peeling down to the size of a banana. Look what happened to Mario Lanza. Look what happened to me before in the last stages of my MGM contract when I nearly wrecked myself striving to be a sliver.
“No ma’am,” she said emphatically, “they’re going to get Garland back plump and HEALTHY.”
Parents of teen-age girls averse to youthful marriages can no longer point to Mitzi Gaynor and her lawyer fiance, Richard Coyle, as wise and perfect examples of “looking before you leap.”
Touted as the ideal engaged couple, “Mitzi and Richard were officially engaged for three years, supposedly the happiest lovebirds in the world just waiting for her to become 21 before saying their “I do’s.”
So what happens? Three weeks after Mitzi reached the 21 goal line, she and Richard decided the whole thing had been a “mistake” and called off all wedding plans.
Well, it’s better to find out, even after three years, that a mistake has been made than it would be AFTER wedding bells have rung out.
I can remember very well the words of my grandmother, witty, wise and humorous, when I decided to be married at 17.
“A girl of 17—and a WOMAN of 21 think very differently,” she said. And this is quite as true today as it was when I was a girl, Maggie.
The Letter Box: Laine Ross, Toronto, Canada, writes: “In The Merry Widow Lana Turner again proves that she is the star of stars and the loveliest lady on the screen. But I would have preferred to see Michael Wilding opposite her in place of Fernando Lamas.” Lana wouldn’t!!!
Dozens and dozens of letters asking, “What’s the matter with Mario Lanza?” No one would like to know the answer to that more than his MGM bosses.
I am delighted to acknowledge the letter from Louis Jordan, President of The Male Teen-age Club of Detroit, consisting of 11 Negro boys and five whites. “We are great screen fans,” writes Louis, “and our greatest favorite is Bette Davis—proving that teenagers can and do admire mature actresses. We think Ava Gardner the most beautiful—and Joan Crawford the most perennial.” Glad to get your opinions, Louis, although space prohibits printing all of them.
Violet Ainsworth, Memphis, opines: “Rory Calhoun is better looking and a better actor than Tony Curtis, Farley Granger, Rock Hudson, and John Derek rolled into one.” Bet you start something with that crack, Violet.
That’s all this month. See you next issue.
—BY LOUELLA PARSON
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE DECEMBER 1952