Love Is A Violent Agreement
Said Troy, “Love is the word yes, the phrase, I will, the promise, I understand. Love is when everything and nothing makes sense. Take Suzanne Pleshette. I made love to her all day long . . . embraces, caresses, kisses, till our lips hurt. Everything I had hoped for happened—but nothing happened. When the shooting was finally over for the day—we were filming ‘Rome Adventure’—I asked her if she would have dinner with me, later, about eight. She agreed, but with a peculiar smile. I said, ‘That’s an odd smile. Just exactly what does it mean?’
“She said, ‘Oh, nothing. It’s just a smile.’ ”
Troy admitted to us in this exclusive PHOTOPLAY interview that he thought about that smile all the time he was dressing for the date. And he recalled just how long her smile had been on his mind; in fact, that was what had attracted Troy to Suzanne many months before, when he had first seen her across a crowded store . . .
“It was the day before Christmas. As usual I had left most of my shopping to the last minute. I was squeezing my way between customers in a Los Angeles department store. I had a girl gift to get and there wasn’t time. As I came to the sweater counter I heard, above the holiday-shopper noise, a loud voice demanding that ‘Christmas tags should be sold with purchases.’
“It wasn’t until I got close to the counter that I could see what was going on. It was Suzanne.
“She and the salesgirl were having a beautiful argument. The salesgirl was explaining that gift tags were sold at another counter way over on the other side of the store. Suzanne pointed out that it was Christmas eve, thirty minutes to closing time for the store, she was already late for an appointment and how in the world could she ever get the tags for two hundred dollars’ worth of gifts.
“Suzanne’s jet black hair was beautifully mussed, her cheeks were burning, her eyes were on fire and her lips were alternately quivering and going straight. The salesgirl just kept eyeing the store clock as she sighed and shrugged at Suzanne’s problem.
“Finally Suzanne accepted reality as she always does. She walked off, her arms loaded with gifts, but without gift tags. She was about four feet gone from the counter when she turned and with a beautiful smile said to the salesgirl, ‘Oh. Merry Christmas!’ The girl looked at her, not believing.
“I shared the salesgirl’s surprise. Suzanne really meant it! After going hot and heavy in an argument Suzanne had walked four feet and forgotten she was angry. I remember saying to myself. very casually, I’d like to meet that girl.’ I said to the salesgirl, I’d like to see a—’
“Suddenly, not knowing what I was doing. I was half-walking, half-racing after Suzanne. I caught up with her just as she reached her car. All I knew was that I wanted to meet that girl more than Christmas, and I was ready to go to any lengths to make her acquaintance.
“It was one time when I was glad I was an actor. I said. ‘My name is Troy Donahue and I’d like to know yours.’
“Suzanne stared at me for a moment as though I was insane. She told me a long time later that she didn’t know whether to smile or snarl, and I quote.
“ ‘Just your phone number so I can call you.’ I said.
“ ‘It’s in the book’, she said. ‘Pleshette. Okay ?’
“I could have hopped up and down on one foot with pleasure. ‘Thanks, Miss Pleshette.’
“ ‘Oh. by the way,’ she said, ‘that’s the Manhattan phone book, not Los Angeles. I don’t have the phone anymore. And it’s listed under my father’s name. Would you like to meet him, too?’ Joking, of course.
“Brushing off the banter I replied. ‘The only important thing right now is how reach you by phone.’
“Suzanne shrugged, ‘All right, if it that important I’ll give you the number.
“So you see,” Troy concluded, “Suzanne and I met just as millions of guys am gals have met, by a casual encounter public.” He took a quick sip of coffe “Funny thing,” he said quietly, “I never did call Suzanne. I don’t know why really except that after thinking it over I decide that Suzanne had given me the number to be polite and to get rid of me.
“Later the next year my director said he was about to audition three new actresses to play opposite me in ‘Rome Adventure.’ He mentioned two names an then he added. ‘And a girl named Suzanne Pleshette.’ I couldn’t say anything course—it wouldn’t have been fair to the other two, but you can bet Suzanne has the loudest silent rooting section. She got the part.
“We started to work on the picture Naturally I had delusions of an easy time dating Suzanne. After all, we were working together. But that’s all we did, way work—together.
“This went on for weeks. Suzanne was always busy or too tired to date. Oh, we lunched together, talked shop, but not serious dating.”
That is, until the day of the love scene
“You might be interested,” Troy tolus. “in knowing what happened that evening. We had finished dinner. What did next surprised Suzanne. I guess surprised myself. I leaned over the table and whispered to her, ‘May I kiss you?
“Suzanne told me a long time later that she was tempted to laugh then, to kid about a line like that. But there must have been something in my tone of voice to tell her that, for me, it was serious.
“So she said, .‘But Troy, you’ve beer making love to me all day on the set.’
“I asked her again, ‘May I kiss you?’
“She looked at me and after a moment she said, ‘Of course.’
“There must have been a hundred diners present. I didn’t see one of them We both leaned over the table and kissed. I suppose you’d think that under such romantic circumstances that should have been the start of an intense love affair.”
He took a deep breath and continued. “I don’t know whether I can say this right or not. What began was—no, let’s put it this way. Every man hopes to meet and fail in love with a woman who, to him, means his life. Some men find such a woman early, some late, some never. But whether that decisive moment comes soon or late. men and women, still searching, must have some kind of a close relationship that is more than friendship. and maybe a little less than love. I think it’s one of the most important relationships in a young man’s life. And yet there is no name for it.
“Anyhow that’s what began the night I kissed Suzanne, and that’s what it’s been ever since, almost a year now. I date Suzanne more than any other girl. I care for her deeply.
“The other night a buddy asked me if I wasn‘t afraid things might get serious between Suzanne and me. I laughed and ‘Things are serious between Suzanne and me. It couldn’t be more serious.’
“Am I in love with Suzanne? Of course I am. How could I help not be? It may not be the love that leads to marriage. It may be. Neither of us know. We’ve talked for hours about marriage. But we talk about everything under the sun.
“And I’m beginning to think that love is a violent agreement. I have noticed it quite often. In a conversation, perhaps. Nothing really has materialized between myself and a girl. It looks like we’re both heading for nowhere. And then, without warning, and this is what really makes it significant in my mind, the girl will say something and I will say instantly, ‘Yes, Yes, that’s it exactly.’ For a moment we will stare at each other and then I know there is a part of this girl’s heart and mind that I have just discovered. And in doing that I have, in a cockeyed way, let her know that there is a part of my mind she has just discovered.
“Sure, you can kid about that sort of hing. I’ve said it before and people give me the raised eyebrow as if to say, ‘Sex is sex, let’s not have any of that jazz about t being interesting or beautiful. A man and a woman get together because they are physically compatible. It simplifies lovemaking.’ ”
Troy watched his cigaret smoke rise slowly to the restaurant ceiling.
“I just don’t think that the sensual side of love is the only—well, that proves it, what I just said. If there is a physical side of love, simple logic tells you there must be another side.
“I say don’t kid about love, yet Suzanne kids about it more than any girl I’ve ever met. She’s one of the few young actresses I’ve known who doesn’t play Camille when things don’t go her way.
“For instance, a few weeks ago we had planned for one of those days in the country. Early morning start, beat the traffic, a high green hill under a tree with a blanket of colored meadow at our feet. Picnic lunch, a walk in the woods. Corny? Maybe, but try it sometime.
“Well, everything’s planned. Suzanne, the glamorous woman of the world, had spent the evening preparing for that day. She was like a little girl looking forward to her birthday party.
“Yes, you guessed it. I got a call from the studio at the last minute. Says Suzanne, ‘Troy, you’re going to have the best picnic lunch ever eaten on a movie lot.’ I hate to admit it, but I think I felt more emotional about it than she did.
“She takes all disappointments without missing a beat. I don’t mean she conceals anything. You know she’s disappointed, but they never slacken nor dissipate her spirit.
“I’ll tell you something else.
“It’s not easy to fail in love, especially with a girl you like. I think the most important thing a man must learn is to become a girl’s friend before he becomes her lover. Suzanne and I talked about it for a long, long time the other night.”
Troy leaned against the soft leather upholstery of the restaurant booth. There was a thinking smile on his face.
“A romance,” he said, “must be founded on something. What I mean is that love, the true love a man feels just once in his whole life for the only woman in his life that ever really matters, must be based on something more than a flirtatious wink.
“Don’t misunderstand,” he added quickly, “a romance can start with a sly eye from each, but I’ve seen many a couple who go steady, get engaged, get married and get divorced and the only thing romantic that ever happened to them was that they bumped into each other in an elevator.
“Neither of them could let go of this story-book beginning. They both decide it’s fate, destiny, Kismet. If they’d view the incident without emotion they’d realize that the only thing that really happened was that one of them simply wasn’t looking where he was going.
“Yet because they go bump, presto, they’re star-crossed lovers. I shouldn’t kid about that so seriously,” Troy grinned then, “because it was exactly that kind of incident that introduced me to Suzanne!
“I have not asked Suzanne to marry me. Sometimes I feel that one of the reasons is that I might be turned down. But Suzanne and I both realize that underneath all the gaiety and frivolity that takes place around a wedding, the sudden reality that faces a man and a woman after the ceremony, comes as an emotional shock to each of them, no matter how much they love each other. You can’t live one way one day and live a completely different way the next without having your character and personality shaken in so many ways that you can’t anticipate all of them.
“These are some of the reasons we don’t go steady. We don’t want to commit ourselves. We keep our perspective by dating others. But we don’t forget each other. Suzanne remembers much better than I do.
“A few weeks back she called and said she wanted to swap cars. I’d drive hers and she’d drive mine for a few days. Agreed. When I got my car back I discovered, about two blocks from my apartment, why Suzanne had switched. I happened to hit the horn button. Four blaring trumpet tones came out sounding like Louis Armstrong on his wildest night. The horn scattered pedestrians crazily.
“After regaining my composure I realized what had happened. When we were in Italy I remembered mentioning to Suzanne that the horns I had heard on an Italian Ferrari were the greatest.
“Somehow Suzanne had managed to get a set. She had them installed while she had my car.
“When I saw her that evening she gave me that mischievous smile of hers and asked. ‘What’s new?’
“That’s the kind of girl I go with.”
Is it a romance, is it a love affair?
Troy shook his head.
“It may sound evasive but I don’t know,’’ he said, “We’re not engaged, we’ve made no plans to marry. What is it when a guy and a gal become close friends? As I said before, there’s no name for it. There should be.
“When I hear people say that I’m having a romance with Suzanne I don’t know what to say. Neither does Suzanne. We date often. We laugh and quite frequently at ourselves. On a date we might spend the time at my place with the record player, on a drive along the ocean, at a ballet, a movie, a play, a party or just conversation over dinner and coffee. I enjoy being with Suzanne and she enjoys being with me and I’m damn glad it’s that way.
“We’ve both got careers. We’ve worked hard and we both know what we want, personally and professionally. If, in the future, Suzanne feels we suit each other exactly the way we ought to—well, maybe we’ll take it from there.”
And it looks as if they have taken it from there. Troy had to be in Hawaii to film background for his series, “Hawaiian Eye,” and they missed each other so much that Suzanne flew down to join him for a few weeks. Now from what w e hear from the island, it looks as though the next agreement these two have will be a “Yes” at the altar.
Troy sleuths in “Hawaiian Eye,” ABC-TV. Tuesdays, 8:30-9:30 EST. His next film will will be “Palm Springs Weekend,” Warners. Suzanne’s in “40 Pounds of Trouble,” for Universal-International.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 1963