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Love Is News!—Jean Peters

On a recent spring evening in a Hollywood bistro, a lovely dark-haired, hazel-eyed girl dined with a tall, athletic-looking young man. Quietly engrossed in each other’s company, they were unaware of the interest they created, especially for the Hollywood columnist who had stopped in on his evening rounds of news-gathering.

The next day the columnist reported this item with a great deal of excitement. For the girl in the restaurant was Jean Peters, on her first date with Casey Adams. Subsequently there were other dates in other places. There was immediate speculation as to whether these dates are the beginning of a serious romance. But the columnist that night was impressed, and understandably so, that he could report having seen Jean Peters out in a public eating place on a date. Any date!

Before this, Jean’s name has been linked with that of a man’s only on a theatre marquee. This state of singleness has not been for a lack of interest in Hollywood males. Actors who have worked with Jean or met her on studio sets have described her with words such as “intelligent,” “talented,” witty,” “lovely.” Bob Wagner, for one, met her at Twentieth where they are both under contract and reported, “I’ve never met another girl in Hollywood who is more fun to talk with than Jean.” But Bob, like all the others, got no further than this casual encounter.

For Jean Peters, since her arrival in Hollywood seven years ago, has most often been described as a recluse. The spring night, Jean had left the seclusion of her home for a date with Casey Adams, who is known and liked for his gregariousness.

Jean and Casey came to Hollywood from similar backgrounds. She is from Canton, Ohio; he from Caldwell, Kansas. Casey’s father was an oil-lease broker; his mother, a lover of music and a piano teacher. Jean’s father (he died when she was only ten) was an engineer, a lover of music, an accomplished pianist; her mother, a talented painter. They came to meet in Hollywood, but they came by very different roads.

Jean was a reluctant winner of the Ohio State University’s campus popularity contest. Reluctant because the prize took her on a two-week trip to Hollywood and as an honor-roll student she worried about her absence from classes. While in Hollywood, Twentieth Century-Fox screen tested the Ohio beauty. Four months later, studio head Darryl F. Zanuck called her back for an interview, signed her to a seven-year contract and immediately assigned her to her first picture—Tyrone Power’s leading lady in “Captain From Castile,” the studio’s biggest production that year. The schools lost a teacher-to-be and the movies had a new star.

Even for miracle-making Hollywood this was setting a breathless pace. And “I want to work hard and become a good actress. I also need one more year at college to get my teachers degree. I hope gradually to acquire the necessary credits between pictures here in California.”

Casey’s trip to Hollywood was a bit slower and he set about it very deliberately. He has earned his living in show business—in every phase of it—since he finished high school in 1935. Casey says, “Even then it was long overdue. The acting bug started nibbling me when I was six years old.” When Twentieth signed him to a contract a few years ago, they honored his versatile talents by calling for his services in six different capacities: actor, director, composer, dialogue director, test director and lyricist.

Jean and Casey first met almost two years ago when both were signed to film “Niagara” for Twentieth. Most of the picture was shot on location at the Falls and the cast, which included Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten and Dick Allan, spent its leisure time together. When the troupe returned to Hollywood, Casey rushed into three more scheduled pictures and Jean disappeared into her private haven—her home.

And it’s there that one must go to get to know Jean. Here, away from the cameras, the Kleig lights, the glitter, she is “Pete” to her mother and close friends. Here, too, she is surrounded by the comforts and possessions-she prizes. And the most prized possessions are her books. Her voracious appetite for reading matter started when she was thirteen years old. And today her only real extravagance is the constant buying of more and more volumes to add to a collection which a town library might well envy.

And then sometimes she is busily sewing her own clothes. This, unfortunately, is not always so economical as Jean admits. “They don’t always fit too well when finished.”

For a girl of Jean’s resourcefulness, life is filled with things to do and learn. To this end she seems to have applied herself, well away from the limelight, the glitter. But those who had been puzzled by her anti-social behavior had spread the rumor that Jean Peters was obviously in love, she was trying to keep her romance a secret and she’d do nothing to jeopardize that love.

Except, as her friends were quick to say, “It doesn’t happen to be true.” And Jean continued, unperturbed, with her quiet life—until last Fall—when Twentieth sent her on a trip that took her as far from her home as she’d ever been before.

Jean was assigned, along with Dorothy McGuire and Maggie McNamara, to do the three-way love story, “Three Coins In The Fountain,” in Italy. Jean speaks no Italian, but that didn’t stop her from having a wonderful time. Whether it was the contagious gaiety of the people, or the tonic effects of a new land, new experiences, who can say. But Jean seems to have shed her cocoon in Rome.

She was much in demand socially. The Italians liked her and she returned their affection. Jean’s comment on Italian men is indeed a compliment. She says, “It takes a romantically inclined Italian five thousand words to say the same thing an American tries to get across with a wolf whistle. But the time spent listening passes very quickly for a girl.”

“Three Coins In The Fountain” finished, except for some interior shots to be filmed in Hollywood, Jean returned home. But her associates were quick to note a difference in her. She was less reserved, more talkative. Perhaps the visit to Rome had worked a modern miracle in helping a girl to find herself, even a girl from Canton, Ohio, a girl with her feet solidly on the ground.

Shortly after Jean returned home her telephone rang. It was her friend and former co-player, Casey Adams, welcoming her back—and the warmth of the conversation naturally led to a dinner invitation. And Jean Peters, just as a girl from Canton, Ohio, or Caldwell, Kansas, would have done, accepted that date with Casey Adams. It was the first of many.

It’s too early to say that the dates of Jean and Casey mean anything more than friendship, much too early. But Hollywood is hopeful. Love is news. And after all, it’s something that stay-at-home Jean is even dating. Three months ago you’d have received howls of laughter if you’d said, “Last night I saw Jean Peters out on a date.” But today nobody raises an eyebrow; the answer is a casual, “Where was Casey taking her?”





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