Rita Hayworth And Dick Haymes: Things Are Looking Up
Rita Hayworth is back in Hollywood. With her fourth husband, Dick Haymes, she is living in an elegant apartment overlooking Wilshire Bouleyard.
She is working in a Columbia film, Joseph And His Brethren. It is her first movie work in two years, and she is happier than she has been in a long, long time.
But as a home town, Hollywood is not for Rita.
“From now on,” she explained, “our home is Nevada. We will work in Hollywood, of course. But Nevada is where my two daughters are going to school. And that’s where we have our home. It’s a small town on Lake Tahoe called Crystal Bay.
“After Joseph, I have one more picture to do for Columbia. Then my husband and I will enter independent production for United Artists.”
Rita Hayworth has always been reticent. She opens her heart to few people. She has always borne her own sorrows, and they have been many.
She has been criticized and denounced for letting her heart rule her head. But never has she shed her tears on someone else’s shoulders. She has courage and fortitude.
Back in Hollywood the happiness light shone in her brown eyes. There was a wry little smile on her lips. Her hair, long and lustrous (“Dick likes it that way”) shone as it caught the light.
Rita is happy for good reason. At last, the financial, legal and personal problems that clouded their marriage from its very first day are almost over.
Dick can now enter and depart from the State of California without being pursued by process servers. He is no longer charged with contempt of court. Nora Eddington Flynn Haymes, his third wife, claimed that she gave him his freedom to marry Rita on his express promise to pay her $100 alimony per week. “After the first week,” Nora swore, “he flew the coop.” Nora sued for back alimony. Simultaneously, second wife Joanne Dru got a bench warrant for Haymes’ arrest. Joanne claimed he owed $5,000 in child-support payments.
As soon as Dick and Rita arrived in Hollywood in February, Haymes amazed everyone by voluntarily walking into Judge Doyle’s court. He promised to pay all charges in arrears.
A few weeks later he did. Full-bearded and natty, he strode into the office of Nora’s attorney, S. S. Hahn. He handed Hahn a check for $7000. For a minute Hahn couldn’t believe it, but the check cleared the bank.
“This check,” Hahn announced, “not only takes care of back alimony payments but stops once and for all the payments of $100 a week Haymes promised my client.”
People were curious about where Dick Haymes was getting the money to square all his debts. Rita, of course, is tremendously happy, but she denies having given him one penny. She herself has little money until her own corporation, Beckworth Productions, can obtain an accounting of moneys due her.
The answer lies in the Crystal Bay Corporation. This corporation was founded by Dick and Rita to produce films for United Artists.
Several weeks ago United Artists advanced Crystal Bay Corporation $100,000. It did not advance the money to Haymes, since the Government could have attached $45,000 of it for Haymes’ back income taxes. The money went directly to the corporation. As an official of the corporation, Haymes is empowered to disburse such funds as he sees fit.
The man who extricated Rita and Dick from their financial quagmire is Bartley Crum, the same brilliant attorney who finally negotiated a child-support settlement with Rita’s third husband, Aly Khan.
“As a result of this settlement,” Rita said recently, “I plan to take Yasmin (her five-year-old daughter by the Moslem prince) to Europe some time this summer, probably when my picture is finished. Her grandfather has been terribly anxious to see her.”
The Aga Khan, who is near death in France at this writing, has wanted desperately to see Yasmin for the last three years, but Rita steadfastly refused until a definite support agreement was drawn up.
At five, Yasmin is a bright-eyed little pixie, open-hearted, cute and talkative.
Luck may smile on Rita again. Her older daughter, Rebecca, is the child of Orson Welles. It is said that Welles, in financial difficulty, has been unable to support Rebecca. But recently Welles was offered $25,000 per week to appear in Las Vegas: If he does Rita will undoubtedly receive a wad of money for Becky’s support.
Things are looking up for Rita. But what counts most to her is that in Dick Haymes she has finally found the great love of her life.
Dick has said over and over again, “What Rita has gone through for me—it’s just impossible to talk about it. When things looked blackest, when I was being backed into one corner after another, it was her courage that saw me through. I give you my word we’re man and wife forever.”
Rita is not nearly so eloquent as Dick, but how loudly her behavior speaks!
Just look back at what this glamorous beauty has gone through. She married Haymes in a circus-like wedding staged in Las Vegas. Deputy sheriffs and a special nurse watched her two children as she was interviewed by approximately 200 reporters and cameramen.
A threat of deportation hung over Haymes. He was also flat broke. Following the highly publicized wedding, however, Haymes received $150,000 in nightclub offers.
He accepted a few, and Rita, temporarily abandoning her own career, stayed at his side. Her children remained in Connecticut.
You know what happened. Wherever Haymes entertained his salary was attached. His former wives threatened to throw him into jail. While Rita and Dick were staying at the Roney Plaza in Miami, Rita was charged with neglecting her children and Rebecca and Yasmin were held in court “custody.”
At the same time, she was suspended by her studio and Haymes was in danger of being bounced out of the country. There was constant bickering on the Aly Khan financial settlement.
A lesser woman would have retired to a sanitarium with a full-fledged nervous breakdown. Not Rita. Under no circumstances would she give up her husband. She loved him too much, no matter how much bad publicity, aggravation and heartache he had caused.
Rita Hayworth knows one thing for sure. The whole Haymes deportation confusion never would have occurred if Dick had fallen uncontrollably in love with her.
In May, 1953, Haymes flew to Hawaii, ostensibly to sing at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, but in truth to be near Rita who was then on location with Miss Sadie Thompson.
When Dick returned to Los Angeles three weeks later, he was told that his trip to Hawaii—for whatever purpose—had made him a deportable alien.
Haymes was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 13, 1918. His father was an English cattle rancher, his mother an American concert singer. He was brought to the United States when he was three months old. When he was twenty, he left the country and then came back under the quota system as an alien.
After he had volunteered for induction in World War II and had been turned down for “bad eyes and high blood pressure,” he made the mistake of requesting a deferment on the grounds that he was a citizen of a neutral nation, Argentina.
When Argentina entered the war, Dick voluntarily voided the deferment. He was classified 1 A, and ordered to report for induction in Los Angeles. Here he was examined and again declared unfit for military service, again because of his eyes and his blood pressure. But this time, Dick’s draft board began to receive letters from one of Haymes’ enemies, claiming that Dick had been taking benzedrine tablets several days before his physical in order to induce high blood pressure.
Whereupon the Army ordered the crooner to Governor’s Island in New York Bay for another physical. This time he was carefully watched for three days and reexamined periodically. The results were the same: bad eyes and high blood pressure.
Rita Hayworth knew all this before she married Dick. He told her everything—his hectic past, his legal and financial troubles. She offered to help with money. Dick wouldn’t hear of it. He went to her attorney. “I love this girl so much,” he said, “that I never want her to have the slightest trouble because of me. I want you to draw up some agreement which says that what money she has will never go to me and what debts I’ve incurred will never be held against her.”
Bartley Crum drew up such an agreement and Haymes signed it. Today he can truthfully say, “My family is living on borrowed money, and I’ve never touched a penny of my wife’s funds.”
Last summer when things looked darkest and headlines boldest, the Haymeses, at Rita’s urging, withdrew to Crystal Bay, Nevada. Rita had “waited out” her divorce from Aly Khan in this quiet little summer resort town. And she loved it.
While the newspapers concentrated on Ava Gardner who lived a few hundred yards away, establishing Nevada residence requirements to drop Frank Sinatra, Rita and Dick, along with Yasmin and Becky and Brutus—Brutus is Haymes’ boxer—moved into the Nevada cottage which is today their legal home.
Rita hired .a Mexican woman, Louisa, to do the cleaning and the cooking, and or high water, this simple two-bedroom cottage located on a small dirt road would be their hideaway, their escape from process servers and reporters and busybodies, for the next two years.
Although Rita has tried to live the life of a hermit this last year, to save her strength and marshal her forces, she has had to make certain concessions.
She was perfectly content to paint, to refurnish the cottage, to restore old furniture. She was blissfully happy without newspapers, magazines and telegrams from her agents. And so was Haymes. They dressed in blue jeans, never went out, were hardly ever seen except by the caretaker in the neighborhood. Their unlisted telephone seldom rang except when they were called by their respective attorneys.
But there were Rita’s children, Becky and Yasmin, and Dick’s children, Junior and Helen. There were visits from Dick’s mother and Bartley Crum and Aly Khan’s lawyer.
When Dick’s mother came to Crystal Bay several months ago, Rita agreed to let her take Yasmin and Becky into nearby Reno. The children were recognized instantly.
Last fall, Becky, bright as a button, was enrolled in the school at King’s Beach while Yasmin, too young at five to go to school, stayed home with Dick and Rita. When snow came early, Dick and Rita went skiing and Dick worked on his book, reportedly his autobiography to be published later this year.
While the Haymeses avoided society, their lawyers were hard at work, trying to make order of their clients’ tangled affairs.
First on the agenda was the support settlement with Aly Kahn. Rita said she was perfectly agreeable to Yasmin’s being brought up in the Moslem faith. She wanted the little girl to visit her father and grandfather in Europe, but first she must have definite assurance that the child would be returned to her. And there was the matter of financial support for Yasmin.
It took half a dozen trips across the Atlantic and months of legal haggling but last year Bartley Crum negotiated a deal. The result? There will always be plenty of money for Yasmin’s rearing and she will be allowed to visit her father every summer from now on.
Next then was the problem of settling the fight between Rita and Columbia Pictures. Crum worked that one out, too, and helped to make the United Artists arrangement with the Crystal Bay Corporation. Then he announced, “Rita Hayworth is returning to Columbia Pictures. Dick Haymes is to become a screen writer and producer.”
Crum did not say that Haymes was becoming a writer and producer at Columbia Studios although many newsmen misinterpreted the statement. It is no secret in Hollywood that Columbia and Haymes don’t see eye to eye. But Rita’s days at Columbia are rapidly drawing to an end. Then she embarks on the dangerous but soul-satisfying voyage of independent production.
With Dick beside her, Rita feels that everything will turn out to be good and golden and glorious. For almost a year she and her husband lived together twenty-four hours a day. In that mountain cottage on the shores of Lake Tahoe they enjoyed companionship and intimacy that few other couples have ever been, destined to know.
For Rita that was, at last, marital fulfillment. All her previous marriages were to men who traveled widely, who had diverse interests, who left her alone for long periods of time.
With Dick it has been different. It has been the two of them and the children. It has been a time of peace and tranquillity and adjustment.
Now that Rita is back at work, there will be the usual items hinting at divorce and disagreements. These are inevitable for stars in the spotlight.
But after what Rita and Dick have been through these last two years, the rest of the way looks easy.
—BY WILLIAM BARBOUR
It is a quote. MODERN SCREEN MAGAZINE JUNE 1955