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Rita Hayworth’s Newest Love

There are some actresses who, introverted and self-sufficient, can go through life for long periods of time without a man.

Rita Hayworth is not one of these.

Without love and masculine attention she is like a rose without sun and water. She withers.

Rita knows this. Which is why she has found herself a new beau and, potentially, a new husband. He is Dick Haymes, the tall, 37-year-old, handsome crooner from the Argentine whose love life has been every bit as hectic as Rita’s.

As you undoubtedly know, Haymes, four years ago, was involved in one of Hollywood’s juiciest and most publicized scandals. That was in Palm Springs when he took three looks at Errol Flynn’s then-wife, the beautifully lusty Nora, and promptly lost his heart to her.

At the time he was married to Joanne Dru, a girl of quiet but insinuating beauty, and the mother of his three wonderful children. But Dick petitioned for his freedom.

As a matter of fact, he was so smitten by Nora, so anxious to make her his, that he agreed to pay Joanne any sum ranging from $9,600 to $14,000 a year for support in addition to taking out insurance policies for the offspring, paying their dental and medical bills, and dividing the community property.

Joanne gave Dick his liberty. Errol Flynn, his great ego shattered, gave Nora hers plus the promise to pay $550 a month for the support of their two daughters, Rory and Deirdre, a promise, incidentally, which he has been delinquent in fulfilling. On July 17, 1949, Nora Eddington Flynn became the bride of Richard Haymes.

“How does Rita Hayworth fit into this picture?” you ask.

It’s very simple. Early this year, not long after she had lost a baby son via miscarriage, Nora Haymes decided that she and Dick just couldn’t make a go of their marriage. There was a separation which left Haymes free and lonely.

In New York on business, he happened to run into Rita Hayworth who was in town to plug Salome. In fact they both stayed at the Plaza. They ate together. “Steak and black coffee,” according to one waiter who served them, “And they looked very nice, very simpatico.” From that point on, Haymes and Hayworth have been virtually inseparable. Even when Rita flew to Hawaii for location work on Miss Sadie Thompson, Haymes wasn’t far behind. He had his agents arrange a concert tour in the Islands, and while it didn’t come off too well, it brought him close to Rita.

When Hayworth winged back to Hollywood with José Ferrer, who is also in Miss Sadie Thompson, Haymes was again on hand to continue the romance.

Dick has been Rita’s constant escort, so constant that he has had no time for anyone else. Not even Nora Haymes, his separated wife, could contact Dick with any regularity. A newspaperman in the Hobnob, a Beverly Hills eatery, overheard her complaining to her friend, Beetsy Wynn, “I can’t get with this bit. I don’t know where Richard is keeping himself these days. I want to talk to him about putting up some loot for the divorce, but it’s easier to get in touch with Eisenhower.

“Everybody I ask tells me to try Hayworth’s house. Can you imagine my doing that?”

Even Bob Eaton, Dick’s lawyer, couldn’t find him for long periods of time when he needed to discuss the divorce from Nora. “I don’t know where he’s keeping himself these days,” Eaton confided to reporters. “My assumption is that he’s out of town.”

By this time, of course, the Haymes divorce papers have undoubtedly been filed; and it is just a question of waiting for the proper interval before Richard and Rita make their romance officially public.

Under the circumstances, however, Rita is naturally reticent when it comes to discussing Haymes. When asked about him in New York after they were seen dining, all she would say was “He’s a very nice man.”

In Hollywood, however, especially before the Haymes divorce papers were drawn up, the ex-Princess was extremely circumspect, particularly for her.

When a friend, a long-term friend who has known her through three arduous marriages, asked at her swimming pool one day, “What goes. with you and Dick Haymes?” Rita would only smile and say, “Let’s not go into that.”

A few days later the actress took off for a short vacation, and coincidentally, Richard Haymes left town at the same time.

All of which goes to prove that having found each other, Dick Haymes and Rita Hayworth are determined to hold on. For many years now, both of them have been in love with love. Since both of them have Spanish blood in their veins and Latin backgrounds, there is undoubtedly much more to their mutual attraction than pure physical appeal.

Whether this is enough to lead eventually to marriage no one can prophesy.

Right now, Rita is a little disillusioned by matrimony but certainly not by men. The only time she was ready to cross the opposite sex off her list was when she left Aly Khan two years ago.

Then she was. hurt, bitter, frustrated, and completely disenchanted, and with good reason. Her life with Aly had been anything but a bed of roses. In the midst of all sorts of wild, intractable rumors, she had verified her father-in-law’s prediction that she would give birth to a premature child. “Premature children run in our family,” the four-times-married Aga Khan had told the press during Rita’s pregnancy, whereupon the actress presented her husband with his third child, a beautiful, dark-haired girl whom they named Yasmin.

Yasmin’s birth was a big event duly reported throughout the world, but it didn’t keep Aly at home, and it didn’t curb his reckless spending. In an effort to keep up with her husband’s profligate tastes, Rita ran through all her hard-earned cash, approximately $150,000. And in the end, all her sacrifices, all her attempts to remodel her life, to become the worldly sophisticate—all this came to nothing.

One morning the realization burst upon Rita that she was married to a man whose nature was basically inconstant. That’s when she pulled up the stakes of her European tent and sailed for home, a wiser, sadder young woman. She was determined, nevertheless, to get a financial settlement of $1,000,000 for her baby daughter.

All she got was a lot of publicity, a whopping lawyer’s bill, and the well-founded suspicion that she was destined to support Yasmin through her own earnings just as she is supporting Rebecca, her daughter by Orson Welles.

In the words of an agent who has known her well, “Rita is a lot like Lana Turner. Both of these babes bounce back from loused-up love affairs like a couple of pogo sticks.

“Take a dame like Hayworth. Aly Khan gives her a terrible time in Europe; so she comes back here, goes up to Reno and establishes residence. She tells everyone, ‘I don’t want a penny for myself. All I want is support for my child.’

“What happens? Aly Khan comes to Hollywood. Whispers a few sweet nothings in her left ear. Right away the babe takes off for Paris and a rendezvous. All that trouble for one evening, and the next thing anybody knows Khan has blown this babe off and is going around with Gene Tierney. She’s hurt, Hayworth is; so she gets herself this Spanish count for an escort, one of Aly’s old pals, Count Villa Padierna; only this guy won’t come to Hollywood. So she comes back alone. This time she’s good and sore at Aly; so she gets the divorce. The Nevada courts tell him he has to pay $48,000 a year for the support of Yasmin. It’s a big joke. This is like telling the king of Sweden he has to drink German beer.

“I’m not kidding when I tell you that Hayworth’s just like Lana Turner. They’re both the world’s lousiest pickers of lovers.

“Take this Dick Haymes. He’s a nice, loused-up kid, very personable, very charming, maybe a year older than Rita, but he doesn’t have a buck. He’s a very proud kid, too, and an honorable one.

“Haymes is a man with an eye for beauty. When he gets that mating call, watch out. There he goes. He gave up Joanne Dru, a swell dish, for Nora Haymes. After four years with Nora, that’s finished. Instead of concentrating on his work, he concentrates on Hayworth.

“I don’t blame him, because Hayworth is really something to concentrate on, but just. take a peek at that long list of predecessors, Eddie Judson, Orson Welles, Vic Mature, Tony Martin, Alain Bernheim, Ted Stauffer, Aly Khan, Peter Lawford, Cy Howard, Gilbert Roland, Richard Greene, Kirk Douglas. In her day, Hayworth has had some real big league talent.”

“Like I say, Dick is a nice boy, but what chance would he have as Rita’s husband? He’d lose his own identity. Marrying Rita is like marrying a national institution. You’ve got to come out second best.

“If Dick were the kind of boy who could manage his wife’s career like some birds around this town, that would be different. But he’s not built that way. This kid’s got integrity and honor. He could never let himself be supported by any dame.

“Just exactly what’s gonna happen between these two, I don’t know. I’m sure they don’t either, except that Dick is not one of these fast-fling boys. When he falls in love, he’s always sure it’s for keeps this time. With Rita it’s a little different. I think she’s more realistic, lives every day as if it were her last. Let’s have a ball right now because tomorrow maybe Aly Khan will walk through the front door.”

Nora Eddington Flynn Haymes, who fell so rapturously in love with Haymes that she gave the skidoo to Errol Flynn, has long been recognized as one of the most regular females in Hollywood.

Honest, straight-shooting, and never-complaining, although she certainly has plenty to wail about, Nora says, “When Dick and I separated in March, he was free to go his way, and I was free to go mine. We’re definitely not—well, we’re not suited to each other any more.

“As for his personal life, I don’t know what he’s been doing. I hear from various sources that he’s been seeing an awful lot of Miss Hayworth. When I was married to Errol Flynn, she came aboard our boat with Orson Welles for about two weeks; and she’s really a very nice person.

“Friends tell me that she’s got Dick wound around so tightly that he doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going, but you know how rumors spread in this town. Probably no foundation to that, whatever. My personal assumption is that they’re good friends. Shall we leave it at that?

“You say has Dick asked for a divorce because he wants to marry Rita? He’s never mentioned her to me at all. Richard is a romanticist, a dreamer, a wonderful man with high ideals. If he falls in love with a girl he wants to marry her. He’s a wonderful guy. I hope he’ll be happy.”

In Hollywood the general consensus of opinion is that Haymes is cut from a fabric different from many crooners. As a boy he studied for the priesthood in Argentina. As a young man he succeeded Frank Sinatra with the Harry James band, and for a period of time he was extremely hot. with bobbysoxers.

During the war, Dick was classified 4C, a citizen of a neutral nation, Argentina; and although he tried time and time again to enlist in the Army, he was turned down because of high blood pressure. He was married to Joanne Dru during World War II, and that marriage was youthfully successful until Dick met Nora Flynn in Palm Springs.

Unfortunately for Dick, his career has been sliding downhill ever since his marriage to Nora. He left his agent, Bill Burton; his recordings began to diminish in popularity; picture work became increasingly scarce; but careers in show business are unpredictable, and as they say in Hollywood, “all you need to get on top is one goad break.”

Whether Dick’s one “good break” was meeting and falling in love with Rita Hayworth only the calendar will tell.

Right now, Hollywood is betting on only one thing. Proximity to lovely Rita is not going to reduce the crooner’s high blood pressure.



(Dick Haymes can now be seen in Columbia’s Cruising Down The River.)



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