Sandra, Bobby, Tell Us If It’s True—Sandra Dee & Bobby Darin
Sandra Dee sat on the couch. From time to time, when she thought nobody would notice, she touched the beautiful emerald-cut diamond ring she was wearing, as if she still had to reassure herself it was all true. She had been Mrs. Bobby Darin for sixty-three days then, and the wonder of it all was mirrored on her face. The room was fragrant with the scent of roses—yellow ones—in a pale green vase. They were from Bobby, and a fresh box arrived every day. Sandy was saying, “Everyone keeps asking me—
‘Sandy, what’s your marriage really like?’
This whole thing is so new to both of us,” she explained. “Before I was married, I was Sandra Dee twenty-four hours a day. Now I’m that from eight to five, but when I leave the studio and go home, I’m Bobby’s wife. That’s the way he wants it, and the way I want it, too. But I just can’t suddenly pull down a curtain and say, ‘No more interviews, no more stories about my life with Bobby.’ I don’t want people to ask me—
‘Sandy, don’t you care anymore?’
I don’t want the people who have been so good to me to feel as if I’m trying to shut them out, as if I don’t care . . . because I do! That’s why I’m telling you this. If you print the way I feel, the way we feel, maybe they will understand. Being a new bride and adjusting to a new life, taking up a new role with new responsibilities, well, it’s not something I can share every moment of except with one other person—Bobby. Right now, with both of us working and having so little free time together, when we are alone. those are the hours we want to share just with each other. . . .
“There are some questions, though, which are meaningful and sensible. Like the one people are always asking me now: ‘Sandy, have you changed since your marriage?” Sure I have. . . . I mean like before. Well, I was just somebody’s daughter. Now I’m an individual. A person. For the first time in my life, I have an identity. Let’s face it, I’ve grown up more this year then I have all the other years of my life combined.
“When I met Bobby and fell in love, I changed. Life changed. My whole world changed. For the first time I have responsibilities. When I lived at home, my mother did everything for me, took care of everything, and that was just fine with me. I never planned anything, never took part or contributed to the way things were run. If Mom said, “Sandy, let’s eat out. I’d say. ‘Great.’ If she said ‘Let’s put in a pool, or paint the kitchen yellow, or buy a blue bench for the den,’ I’d just say, ‘Fine.’ Whatever she did was all right with me. I’m sure people are wondering, ‘How can Sandy manage?’ But I’m running my own home now, and even though we do have Nellie. the housekeeper, I feel things are and should be my responsibility. I plan things, I oversee what’s to be done, I make those decisions a woman should make. It’s really crazy, too, because it has all come to me so naturally!
“I never knew I could miss anybody so much,” she said of the times she and Bobby had to be separated. “It’s funny, because when we’re home together, Bobby can be in the other part of the house rehearsing for three, maybe four hours and we won’t see each other. Yet I feel complete. secure, because I know he’s there. But when he’s away, well it’s . . . so very lonely. If it weren’t for Mom, I don’t know what I’d do. At least seeing her keeps me from being too unhappy. But we don’t plan on being separated again. It’s just that both of us had these commitments before we were married. When Bobby comes back from Las Vegas, we’ll stay here for a while. Then we’re flying to New York. We’re going there while Bobby plays the Copa. We’ll rent a little apartment, and for three whole weeks the only role I’ll play is Mrs. Bobby Darin, period. Then we re going to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where Bobby will start a picture, then back to Hollywood to start my next picture. But, no matter what, we won’t be separated!”
Lonely without Bobby
From Monday through Friday of their first days of separation. Sandy explained that she kept herself busy all day with the hundred-and-one duties and details of being an actress. At night, after work, she’d drive back across the mountain pass separating the San Fernando Valley from their rented Bel Air mansion, and immediately try to busy herself again to keep from getting lonely. She’d talk on the phone to friends, visit her mother, go to movies chaperoned by a young married couple or study her next day’s script, until finally she was tired enough to sink into bed with Clementine, the two-pound Yorkshire terrier Bobby had given her, for company.
At three A.M. the sound of a phone ringing would shatter the dark silence of her bedroom. Reaching out to lift the receiver, Sandy would immediately become wide awake. Who’d call her at such an hour? It would be Bobby, and they would talk about what kind of a day it had been, exchange words of love and count the hours until they would be together again. Bobby, who was living the topsy-turvy life of a night-club performer would have finished his last show, had a bite to eat and just be beginning to unwind. Hours later he’d be turning out the lights in his hotel suite just when Sandy would be getting up to begin her day at the studio. And yet despite the separation of space, of time, of routine, there was a oneness about them that no barriers could destroy. And, come Friday afternoon, Sandy would rush from the studio directly to the airport to grab a plane. In less than two hours they’d be together for a hectic, fast-paced weekend before she had to fly back to Hollywood for another week of work on “Tammy.” One weekend, Sandy went straight to her mother’s after returning from Las Vegas. She rang her mother’s doorbell at two in the morning, and they sat up talking until five!
“Another way I’ve changed.” Sandy continued, “is in my attitude toward myself. Since I’ve been married I’ve learned self-discipline, self-knowledge of my own person. Before, when I lived at home, I was not exactly the world’s neatest person. Let’s face it, I was pretty sloppy! Outwardly I looked neat and well-groomed, but that was because the studio or Mother did everything for me. But. when I used to get home, I’d kick off my shoes, cream off my makeup and take off my clothes and leave them wherever they dropped. I just didn’t take care of things and, unless my mother picked up after me, things stayed a mess. Now, boy, you should see me. I’m just a different person—everything has its place, every time I see a speck of dust, I run and grab a rag. . . . I’m a regular Mrs. Clean! Before. I guess I just didn’t care. Now I take a pride in everything I do—a pride in the way I look and keep my things; a pride in my new-found ability to be organized. I guess it’s just that when you really fall in love with somebody you just stop living for yourself . . . you stop saying ‘me-me-me’ and think of everything in terms of ‘us’ or ‘him.’ . . .
Just like they say in books
“As far as actually falling in love was concerned, you want to know something? It really was like they say in books! I mean honestly I did feel as if I had butterflies in my stomach, and I discovered that when someone you love just comes into a room or takes your hand, well . . . it’s like a beautiful dream come true! I’ve suddenly found a whole new world that I never really knew existed outside of movies! You know something else, though, that you don’t read too much about? Beside the attraction you have for each other, the deepest feeling when you’re in love—or at least with me—is a feeling of respect. I have such admiration and respect for Bobby and the deepest desire to be everything he wants me to be. . . .” Sandy’s voice trailed off. She put her hand to her face, dismayed. “Now you see, you’ve let me rattle on and I’ve already said more than I intended to! Gosh, it’s hard to keep still when you’re like me—the gabby kind! In one more second, I’ll begin bubbling all over about things that should remain sacred between a man and woman in love. . . .
“Honestly, I don’t mean to be repetitious, but I just can’t get all icky gooey and go on and on about my life with Bobby because that wouldn’t be fair to him, or to me for that matter. I only mean I want to take this opportunity to speak right out to everyone reading this story. I want to say, ‘Hi, this is me, Sandy.’ I’m still me. I haven’t gone all sophisticated or hard inside. I’m not unconcerned or unfeeling, but still that’s only one side of me. Now I have another side, too. I have a home life that I mustn’t talk about in too intimate detail, because if I did it would lessen the thing that is most precious to me in life—my love for Bobby. I mean, well, look at any girl who’s married, or engaged, or going steady, or even just in the dreaming-about-it stage. You know how she hates to be asked all sorts of intimate questions about her relationship, questions about things that belong to just the two of them. Well, I’m still human and I feel the very same way you do about things. And yet I wanted you to know what my marriage is really like.”
At last, Sandra had broken the silence about her marriage. Yet there were still questions that were unanswered. She promised she would answer them in Photoplay. “I would like those of you readers who care to,” she said, “to sit down and write me a question that you’d like to know about. Just write to me, Sandra Dee, care of Photoplay, 205 East 42nd St., New York, N. Y. I promise that when all the questions are in, I’ll read them and answer all of those I can in Photoplay. There’s only one little favor I have to ask in return. All I ask is that you send me questions I can answer—because I do care—questions that can be answered without in any way lessening the respect I have for my husband and the sanctity of our marriage. And I promise, Sandy will tell you true.”
—BY MARCIA BORIE
Sandra’s in “Romanoff and Juliet” for U-I. Bobby records for Atco, and can be seen in “Pepe” for Col. Watch for both Sandy and Bobby in “Come September” for U-I.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MAY 1961