She Ran The Other Way Until He Caught Her—Greg Bautzer & Dana Wynter
For years Greg Bautzer has been Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor—and the most popular, besides. Good-looking, charming, well-to-do, incurably romantic—a living doll. Also—determinedly single. He’d dated and gone with the most beautiful, sought-after women in Hollywood—everyone from Lana Turner to Joan Crawford, and every one of them had thought she was the one to break the spell at last and marry the elusive Greg. Not one of them made it. Even the most romantic of the Hollywood observers finally stopped taking his dates seriously. But that didn’t stop every other single girl in Hollywood, including any member of well-established stars, from trying.
That’s why when a mere starlet named Dana Wynter turned a cold shoulder on him, it felt like the world had turned upside down! But it happened. And it also happened that Greg proposed marriage to her!
Dana accomplished the impossible by not even trying. They met at a party at Cobina Wright’s hilltop home in Beverly Hills in July, 1955. Greg spotted her across Cobina’s living room. Wham! that was it. He made his way to her side as quickly as he could and introduced himself. Did Dana’s heart go pitter-patter? Indeed it did. But Dana hadn’t trained with the Old Vic Academy for ambitious young actors and actresses in jolly old London for nothing. She didn’t start trembling, as girls have been known to do when the handsome Bautzer speaks to them or even looks in their direction. She remained poised and cool as a cucumber.
No one would have believed it, but try as he might, he couldn’t pry Dana’s phone number out of her. “Please, just let me phone you once,” he begged, after the first turndown. “Well, all right, but not this time,” she replied. “Maybe some other time.”
Greg: “Then let me have your number.”
Dana: “I really am terribly sorry, Mr. Bautzer, but I don’t give my phone number out to just anybody who asks for it.”
Greg: “But I’m not just anybody!”
Dana: “Excuse me. Of course. I forgot. You’re the famous Greg Bautzer and you’re good-looking and charming and one of the cleverest men in Hollywood, if not the world. No, Mr. Bautzer, I’m afraid it can’t add up to anything good for Dana Wynter. I’m truly sorry.”
Cool as all this palaver sounds, Dana’s heart kept pounding through it all. Greg was completely flabbergasted. This had never happened before. Always it had been a cinch for him to get a phone number. Cinch isn’t even the word for it. Many a time he didn’t even have to ask. Many’s the number hastily scribbled on a piece of paper or on a matchbox cover and slipped into his fingers at a premiére, a party or a night club. Or anywhere else.
It wasn’t a pose with the twenty-four-year-old Dana. She had, and has, deep-seated religious scruples and morals. Educated in a convent, she has never forgotten the teachings of the nuns. Dana Wynter has the courage of her convictions.
Greg keeps pitching
How did he finally get her number? He asked around and learned that her agent is Al Rocket of the Famous Artists Agency, who is also Ann Blyth’s agent. But Al wouldn’t give him Dana’s phone number either. Greg kept pitching. Finally he got it—and the story is he bribed a secretary in the agency to get it for him!
He got her on the phone. Recalling it, Dana says: “I guess I gave him a rough time at first. He was so handsome and clever and spoiled by all the girls I’m afraid I was very naughty with him. I told him he was spoiled. It just goes to show you how wrong you can be about people. I’ve since found him to be the most lovable, least spoiled person I’ve ever known. Spoiled can mean self-centered too, you know. Greg is anything but that. He is always thinking of other people, always attentive. It’s not put on. That’s one reason he’s so successful. His sincerity comes through in everything he does.”
But she didn’t know that then, and she didn’t want any romances with men-about-town. So Dana kept changing her phone number. Greg kept bribing secretaries. Dana kept giving excuses for not going out with him: She was busy studying scripts, she was making a movie, she was doing a wardrobe test. She remembers one excuse vividly and also his reaction to it. She told him over the phone, “I can’t go out with you, Mr. Bautzer—you’re too glamorous!” And she remembers how he laughed about it. “That’s something about Greg that few people know,” she says. “Everything is always light and gay with him. He can always see the light side, even when the joke is on himself.”
But in November of last year, four months after their first meeting, the devastatingly lovely, brown-eyed, high-cheek-boned, patrician Miss Wynter—who also happens to be a warm and wonderful human being under that regal five-feet-six appearance—finally broke down and went out on her first date with Greg. They went to a premiere and to dinner. Romanoff’s, of course. Actually, Dana loves nothing better than American hamburgers and ice cream. But she went along with Greg’s glamour routine. And she had fun.
She found that they had a lot to talk about and a lot of things to do together. She learned that he, like she, prefers simple clothes. She learned that he could discuss everything from the Central African Federation to interior decorating. She’s interested in law and medicine; so is he. They both love dancing and tennis. They love practical jokes and modern art, movies and the theatre, books and travel, antiques and watermelon, New York in June and huge Christmas trees, reading poetry, fiction, biography, history, plays, Sibelius and Bach and chocolate sodas.
Many women have loved Gregson Bautzer, glamour boy and hard-working attorney, playboy and intellectual. And, a good many years ago, he was married to Marion Janss, a Pasadena socialite. The marriage didn’t work out, but when it was over Greg was eager to try again. He met Buff Cobb, fell in love with her, and they were married. That marriage was as brief as his first. Badly disillusioned, Greg felt he never dared to marry again.
But he was too romantic to give up love. Besides Lana and Joan, he went with Dorothy Lamour, Ginger Rogers, Jane Wyman, Mari Blanchard. All his dates made headlines, and when he seemed to be settling down, the papers were full of marriage rumors—and other rumors, too.
But the truth is this: the girls admired and/or loved him not just because of what the papers called his “flashing, always-tanned good looks,” or because of what they went on to describe as his “caveman tactics!” Good-looking he was and is, but that is not the Bautzer secret. And a caveman he is definitely not. Athletic, yes. But what the women loved best about Greg was his tenderness and attentiveness.
That’s what Dana found in him, too—much to her surprise. Once she saw it, she fell hard and fast—again to her surprise. And to Greg’s relief. After all, it had taken him four solid months to get the first date! How long, he wondered, would it take to marry her? For obviously, this was no publicity-mad starlet. Also no girl who would marry “for fun” and forget about it if things should ever get rough. This time Greg was sure of his feelings. He was ready to get married.
And to his astonishment, six months from their first date—Dana said yes.
And if anything, the tenderness and thoughtfulness Greg had shown before, increased. For example—
The nine-day wonder
Dana, an only child, flew back to see her parents last May, in Marandellas, They have lived in Africa since 1949, when Dr. Wynter was called there from London to perform a special operation and fell in love with the country.
So it was that Dana, who had left Marandellas a few years ago to attend Rhodes University, had to go back to get the blessing of her parents on her marriage to Greg. Dana felt she must tell her parents about him and get their consent.
Greg was supposed to accompany her. Reservations had been made, everything was set. But a tremendously important lawsuit involving a company on whose board of directors he sits demanded he divide his time for at least a month between Hollywood, San Francisco and New York. So he was tied down. Immediately the usual Hollywood scuttlebutt started: Dana had to fly home alone because Greg was backing out on her, Dana was forcing Greg’s hand. All ridiculous gossip.
Dana was gone only nine days, dreadfully lonely days for both herself and Greg, and yet exciting days too. Greg kept in constant touch with her during all of her journey, going and coming. He phoned her at every stop—in New York, Paris, Rome, Capetown, Johannesburg. He was in continuous touch with her airline and knew exactly when she landed at and took off from every airport along the route, He had her paged everywhere. Sometimes the long-distance operators had to keep the wire open as long as an hour, and never less than fifteen minutes. On top of that, he had huge bouquets of flowers waiting wherever she landed. He even had flowers scattered all over Europe in places that her planes never touched due to last minute changes in her itinerary, all brought on by her haste to get to Africa and then back to Hollywood!
Greg also spoke to her on the phone every day during her stay at her parents’ estate. The phone service is somewhat primitive. But Greg always managed to get through to Dana.
He also sent her cables every day. Not just short messages—three or four pages.
Again, on her return trip, Greg spread a carpet of flowers from South Africa all the way back to Hollywood. When she made an early-morning landing in New York a limousine loaded with flowers was waiting.
The topper came when he met her at International Airport in Los Angeles with Harry the Toff (“Toff” is Cockney for a Beau Brummell-type sharpie), the Yorkshire terrier he-had given her. Plus another limousine. Plus more flowers. Plus a three-piece orchestra that played her favorite song (and Greg’s), “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face,” from their favorite musical comedy, My Fair Lady.
Many a man could take courting lessons from Greg Bautzer. Harry is again a case in point. No secretary goes out and picks a gift marked “From Greg Bautzer.” Greg picks them himself. And each gift carries a special meaning. One day, during the shooting of The View From Pompey’s Head, a basket of yellow flowers arrived on the set for Dana. The basket was lined with a special material that Yorkshire terriers like to sleep on. Dana now carries Harry in the basket. Harry also sleeps in it. That’s romantic and thoughtful.
“I told them about Greg”
While visiting her parents, Dana had a reception thrown for her by the Rhodesian branch of England’s Women’s Volunteer Services in Salisbury. As Dana tells it:
“I thought it was going to be one of those tea-and-crumpets-and-meet-the-ladies sort of thing that my mother had trumped up; instead, the ladies put me up on a platform and made me talk about Hollywood. They also asked me about Greg. They had heard and read a good deal about this fabulous man. And here one of their neighbors’ daughters was going to marry him!
“I told them I had come to get my parents’ blessing and that Greg had wanted to accompany me but couldn’t. They knew all about it. They laughed! Apparently one of the phone operators in Salisbury had spread the word about the long-distance calls.
“They asked, ‘What’s he like?’ I replied, ‘He is the most handsome, most brilliant man in the whole world and I love him.’ ”
A wife should take care of him
Dana doesn’t believe that marriage-plus-a-career can work out for a woman. “I think that when a man marries he has the right to expect his wife to be there to take care of him when he comes home at night. The career girl—that is, the one who holds onto her career after she’s married—tends not to be particularly talented in that direction. That’s why so many of those marriages fail. I have discovered that a career is not enough. A woman must be married and have a home to be happy. I haven’t found complete happiness in my career. I am sure I will find it with Greg.”
Dana wants children, and so does Greg: a girl first, then a boy, “because Greg likes girl children—he thinks they’re cute!”
Dana and Greg want a house high on a hill with a view, a swimming pool and a tennis court. Greg plays a great game of tennis. So does Dana. Says Dana of Greg, who is considerably older than his bride: “I think Greg is a great deal like my great-grandfather, who died at the age of ninety-two. He went swimming in the Thames every day, winter or summer, all year long. He also played tennis. Yes, Greg is very much like that.”
That’s the kind of man Dana has. And what has Greg got? Greg has got himself a girl with great, distinguished, good looks—not just ordinary good looks but the warm, luminous beauty usually associated with Latins, although, as pointed out, she is strictly English. She combines poise with a fine sense of humor and charm with lively intelligence. She is well educated and has good taste in clothes. She possesses an outflowing quality that draws you to her the minute you meet her. It stems from her tremendous interest in other people. She has her eyes open at all times, looking head-on at all the life going on around her.
Dana is a lucky girl and she knows it. Most American women have become so self-sufficient, they don’t expect the sort of attentions Greg Bautzer is capable of lavishing on the one he loves. Dana, however, finds his romantic considerations most delightful.
And Greg? He is the luckiest guy in the world. He could have looked the world over and never found anyone who could have filled the bill as well as Dana. Hollywood has lost a lovely star; Greg Bautzer has gained a lovely wife.
—BY MIKE CONNOLLY
Dana Wynter is in D-Day, The Sixth Of June, a 20th-Fox film.
It is a quote. MODERN SCREEN MAGAZINE AUGUST 1956