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Stamped By Scandal!

Probably the most shocking news Hollywood has had this year came on Good Friday, when front-page headlines announced that Jeanne Crain was suing Paul Brinkman for divorce.

Even more shocking than the split-up of this supposedly ideal couple was the divorce complaint. It said that Paul Brinkman had “inflicted physical injury and violence” upon Jeanne, without any provocation on her part.

For the next few days, Jeanne went into seclusion near San Francisco. Her sister, Rita, who has always been very close to her, confirmed what the divorce complaint charged. “Paul beat her up something terrible the other night,” she said.

Good Friday was a very black and gloomy Friday indeed for Hollywood.

Louella Parsons wrote, “If anyone had asked me to name the happiest couple in town, I would have named Paul and Jeanne.”

Another reporter, who is a veteran of the Hollywood scene, told me, “My mouth is still open. I thought I couldn’t be surprised by any divorce in Hollywood, but this one has me absolutely flabbergasted.”

It would have had me flabbergasted, too, except for the fact that a week before the announcement was made, I had a good look at Jeanne Crain’s eyes.

Ironically, we had planned to talk about her supposedly happy marriage. Jeanne arrived for the interview in her press agent’s office looking more beautiful than I have ever seen her in the ten years I have known her. She was wearing a cocoa-colored Irene suit, with a chic, Parisian scarf in two shades of brown. The smart brown pumps she was wearing completed the picture of her as a stunning woman.

She talked with seeming calmness, but her eyes betrayed her. I have never seen them look more tormented. I wondered what could possibly be causing Jeanne such unhappiness. Always before this, there had been a bubbly quality about her. But on this particular day she was about as effervescent as champagne that was opened two weeks ago. She was very courteous and charming, but my woman’s intuition told me that inside she was feeling just about as placid as a trapped chipmunk.

At the time I thought, “No matter what Jeanne says, this marriage can’t be as happy as we’ve all been led to believe. But I suppose she will work it out somehow.”

Trying to account for the misery reflected in her eyes, I attributed it to the recent story in a scandal magazine claiming that Paul had pursued other girls.

I asked Jeanne if she had gotten over feeling hurt when unpleasant stories appeared about her and Paul. In the first few months of their marriage, such stories used to make her miserable. But they had been mild in comparison with what the expose magazine had recently printed about Paul.

“Such stories never cease to hurt,” said Jeanne. “You know that not only you and your husband are reading them, but that everybody else is also reading them. Many people think, ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.’ ”

Jeanne’s suffering, when she read the unsavory article, can easily be imagined.

However, trouble had started in the Brinkman household before the article was printed. The scandal magazine helped to light the fuse to a situation full of explosives. “People say that the break-up was sudden,” a friend of Jeanne’s told me. “They speak as if it came like a bolt of lightning. Well, it didn’t. It has been Corning on for a long time. Jeanne wanted desperately to hold onto this marriage. As a Catholic, she would never lightly seek a divorce. No ordinary circumstances would make her ask for one. But just as the divorce complaint says, Paul inflicted ‘physical injury and violence’ that damaged her health and caused her mental anguish.”

Other friends ask, “What possessed Paul? What has happened to him? Jeanne and he were madly in love when they married. Now, ten years and four children later, they are miserable.” They find it hard to explain what went wrong.

For the past ten years, Jeanne has faced every problem valiantly. There were many problems, but to her marriage is a sacrament, not an arrangement to be ended lightly because of problems.

The problems were always there, but Jeanne was capable of making almost any sacrifice to hold her marriage together.

“Paul and I are complete opposites,” Jeanne has told me. “He’s an extrovert—sociable and outgoing. He makes friends in seconds. I have to know people a long time to feel comfortable with them. I hate large crowds. Paul loves to spend hours talking casually with a lot of people. I don’t see much point to it. I like a sociable evening with friends who care about you.”

When Paul and Jeanne first fell in love, they knew their temperaments were very different. But it didn’t worry them, they felt their love could bridge any gulf.

When Jeanne first met Paul, she was a simple, uncomplicated eighteen-year-old beauty. He was twenty-five. She thought the sun rose and set on Paul. He felt the same way about Jeanne.

For two years he courted her, against the wishes of her mother, who didn’t approve of Paul as a prospective husband for Jeanne. Because of her mother’s opposition, Jeanne eloped with Paul on December 31, 1945.

F or at least the first five years of their marriage, Jeanne and Paul were really happy. They appeared to want the same things out of life—a home of their own, and most important, a nice, large family.

Paul had wanted to be an actor, but when he realized that he wasn’t getting very far, he was smart enough to give it up and try for a business career. When they married, he was a radio manufacturer. Jeanne was eager to see him succeed. However, they both agreed that salaries paid to movie stars are among life’s freaks. At this time, Paul neither expected nor hoped to equal Jeanne’s salary. He also liked the fact that Jeanne didn’t get twisted into knots because of her movie work. She used to talk of it as if it were a hobby.

“It’s wonderful for a woman to have a hobby,” Paul once said to me. “Jeanne doesn’t act for a livelihood but because she enjoys it.”

In those early years, Jeanne and Paul often seemed to be floating on a cloud. When they would leave town for a brief vacation, the hotel bellboys where they stopped would frequently point them out as honeymooners. This happened even after they had been married for five years.

In those years, almost everything Paul did or said seemed wonderful to Jeanne. He basked in her admiration and love, and she in his adoration.

I remember how thrilled she was when they first moved into their home in the Outpost Estates. Jeanne couldn’t stop talking about the wonderful way in which Paul was planning their home. It was he who designed the electric gate, planned the waterfall, decided how the house should be built.

“At the time, I had very few definite ideas of my own,” Jeanne says today.

Just before the break-up, Paul and Jeanne were visiting some friends. “Five years ago,” said Paul, “Jeanne thought everything I did was right.”

“But Paul, I’m smarter now,” Jeanne replied.

It was supposed to be a joke. Perhaps it fell a little flat, because the truth is that Jeanne has changed. She is no longer the worshipping girl she was five years ago. All the things she and Paul dreamed about—the travels, safaris to Africa, the house full of children—have come true. But she and Paul discovered that you can get everything you dream about and still be miserable.

What kind of frustration and unhappiness must a man suffer to change from a tender, protective husband to one accused of beating his wife? So far, Paul has not uttered a word in explanation or self-defense.

The fact that he is frustrated and bitter inside may seem incredible to countless men, who can think of nothing more wonderful than to be married to a beautiful girl like Jeanne.

However, being married to any female movie star creates a certain amount of frustration. She is usually the center of attention, and her non-actor husband is often treated by the outside world as though he hardly existed. So long as she builds up his ego and leads him to believe that he is the most handsome, desirable and wonderful man she has ever known, some frustration is bearable. It is only when this feeling on her part dies, that the frustration becomes unendurable.

The adjustments in the early years of their marriage always seemed minor ones. So Jeanne had a cockeyed way of letting bills pile up in stacks on her desk. When Paul discovered her vague attitude about money, he persuaded her that they needed a business manager. When she discovered that he was habitually late for all appointments, she forgave him, because she knew that he was a born optimist, and always tried to crowd every hour with three hours’ worth of work.

Jeanne hoped and prayed for a family of four children. God answered her prayers. Paul seemed as happy in his role as a father as Jeanne in hers as one of Hollywood’s prettiest mothers.

What more could anyone want?

Our greatest psychologists tell us that one of the indisputable cravings of the human soul is to feel important, and to be recognized as important.

Paul did his best to become important in business. First, in the radio business, then in the furniture manufacturing business he achieved modest success. But he wanted to impress not only the world, but his beautiful wife as well.

Sometimes, when someone made a mistake or let him down at the plant he owned, Paul’s temper would flare up. Jeanne, too, has a temper of sorts. Hers was usually directed against inanimate objects. Instead of being angry at Paul, she’d get angry at a dish or a glass or a broom. But inside she was rather tense, for in addition to her movie work, she was coping with dozens of household problems.

Jeanne has been an excellent wife and mother. However, there were times when she expected a little too much from herself. At one time she found her life becoming a series of petty errands for her family. Because she tried to be such an extremely efficient wife, it was very hard on her nerves.

One night, she met Paul at the door with a series of problems.

“But Jeanne,” he said, “these things aren’t important. What’s upsetting you?”

She wept then, and told him how hard she had tried to be the efficient, perfect housekeeper she felt he and the children needed.

“But that’s not the real you,” he said. “I married a girl who loves bubble baths, flowers in her hair, Guerlain’s Blue Hour perfume, and a sentimental song called ‘Liebestraum.’ That’s the girl I want to come home to every night.”

Jeanne tried earnestly to become that girl again. But she could no more bring back the past than Paul could. The years, instead of bringing them closer together, were accentuating the differences between them.

“Everyone is unique and has his own personality,” Jeanne told me. “A marriage has its own personality, too.”

As Paul and Jeanne changed, the personality of their marriage changed, too.

They were seeing the world together—Africa and Europe, and all the places they had dreamed about—and they always came back with new ideas. But unfortunately, they were utterly different ideas.

Jeanne loved Europe and its easy-paced life. She feels that the Europeans know how to savor life.

Paul wanted a different kind of life. He wanted the thrill of excitement and adventure. He wanted to work hard when he worked, play hard when he played.

He’d always loved hunting, and he grew to love it more and more. From the very beginning, Jeanne looked a bit askance at his desire to hunt. But as she told me, “I enjoyed wild pheasant and duck dinners he had hunted, so I couldn’t very well say anything.”

When Jeanne went to Africa a few years ago to make “Duel in the Jungle,” Paul went with her, and spent most of his time hunting big game.

Jeanne didn’t try to stop him. Possibly, Paul was a bit miffed because she never exclaimed quite as much about his prowess as he would have liked. He wanted people, and especially Jeanne, to look upon him as an important, exciting person.

Paul ordered all his trophies mounted and sent to their home in the Outpost Estates. Among them were a huge black Cape buffalo, a giant sable antelope with huge horns, and a water buck with a large head. Proudly, Paul hung the huge buffalo head over the fireplace in the living I room. He planned to hang the other trophies there, too.

Jeanne, who likes a pleasant, orderly home, was rather horrified.

“The room immediately took on some of the appearance of a hunting lodge,” she told me. “Some of his men friends would come in and exclaim over the trophies. But most of the women who came into the house shuddered, as I did, at the sight of that enormous buffalo’s head.”

Jeanne didn’t want to upset Paul by telling him what she really thought of the animal heads. As tactfully as possible, she suggested that they would make wonderful conversation pieces hanging in the office of his factory.

So the heads went there, and stayed until he sold the factory. By that time, Paul and Jeanne had bought a new house. Jeanne thought the heads as revolting as ever, when Paul brought them back to grace the new home, but she handled the situation as best she could, persuading Paul to put them in the den.

Well, no marriage breaks up because the wife doesn’t like her husband’s hunting trophies in their home. Such arguments only pointed up some of the differences between Jeanne and Paul—differences which were growing more acute all the time.

While the world talked of their wonderfully happy marriage, Jeanne kept her thoughts to herself. An introvert by nature, she hadn’t the slightest intention of letting the world peek into the private life of the Brinkmans. Perhaps, at times, she was even afraid to look too deeply into that private life herself.

The first crisis came about a year ago. Before that, there had been many differences between them, many flare-ups. When things are deeply wrong between people, they will often argue about trivialities. Jeanne, for instance loathed the Mercedes-Benz which Paul had brought back from Europe.

Jeanne felt it was primarily a racing car, and most impractical for a large family. She tried to be a good sport about it, but she didn’t enjoy riding in it, particularly when Paul drove her to formal affairs in it. It’s easy enough to climb in and out of this kind of car if you’re wearing pants, but difficult when you’re wearing a dress, especially a formal gown.

Jeanne finally reached the point where she couldn’t laugh about it any more. They bickered about it for months, before Paul finally sold it and bought a Buick convertible instead. still, Paul thought Jeanne was selfish and snobbish for not enjoying the Mercedes-Benz, while Jeanne thought Paul was childish, selfish and inconsiderate in insisting on keeping it. Neither seemed to understand the other’s point of view.

The Mercedes-Benz and the animal heads aren’t significant in themselves. They were just little things which showed the way the marriage was drifting.

About a year ago, Jeanne really became frightened about the way things were going. Paul was coming home later and later at night. As she knew, this was because he had become so completely absorbed in his business that nothing else seemed to matter much to him. She felt that this absolute absorption with things away from his home and family was unhealthy.

“Let’s live a little,” she begged him. “Let’s go to South America for fun.”

Paul didn’t want to go. He reminded her of how hectic the last few days before a trip are.

She had to work on him before he’d agree to make the trip. “As awful as the last few days before the trip are,” she pointed out, “this all falls by the wayside when the trip actually begins.”

After they got to South America, it was Paul who didn’t want to come back. They spent the better part of a week at a huge cattle ranch. Paul, interested in the cattle business, asked innumerable questions, while Jeanne stood by, rather bored.

Every day they rode horseback. It was terribly hot, and Jeanne began to wonder why she had ever suggested the trip.

But Paul couldn’t get enough of South America. He decided that they simply must fly 1500 miles to the Matte Grosso—a dense forest in South America.

To Paul, it was the most thrilling experience of his life. He went hunting for wild boars in the jungle. As for Jeanne, she couldn’t even bear being close to where Paul stood, aiming his rifle at the groups of wild boars (there were often 150 to 200 in a group).

Jeanne stood apart, far off in a small clearing, her green eyes fixed with fear and horror on Paul. Thrilled with this new experience in hunting, he had no time to worry about Jeanne’s feelings.

How many hours, she wondered, had they spent in this dark forest, hundreds of miles from civilization? Would this day never end?

Back in Hollywood, Paul happily recounted his thrilling experiences hunting wild boars, and told his friends that someday soon he would go hunting for tigers in India.

But Jeanne, who had never really understood the thrill of hunting, hated those extra days in South America. Her fear for Paul’s safety was mixed with feelings of horror at the thought of animals suffering.

When she got home to Hollywood, she fingered again the beautiful diamond cross Paul had given her on their ninth anniversary. It was made out of a rose cut diamond—about nine carats of diamond. The stone is about 200 years old, and from the moment Paul first gave it to her, Jeanne often wondered about the other women to whom it had belonged.

In her own mind, she made up stories about those women. Some days, when she felt happy, the stories were gay, triumphant stories about happy loves sealed by a diamond engagement ring. But as time went on, the stories that crowded into her mind became sadder and sadder.

Jeanne didn’t want to think so negatively about Paul’s beautiful gift. But when she was unhappy, it didn’t seem possible that the other women who had worn the diamond could have been very happy either.

In her own mind, Jeanne blamed some of their difficulties on the house in which they lived. In the same spirit in which she used to become angry at some inanimate object, she now used the house as a Symbol of her frustration.

When they originally built the house, they had built it for permanence, believing it would be possible to add extra rooms.

Paul still liked the house. He had poured a lot of young dreams and ideas into it.

Jeanne thought that they had long ago outgrown that original honeymoon house. Traveling in Europe, she had learned to love the Italian villas, and wanted that kind of home.

Her wishes prevailed. After all, as she pointed out, there is a practical side to life. In the old house, they all seemed to be getting into each other’s way. Each of the six members of the family had a different personality. Jeanne argued that if they bought a new house with plenty of rooms, each of them would have room to express himself or herself.

“The house was just too small for all of us,” she told me. “I can still remember two and a half years ago, Paul, Jr., our eldest son, weeping because the babies had got into his toy soldiers, smashed and ruined them.

“Every day, the house was growing more and more wrong for us. The crisis developed about a year ago. I felt we should all have a chance to spread out in a new home. Paul wanted things to stay the way they were.”

While Jeanne was making “The Fastest Gun Alive” at M-G-M, she and Paul and the children moved into their new home, a Mediterranean, pink-beige two-story home in Beverly Hills. It has twenty-one rooms.

Ironically, the house that Jeanne wanted so badly has brought her anything but happiness. This was to be the home in which the new Jeanne, mature enough to have ideas of her own, would have a chance to express them. She particularly wanted to express her personality in decorating the bedroom, because she believes that room should be a woman’s domain.

In the old house, the bedroom was part glass with an old brick fireplace with wood paneling above it. The background colors were gray and coral. The bed was upholstered in tufted leather. Paul thought it was just great.

In their new home, Jeanne chose the classic simplicity of ivory and brushed brass for the bedroom. She had a lot of ideas about the way the decorating and furnishing of the house was to be done.

No one knows to what extent Paul was hurt by the fact that his wife, who once listened so patiently to every idea of his, now wanted to have her own way about several things. Jeanne tried to be tactful. For instance, there was an antique door which Paul wanted to use as the front door of their new home. Jeanne and her decorator thought that it should be made into a coffee table with a glass top.

Paul thought the idea was ridiculous, but Jeanne figured out a way in which the decorator could win Paul over. She pointed out that as a coffee table, the door would be unique. She said that nobody, but nobody, would have a coffee table like theirs, and the idea apparently appealed to Paul.

But there were graver issues. Paul had sold his aircraft parts business for an excellent profit—Jeanne says it was $400,000 —and time and money were both hanging heavy on his hands.

Usually, Paul could find an outlet for his aggressive instincts in business or in hunting. But it wasn’t the hunting season, and he was temporarily out of business.

He tried to run Jeanne, the house, the children. “Paul is better at organizing than most people,” said Jeanne. “Since he is better at it most of the time, he thinks he is better at it all the time. He wanted to organize everything, including the children’s schedule. I felt that I could handle that better than he could, since I’m more familiar with the problems of getting the children ready for school, and to the bus on time.”

Since Jeanne was determined to make a success of her marriage, she and Paul would normally have ironed out all these problems, just as they had done in the past. After all, only last December 31st, they had celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary with their dear friends, the Tex Feldmans, and Paul had given Jeanne a pale emerald ring, because, he said, the color of the stone matched her eyes. Jeanne figured that this tenth wedding anniversary was a kind of milestone. Certainly they were out of the honeymoon phase of their marriage. They were more mature now and could handle their problems like adults.

Then life handed her a blow which very few of us could take. The first blow was the article in the scandal magazine, dealing with what they claimed were Paul’s amours.

Jeanne was terribly hurt, and terribly ashamed. She could hardly meet the eyes of friends, let alone strangers. She tried to defend Paul. “What did they expect him to do,” she said, “stay home and twiddle his thumbs during the two months I was in Europe making a picture? He went out with other men. Sometimes, one of the other men had a date along. Then some people would call Paul up and make unpleasant insinuations.”

However, the article appeared on the newsstands early last March, and from that time on, the marriage of Paul and Jeanne grew very shaky. During that month, some restraining influence seems to have disappeared from Paul’s make-up. Perhaps he thought he saw contempt in Jeanne’s eyes. Perhaps she asked him if any part of the article was true.

From then on, the small, unimportant, easily ironed-out bickerings between Paul and his wife became increasingly bitter. They reached their climax when Paul “inflicted physical injury and violence” on Jeanne.

Jeanne says in her divorce complaint that he beat her up without provocation. But who knows how much he may have been goaded by the ugly article, the sneers of acquaintances, the look of patient martyrdom in Jeanne’s eyes?

No one can condone what Paul did, but if it hadn’t been for that maddening article, would he have thrown restraint to the winds and struck the woman he had loved so deeply?

Jeanne is taking the tragedy of the break-up in a realistic way. Completely heartbroken, she realizes that for the sake of her children, she mustn’t give in to her grief.

Faced with Jeanne’s heartbreak, most women put a “For Sale” sign on the house where their marriage has collapsed. But Jeanne isn’t running away from that house or from anything.

Within a week after the break-up, she told her press agent she would keep an appointment to pose for Karsh, the brilliant photographer. She told her studio she was ready to come back to work.

The girl who was once so vague about everything has become a definite, mature woman. The girl who never took off her wedding ring because of superstition no longer lives on a trapeze suspended between regrets about the past and dreamy hopes of the future.

Hollywood’s greatest procrastinator had to stop procrastinating about her marriage. She now knows exactly what she wants out of life—her work, her children, and peace of mind.

She will find that peace of mind, not by flitting rapidly from Paul’s arms to those of another man, but by facing her responsibilities—taking care of the children, and going back to work.

Jeanne has learned to live in the present, and she is facing it bravely.



1 Comment
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    1 Ağustos 2023

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