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The Hollywood Men Hollywood Women Like Most

If no man is a hero to his valet, then how many Hollywood heroes remain heroes to the women who act with them, go places with them, interview them, or merely observe them at close range? In other words, which Hollywood men can stand the acid test of proximity and still remain attractive to women who see them minus make-up, unbolstered by the brilliant dialogue of script writers and stripped of the comforting covering of a celluloid can?

Let’s break through that silver screen and see the boys as they are seen by the girls of Hollywood.

James Cagney is attractive—even to film stars. On a recent Bond-selling tour Jimmy was pursued by a well-known film actress in the group, who should have known better. (You’d gasp if “Fearless” told you her name!) At first Jimmy was mildly amused by the lady’s amorous advances. Then it became a nuisance. And then he brought matters to a head by bawling the girl out in front of the company. She wept a little. Jimmy was sorry, thinking he had been too harsh. Later she contrived to be alone with him and, looking rather like the heroine of a Cagney picture, she murmured, “Ah, my James Cagney!”

“I think she was expecting me to squash a grapefruit in her face!” Jimmy complained when telling the story. “She didn’t see me as a flesh-and-blood man. She saw me as a twenty-four sheet on a billboard. I think that’s how all women, even those who are closest to us in Hollywood, see us.”

But that is not how Loretta Young saw Alan Ladd when they were working on “China.” It’s an odd thing, but away from the camera Alan loses some of the fascination he has for women on the screen. His attractive devil-may-care attitude is replaced by overanxiousness about his health and career. He and Loretta fought a war of their own all during the making of “China.” She accused him of stealing their scenes. He countered that it was the other way around. There were others on the set who supported this theory. Things were so bad at one time that the picture was suspended for several days. And it would still be unfinished if Director John Farrow hadn’t cut and put the picture together when the fighting couple were out of town.

Humphrey Bogart is one of the few Hollywood actors who pleases both his feminine film following and the women who rub shoulders with him daily in Hollywood. In spite of this, he affects to despise the female sex. Actually he is afraid of women—and this includes wife Mayo. The truth is that Bogie loves women—and this also includes wife Mayo with whom he has had, and is stiff having, some of the biggest and best fights in the history of Hollywood married life.

Bogart intrigues the women of the film colony with his “I can take you or I can leave you” attitude. “Making love to film actresses is strictly a business With me,” he once told “Fearless.” “Why get excited about it? The director always calls ‘Cut’ just when it gets interesting!” His conversation with reporters is frank, very frank. But after saying something outrageous. Bogie will smile like a little boy who has said something naughty to produce an effect. To sum up, they all, from Ingrid Bergman down, want to be in his pictures. Michele Morgan told “Fearless” recently that her assignment with Bogart in “Passage To Marseille” was the highlight of her career.

To most of the feminine contingent there are few more attractive men in Hollywood than Joseph Gotten. It’s hard for you to realize how good-looking he is because he is usually made up to look quaint or old in his pictures. Joe has an explosive quality that is reminiscent of his great friend Orson Welles. The two men have identical speaking voices and they laugh in the same way. But Gotten, unlike Orson, is modest with an inferiority complex. He is honest, sincere and rather tense. He does not have to flirt with women to make a hit with them.

This brings us to Errol Flynn, who can no more help flirting with every pretty woman he meets than he can help faffing in and out of trouble, which is perhaps saying the same thing twice. Errol, however, is not so popular as he should be with the women he works with in Hollywood. And he is definitely unpopular with the female section of the press. A woman reporter interviewed Errol in Boston. Later she came to Hollywood. On the Warner lot she found Errol making a picture. She dashed over to say “Hello.” The actor looked her over (she was on the plump, short side) and walked away! Another reporter (this one was prettier) interviewed Errol for the first time in her life at three one afternoon and to her astonishment that evening at seven there was a knock on her apartment door. And there was Mr. Flynn! “It’s not that I didn’t like him,” this girl told Fearless, “but it was all too sudden!” Even women reporters like a little build-up with their romances.

How about the girls who act with Mr. Flynn? Opinion here is divided. Some like him and find him attractive. Some do not. Bette Davis quarreled with him all during the making of “Elizabeth And Essex.” At one time Olivia de Havilland preferred suspension rather than appear in another Flynn picture. Brenda Marshall was bitter on the subject of Flynn’s flirtatiousness during one of their pictures together. But Ann Sheridan, who has a sense of humor—so has Errol—liked him enough to play ball with him for a publicity romance. But she was too sensible to allow anything as serious as marriage interfere with friendship. An insight into the way Hollywood women stars feel about Errol is that all his recent female duets have been with young girls who were not known to the public at large until they became associated with him romantically.

WALTER PIDGEON has a married daughter. He will never see forty again. But the way he is chased by the women of Hollywood must be seen to be believed. Walter’s charm for the fair sex is based on ultrapoliteness and extreme good looks. (He is even better looking off screen than on—and in Fearless’s opinion he is the best- dressed man in Hollywood.)

Pidgeon’s politeness—and quick thinking—extricated him from a difficult situation recently. Walter had grown a beard for his co-starring assignment with Greer Garson in “Madame Curie.” His wife, who loathes beards, had left town for the duration of the picture. But a certain hostess in Hollywood not only liked men with beards, but she liked Pidgeon. She gave a large party. The actor was among the guests. She managed to get Walter alone, but when she attempted to rush into his arms Walter begged to be excused on the plea that he had just developed a severe charley-horse in his leg and could not move!

There is yet to be found a woman in Hollywood—or out—who would not give a great deal to spend a portion of her time with Gary Cooper. Fearless was once part of a crowd of people who accompanied Gary out of town for the world premiere of one of his pictures. There was one woman in that party who did everything except faint in the effort to let him know how much she swooned for him. Later, in New York, a mutual friend told him how much this woman adored him. “Really?” said Gary in genuine surprise. “I never would have guessed it!”

Mr. Cooper is the perpetual Boy Scout. He will never grow up. And who wants him to? Everyone in Hollywood—men, women, dogs and babies—likes Gary. Ingrid Bergman has told her boss, David Selznick, that she does not care how many pictures she makes a year if some of them are with Gary. Shortly before Laraine Day started to play Mrs. Wassell to Gary’s Doctor Wassell in the C. B. DeMille picture, she was as excited as a girl going to her first grown-up party.

Contrary to general belief, Paul Henreid is not so popular with the ladies of Hollywood as outsiders believe. Bette Davis, who had Paul for her lover in “Now, Voyager,” would have liked him better if he had been himself and not a less finished edition of Charles Boyer. Despite his Continental suavity, he was unsure of himself and worried about holding his own against as strong a star as Bette. And some who were with Henreid on a recent Bond tour said that they grew a little tired of Paul’s continual Continental manner.

Right now there is probably no man in Hollywood more attractive than Cary Grant. In the days of his bachelorhood, Cary was on the selfish, self-centered side. Since his marriage to the former Barbara Hutton, Cary has done a complete ego about-face. He now apparently spends his waking hours seeing how nice he can be to everyone and particularly how nice he can be to his leading ladies. The more inexperienced, and young the latter, the more helpful is the handsome Cary. Laraine Day, who had Grant to help her over the tough places in “Mr. Lucky,” says the title should have been “Miss Lucky.”

George Murphy is the quiet type, but he is a nice guy and easy to get along with, which is perhaps why he is so popular with the women of Hollywood. George never hogs the camera, he never complains, he never says anything about a player behind his or her back. He doesn’t “send” his female associates in the manner of a Cooper, Grant, Tracy or William Powell, but he’s a pleasant person to have around.

George Raft is not the hot thing in masculine appeal that he was say, one, five, or ten years ago. At one time it was enough for George just to look at a woman and she was ready to follow him on a date or through life. There was Virginia Pine, now Mrs. Quentin Reynolds. And Norma Shearer, now Mrs. Marty Arrouge. And his last big romance with Betty Grable, now Mrs. Harry James. George was generous with the ladies. They could have all the jewels and furs they wanted. But the one thing he couldn’t give was marriage. George is not so young now. Except for an occasional date he is a lonely figure in the Hollywood restaurants.

Paulette Goddard knows a heap about men. Her standards are as high as the mountain of jewels she owns. And when Paulette says of a man that he is attractive, that’s exactly what he is. The Goddard mark of approval has been placed on Sonny Tufts—the newcomer who plays Kansas in “So Proudly We Hail.” Which is perhaps why they did such a good job together in that picture. Sonny is a friendly soul. His grin is an open sesame to the good graces of most women. He is married, but his wife prefers the seclusion of home life. At a West Side Tennis Club shindig not so long ago. Sonny was the life of the party. Later in the evening he took over the orchestra. A lot of women like that sort of thing—that is, they like an extrovert—which exactly describes Mr. Tufts.

So there they are—die Hollywood glamour boys lined up—and checked off by the Hollywood women. And who could be better judges?