The Lovers Who Can’t Live Together—Or Can They?—Sandra Dee & Bobby Darin
It was a long five months . . . five empty, lonely, unhappy months. Months when Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin, separated from each other, stood at the brink of a marriage break-up.
Now that time is over and they are together again.
The Darins are reconciled—but their problems remain.
They are in love—but not even love was the answer before.
They are trying to make their marriage work—but they have already tried almost to their limits.
This, then, is the story of Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin . . . a story of love and hope and need and effort . . . but a story that may not be ended.
In order to understand what lies ahead for them, you must first understand what it was that separated them. . . .
To be a woman . . .
“It’s not the kind of thing you can blame on either one of them,” one close friend said. “You can’t say he’s wrong or she’s wrong. They are just very different people.
“Sandy has been waited on—spoiled—all her life. That wasn’t her fault. But Bobby has had to work hard for everything he’s ever had. He’s used to responsibility—and he wants her to get used to it, too.
“Some people said they fought because he wanted her to quit the business—but that wasn’t true. It wasn’t her having a career that he minded; he thought she didn’t want to be a woman. And that was what burned him up.
“He wanted her to run the house . . . to go shopping and see that the bills were paid . . . to handle the kid by herself. She could have maids and a nurse, that was all right. And when she was working it was a different story, because that would be too much. But when she wasn’t working he wanted her to be in charge of the house.
“Instead, she went to him for everything. And her mother. And her studio. She was surrounded by people doing things for her.
“She’s a big star. Of course her studio wanted to keep her happy. Her mother loves her. It was very hard for her to accept the fact that Sandy’s grown up. And all those people were always ready to do anything for her.
“She’s very sweet, very clever, very smart. But she’s young and, in a way, Bobby expects too much from her. Still, he went as far as he could. He can’t give and give and give. A marriage can’t be all one way.
“After a while he just ‘yessed’ her, said yes to everything she wanted. And then he got disgusted, ft was too much for him.
“He had to go out of town anyhow. He figured that that was a good time to tell her, ‘Let’s see whait you can do on your own.’ Anything he did he did to make her independent—to make her stand on her own two feet. He tried to scare her, but I know he never wanted to divorce her. He told her as soon as she could do things on her own, he’d be back.
“She wanted him to come back—she loves him very much. But she was angry. I don’t know if she started divorce proceedings, but I do know she saw a lawyer. I can tell you though, she only did that as a threat—to get even with him. Because I know she really missed him. And he was so lonely without her, so blue. He’s always loved her, and even though he saw the baby at times, he missed Dodd very much.
Tomorrow, not today
“And there they were—two people in love and separated. It was like they say, they couldn’t live together and they couldn’t live apart.”
Just two weeks before they reconciled, Sandy told this reporter: “I would love to straighten things out and so would Bobby. But I don’t know where it’s going. We both want it to work so badly that we’re afraid. We just have to wait. I’m not ready to go back to him. I might be ready tomorrow, but I’m not today.
“I wasn’t accepting my responsibilities. I never even picked the furniture for our home. I had Bobby do it. Bobby took a lot on himself because I didn’t.
“That’s why being on my own is good for me. I’d never been alone before.
“But I’m trying. Now I can even cook—and I’m a good cook, too.
“I want to tell you this, the fights we had weren’t the reason for our breaking up. I fight with everybody. And Bobby is just the most patient person. He took more from me. . . . He doesn’t ever blow up, he’s never even raised his voice to me.
“Of course, I still love him. I hope we reconcile, but we might not. He’s more ready than I, but, then, he was more ready for marriage than I was.”
What, then, happened in two weeks to make Sandy “ready”?
Sandy was in New York to publicize “Take Her, She’s Mine,” and Bobby was there, too. Slowly, quietly, they began dating. For the most part, they avoided going to big public places, but people began to see them together. And the gossip started—they were together again, they weren’t together again. But Sandy and Bobby made no comment. They were afraid to hope, afraid even to think.
And then, suddenly, Bobby collapsed. “He was working very hard,” Bobby’s brother-in-law, Charles Maffia, said. “He’s got his own music company and he was working day and night there in the office. He’d start at 10 A.M., leave the office at 9 P.M. and then go to at a recording session till six in the morning. Then he had an appearance at Freedomland, in the Bronx. He sang in the rain for two days in a row. The doctor told him he should take off, he was run down, but he refused. He just kept going. Till he collapsed and was so bad that they had to give him oxygen.
“When Sandy heard that he was sick she rushed to his side. By that time, she was due back in Hollywood. But she wouldn’t leave him. She stayed and took care of him. Then, when he was well enough to travel, they went back to Hollywood together—on a train. It was like a second honeymoon. Now they’re living together—Sandy, Bobby and the baby—and are completely reconciled.
“Of course, she’s still taking care of him. He was very sick. We were afraid it would affect his heart—you know how sick he had been with his heart when he was a kid—but it didn’t. He went to the hospital for a couple of days and the doctors there said it was nervous exhaustion and fatigue. And maybe lie’s got an ulcer. It all happened because he worked so hard and was so nervous. But now he’ll be all right. He just needs lots of rest. They’re at their house in Palm Springs now. Maybe he’ll be able to go back to work in October—he’s supposed to. start a new movie, “The Dubious Patriots”—and maybe not. The doctor says he should really get at least six months of rest.
“But maybe getting sick like that was good for him—it brought his wife back, didn’t it?”
An emergency brought them together again, but is that enough to keep them together?
“Sandy had to grow up,” another friend said. “And all I can say is that if she did grow up, she did it awfully fast—in five months. I don’t mean to knock her, hut she herself says most of the fights are her fault. She knows what she does wrong and she tries hard not to he that way. Maybe she can’t help it.
“I thought when she had the baby, she’d mature. But she didn’t. They have so many problems . . . and whenever they have even a little argument she runs home to her mama. And then, the next day, she cries and calls him and apologizes. But that doesn’t change the problem.
“And about money: If she sees a pair of slacks she likes—and she likes slacks that are made to order and that cost $100—she thinks nothing of ordering a dozen pair. Whether she needs them or not. This is what’s killing him.
“When they bought a house, he wanted to buy five or ten acres of land outside of Hollywood. He could have gotten a house at half the price he paid. But she didn’t want that. She wanted to be right in the heart of Hollywood.
“When they travel she has to have her hairdresser with her wherever they go. And a nurse for Dodd. If she travels for the studio, the studio pays her expenses. If she travels with Bobby, Bobby pays.
“Now, Sandy is used to having money. And she doesn’t worry about spending it. But Bobby does worry. He remembers when his family had to live on relief. You don’t forget something like that so quickly, you know. And Bobby pays for everything. First of all, he makes more money in a month than she probably makes in a year. And, besides, he’s head of the house, he should pay. His money goes for the household, food, help, clothes, taxes, everything. The only thing she pays for is when she wants to buy a dress that’s very, very expensive. Then he says, ‘If you want it, you pay for it.’ But then maybe the dress cost something like a couple of thousand dollars. And he thinks that if she has to pay for it maybe she won’t be so impractical.
“Of course, they have money. And they both work hard for it.
“But they have to learn to get used to each other’s way with the dollar, that’s all.
“And there are so many other things—she’s always on a diet. She wants to stay slim, but Bobby thinks she doesn’t eat enough. He worries constantly about her health.” (To this Sandy said, “I don’t really eat so little, it’s just that Bobby eats so much.”)
“And she wants him to be with her twenty-four hours a day,” the friend continued. “She’d be happy if he could even stay on the set with her while she’s working. Sandy never wanted him to travel. She didn’t want him to be away from her. and she didn’t like to travel with him. Of course, he had to make night-club appearances all over the country. So she’d go along, but she hated it.
“Those trips can he very tiring and monotonous, too. One time he had to be in Chicago for two weeks. For the first week and a half between shows he’d stay only in his room with her. That was the way she wanted it. They never went to the hotel’s night club or pool, they never saw anybody. He kept trying to coax her to do something besides staying in the room, but she wanted to be with him and only him. Finally, he blew up and went out alone. Then he had a good time. You can’t—no matter how much in love you might be—be with one person all the time.
“But she never liked his friends. And that was only because she didn’t want to share him with anybody.
They’re both trying . . .
“Today they seem happy. She’s not relying on her mother so much and she’s even doing some entertaining—just like Bobby wants. And Bobby is trying, too. He’s given up night-club appearances so that they won’t have to travel. From now on, after he fulfills his present commitments, he’ll concentrate only on recordings and movies. I, personally, don’t think this will work out for him. We’ll see. I know that there’s nothing he loves more than working before a live audience—on a night-club floor. . . .
“But they are in love and they both have to make sacrifices. Do I think it will work? I don’t know. I see how different they really are from each other. I’ll tell you this: In spite of all that love I think they would have broken up if it weren’t for the baby. That baby is a bigger influence on that marriage than most people realize.”
It’s very obvious that Dodd is terribly important to Sandy and Bobby. When you talk to Sandy she tells you proudly that the baby says “Mama,” “Papa,” “cup,” “here.” “With the baby,” she says, “Bobby and I are the dirty culprits. The nurse, everybody else, spoils him rotten. We have to be a little strict—for his own good.”
“For his own good. . . .”
And Bobby’s brother-in-law adds: “Sandy idolizes Bobby and she needs him. And the first time Bobby ever even saw her he told me, ‘She’s going to be my wife.’ They both just got hit—for keeps.”
“For keeps. . . .”
And for that love and the good of that baby can they make their marriage a success? They’re going to try. Bobby is giving up his night-owl schedule, and Sandra says she’d like a brother or sister for Dodd within a year. We say, we wish you well.
—BY CLAIRE SUZANS
Sandra’s in “Take Her She’s Mine,” 20th.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 1963