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    The Sexiest Girl In Town—Ruth Roman

    I didn’t realize it would be such a tough job to choose the sexiest girl in Hollywood. Sex appeal is a subtle quality. It’s usually accepted without analysis, as I found out when I called up members of the local wolf pack and asked them who they thought was the sexiest girl on the screen.

    I never heard such hemming and hawing. “Lana Turner?” I’d suggest. “Well, now,” the gents would reply, “Lana’s certainly beautiful, but—” Then the men would pause and fumble for words. “Esther Williams?” I’d say. “No,” they’d answer. “Esther would qualify for All-American Girl, but sex—” Then I’d spring Jane Russell. They all agreed that nature had been generous in endowing her with natural charms, but—

    At that point, I’d bring up my ace, Elizabeth Taylor. “Now,” the boys would say, “Liz has got everything, but—” I waited this one out. “But what?” I asked. I could almost see them squirming. “I think she’s too beautiful,” one replied. “It’s like seeing candy under glass without the penny to buy it. A girl like Liz is so far out of reach, I’ll just skip her.” The wolf boys gave me a lot of stammering and stuttering, but no answer.

    Then, as I sat thinking over the town’s girls, I remembered a scene in “Champion” in which Ruth Roman had appeared in a bathing suit. You could literally see the men in the audience hunch forward for a better look; and when the picture ended they were still restless. There was a girl, pretty but not beautiful, vital but not hard, warm but not sizzling. The kind about which the average man dreams.

    I called up the fellows again and mentioned Ruth’s name. “Now,” they said, “you’ve got something.”

    “Well, what has she got?” I asked. “What is she like when she’s out with you boys?”

    I got a variety of opinions but they all agreed on one thing—her sex attraction. She keeps a man interested—on his toes.

    Ruth is a constant, driving bundle of energy, they told me. “The sweet, demure young girl she played in ‘Champion’ is almost the exact opposite of her real personality,” said Peter Lawford.

    Another of her frequent daters said, “She gives the guy she happens to be with a transfusion of her own ambitious enthusiasm. Almost always he winds up sore—not at Ruth—but at himself. If he’s a writer he’s disgusted because he hasn’t finished the last act of that play he’s been fiddling around with for the past year. If he’s an oil man, he’s mad at himself because he failed to get more oil wells than Glenn McCarthy.”

    “She does most of the talking,” another of her admirers explained. “But she talks about her date, digs into his story. And when the guy starts spilling, Ruth takes over and squeezes every possible ounce of drama out of his yarn. He may have led a dull life, but by the time Ruth finishes with him he doesn’t feel dull. He may ride a bus in from Pomona, but when Ruth gets through dramatizing the incident, he’s sure he’s a veritable Marco Polo.”

    It is flattering—and also startling, no doubt—to the more prosaic of the opposite sex to find themselves suddenly glamorous. But Ruth doesn’t intend her interest as flattery. It’s all an exercise for her dramatic mind. Nevertheless, men made happy come back for more.

    In private life, there’s nothing average about Ruth. She’s dynamic, ambitious, talented. And she has an overabundance of what we call intestinal fortitude. She has supreme self-confidence; knows what she wants and goes after it. Destiny never had a more willing handmaiden.

    Her moods shift as quickly as her mind. She goes from merriment to depression. The changes, coming without warning, confuse her male companions, and me, too. When Ruth really has the blues, she drives to the beach, where she will spend hours alone sitting on the sand and gazing out to sea.

    “The effect of the sea on Ruth is weird,” says one gentleman. “After a session with the waves, she returns home calm and confident.”

    Her energy is boundless. “Spending time in a small room with Ruth is like being caged with a lioness,” another boy friend told me. “She radiates vitality.”

    Kirk Douglas, who played her husband in “Champion,” told me that Ruth was a wonderful girl to work with. “When you’re playing to a namby-pamby,” said he, “it’s like a fighter punching a feather pillow instead of flesh and blood. But when you’re playing to Ruth, you know that there’s a woman on the receiving end.”

    At twenty-five, Ruth is one of our most eligible bachelor girls. She has plenty of suitors, but, she insists, no real romance. “However,” she says, “I’m anxious to marry and have two kids.”

    Ruth lives alone,except for two dogs and a cat, in a five-room house in North Hollywood. I asked if she weren’t afraid. “Of what?” she laughed. “My dogs are more protection than a man.”

    Once a week a maid comes in to clean. Ruth detests domesticity, particularly cooking, and admits, “I’d be the world’s worst wife. But I’m anxious to try. I need a man who’ll dominate me, or I’ll be no good.” Recently she promised to sew twenty curtain panels for her windows. “It was like being in chains until I finished it,” she said.

    With a career, she won’t have to bother with housework. Servants will take care of that. But there’s always that type of husband who wants his meals cooked by his wife’s own lily-white hands. I asked Ruth what would happen if she fell in love with a guy who objected to her career and wanted to make her strictly a homebody. . . “That’s easy,” she replied. “I wouldn’t fall in love with a guy like that.”

    At times, Ruth has gone for only certain types of men. For a time, she liked those who had brownish-blond hair. Then she tried big men. “But I found them dull,” she said, “so I started going out with middle-sized men.” And, like Goldilocks, she found them just right.

    Her first crush came at the age of thirteen. She was playing tennis on the public courts in Boston when a boy accidentally hit her in the chest with a tennis ball. He came over to apologize; and a teen-age romance was born. Both her tennis and her sex appeal developed rapidly from that incident.

    Her sudden crush for the boy was indicative of her theory. Ruth still believes that a girl should know on first meeting whether it’s possible to fall for a certain man. She never baits traps for the opposite sex. “If men like me, they have to take me just as I am,” she said. “If a girl puts on pretenses, the fellow will eventually know it. So what does it get you?”

    I wanted to know what type of man she was looking for.

    “Now you’ve got me,” she said. “I want a man who’s bright, but I’m not looking for a genius. He doesn’t have to be handsome; but I don’t like them homely. Every girl wants a fellow who’s physically attractive. But over and above everything else there has to be a certain spark. When you find it, you know.”

    Among her recent Hollywood beaus have been Ronald Reagan, Peter Lawford, and Bill Phipps, who supplied the voice for Walt Disney’s Prince Charming in “Cinderella.” Ronnie, she explained, is attractive because he’s so “clean-cut and full of information.”

    “What kind of information?” I asked.

    “He explained about the workings of the Screen Actors Guild,” she replied.

    “Heaven help us!” said I. “You don’t talk about the Guild on a date?”

    “Certainly,” she replied. “I figure if a guy’s got something extra to offer, I’ll take it—including knowledge.”

    She met Peter Lawford at a party given by the Gary Coopers. “I found him charming,” she said. “In fact, he’s too young to be that charming. From what I’d heard and read about him, I expected him to be—well, on the conservative side. He It was delightfully shocking to see him cutting a mean jitterbug.”

    Ruth is definitely a man’s woman. She doesn’t particularly care for women, and says this is the reason she has so many boy friends. But when you try to pin her down to some particular fellow, she explains, “Oh, he’s just a brother to me.”

    Her oldest and staunchest boy friend is Bill Walsh. They met through Linda Christian five years ago and have been going places together ever since. Some think they’re secretly married. Both deny that anything exists between them except “deep friendship.”

    Bill has great affection for Ruth, but shakes his head at some of her whimsies. “At times,” says he, “she’s a complete extrovert; then again she’s something out of Dostoevski.”

    He thinks Ruth is much sexier than if Lana Turner. “Lana no longer gives me goose-pimples,” said he. “But then sex is like a thermometer. It has lots of degrees.”

    For a glamour girl, Ruth isn’t very interested in clothes. At home, she wears blue jeans, an old sweatshirt, and goes barefooted, weather permitting. If she wears shoes, they’re Indian moccasins.

    She has only two evening dresses. She avoids sweaters. “Nature,” says she, “gave me plenty. I don’t need artificial emphasis. On some a tight sweater looks good. On me, it would look vulgar.” Studio designers are constantly trying to lower the necklines of her gowns. But their drawings come back from the front office with an arrow pointing to the cleavage point and “Watch this,” written in red ink.

    The simplicity of Ruth’s clothes has never concealed her sexiness. When Cecil B. DeMille was looking for his Delilah, he kept a picture of Ruth on the wall opposite his desk. When agents came in with a new prospect, he’d point to the photograph and say, “I’m looking for a girl like that.” Ruth, in fact, did try out for Delilah. But the part, as you know, went to Hedy Lamarr.

    Ruth never lets such failures get her down. “When she’s turned down for a part,” says Bill Walsh, “she gets mad, not discouraged. Her reaction to criticism invariably follows the same pattern—emotional, constructive. In other words, she first gets mad, then she thinks the matter over, and after that she does something about it. After losing a role, she used to say, ‘I’ll show these characters that I can act if it takes until I’m ninety.’ ”

    She doesn’t consider herself a star. She thinks it will take five or ten more years before she reaches artistic maturity. Her sense of honesty will be a great asset. She loathes phony qualities and phony people so much she even dislikes fiction.

    While working in “Beyond the Forest,” she was told by her director to play a scene a certain way. But Ruth didn’t think it was right that way, and told him so. Bette Davis jumped up and said, “She’s right. She’s too honest to do anything phony. If you want someone to play the scene that way, get some little whippersnapper for it; not this girl.”

    That’s just it—Ruth’s certainly no whippersnapper. She has too much verve and ‘spirit and spunk—above all, too much confidence in herself, not only as an actress, but also as a woman.

    For instance, when she left my house ‘the other day, I said, “Now that you’ve been rated the sexiest girl in Hollywood, What are you going to do about it?”

    “Well, Hedda,” she smiled, “I guess I’ll just have to live up to the title.” And giving her coat the old Barrymore flip of the collar, she walked out into the sunshine.




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