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They’d Be Perfect If . . .

“She’d be perfect, if . . .”

“He’d be terrific, but. . .”

Why must there be an “if” or a “but”? But there always is, especially for those who live in the cellophane package known as Hollywood. For everything that is done there, said there, worn there, is discussed and dissected and discussed all over again.

Take Linda Darnell. Linda has one of the loveliest faces in the world. But she doesn’t dress up to it. Her hair is often all over the place. The classic nose is sometimes very shiny. And she seems deliberately to accent her bad points, few as they are. Any girl who is a little heavy below the waist should avoid slacks. Linda who is, does not. Well, I guess she’s happy in her happy-go-lucky ensembles.

Ginger Rogers would be perfect if the fairies at her birth had added a sense of style. As one dress designer said to me, “If one silver fox would do, Ginger will have six.” She just doesn’t know when to stop. I’ll never forget the year Ginger won the Academy Award for “Kitty Foyle.” She wore an overcrowded chiffon number with diamanté at the neckline, gardenias in her hair, topped with a lace veil. Recently, Ginger’s dress sense has improved. But she still doesn’t seem to know what to do with her hair; which is a shame because her hair is beautiful.

Susan Hayward is another who doesn’t know what to do with her hair. Her hair, too, is beautiful—so beautiful, Susan can’t bear to confine it in any coiffure. It’s always falling over Susan’s face, with Susan peering out from beneath it. And now the Hayward hair has been acclaimed the “sexiest in Hollywood,” it’s not likely to get any tidier.

Burt Lancaster always looks as if several birds were nesting in his hair. I think a man can look colorful and still comb his crowning glory.

Humphrey Bogart would be more perfect, if he were more reliable. I asked one of the members of the Hollywood Women’s Press Club why they picked Bogie as the “least cooperative actor of the year.” “Because he’s so unpredictable,” I was told. “You never know when he is going to raise a fuss. His tantrums have nothing to do with fact, they depend on his mood.”

Jane Powell would be perfect, for me, if she remembered one small thing when she has her picture taken—not to open her mouth so wide. The prettiest teeth can be over-displayed.

Errol Flynn is a beautiful picture of a man. His clothes are made by the very best tailors. I can’t understand why he spoils everything by wearing red socks with full evening dress. Or why he insists upon topping an impeccable shirt with a purple silk dinner jacket!

Vic Mature used to wear odd socks. Since his marriage he has tried to match ’em. Looks better. So would Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando look better if they would bother to buy one good suit each.

Peter Lawford can be very perfect. But it depends on whom he is with. I’m sure Peter a true-blue gentleman, and all that sort of thing, didn’t mean to hurt that girl who won a fashion contest. One of her prizes was an evening in Hollywood with Mr. Lawford. Ann Rutherford’ arranged the party and they went to Ciro’s. Peter table-hopped most of the evening. Finally, Ann, furious, hissed into Peter’s ear that if he didn’t dance with the girl, she’d never speak to him again.

Personally, I can think of no fault with Esther Williams. But some people criticize Esther and Ben Gage for being a bit too noisy at parties. Esther’s public exuberance is in sharp contrast to Betty Hutton who is noisy on the set, but quiet as a mouse with her friends.

The only fault I have to find with Miss Hutton in private life is this: Two days before she separated (the last time) from Ted Briskin, I had a hunch there was trouble. “Is there?” I asked Betty. “Absolutely not,” she assured me. “You know I’d tell you. Ted and I couldn’t be happier.” When the story broke, I again called Betty. “It was brewing for a long time,” she explained. Makes a reporter skeptical.

I’m all for a girl being natural, but I think Betsy Drake carries it too far with her haircut. I don’t know who does her hair—I suspect Miss Drake, herself—but I’m positive garden shears are used. That’s the only way to account for such an uneven hedgelike look.

Paging Greta Garbo. How can a woman be so perfect as an actress and fail so miserably as a female? And I don’t mean the fact that she has never married. That she could have done any time, any year, I’m sure. I mean the ridiculous spectacle she makes of herself when they try to snap her picture. And her eccentric clothes!

Both Jennifer Jones and Jean Arthur belong to the frightened faun school. This baffles me. For when these scared creatures started in their careers they were normally talkative with the press. Jennifer, for instance, was the most approachable girl in the world during “The Song of Bernadette.” Now she’s a great actress and no one can talk to her.

Farley Granger is twenty-four years old. Farley would be perfect, for me, if he were a trifle less of the juvenile in private life. He’s always so breathless, especially when you ask him about girls.

Jimmy Stewart’s boy-scoutishness was getting to be hard to take. It suited him when he was in his early twenties, but no more. Thank goodness, along came “The Stratton Story,” and Gloria McLean. Today, Jimmy talks and looks like the man he is.

Clark Gable spoils his two hundred per cent perfection with his hundred per cent streak of stubbornness. Maybe Lady Sylvia, who is where she is today because of flexibility, will smooth over the one kink in the King.

Greer Garson is a gracious lady. And a great actress. But she must be colorblind. There could be no other explanation for those purple and orange mixtures she wears with her lovely natural red hair.

No one can be perfect—but stars are the stuff that dreams are made on—and so it always seems a pity when their God-given attraction is spoiled by a self-made blemish.

P.S. I’m glad I’m not being dissected in this article. I could fill a book with my imperfections.




It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MAY 1950

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