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Tuesday Weld Says: “I Feel Old Inside”

When Tuesday Weld, who celebrated her 16th birthday on August 27th, began to date 44-year-old, twice-divorced actor John Ireland, the film colony’s collective eyebrows shot up to stratospheric heights. Particularly since John is the father of two sons, one a year and a day older than Tuesday, and the other 14. And when the junior grade femme fatale added bandleader Ray Anthony, in his late 30’s, also twice divorced and the father of a son, to her long list of swains, Hollywood still remained puzzled and slightly shocked.

But doll-faced Tuesday, while calmly declaring that she hoped to land John Ireland as a guest on her “Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis” CBS.TV series, couldn’t understand what all the shouting was about on the burning question of the loves of Tuesday Weld.

“I feel old inside,” said young Tuesday with a sigh. “In fact,” she continued with a soft childish smile, “I think I’m on my third reincarnation now—Lola Montez, the famous Spanish dancer and adventuress.

“People seem surprised that I find older men more interesting than boys my age. The truth is that I grew up a lot faster than most kids and my life has not been like that of the average girl—so why should I pretend it has? My dad passed away after a long illness when I was only three; that year I began modeling. My mother had a rough time trying to take care of my sister Sally, brother David and me. But it wasn’t long before I assumed mature responsibilities and was supporting the whole family.”

Tuesday ran her tapering fingers through her silver-gold tumbling curls. “Because I felt so emotionally mature and sophisticated,” she continued, “it seemed natural to act older than t my chronological age, and I began dating when I was only 10.” (Tuesday, a vocabulary addict, tosses off such words as “chronological age” with the aplomb of a college graduate.) “So I’m long past the time when I can feel comfortable with kids my age. I’ve lived too long in a grownup world for that. Now and then I’ve tried dating boys my age or even a few years older. But,” she giggled, “when I did, I never knew if I should offer to pay for the hamburgers or let him! Besides, I was bored because I wasn’t learning anything.”

At Hollywood Professional School, which Tuesday attends as a high school junior when she isn’t being privately tutored at a studio school, she admits that she feels dreadfully old around teenage classmates who giggle, blush or squeal over boys. “I was the belle of my class because I’ve worked with their idol—Ricky Nelson,” says Tuesday. “And because I’ve dated for six years naturally know a lot more about men and boys than my classmates. That’s why I often feel old inside . . . you know, as if I were 20 or even 25.”

This child-woman, who likes to think of herself as “an old soul” in her third or fourth reincarnation, is fast becoming a Hollywood legend. She’s an unfinished person who is as intriguing as an unfinished crossword puzzle.

She’s also well aware of the power of publicity. Susan Ker Weld (her real name) would have meant little in a town filled with far more beautiful teenagers. But Tuesday, as a given name, would immediately elicit attention. And it did.

“Tuesday,” commented a film executive, “has a drive and an ambition that are frightening in a youngster. ‘I know that I’ve got what it takes to become a top film star,’ she told me, ‘and nothing is ever going to stop me from reaching that goal.’ And the way she narrows her hazel eyes, looks you full in the face and forgets her kittenish ways momentarily, tells you that she means every word of it.

“She ferrets out parts and goes after them. Between segments of ‘Dobie Gillis,’ she did a small role in ‘The Private Lives Of Adam And Eve’ with Mickey Rooney, and she’s currently doing another small role in ‘Because They’re Young’ with Dick Clark.

“Don’t believe all that talk about Tuesday being the wildest baby beatnik queen in town. Most of it is Tuesday’s mistaken attempts to get her name in the papers. She works every minute of the day and every day of the week on her career. No publicity chore is too small; she’s most cooperative. In fact, she recently hired her own press agent. Tuesday told me that she likes working so much that, at the age of 10, she decided she preferred a professional life to what she called ‘childish pleasures,’ such as playing with dolls.”

Last spring at a cocktail party for the press, the blonde, hazel-eyed Tuesday, looking like a junior grade Marilyn Monroe, acted as her own press agent when she smilingly approached reporter after reporter with a lady-like “I’m Tuesday Weld and I’m happy to know you.” A poised child-woman, with an aware, horizontal sexy walk, a style and personality peculiarly her own, she appeared amazingly more self-sufficient than her admitted 15 years.

I went through the awkward age years ago—between 9 and 11,” explained Tuesday. “I suppose the reason I seem so much older than I am is that when I worked as a model, Broadway and TV actress in New York—I did more than 40 TV dramatic shows—I made and managed all my own appointments, went all over alone and felt able to take care of myself. I’d have to pose maybe in Connecticut and then rush down to a photography location in New Jersey.

“But now, suddenly, in Hollywood I find myself treated like a little girl with someone standing by to do everything for me. It seems so strange after my independent life in the East. Here there’s a welfare worker on the set, a private teacher, too. Mother must be with me; it’s a state law. I’m an independent character, can’t even bear to have my mother watch me act or sit in on auditions. I like to be alone—to rely on myself. Acting is like play to me. I love it; it never seems like work.”

It appears that the girl with the sophisticated body and the pretty Little Red Riding Hood face regards dating with equal fervor. Recently she said, “I’ve often thought about writing a book about my life some day. That’s, of course, if it should ever get really interesting.” A life story that contains a dazzling gallery of young Hollywood men-about-town like Tab Hunter, Dennis Hopper, Tony Perkins, Buddy Bregman, Mark Damon and Italian actor Fabrezic Mioni, not to speak of a-few men three times as old, such as John Ireland, is not only interesting, but downright sensational. Particularly for a girl who’s only recently celebrated her 16th birthday! It’s true Tuesday has dated younger men, among them Troy Donohue, Raphael Compos, Tommy Sands and Pat Wayne, but mostly these are studio-arranged twosomes. An ungrateful Barry Coe, urged to take Tuesday to a studio function, is reputed to have said, “No, I’m too young. Better get John Ireland.” If the story is true, he and possibly Ricky Nelson are the only two not interested in the youthful heartbreaker.

To her, dating men from 24 to 44 seems only normal. Her mercurial personality seesaws up and down the mood scale—a quality that gives her an air of mystery and unpredictability. And her provocative opinions on love and life, sometimes amazingly mature, sometimes impulsive chatter, have a certain shock value—probably why she enjoys making them. Asked about her puppy loves, she said, “I don’t believe that any emotional involvement is less important than another. A child of seven or eight can be as much in love as an engaged girl. I don’t believe that just because one person is younger than another, that what he feels is only puppy love. After all, age doesn’t necessarily bring wisdom.”

Discussing blind dates, Tuesday says: “My friends know I often take a date sight unseen just for the kick of meeting a new fellow. I’ve also hitchhiked out to the beach now and then and met interesting people. And one of my most interesting and handsome friends, Fabrizio Mioni, I met when he ran into our car and then asked me for a date! I dislike planned dates in general just as much as I dislike getting all. gussied up for double dates because the other girl will be all dressed up. Naturally I go out with actors; we speak the same language and have fun.

“But sometimes I have to be rather selective because there are so many guys trying to break into films. They think I can help them become big stars. Naturally I’m flattered, but it is a pretty uncomfortable feeling to be with a guy knowing he personally doesn’t care about me one way or the other.”

And with a certain youthful naivete in spite of her seeming sophistication, Tuesday displays typical teenage enthusiasm when she admits, “I love to have a string of males vying for my favor. Threesomes with Dennis Hopper and Mark Damon are fun—I like to observe their reactions to each other and to me. I always wonder what they’re saying while they wait for me to get ready for a date.” Laughingly, Tuesday continued, “I adore fights over me and making one guy jealous of the other,” she admitted with a wicked little gleam in her eyes. “But once the fight is over, life becomes dull—too calm. When I’ve made a conquest, I look for someone who’s more exciting. Really, I just love fights and I adore practical jokes. on people.

“I’m also fond of dates with lots of activity but when I’m moody I like quiet, philosophical discussions. With Tab Hunter a girl can be assured generally of a date overflowing with activity. Not long ago I spent a whole day with him. At seven in the morning we went riding. Then we devoured plates of pancakes at breakfast in a tiny beach place all enshrouded in fog out at Malibu. After that, a walk on the quiet beach, and then we went swimming in the chilly water. Next we visited an archery range and I learned how to use a bow and arrow. A roller skating session was next on the agenda. Exhausted, we plopped down at a movie. Then came dinner and I staggered home, still exhausted, but pleasantly so.”

Tuesday doesn’t allow herself to become disturbed over criticism of her dates with John Ireland. He’s a moody, intellectual rebel as well as a rough and ready type, quick with his fists according to what his ex-wife Joanne Dru told the police after their last battle. During his recent torrid romance with Kim Novak, Ireland was barred from Kim’s studio. (Strangely enough, Tuesday bears a marked resemblance to Kim.)

“So what if I do prefer older men?” asks Tuesday. “I find the challenge of trying to interest a man of the world completely delightful.”

Tuesday pointed out that Natalie Wood used to date Raymond Burr and director Nick Ray when she was Tuesday’s age. Natalie, too, started her career very young and was much more emotionally mature than boys her age. Tuesday also remarked that she hopes to marry someone who is intelligent, creative, entertaining “years from now—someone I can learn from. On dates, too, I want to learn. I’m a good listener. With men like Ireland I enjoy long involved discussions on life and acting. Because I’m a good listener I could never get interested in a boy like Ricky Nelson, for instance. Between scenes when I’ve worked with him on the TV show, he had absolutely nothing to say. Polite, yes, nice, but not my type. I much prefer men like Ray Anthony and John Ireland.”

Why has Tuesday Weld turned her attention to men so much older? Is this a wise decision in view of her desire for a good marriage later? Why is she so anxious to leave adolescence behind—to move so swiftly into an adult world?

To find the answer I consulted a well-known Beverly Hills psychiatrist. I filled him in on the details of Tuesday’s life—pointing out that she didn’t remember her dad who died when she was so young; her early life in a cold-water flat in Manhattan; her long years of uninterrupted work; the fact that Tuesday is estranged from her sister, who is eight years older, and her brother, six years older. She is also reputed to resist advice from her mother, youthful, level-headed pretty brunette Mrs. Aileen Weld who seems to have little control over her.

I told him that Tuesday frequents until late hours the beatnik coffee houses that line the strip, plays bongo drums with the bearded beatniks and enjoys a game of pool in poolhalls. Her behavior is frequently non-conformist and so is her attire—long black stockings and strange colorful Mexican serape blankets in which she wraps herself. When she is feeling “beatnik,” Tuesday reveals, she wears no makeup but pins on long flowing hair pieces or even dons a full wig. This false hair bit is the most provocative thing about this amazing teenager.

“I have several wigs,” she explains “plus a lot of false braids and extra hair in assorted colors that I use whenever I blonde hair five feet long in a theatrical costume shop near the studio. I really dig that. . . . I’m a pretty moody kid. In order to help get myself out of moods I change cosmetics and fix my hair in different ways.” Like her look-alike, Marilyn Monroe, Tuesday also loves to spend hours in front of the mirror, studying her best features and applying makeup. Sometimes she’ll go from child to adult by discarding a full-skirted sports dress and sandals for a figure-revealing black sheath and high-heeled pumps. A sleek chignon and ropes of bizarre jewelry complete the Theda Bara siren costume.

“Tuesday,” explains her mother, “has played at make-believe all her life.”

The psychiatrist, who preferred that his name not be quoted, said, “Marriage does not begin with a walk down the church aisle or at the moment when the minister intones, ‘I pronounce you man and wife.’ Rather, marriage is a process which ‘boys and girls enter during courtship, without any conscious planning, in the years of their youthful immaturity. Dating habits are therefore very important for the role they play in marriage. We’ve found that the best marriages are those in which husband and wife are as well-matched as possible in age, religion, race, education, economic and cultural status. Any fundamental difference is a potential threat to individual happiness in marriage because it makes mutual understanding more difficult to achieve. A much older man has likely been divorced and that adds to the risk in marriage. So, if Miss Weld should marry such a man, she’d likely find herself beset with problems.

“When a girl marries a man 10 or 20 years older, the relationship takes on the character of a father-daughter one; when the woman is older, it is a mother-son relationship. Some types of personality need this. The fact that Miss Weld grew up fatherless may have a bearing on it.

“It’s been said that it’s safest for a girl to marry the boy next door; this may make you smile, for he could be a two-year old toddler. But the statement carries a great deal of truth. It means that two young people, born of parents in a similar financial stratum, of the same race and religion, with approximately the same amount of education, have a great deal in common and this common background makes it much easier for them to get along with each other.

“Yet, many young people are marrying individuals who grew up in places and under circumstances very unlike the ones they themselves have known. This is basic to one of the most serious problems young people face in establishing durable marriages today.”

That provocative child-woman, Tuesday Weld, says that marriage for her is something in the distant future. Her career is her all-embracing problem today. However, she does have one strong desire. And that is to meet her idol, Marlon Brando. With the drive and determination which have carried her from an unknown to stardom in a short time, you may bet on it that Tuesday will, sooner or later, achieve her desire.

Tuesday and Marlon—both non-conformist rebels—would make a highly explosive combination, indeed!





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