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Tyrone Power And Linda Christian Call It Quits

The five-year-old marriage of Tyrone Power and Linda Christian has been held together only by their children for the last four years. And most of Hollywood knew it.

Twice, as the marriage approached the precipice of disaster, Linda, gay, free-living and sparkling, announced a pregnancy and Ty told the world that he was the happiest man on earth.

When Romina Francesca, three, and Taryn Stephanie, two, came into the world, there was a feeling that things would now be different in the Power household, that the birth of a child would help to wipe clean the slate of past disputes. Ty and Linda would start all over again, and everything would be peaceful, placid and pleasant.

It didn’t work out that way. By nature, Ty and Linda are too different. Ty is conservative, intellectual, serious, artistic and quiet. Linda likes to live it up.

The statement issued by 20th Century-Fox to the effect that “a conflict of careers” was responsible for the separation is not taken too seriously by most of Hollywood’s insiders.

On many occasions Ty had said, “I have absolutely no objections to Linda’s pursuit of a career, any career she wants.” And it is true that Ty never did object to his wife’s ambition.

Whether he objected to her casual friendship with the young English actor Edmund Purdom, with whom Linda worked in Athena, he doesn’t say.

“Just say,” Ty conceded, “that Linda and I have come to the end of the road.”

A month before the separation was announced, Ty and Linda, despite their denials, had agreed to disagree.

Ty had gone to his lawyer, Judge Lester Roth, and Linda had consulted Richard Bergen, an attorney for the firm of O’Melveny and Myers. The lawyers were told that the handsome actor and his Dutch-Mexican wife were separating. They were ordered to draw up a property settlement.

After working on a settlement for a month, the attorneys discovered that it was unacceptable to both parties. The question of a divorce was also raised. Both Ty and Linda are Catholic. Ty, however, has previously been divorced from the French actress, Annabella. That divorce cost him around $200,000.

In the event of a divorce, would it be a Las Vegas “quickie” or a California “one-year job?”

Questioned about the details, Judge Lester Roth said nothing until the separation was announced. Then he admitted that the marriage was finished, “and a quickie divorce is unlikely,”

Following the separation announcement, there was, of course, a great deal of comment and conjecture in the press.

Wrote one reporter, “There have been rumors that Linda was seeing a good deal of a masculine star under contract to another studio.”

Said a second, “Tita Purdom won’t budge, so the next move is Ed’s in the Power-Christian-Purdom tangle.”

Linda refused to say anything. So did Purdom. So did Bill Gallagher, Ty’s cousin and business manager.

The only one who would talk was forty-one-year-old Ty, and his talk was practically all about his profession.

“Linda and I haven’t been getting along for some time,” he admitted. “Call it incompatibility. So we might as well end our marriage.

“I’m leaving for the east. It’s very exciting to return to Broadway. I’m going to do Christopher Fry’s play The Dark Is Light Enough with Katharine Cornell. Twenty years ago Kit gave me a job as Buzz Meredith’s understudy in Flowers Of The Forest.

“In order to do the play I’ve had to give up several film commitments, one in Brazil, one in Ireland, one with my own company. But I think I’ve made the right decision.”

Ty then took off for a fast week-end in New York where he discussed the details of the legitimate production and the possible itinerary of the road show.

In Hollywood a friend of his said sadly, “The poor guy wanted to be out of town when the studio announced his breakup with Linda. But he’ll be back. He’s nuts about those little girls of his.”

Ty flew back to the coast a few days later, drove out to his house, one of the most fashionably decorated. in the movie colony, and asked Romina if she’d like him to take her to Kiddyland.

Romina clapped her little hands and a half hour later, she was riding on the merry-go-round at La Cienega and Beverly Boulevards. Watching the little beauty enjoy herself, Ty looked sad. Perhaps he wondered, since he was going east, when he would see his child again.

Ty Power hoped against hope that his marriage would succeed. He tried everything. He took Linda to the Philippines when he went on location. He gave her freedom to travel around the world with Bill Gallagher and Mrs. Larry Kent. Knowing how much she loved Rome, the city of their marriage he agreed to the purchase of a fashionable apartment there. He indulged Linda’s every whim. He gave her every convenience money could buy—a lavish home, servants, nurses for the children, a Duesenberg, an Alpha Romeo, a $12,000 Bentley. But material possessions are a poor substitute for love and almost a year ago Ty and Linda began to fall out of love.

This development came as a great shock to the movie colony because if ever there was a marriage that seemed to have everything, it was the Powers’.

Back in 1948 Ty Power was going steadily with Lana Turner. It was commonly accepted that Ty and Lana would be married. after the handsome young actor returned to Hollywood from a good will fight around the world.

What most of Hollywood did not know at the time was that Ty had quietly been dating Linda Christian, a vivacious Mexican beauty. She was widely-traveled and she could speak six languages.

Ironically, it was Lana Turner who introduced Linda Christian to Ty Power. One day on the set of Homecoming,Lana was talking to-Linda when Power arrived.

“This is Linda Christian,” Lana said.

“How do you do?” greeted Ty.

Linda took it from there.

Several months later when Power set down his plane at the airport in Rome, Linda was on hand to greet him. She showed him around the city she knew so well, dazzled him with her continental sophistication.

From this point, Lana Turner didn’t have a chance.

By flying to Rome, “by getting there fustest with the mostest,’’ Linda had outmaneuvered Lana.

Later, Ty and Christian continued their romance in Mexico City, another city that Linda knows well.

In Mexico City, it was implied that Ty was angry with Linda “for seeing so much of Mr. Big,” supposedly an extremely powerful Government official. But when he was asked about this he denied it.

Linda Christian is, of course, a native of Mexico. She was born in Tampico, thirty years ago, of a Mexican mother and Dutch father. Her real name is Blanca Rosa Welter. Just how and where she conjured up the name Linda Christian she claims she doesn’t know.

Linda followed her father, an oil executive, from station to station: Italy, Palestine, Holland, China and Switzerland.

“There was a time,” she once said, “when I wanted to become a doctor but then I gave up the idea.”

In Mexico City, however, she once worked for a plastic surgeon. After that she became a model, catching the watchful eyes of many Casanovas, some Mexican, some American.

When Linda first came to Hollywood in 1945, she was acquainted with Errol Flynn. She lived in the Commodore Apartments on Hollywood’s Franklin Avenue. From there she moved to Angel’s Castle on Sunset Boulevard and thence to the swank Bel Air Hotel.

To begin with she had an extremely limited wardrobe, but it wasn’t very long before she was touring the night spots, bedecked in furs and jewelry. MGM gave her a screen test and signed her. In a matter of months, the green-eyed siren was dating the handsomest men in town.

Once she met Tyrone Power, however, Linda fell in love and began to concentrate on the dark, moody actor.

A year after they met they were married in the Roman church, Santa Francesca Romana. Three years later, they named their first daughter Romina.

“We want lots of children,” beamed Ty. Said his mother, “The baby looks exactly as Tyrone did at her age.”

After Romina was born, Linda decided to renew her screen career. There were no objections from her husband. It was whispered around town, however, that Linda was perpetually restless, continually dissatisfied, that no amount of travel and adventure could sate her.

When Ty settled his contract with 20th, a studio he’d been with for twenty years and began the tour with John Brown’s Body, it was said that Linda was getting awfully lonesome, that to occupy her time while Ty was on the road, she sometimes dined with men about Hollywood.

In 1953 there were a dozen rumors that the marriage of Linda and Ty was ever, in fact, that they had even consulted a lawyer about a pre-divorce settlement.

Ty squelched these rumors with an irrefutable answer: Linda was pregnant again.

Taryn Stephanie was born in September, that year. Ty bought his wife and two daughters a beautiful new home in the Pacific Palisades, and the rumors died down. But not for long. All through 1954 they grew bolder and stronger.

When Edmund Purdom, a tall, handsome, English actor, arrived in Hollywood with his ballerina wife, the former Anita Phillips, it was said that he had a good chance to star opposite Olivia de Havilland in My Cousin Rachel.

A fellow Britisher, Richard Burton, got the part, however, and subsequently the Purdoms were reduced to poverty.

“I was so broke,” Purdom says, “that I couldn’t afford to pay the doctor’s bill when my daughter Lilan was born. I was nearly deported for being unemployed. In order to eat, I pawned my wife’s wedding and engagement rings and her father’s watch. I had no money for bus fare. I had to walk from studio to studio looking for a job. Once we were evicted for not paying the rent.”

The twenty-seven-year-old actor does not mind discussing the hardships he encountered before he found a degree of Hollywood fame by substituting for Mario Lanza in The Student Prince and for Marlon Brando in The Egyptian.

He will not, however, discuss his friendship with the Tyrone Powers or any phase of his private life.

“I do not believe,” he says, “an actor’s private life is any of the screen magazines’ business. I stand on my work.”

Ed and Linda worked together in Athena, where their friendship blossomed.

Purdom does not care to confirm or deny the rumors that eventually he will divorce his wife and marry Linda Christian. Nor will he talk about the story that had him romping all over Mexico with Linda and Ty while his wife was awaiting the arrival of their second child. Nor will he dignify with any sort of reply the innuendo that his friendship with Linda was responsible for arousing Tyrone Power’s jealousy.

On the set of The Prodigal, Purdom would only say, “I hope to be making a trip to London shortly. If the studio pays my way I’ll have to do publicity for The Student Prince. Anyway, I do want to get back to England for a bit.”

One cynical Hollywood citizen suggested the possibility that Purdom wanted to get out of town until the rumors subsided.

Thus it is probable that as you read this article, Tyrone Power is working in New York, Linda Christian is vacationing in Mexico City and Edmund Purdom is visiting in London.

Just how or where or when all three or even two of these extremely handsome people will get together again, no one can say.





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