Under Hedda’s Hat
When Shirley MacLaine told me she’d been around the world again—alone, I expressed concern about a female traveling solo. “I’m bigger’n anybody,” she said. “Besides I’m a jujitsu expert.” A few days later she proved it by stopping by the Hollywood Reporter and belting Mike Connolly. She didn’t like what he wrote about her.
When I walked on a sound stage in London to interview Peter O’Toole, the first person to greet me was Richard Burton. He couldn’t have been more charming if I’d been his dearest friend. I had a heck of a time talking with O’Toole—Burton saw to that. I asked about Liz’ daughter Liza. “She’s wonderful,” said Burton. “Ruins everything—us, her school. She mothers the little girl Elizabeth adopted. And when Liza puts her feet up on the coffee table, there sits Mike Todd.” Burton’s charm may mesmerize Liz, but I think it’s about time she washed him out of her hair!
Above: Janet Leigh and husband Bob Brandt are as happy as turtle doves—and I’m delighted. She deserves something good after her heartbreaking divorce from Tony Curtis. I keep hearing a rumor that she is expecting a baby—but she denies it. Tony denies, too, that wife Christine is pregnant.
Marilyn Monroe wasn’t forgotten on her birthday. Many fans took flowers to her grave. Whitey Snyder, her makeup man, knew she loved white and purple stock, so he took a bouquet with this note: “Happy birthday, dear Marilyn. Whitey.”
Tom Tryon’s having a tough go with hepatitis. After returning from Europe where he made “The Cardinal,” he was hospitalized for a long spell. From what I hear, Otto Preminger gave him a very rough time. On-the-set reporters tell me Tom was always a perfect gentleman.
Few people hear from Esther Williams, who threw her career out the window and pitched her tent in Rome to be near Fernando Lamas. Her two sons have lived with their father, Ben Gage, for the past three years, and are very good swimmers. Both won competitions with the YMCA in Santa Monica. Ben’s working in peal estate and does an occasional TV show. His only concern is for his daughter Susan, nine, who’s with Esther.
Jeanette MacDonald sold her big house in Bel Air that had such happy memories, divided up her treasures she couldn’t use, and bought two apartments on Wilshire Boulevard which she and Gene Raymond will make into one. Gene’s mother, who never approved of his marriage to Jeanette—despite its happy years of success—died without reconciling with them.
Above: Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman continue to be the envy of a lot of stars because they’ve found the solution to that two-careers-will-wreck-a-marriage chestnut Their solution is simple—Joanne puts Paul’s career first. Not many so-called glamour girls in these parts have the guts to do that!
Above: Sammy Davis, Jr. is flying high these days—but not so high he didn’t take time to brand those moving-to-London rumors as rubbish! He’s staying here!
Above: I tried to pin down Rock Hudson on his marriage plans. He gave me a big yawn: “Tell you what, Hedda, just predict both ways and then you’ll never be wrong. It’s fun for us to keep you guessing.”
Lucille Ball’s daughter, Lucie, saw “Bye Bye Birdie” three times. She was so carried away with it, she planned to put on her own production. When brother Desi came down with the measles, the big production was ground to a halt.
Bette Davis, after a trip abroad with daughter Barbara, said, “I finally realized I was getting on. B.D. collected herself a fiance, Jeremy Hyman. There was no doubt about it—I’ve had it.” Bette said the closest she came to romance was meeting Casey Stengel: “I don’t think anyone could be much cuter.”
20th was in an uproar over Walter Wanger’s diary about “Cleopatra.” They call him “Kiss and Tell,” and claim he painted everybody bad but himself.
Above: Carol Lynley, who’s a fashion-plate, was caught in this get-up on her “Yum, Yum Tree” set. Best news I’ve had is that Carol’s ex, Mike Selsman, won’t fight for their daughter’s custody. It’s a wise decision—the child would be the only loser in that battle.
Above: Rod Taylor beamed and his beautiful bride, Mary Hilem, blushed to beat the band, when I toasted them at their wedding. It was one of the nicest ones I’ve ever been to. Rod has long been a special favorite of mine—and I’m delighted he’s found the right girl. He’s been hunting her for a long, long time!
Connie Stevens, who’s gone from one fellow to another like the man on the flying trapeze, has landed smack dab back with Glenn Ford again. Oh, well, some girls just never do learn, do they? And just where does this leave Rhonda Fleming? If Glenn’s romantic antics have me this confused, you can imagine how all the glamour gals feel!
If Jayne Mansfield wanted to close the Hollywood gates on her film career, she couldn’t have chosen a better way to do it than by posing for those nude pictures in a national mag and making a picture abroad where she appears in the altogether. By now, everybody has seen what she’s got. It’s not beautiful or funny any more. Just vulgar. I like Jayne, I always have — but in my business, I simply have to call a spade a spade!
Frances Dee (Mrs. Joel McCrea) is the envy of all us mothers. Her son Jody invited her on a trip around the world with him, and she’s agoin’. Papa Joel will stay here to run the ranch with his non-acting sons.
Judy Garland’s dressing room door at CBS isn’t decorated with her name. A plaque reads “The Legend.” Mickey Rooney proved again he’s the most talented guy in town at Judy’s 40th birthday party. Cecil Beaton, here to do designs for “My Fair Lady,” had never seen the Mick perform. Said Cecil, “I seldom use the word ‘genius’ but there’s no other that fits Rooney. His improvisation is spontaneous, brilliant, erudite. He’s great and in the Charlie Chaplin class.”
I did a double take when I saw Pat Nerney, Jane Powell’s ex, with June Allyson at Tom May’s birthday party. Pat said to me, “You think I’m a heel don’t you?” I’ve known and loved Pat since he was little, so I replied, “Well, don’t you?
Cliff Robertson bought a house in La Jolla which led to speculation that he planned taking a bride. He says no, that he’ll rent the main house and keep the guest house for weekends. Cliff, who has many relatives in California, says that by buying the house, he’s simply “putting my roots back here in California where they started.” This Californian says, Welcome Back!
Hayley Mills is growing up fast. She’s seventeen. When I found her on “The Chalk Garden” set in London, she said, “Congratulate me! I’ve finished school. Now I’ll have a tutor instead of being cooped up with all those girls.” In two terms at a Swiss finishing school, she mastered French, Italian and skiing, but that wasn’t exactly Hayley’s idea of great fun.
Above: Max Schell and ex-Queen Soroya were quite an item in Europe till she took sick. People are always asking me what I think of her decision to go into films. I can only say this: She’s beautiful! I can’t speak for her talent, I’ve never seen her act. But you can be sure that she’ll be big box-office.
When ZaSu Pitts died of cancer, we lost a great American and a fine friend. I don’t believe she ever made an enemy except in the Communist circles. But she never stopped alerting her fellow countrymen to the danger, and lost many, juicy jobs because of her outspokenness.
Jerry Lewis is higher than a flag on the Fourth of July over his expected baby—the sixth. “What Patti and I want to do,” he said, “is surround ourselves with love. We want our group to be big enough so we don’t have to care what the rest of the world’s doing.”
Donna Reed and Tony Owen celebrated their eighteenth wedding anniversary and they had something to celebrate. Donna’s getting a million dollars for her sixth season on ABC-TV.
Charles Robinson, a handsome six-foot-two Princeton grad, will make it big in films. He’s with Sandra Dee and Jimmy Stewart in “Take Her, She’s Mine.” When he and his wife arrived here, they were short on cash, so they rented an old house and fixed it up. When it was finished, the owner dropped by and told them he was going abroad and had to sell. They were heartsick because they loved the house, but couldn’t afford it. The owner said, “Anyone who loves a house like you two, deserves it. Give me a note for $5,000—no interest—and pay me when you can!”
Carroll Baker settled her suit with Warners without going to court to clear the way for her to play Jean Harlow in“TheCarpetbaggers.” Baby Doll will have silver blond hair and a $40,000 wardrobe—and she’ll even do a nude scene. Gorgeous Carroll told me her rather unique beauty secret: She scrubs her face with soap, water and a brush.
Above: Gary Clarke escorted Anna Kashfi to a premiere—and the whole town gasped. Guess they never thought Anna could forget Brando, nor Gary, Connie Stevens. Bravo for them! I hope they have lots of fun—they sure could use it!
Jimmy Stewart did no acting while waiting nine months for 20th to reopen. But he and Gloria went on an African safari; he did two tours of duty with the Air Force Reserve; traveled around the country for Princeton (he’s a trustee); had a ten-day vacation at Acapulco; flew to Carswell Air Base in Texas to narrate several Air Force training films; took in the Berlin Film Festival; en route home checked oil wells in Ireland (three were dry, the fourth was pumping); then played himself, General J. Stewart, in a TV segment of “My Three Sons.” Nice restful vacation, wasn’t it? The day before his picture ended, his greatest friend and partner Kirk Johnson died of a heart attack. My condolences.
That’s all the news for now. I’ll write more next month.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 1963