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Under Hedda’s Hat

My congratulations to readers of PHOTOPLAY for electing Bette Davis as actress of the year. That Gold Medal will be mighty becoming to her. She’s proved her worth not only in acting but as a human being. The town was aghast when Bette came home and took an ad in trade papers announcing she needed a job. The response was a deluge of offers, and now she can pick and choose. Good for her!

When her favorite doctor, Vincent Carroll (he delivered her daughter B.D.) told her that his Laguna Beach Hospital needed $25,000 in a hurry, Bette took a deep breath and pledged the whole amount. Then she added: “If I drop dead, don’t you dare take it out of my estate!” Then she turned around and barbecued chicken for two dozen eleven- and twelve-year-old boys who’d come to celebrate her son’s birthday.

Above: The marriage of Paul Anka to Anne de Zogheb took on an international flavor. Paul’s late mother hoped he’d marry a “nice Lebanese girl”—and Anne is. Paul met her in Puerto Rico, continued seeing her here and in Europe. They were married in Paris by a Syrian priest.

Ray Milland’s sorry that his son Danny wants to be an actor. When I said I bet his father felt the same way about him, Ray admitted it. “He objected strenuously,” he grinned.

What did Joan Fontaine have in mind when she left town the day before Olivia de Havilland arrived from Paris to star in “Lady In A Cage?” But Livvy didn’t miss her. Luther Davis was at the airport with a cage full of flowers, and Bette Davis was at the hotel to take her to dinner. When the two gals walked in together, the orchestra struck up “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.” One of Livvy’s friend-dates while here was Groucho Marx. One night as Groucho left the dining room of George Cukor’s beautiful home, he accidently put his napkin on the table, too close to a low candle. It caught fire, and could have been quite serious if a maid hadn’t discovered it.

Hollywood’s been so partyhappy, Roz Russell (with me below) moaned, “I’m so tired going out every night, I’m about to drop. But if I stayed home I might miss something.” For my money the best shindig of all was the one producer Bob Enders and Ben Silberstein, of the Beverly Hills Hotel, threw to kick off my book, “The Whole Truth and Nothing But.” I’ll admit I wasn’t sure how many stars would show, especially if they’d read my little essay on some characters that inhabit this town—but lo and behold they all showed, and the ladies all dressed to the teeth. It was an evening to remember, certainly.

Ethel Merman was there be- fore I arrived. Then in swept Martha Raye in a bright red dress with a chinchilla coat to her ankles: “It took me thirty years of hard work and sweat to get it,” crowed Martha, “but it’s all mine!” Her escort was Richard Deacon of the “Dick Van Dyke Show.”

Fellow authoress Bette Davis was the belle of the ball. Gardner McKay, complete with black beard, brought me a souvenir from his South American adventure—a baby shark’s tooth for my charm bracelet.

Hugh O’Brian came with Nancy Sinatra. He’s taking singing and dancing lessons for a Broadway musical. Later he told me: “There are thousands of girls but very few ladies. Nancy’s one of ’em.” That she is!


Above: There’s miles of publicity about the Troy Donahue and Suzanne Pleshette marriage plans, but she claims it’s not about to happen. “He’s charming and I’m fond of him but we’re both too busy with our careers.” When an actress gives you a line like that you can usually expect anything—but I must say that I believe Suzanne.

Talk about missing the boat—Olivia de Havilland is a prize winner! During World War II a friend asked if he could bring three attractive Navy officers to her house for tea. Sure, said Livvy, who prepared cucumber and watercress sandwiches, gave them a lovely tea, was the perfect hostess. Half an hour after they left, one of the young men called to invite her to dinner. She was recovering from a romance with a well-known director at the time and turned him down. But when her old friend Ludwig Bemelmans phoned to ask her to dinner, she went. First one she saw when they entered Romanoff’s was the young lieutenant. You guessed it—his name—John Fitzgerald Kennedy. “There’s a connection here somewhere but I don’t know what it is,” laughs Livvy. “My daughter’s governess is named Jacqueline Bouvier.”

Lana Turner and Fred May are seeing more of each other since their divorce than they did when they were married.

Carroll Baker’s madder than a wet hen over the ads for “Station 6—Sahara.” She absolutely refused to pose in the nude, but somebody slyly pasted Carroll’s face on another nude body, passed it off as the real thing and used it to advertise the picture. She aims to sue if they don’t cease and desist.


Above: What happens when two great beauties get together at the same European fete? Some times one checks on the other. Here Gina Lollobrigida gives Grace Kelly the once-over, while Her Serene Highness seems serenely unaware of the inspection. By the way, TV proved it: Rainier hath charm.

Tony Curtis kept reassuring one and all that he had no plans to wed Christine Kaufman up to the moment they eloped to Las Vegas. He did a lot of painting before the wedding. When I asked about it he described his work as “wild and frightening abstracts. Flowers and fruits I cannot paint.”

I remember when rumors first started about his interest in Christine; Tony was highly indignant. But he was still married to Janet Leigh, then—so what could the guy say?

There’s been a complete reversal in the Glenn Ford-Hope Lange romance. once he didn’t cotton to the idea of marriage; now it’s Hope who doesn’t want to be tied. So it’s Linda Christian who’s the most frequent visitor to Ford’s new house, which sits on a hunk of land Louis B. Mayer once bought for a hundred grand. Mayer’s property has been subdivided, and there are now eight houses on what Louis laughingly used to call his lawn.

Dolores Hart is still paying bills for the wedding she didn’t have. Invitations and the brides- maids’ dresses had already been ordered. Edith Head put away the wedding dress she designed for Dolores—for future use.

Ernie Borgnine wasn’t very gentlemanly when I asked about his estranged wife Katy Jurado. “I haven’t seen her since August and couldn’t care less.” He does see the first Mrs. Borgnine when he drops by her house to visit their daughter, as he often does.

George Hamilton and Susan Kohner see each other when they’re both in the same town, but the flame has gone out. Says George: “Our breakup is nobody’s fault. Susan needed to make up her own mind—everybody else was always doing it for her. She’s very happy on her own.”

George and Gloria Swanson are swapping pads. Gloria did a “Dr. Kildare” show and now everybody wants her. She may give Hamilton her New York apartment in exchange for his quarters in the new hilltop home he owns. The last time George stopped off in New York, Julie Newmar loaned him her Sutton Place apartment; but she’s in residence now so he has to find a new home while he’s East playing Moss Hart in “Act I.”

It’s Pat Buttram’s line: “If Liz Taylor and Richard Burton get married, I don’t know whom they can invite to their wedding. They’ve already married all their friends.”

“Marilyn,” the picture 20th put together from all their films starring Monroe, will make millions. I predict it will help put the studio back in the black. After her death, every theater in Paris played her pictures, and Paris Match devoted an entire issue to her. I applaud Hollywood photographer John Meredith who has hundreds of beautiful stills of her—many nudes—but refuses to sell them. “She was my friend, and you don’t cash in on friendship.”

Jane Powell and Pat Nerney patched up their differences. Then she went to work at the Sahara in Las Vegas. I was all set to play her mother in an M-G-M picture some years ago, but Louis B. Mayer was mad at me, and threw me out. But I collected $5,000, my week’s pay, for not working.

The screen’s leading men had better look to their laurels. Along with Photoplay’s Gold Medal Award winner, Dick Chamberlain, Vince Edwards is knocking our movie glamour boys off the top of the popularity polls. Vince isn’t bitter now about the ten years he spent beating his brains out trying to get noticed here. “I love the town,” he says. “So maybe you go into a restaurant and they brushed you. Perhaps some kid sitting there today may be the big star in town ten years from now.” Vince should be happy. He’s gotten everything in the world he wants—and what’s more he got it from Bing Crosby who’s not too free with his money. Bing owns the “Ben Casey” show.

You’ll love Tippi Hedren, the girl Alfred Hitchcock discovered on a TV commercial and cast as Rod Taylor’s leading lady in “The Birds.” Hitch took her on a three-week tour of cities throughout the country and introduced her personally to the press and TV. She’s very much a lovely lady and has been married and divorced and is the mother of a five-year-old daughter Melanie. She’s a self-sufficient girl—a few years ago she took a trip around the world all alone.

That’s all the news for now. I’ll write more next month.


It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MAY 1963

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