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Under Hedda’s Hat

Sue Lyon decided acting was a snap, then persuaded her twenty-year-old brother Chris to give it a try. When she told him he could make as much in one day on TV as he could in a month at his service station job, he was sold. “If I can act,” Sue told him, “so can you. It’s easy—just do whatever the director tells you.” Her mother’s equally flexible. She didn’t take up smoking until she was fifty—because she wanted to set a good example for the kids.

“But when my sons started smoking anyway,” she says, “I decided to join them.” Mama still insists that playing Lolita did her daughter no harm. She says Sue’s just a normal teen. Maybe she is, but she’s got more than a normal amount of talent.


Above: June Allyson brought Ricky and Pam Powell along on her first public appearance since Dick’s death. She looked teary-eyed all night. It took great courage for her to go—everything still reminds June of Dick. It must be very painful.

Max Schell was left all alone on a Swiss ski slope when ex-Queen Soraya heard Hugh O’Brian had arrived in Europe. Hugh dashed over to replace John Gavin in a picture and she dashed after him. Now that Soraya has a movie career of her own, she and Hugh should have more than ever in common.

Van Johnson got a clean bill of health after surgery for removal of a skin cancer, but it was a low spot for Van and he’s had a few of those in recent years. Last time I saw him he told me about the twelve months he spent in Switzerland doing nothing. “I found out the hard way,” he said, “that out of sight is out of mind. The phone didn’t ring for me. One night I was so low I felt like walking into Lake Geneva and thought, ‘Is this the way it’s going to end—just nothing?’ ” His home here was sold minutes before it was to be put on the block by the Internal Revenue Department to pay up Van’s back taxes.

Warren Beatty assured me a year ago that he had no intention of trying to live up to the publicity that he’s “the biggest new name” in show business. “all I want to do is just be an actor,” he assured me. He hasn’t worked since. After agreeing to star in “Youngblood Hawke” for a salary of $200,000—an astronomical figure for a boy who’s done only three pictures—he waited until just before shooting was to start, then sent over a list of last-minute demands. I understand he wanted the right to change the script as he saw fit, and to approve the cast. And as an added thought he reportedly jotted down the names of six musicians he would consider to do the scoring. These are privileges that the biggest box-office draws in the world don’t have. And when Jack Warner got a look at them, he hit the ceiling and began looking for a new boy. They found him in Jim Franciscus. But what I want to know is what’s bugging Beatty?

Below: Rex Harrison and wife Rachel share a moment of quiet before the storm. Rex was in a dither when he saw the ads for “Cleopatra.” They were very subtle—just a huge photograph of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton—not even a title was mentioned. Rex’ contract for playing Caesar called for “similar ad art treatment,” so he had his New York attorney fire off a letter to 20th reminding them of this. The studio, which at the time was busy re-shooting the picture, may have to re-do ads.



Judy Garland’s heartaches aren’t over. Despite her success, the struggle to get on top again has taken its toll. When she was making a picture in London, there were all kinds of rumbles about trouble on the set, but we all dismissed them when she fulfilled her commitment at the Sahara in Las Vegas—even stayed two weeks overtime when they let her start her show at 2:30 A. M. I talked with her when she was there and she sounded gay as a cricket. The only note of bitterness came when I mentioned Sid Luft’s name. At the time they were in the midst of legal battles in two States over filing for divorce. She was so definite about her settlement with Luft (“He got everything I made for ten years—I think that’s enough”), that you could have knocked me over with a feather when they reconciled. Judy can have the world if she learns to make peace with it. Let’s hope she does.


Above: Keir Dullea is an ac- tor to watch. Since his success in “David and Liza,” every studio wanted him—but Seven Arts got him. We need more new actors like Keir—he’s sensitive, talented and very good looking.

Judging from the bouquets delivered to the “Captain Newman, M.D.” set, Angie Dickinson must be in love with a florist. Few men are rich enough to buy that many red, red roses. Angie? She ain’t talkin’.


Above: Forrest, Elman and Sinatra! It sounded like old times when the trio got together for a stint with the late Tommy Dorsey’s band. It’s the same Helen and Ziggy, but a new Sinatra—Frankie, Jr. He’s following in his dad’s footsteps—but only during summer vacations. Comes fail, comes college for F.S., Jr.

Battling the pounds are Kim Novak and Shelley Winters. I don’t know how Kim’s keeping her calories down, but Shelley’s taken up hypnosis. all those men running in and out of Kim’s door at the Dorchester Hotel weren’t boy friends—they were drama coaches getting her shaped up to tackle the Bette Davis role in “Of Human Bondage.” She’s out to prove something in this one, and is leaving no stone unturned. When asked if she might pick an Englishman for a husband, Kim said, “Men are all the same the world over. And I love variety.”

Eva Gabor predicts that sister Zsa Zsa’s marriage to Herbert Hutner will last forever. I don’t know about that, but to date Zsa Zsa’s on Cloud 9. Hutner shelled out a quarter of a million dollars to buy her the most beautiful home in Bel Air—and he put it in her name. The place is so big it actually contains a huge ballroom, which Zsa Zsa says would make a night club. There are three built-in safes where she can stash her jewels.

Frank Sinatra’s present to his parents, the Martin Sinatras, on their fiftieth wedding anniversary: A $60,000 home in New Jersey. Frank dumped his hilltop house here for $200,000.


Above: A local photographer zeroed in on Doris Day and came away with an amazing series of photographs showing her in all moods—from gleeful to glum. But the eye-catcher was another of those candids showing how skillful she is with bubble gum. Doris’ next job is the part Marilyn Monroe didn’t live to finish in “Something’s Got To Give.” You can bet there will be no nude bathing in it.

Handing out Photoplay’s Gold Medal Awards on Johnny Carson’s TV show was a romp. Bette Davis, a sneaky one when it comes to stealing the show, got the biggest hand from Johnny’s audience. In case you missed the awards on TV, Bette’s story of how she lost out on the part of Scarlett O’Hara is worth repeating.

She’d been raising cain with Warners to get her better stories and was pretty angry with them. So when the bosses called her in and said they could get “Gone With The Wind,” and told her it was a wonderful book, she snapped, “I’ll just bet it’s a dilly!” —and stalked off to England to sit out her contract. “It was one of the biggest boo-boos I ever made,” she recalls.

Gary Clarke forgot his tuxedo and had to borrow one for the big evening. It was a little snug but nobody noticed. This was the first time I’d met Gary and I was much impressed with your choice for “most promising actor.” He seemed as confused as I was about his off-again, on-again romance with Connie Stevens, and wouldn’t talk about it on TV. Connie, I hear, has decided to create a new image. First step: a brand new bedroom addition to her home. It’ll be decorated with a bright red carpet and all pink furnishings.

Dick Chamberlain, Photoplay’s actor of the year, was either the most relaxed winner—or the most exhausted. We flew East on the same plane, and Dr. Kildare snoozed soundly all the way. And in case anyone is interested—and about a million females are—he doesn’t snore.

Suzanne Pleshette and Troy Donahue threw a unique party. All their friends had been sick, so they had them come as their favorite disease. They rented wheelchairs, had an ambulance outside the house, set up the cocktail bar like an operating table, and served wine in plasma bottles. Suzanne was crushed to learn that the idea wasn’t original—Carole Lombard and Bill Powell did it once long ago.

After giving me the “we’re too busy with our careers for marriage” routine, Suzanne changed to: “I’m not too busy for marriage but . . .” Their romance is getting to the serious stage—he’s met her folks. And they liked him.


Above: George Hamilton escorted me to the premiere of “How The West Was Won”—a really gala Hollywood affair. I gave George a lesson in how to win friends by taking him over to the bleachers filled with fans and introducing him. “How long have you been doing this?” he asked. “Ever since I’ve been coming to premieres,” I said. He won’t miss another opportunity to talk with his fans.

Lucille Ball sent a horseshoe shaped floral arrangement with a card reading “Congratulations on both of you picking a winner,” when Desi Arnaz married Edith Mack Hirsch. Desi and his new bride, ex-wife of wealthy sportsman and dog food king Clement Hirsch, spend a lot of time at the race track watching their ponies run. Arnaz bought his wife a house not far from Lucille’s in Palm Springs. Matter of fact, both places face the same golf course. Let’s hope nobody gets teed off.

Robert Goulet is a goner, girls. The handsome young singer, who will soon be a big movie star, will marry Carol Lawrence any minute. She was the girl he had in mind when he told me: “I have strong feelings toward a young lady. But I can’t allow myself to say more.” A few days later Mrs. Goulet went to Mexico and got a divorce so now he should be saying a lot more about his love for Carol.

A well-known actor whose wife won’t let him out of her sight wistfully commented: “Richard Burton should never divorce Sybil. You just can’t get wives like that any more.”

Fabian tells about the perils of being a teenage idol: “When I’m doing personal appearances, I find teenagers all over the place. once I opened a bathroom door and two of them fell out. I usually wear my hair medium length. If it’s very short it sticks straight up. As I was getting into a cab on my way to a plane once, a girl slipped up behind me and snipped a handful of hair off the crown of my head. It stuck straight up for weeks afterwards. That was about three years ago. I didn’t think it funny at the time, but I do now.”

Carol Lynley and Mike Selsman say it’s just a trial separation, but you can take it from me—it’s all over. Carol’s career- conscious again since she landed “Under The Yum Yum Tree.”

Elizabeth Taylor collected $40,000 in her $5 million damage suit over the plane-crash death of Mike Todd, and all the money goes to Elizabeth Frances Fisher, Mike’s daughter who was adopted by Eddie Fisher.

Pat Boone’s joke: ‘Tm just an old man to the current crop of young singers. Why, I was talking with Paul Anka the other day and he thought Rudy Vallee was a ski resort.”

Pat’s in a hassle over “Main Attraction” and doesn’t want it released as is. I guess he’s going back to his old image.

Vince Edwards has his troubles and they’re not all in the operating room. He’s been sued over some recordings he made before he ever heard of Ben Casey. Judging from the titles of the tunes—“Squealing Parrot,” “Hole In The Head,” and “Oh, Babe”—I’d say Vince is the one who should be seeing a lawyer. And I don’t blame him for not wanting them released. He’s very particular about his image as the crusading neurosurgeon, and you can imagine the field day the disk jockeys would have with that ditty about “a hole in the head.”

Rita Gam, more beautiful than when she was being touted as a second Ava Gardner, shed her publisher husband Thomas Guinzburg. She’ll have another fling in Hollywood. She was a bridesmaid when her ex-roommate Grace Kelly married.

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



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