Under Hedda’s Hat
I’m so proud of the Hollywood people who joined and helped the Anti-Commie School which held forth for a week in the Los Angeles Sports Arena and staged a rally for 20,000 people at Hollywood Bowl. It was proof positive that thousands hate Communism and want to do something about it. Pat O’Brien’s recitation of “My Country ’Tis Of Thee,” backed by Manny Harmon’s orchestra, made us realize all over again how important these words are. Duke Wayne led the salute to the flag backed by 350 Boy Scouts who presented the colors. It’s a great satisfaction to know that this movement was started in Hollywood and now will continue throughout America.
Rock Hudson’s still the top star in Hollywood, but he takes a dim view of the summit. “It means the only way you can go is down,” says he. I doubt that he’ll be taking the road down for a long, long time. It was just ten years ago that I first met the tall man from Winnetka. Rock had just ended a long romance with Vera-Ellen, and when I asked why he didn’t marry her, he replied, “I couldn’t make up my mind.” I told him I thought that was a pretty ungallant thing to say. “It may be,” he said, “but it’s the truth.” Rock’s big ambition then was to meet Rita Hayworth. Some day I must ask Rock if he ever managed to get that introduction.
Piper Laurie’s hush-hush romance has to stay that way until the man’s divorce is final. But her acting ability is no secret. The gal who used to eat flowers so she could get publicity is now making news with her talent.
Marion Davies’ death left a great void in our town. Her kindness was legend. She helped the little-known people in the industry, the props, carpenters, gaffers, and even sent some of their children through college. At Christmas she would get lists of the poorest people in town from various newspapers and send baskets of food and toys. She loaned her gowns, jewelry and furs to dozens of players who couldn’t afford such things. I remember a big costume party at San Simeon. A spoiled brat of a star took one look at Marion’s gorgeous costume and became so jealous she refused to come down to the party. She was going to stay upstairs and sulk. Marion took off her own dress and gave it to the star. I’d have punched the girl in the nose. I’m sending along a picture of Marion and me taken a year and a half ago when she was on my TV show. Didn’t she look lovely? Hollywood will miss its “Angel.”
Don’t you believe those stories that Peter (Pentagon) Lawford has made up with his mother, Lady Lawford. He pays her rent, but doesn’t fraternize.
Rita Hayworth and Gary Merrill could be married by the time you read this. Both are impetuous nonconformists and leap before looking. I’d give that marriage one year maybe, as neither is the kind that gives—or takes. Rita has floated through life flaunting convention and getting by with it because of her beauty. But that won’t last forever. A funny situation developed when Vic Mature joined the Coast Guard in World War II. He was tops on the Hayworth date list then, and left her his most prized possession—his bed—for safekeeping. When he got home he found Rita married to Orson Welles; and even Vic, who is no shrinking violet, couldn’t find the right words to tell Orson he wanted his bed back.
Edd Byrnes’ fans must be getting sick of those will-he-or-won’t-he-marry-Asa-Maynor items. I’m all for young stars taking a fair amount of time to decide whether or not they should marry—but not in print. There was a time when I felt they’d never marry, now I think they will.
All those gals who are watching the papers for an announcement of Jim Arness’ divorce are in for a rude awakening. Jim tells me he has no intention of remarrying. He and his wife are separated, but the kids need them both. He sees the children just as often as he can.
Maximilian Schell scotched the rumors that he’d marry Nancy Kwan when he said, “I don’t intend to marry anybody for at least two years. I’m fond of Nancy, but marriage? That’s for the future.”
Tony Perkins kept me posted while he was in Greece working with Melina Mercouri. He thinks she’s the most exciting woman in the world. They stopped off in Paris (above) before flying to New York. Jules Dassin came with them, of course!
Dolores Hart found a new playmate on “The Inspector” set—a donkey. Bet that burned Stephen Boyd. He tried to convince her he was for her, but couldn’t. I hear he’s gone back to writing former flame Hope Lange.
Shelley Winters’ temperament came to life again when she scrapped with designer Orry-Kelly on the set of “Chapman Report.” Orry wasn’t intimidated in the slightest and, among other things, told Shelley that her kind of behavior went out with high-button shoes. Later Shell admitted she’d lost that round. Well, her classmates at New York’s Jefferson High voted her “The girl most likely to get into trouble,” so her shenanigans are nothing new. All was sweet and serene after she discovered bronco rider Alex Viespi, who got a screen test while hanging around the set watching Shelley.
Dick Powell invited seventy-five friends to the reconciliation and birthday party he gave for June Allyson. But a week later she had second thoughts about reconciling. “There are still a few minor matters to be adjusted,” she told me. When I asked if she loved Dick she said, “Yes, of course I do.” “Well, don’t you think you belong together?” I asked. To this she replied yes. But when I wanted to know “Why the fuss over some minor issues when you agree on the major ones?” she had no answer.
Rosemary Clooney had Hollywood’s sympathy when she hired Jerry Geisler to get her divorced from Jose Ferrer. Rosie, from the time she was a little girl, always said she wanted six children. She had five by Ferrer, but then had to call it quits. Her friends weren’t surprised by the action—they were surprised she didn’t file for divorce sooner.
Keep your eye on George Chakiris. His “West Side Story” has the whole town talking. When Shirley MacLaine got a look at him she said, “I’ve got to have him in a picture.”
Maria Cooper has been seen around town with Cliff Robertson, who was wearing his neck in a brace. I asked him how long he expected to prop up his head. “Just as long as people like you keep writing about it,” he smiled. Maria and her mother, Rocky, will be spending more time in New York and London than in Hollywood. They’ve been invited to spend Christmas in the East with Angier Biddle Duke, head of protocol under President Kennedy. There are too many memories for them to spend Christmas here in Hollywood.
Susan Kohner’s still got it bad for George Hamilton, but he’s mighty hard to catch. “I’m definitely in love with her,” he told me, “but feel we’re too young for marriage.” Excuse number one! Then he added, “I’m only twenty-two and have a family to support. And Uncle Sam is breathing down my neck. I wouldn’t marry anyone I couldn’t support.” Excuse number two! Now I don’t know what kind of supporting Susie’s used to, but she does mighty well in the financial department herself. Besides, people get married on much, much less than what Susie and George earn. Come on, George, stop beating around the bush! Marry the girl if you love her. If you don’t, tell her so she can find happiness with somebody else.
When Tony Franciosa was married to Shelley, he carried a perpetual chip on his shoulder. He’s a different guy now that he’s fallen in love with Judy Balaban Kanter. His whole Outlook has changed—he’s affable, easy to talk to, gracious, a perfect host. Tony was denied many fine acting jobs when his romance with Judy hit the public print; but now that they are free to marry, the offers are pouring in. She’s one of the most charming girls in Hollywood.
Joan Bennett went into a State of shock over the sudden death of Donald Cook. They’d been going together for years. Now Hollywood wonders if she and Walter Wanger will reconcile.
I broke the first story Sharon Hugueny ever had when she entered movies, but haven’t heard a word from her since her marriage to Bob Evans went kaput. Neither she nor her mother will talk. It’s my belief Sharon jumped into matrimony before knowing the meaning of the word. She was the most starry-eyed innocent I’d ever met in this crazy business.
At the rate Natalie Wood is going, she’ll be a great actress or a burned-out star by the time she’s thirty. She’s going to play Bette Davis’ greatest role—the tragic girl in “Dark Victory.” Since her split with Bob Wagner, it’s been Warren Beatty all the way. It’s a little early to predict Beatty’s future on the screen, but if brashness counts, he’s in. Before he was ever seen in a picture he said, “Hollywood is a place where you can make an entire career out of baloney.” When he did “The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone” with Vivien Leigh, he was determined to show her that he wasn’t awed by her. He got the message over quite well. Vivien stormed out in a rage when he showed up late for rehearsal. I’d love to know what Joan Collins thinks of him now, wouldn’t you?
Judy Garland and Sid Luft, who stuck to each other through thick and thin (mostly thin), don’t see eye to eye now that Judy’s career is in high gear.
That’s all the news for now. I”ll write you next month.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE JANUARY 1962