When’s The Marriage?—Glenn Ford & Hope Lange
Glenn Ford and Hope Lange were sitting at a booth along the wall of Chasen’s restaurant in Beverly Hills. It was crowded even for a Saturday night, but, luckily, Glenn had remembered to telephone in advance for reservations for two. They made a quiet, reserved couple: you might think they’d been married for years, not just dating. Suddenly, a tall, handsome man approached. Hope looked up, startled, yet pleased in a way, too. Stephen Boyd extended his hand, and it met hers halfway. Then Hope introduced him to Glenn. Their handshake was coolly brief. Many had thought that, after Hope and Don Murray split, Stephen would be the new man in her future. Maybe Glenn recalled this now.
That meeting between Hope and Steve was the first in nearly six months—since they’d filmed “The Best of Everything” together at Twentieth Century-Fox. And it was the first since Hope and Don finally decided to call it quits. Hope and Stephen chatted for a few minutes, politely and warmly. Glenn looked on silently. He appeared ill at ease as he watched them talk. Was he jealous? Or was he just embarrassed over not having anything to contribute to their conversation? After a few minutes, Stephen excused himself and left to rejoin a group of friends at another table. Hope and Glenn were left alone again.
This incident took place several months ago. It seemed to mark the beginning of a big change in Glenn. As one of his friends confided: “Today Glenn sees Hope as a potential wife—his. He used to look on Hope just as a lovely, charming actress he enjoyed being with . . . enjoyed being seen with . . . enjoyed romancing. This developed into something much bigger—love.”
Glenn has been the only man in Hope’s life since her marriage went on the rocks last year. Even Stephen Boyd quickly dropped out of the picture. When Glenn was away in Paris for the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” she did occasionally attend cocktail parties and studio functions with George Stevens Jr., the bachelor son of the famous movie producer-director. But this could hardly be considered anything more than escort service.
The ocean separating Glenn and Hope did little to cool their romance. He called her from Paris, wrote to her. Her brother, David Lange, was Glenn’s constant companion in the French capital. Glenn had arranged for David, a Harvard graduate, to join the company as a dialogue director. Those were long, lonely weeks without Hope, and the dreary drizzly weather didn’t help matters either. Finally, he could stand it no longer and helped talk M-G-M out of waiting for better shooting weather. Everybody came home, and Glenn hurried to see the girl for whom he’d been so homesick.
Oddly enough, the romance of these two is parallel in many ways to Debbie Reynolds’ and Harry Karl’s during their courting days. They made secret plans about their future together. Only on their wedding day did Debbie reveal her true feelings about the man she was marrying. And Debbie had seen Eddie fall in love with another woman, Liz Taylor, just as Hope saw Don Murray fall for Dolores Michaels. (Unlike the Debbie-Liz-Eddie triangle, the Don Murray and Dolores Michaels romance had come after Hope and Don’s marriage had broken up. And when Hope finally filed for divorce, it was too late for Dolores and Don. The strain of a romance with a man who was still married, even if he was separated, had been too much, and there seems no future for Don and Dolores together.) Debbie was left with two children to rear, Hope likewise. Neither girl ever denounced her husband for leaving her. Each surprised everyone with her lack of bitterness and determination to forget the past and plan for the future. Each is close to her brother: Debbie’s brother Bill stayed with her prior to the marriage, and David lives with Hope.
Some say Debbie married as much to give her children a father as she did for love. Some say Hope will do the same. Even her close friends agree, she has made up her mind. The first step was to start negotiations for a divorce. She hired attorneys to work out a property settlement. The action caught Hollywood somewhat by surprise, because not too long before, Hope had told the press: “I’m in no hurry to divorce Don, but I’ll not stop him if he wants one.”
It seemed something had happened to change her mind. And what about Glenn? Has he made up his mind. too? Is he afraid of another marriage? These are the questions everyone’s asking. When he’s questioned, Glenn runs hot, lukewarm and cold on the subject of Hope Lange. One time he’ll confide to friends that Hope could very well be the next Mrs. Glenn Ford. On other occasions, hell only confirm that he likes her very much. And then again, he’ll act insulted if he’s even asked about Hope.
The first Mrs. Glenn Ford, Eleanor Powell, lived with the actor several years shy of two decades. Although he won’t admit it, the marriage failure after all those years must have been a great shock. Enough to make any man leery of marrying again and give him many a sleepless night. However, one version of the breakup goes that Glenn and Eleanor would have split years ago if not for their son Peter, now sixteen. Glenn and Peter are close, very close. He’s always managed to devote weekends to the boy, taking him for a sail or hike, and even became a Boy Scout troop leader because Peter was a member. Even today Glenn finds time for Pete. He has visitation rights under the divorce settlement and takes full advantage of them. But the divorce became final only last November, and to some the feeling is that he’s in no hurry to rush into another marriage.
Time for a decision
Yet the time is close for another decision—one inspired by love. Perhaps he has already made it. There are indications that he has. For one thing, he’s rushing plans to build a new home in Beverly Hills, having lived with his mother since the split with Ellie. And Hope has become a close part of his future picture plans. Their first together, “Pocketful of Miracles,” already is under way, and they are due to make several more.
Can a marriage between Hope and Glenn work? The same thing was asked about Debbie and Harry. The difference in age is practically the same for the two couples. Glenn is in his forties, Hope in her twenties. Hope’s children are about the same age as Debbie’s. Both women have found stability in an older, wiser man who seemed to possess something their youthful husbands lacked. It certainly has worked thus far with Debbie. She has never seemed happier.
What are the chances that Glenn and Hope would go back to their first loves? One columnist printed that this could happen to Glenn. He speculated that Glenn and Ellie were very close, and he’d paid her a visit when she was in a hospital for surgery last December. But friends said no, he merely drove their son to the hospital out of respect to Ellie. He has confided to a few that neither he nor Ellie have even faintly considered reconciling.
And what about Hope? The spark Don Murray once held for Dolores Michaels is dying. Maybe Don would come back if she would have him. Does she want him back? The answer is clearly evident in Hope’s surprise action for a divorce—not next year, but now.
Glenn Ford is free. Hope soon will be. She has apparently made up her mind. How about Glenn? Only he can answer this question, and some of his friends think he already has—and that the answer is yes.
—BY TODD ROWLAND
Hope and Glenn will soon be seen co-starring in “Pocketful of Miracles” for U-A, and Glenn will also be seen in “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” for M-G-M.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MAY 1961