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Who Is The Mysterious Mastermind Making Trouble For Rita Hayworth and Dick Haymes?

In Hollywood’s bizarre and colorful history many actresses have been condemned, pilloried and victimized. But no one has suffered more than Rita Hayworth.

She is a beautiful young woman who has never harmed anyone, who has gone out of her way to help countless people. Yet she now finds herself in the incredible position of fighting for the custody of her own children, fighting for her own husband, fighting for her own survival, fighting for one modicum of love and public understanding.

“What do they want from us?” Rita asks in desperation. “All Dick and I want is to be left alone, to be allowed to work out our own salvation. Still, we’re attacked on every side. And all we want is a little peace.”

The only peace Rita has known lately, she enjoyed at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, where she rented a house for herself and her two daughters, Rebecca, ten, and Yasmin, four.

Rita rented this house (only a few miles from the house where Ava Gardner was sitting out her divorce) while her fourth husband, Richard Benjamin Haymes, was fighting a battle in a Los Angeles court to prevent his deportation from the United States.

Rita’s peace at Tahoe was purely physical. She and her two little girls swam in the lake and sunned themselves on the shore and stayed very much to themselves. But Rita was wracked by thoughts of persecution.

In her own mind, she is convinced that a powerful Hollywood motion picture executive is determined to ruin her life unless she gets rid of Dick Haymes. And this is one move she will not make, one threat she refuses to bow down to.

She is deeply in love with the Argentine-born crooner, may even be carrying his child at this very moment, and no matter how tough things are made for her, she is determined to sacrifice everything for love and family.

Rita has had rough sledding ever since she married Haymes in Las Vegas last summer. After the wedding, which was staged at the Sands Hotel under the supervision of press agent Al Freeman, Rita and Dick and her two little girls flew to Greenwich, Connecticut, where Rita had rented a fourteen-room house from a Mr. Joseph Kraeler.

Last summer when she was asked why she was leaving Hollywood, she said, “I think we’ll be happier in the east. Things are less frantic there.”

It didn’t work out that way. For example, when Rita and Dick decided to leave Connecticut early this year and move into the Plaza Hotel in New York City, a deputy sheriff held most of their personal belongings, charging that they owed $675 back rent and had inflicted $4000 worth of damage on Kraeler’s house. In order to obtain their belongings, the Haymeses had to post a $5000 bond.

Once in New York, Rita and Dick were exhausted and decided that they could do with a little Florida vacation. So they put Rebecca and Yasmin under the care of Mrs. Dorothy Chambers, an old friend of the Haymes family. She is a wonderful woman who owns an antique shop in Westchester County.

While Rita and Dick were in Florida, a mysterious “someone” filed charges with the Westchester County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children that Rita’s two daughters were being shamefully neglected.

Rita has a pretty good idea who instigated the charges but she’s keeping the identity of the culprit to herself.

You can imagine how Rita felt, however, when she picked up a newspaper one morning last spring and read that a Children’s Court Judge had issued an order placing her two little girls in the protective custody of the Westchester sheriff.

If the person who had made the charges were really concerned about the welfare of the girls, he could have picked up the phone and made a collect call to Rita in Florida to say, “The woman in charge of your children is neglecting them shamefully.”

Why didn’t he do that instead of filing charges with the Children’s Society? As Mrs. Chambers herself said at the time, “I wish to God I knew who started this. I’d slap him with a suit for defamation of character. It’s beautiful and it’s pathetic. Nobody who is really thinking of these children would do a thing like this.”

Rita, of course, raced home from Florida while newspapers everywhere carried sensational charges: RITA HAYWORTH ACCUSED OF CHILD NEGLECT. RITA FACES NEGLECT CHARGES.

It was ironic. Rita has looked after 74 those two children from the days of their births while their two fathers, Orson Welles and Aly Khan, have been cavorting all over Europe with beautiful women. They contribute practically nothing to the support of their children, although every now and then one reads that Aly is about to settle a million on Yasmin. One is prompted to ask, “A million what?” Thus far, he has only promised to pay $8,000 a year for her support, and Rita has yet to see the $8,000.

When Rita turned up at the Children’s Court in White Plains, New York, on April 26, Judge George W. Smyth absolved her of neglecting her daughters. She was told she could keep custody of Rebecca and Yasmin, but at the same time she was cautioned to keep Rebecca in school.

There was a closed hearing for two hours after which the judge disclosed that he had been in contact with Prince Aly Khan and actor Orson Welles and that they both had characterized. Rita as “a loving mother.”

The judge intimated that the neglect charges had been filed because Rebecca was out of school while her mother was away. Just who was keeping such close rack of Rita and her children no one is saying. Certainly, Rebecca’s education hasn’t been neglected. She is a bright child.

Before Rita had got over the heartache connected with the rearing of her daughters she was faced with the prospect of losing her husband.

As practically everyone knows, the US. Immigration Department began proceedings last year to deport Dick Haymes. By claiming to be a citizen of a neutral nation, Argentina, Haymes had managed to remain draft-free during World War II. Because of this he was not allowed to leave the United States. Last winter, however, he flew to Hawaii to visit Rita while she was making a picture there.

Upon returning to California he was told that he was liable for deportation to Argentina because he had left the country. Haymes swears that before he left the country he asked the Immigration officials if there was any law against his taking the trip.

Richard Cody, a former Immigration employee, has sworn in a closed hearing that he was ordered not to tell Haymes anything, that, in fact, “an entrapment” was set for the singer.

Haymes’ lawyer, David Marcus, is convinced that, “someone has been trying to make Haymes the scapegoat. Just who wants him out of the country, I don’t know. I’ve heard it said that if Haymes gets shipped, Hayworth will be more tractable. I don’t think so. If Haymes is deported, I’m sure Mrs. Haymes will follow.

“But at this point it doesn’t look as if Dick will be deported so easily. His warrant of deportation has been canceled and the Immigration Department’s Board of Appeals has been scrupulously fair.”

It is significant that while Haymes’ hearing was in progress, Rita’s studio gave out the assertion that in no way was it interested in the outcome. This is meaningful because it has been suggested in many quarters that it is Rita’s studio that lies behind all her heartache and trouble.

Rita has her own film producing company, Beckworth Productions. Only recently her company filed suit against Columbia Pictures asking for an accounting of $13,000,000 worth of film product.

One well-known Hollywood observer says, “It’s really very simple. Some of the big shots think that Dick inspired the suit against Columbia. They think that if they can get rid of Dick, Hayworth will be very easy to handle. They think Haymes is ‘the heavy’ in the case.”

Columbia Pictures describes this and similar allegations as “ridiculous.” Rita is under suspension for refusing to make pictures at Columbia, and as soon as she returns, expressing her willingness to work, she goes back on the payroll at approximately $5,000 a week.

It is no secret that Rita wants to get out of her Columbia contract. She will do anything to sever her association with that particular studio. She will give up her lawsuit, her claims to any money due her, her residual interests in films, everything. She just does not want to make another picture for Columbia.

As a result of this adamant attitude, she is dead broke and living on borrowed money.

Haymes, of course, has no money, and is being sued for non-support by two of his former wives, Joanne Dru and Nora Eddington.

So, all things considered, it’s really pitiful. These two people have devoted the best, most fruitful years of their lives to show business.

The woman, Rita Hayworth, is broke, harried, condemned, subjected to the most unfair attacks, private and public, ever directed at any famous figure.

The man, Dick Haymes, is broke, too, threatened with jail and deportation.

In the whole world these two have only each other to count on for support and encouragement. They are both convinced that eventually they will fight their way through the darkness that threatens now to engulf them. And the beacon of light that will see them through is their potent and continuing love.

“It is very easy to love and be happy,” Rita once said, “when you have your health, when your career is going well and things are good at home. When the bottom drops out, it’s much more difficult.”

The bottom of pretty nearly everything has dropped out for Rita and Dick. But they still have their love. And with that for a foundation, there are no heights to which they cannot ascend.

Certainly after all these months of per secution, anguish, and heartache, they deserve one good break. It is hard to see who could be served by deporting Haymes and thereby driving Rita and her children from their country.





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