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Larry's Classic Star Reminiscences

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Larry,

 

Did you ever know David O. Selznick and Jennifer Jones. They certainly were one of the most *interesting* couples ever in Hollywood. Recently, Jennifer has been something of an enigma to all of us, so any insight would be greatly appreciated.

 

It really was great that you have such good memories of the wonderful times you had. I'm sure we are all envious of your experiences.

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Roseinryanz,

 

No, I did not know David O. Selznick nor Jennifer Jones.

David was once married to Irene Mayer, who was Edie Goetz' younger sister. They did not get along and were rival hostesses in LA. My crowd orbitted around Edie and her husband, Bill.

Irene later moved to NYC and became a producer of Broadway plays. Edie and Irene got on better after that, with a continent between them.

 

Larry

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This is great stuff, Larry & friends--but is there any chance that you might return to your personal memories of one of my favorite screen beauties, Loretta Young, sometime soon?

 

Thanks-moira

 

P.S. Who says 63 is old!!

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Hello Everyone,

 

Loretta Young - I met her in 1953, when she was first going into TV. Her husband, Tom, (a first class a--hole) was producing it and my grandmother was a silent producer (she supplied the money!).

- my grandmother produced her show until 1955, but gave up because Tom Lewis became impossible and because Loretta, known as 'Gretch the Wretch' by some, became a '****'. I stayed out of it and Loretta and I were always friendly.

- Loretta's mother, Gladys, was an interior decorator in LA and had done our house on Roxbury Drive.

- I knew her daughter, Judy fairly well but her sons Chris and Peter were sent to military school, so I only saw them rarely. They envied me the run of Beverly Hills (I was tutored at home).

- Loretta looked after Mae Murray (oversaw to her maintenance) after 1962, when poor Mazie went more than a little gaga....

- last saw Loretta when Ann Miller and I went from Las Vegas to Palm Springs in 1998 to visit. She gave me a picture of herself, autographed 'Gretch, 1998 xox'.....

- she died in her sister's house in Beverly Hills. Her sister, Geogiana is married to Ricardo Montalban.

- Loretta had two older sisters, Polly Ann Young and Sally Blane, who were in movies also.

 

Larry

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Hi, Larry:

 

Didn't Loretta also have an older brother. Jack, I think his name was. I think Georgiana was her half-sister, from her mother's second marriage.

 

If I remember right, the three siblings: Polly Ann, Sally, and Jack all passed away within a year of each other. Since I understand she was close to her siblings, that must have been hard on Loretta.

 

Sally was married to Claudette Colbert's ex-husband, Norman Foster.

 

Take care.

 

Deborah

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Wow Larry - you lived on Roxbury Drive!

 

That street is considered one of the best in all of Beverly Hills! Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Rosemary Clooney, Lionel Barrymore, and Peter Falk all lived there among many others. In fact, I think Falk STILL lives there. Did you live around any of these people? Did you know Lucy by any chance? If so I would LOVE to hear your recollections of her.

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Hi,

 

Deborah -

 

John Young or 'Jack' was a younger brother of Polly Ann, Sally and Loretta. Georgiana was the daughter of Gladys and George Belzer, Gladys' second husband.

And yes, Sally (whose really name was Elizabeth Jane Young) was married to Norman Foster. He was Claudette Colbert's first husband.

These people do get around in Hollywood, don't they???

 

 

Moviejoe79 -

 

I knew Jimmy and Gloria Stewart but not Jack Benny nor Lucille Ball.

My grandmother detested Lucille Ball and Mary Livingstone, whom she called "Sadie Sludge". She thought Mary was crap.

We lived 2 houses down and across the street from Agnes Moorehead, whom I adored.

My grandmother also owned homes on Summit Drive and Rexford Drive in BH. Her family owned large properties in and around LA and still do.

 

Larry

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"Gretch the Wretch"? A '****'? My bubble has been bursted regarding the lovely Loretta Young. Will I ever look at her the same way again?

Of course I will.

 

Mongo

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Yeah, although I love this thread (thanks Larry!), there are somethings I'd rather not know about my favorite stars. For instance, though it wasn't disclosed here, I have a hard time watching the films of one of my favorite actresses (Claudette Colbert) once I learned that she had an obsession about not having the right side of her face on camera. Now, every time I watch one of her movies, I notice all the (sometimes) contrived set-ups which helped "protect" her.

 

BTW, Larry, am much anticipating your notes about Merle Oberon, one of my (other) obsessions, ever since I first saw her in These Three on TCM a few years back.

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Great recollections, Larry

 

I like very much Loretta and I remember reading many nicknames they called her, like "The Iron Butterfly" and one that caught my attention: "Attila the Nun"...Guess people in Hollywood weren't so friendly. There was obviously lots of envy, jealousy and competition among these Screen Gods.

 

She was also very much criticized for lack of acting talent and for being a "clotheshorse", especially at the beginning of her career...but who listens to the critics?

 

I think she developed into a very fine talent and that she was very beautiful and classy.

 

On the other hand, I don't care if she was a phony catholic as some people said or whatever, she was a Personality and one of the big stars.

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Path...

 

I read that the "unphotographed/unfilmed" side of Colbert's face was called "the dark side of the moon", 'cos nobody ever saw it. LOL!

 

I also recall that she said that her right profile was "flawed" since she had a "bump". I think that sometimes, we get all overconscious about our "looks" and "supposed flaws"...in fact I also think I've got a "better" side and I always try to be photographed from that side ;).

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Hi,

 

Mongo & Feaito -

 

Loretta was really a nice & charming person. Others called her 'Gretch the Wretch' and 'Attila the Nun'; I never did.

She had a pretty good sense of humour about herself, too and I think she was a perfectionist about her work. Hence, the name calling.

 

My grandmother had many dislikes, etc. and called many people a '****', even Martha Raye, whose show she also financed at the same time. Really, in 1955, she dropped both of them and we went off to Europe for 3 months, so something happened then to set her off.

Even I had a few innings with her then in the South of France and was proclaimed "a little sh-t".. That was Nell, my granny!!!!

 

Loretta wasn't a phony Catholic at all. She was quite devout. Along with Rosalind Russell, Irene Dunne and Jane Wyman, they were known as "The Catholic Ladies" and Roz dubbed our church "Our Lady of the Cadillacs".

These women supported an orphanage and many other charitable efforts.

 

 

Path40A -

 

I don't know much about Claudette Colbert and her face but I've seen movies where she walked around and both sides and front were shown. Maybe not in close-up but maybe that was the problem - her "flaw(s)" showed up in close-ups. Who knows?//

 

I'll do Merle Oberon next.

 

Larry

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Thanks for the additional info Larry...I know you liked Loretta... it's other women who did not, it seems the "weaker sex" was pretty competitive in "Hollywoodland".

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Hello Again,

 

Merle Oberon - Merle was my first date. I first met her on board the Queen Mary in 1947 returning to the US from Europe. I was to have my 5th birthday on board and Merle took me to the Veranda Grill on a date and there she gave me a nice gift and a big cake. She was a married woman at the time and we both got teased that I was breaking up her marriage. Scandalous!!!

Her husband, Lucien, played along with the joke. He was a very big rugged and handsome man and had a great big smile to match. They looked good together....

- many years later, Merle was married to an Italian millionaire, Bruno, and had a beautiful Moorish style house (Ghalal) in Acapulco, where she spent most of the 60's entertaining the international jet-set. In contrast to Lucien, Bruno was a puny shrimp, but had big bucks.

- in her bedroom, she had a teak opium bed, in which the center piece could be removed and she'd serve tea at 3PM prompt. During a three day stay there, we had tea in her opium bed - no opium though.....

- she had two adopted children, Bruno, Jr. and Francesca.

- had her jewels stolen on board either Onassis' yacht or Agnelli's yacht by a trusted servant. The yacht was searched and no jewels. When the Italian police came on board, they found a large package under the servant's room rug under his bed. He got 25 years.

- she coached Marlon Brando in an English accent for his role as Fletcher Christian.

- I attended the Rome Opera with her in 1958, when Maria Callas walked off the stage in a snit during a command performance for the President of Italy. Merle and Elsa Maxwell tried to coax her back on but nothing doing, Maria stayed put. Her career went south after that!!

- she campaigned desperately for the role of Catherine of Aragon in "Anne of a Thousand Days" and never forgave Hal Wallis for giving it to someone else (can't remember who?) - Mongo will know...

- sold her Acapulco villa to Princess Shams of Iran after the Iranian royalty was deposed. Shams was a good friend of Ann Miller.

 

Larry

 

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Larry, the actress who got the part in "Anne of the Thousand Days" as Catherine of Aragon was Greek star Irene Papas.

 

Mongo

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Hi,

 

Mongo -

Thanks, I knew you'd know who played that role.

I saw the movie when it first came out and had forgotten the actress' name. Irene Pappas was also in "Zorba the Greek" and "The Moonspinners". I should have known that.

Thanks again.

 

Larry

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Hi,

 

Bggalaxy -

Sorry, but I didn't know Rosalind Russell. She was mostly living in NYC in the 50's, doing "Wonderful Town" and then "Auntie Mame" on Broadway

 

But, she had a house on Bedford Drive in Beverly Hills, just 2 blocks east of us.

I saw her once in 1957 at a party and she was making an entrance at Chasens. Taking off a black satin evening coat, she had on a matching black satin dress, neck high and long sleeves. As she walked past us she revealed the dress was backless with a big white flower on the bum.

Everyone said she should wear that dress in "Auntie Mame" and she did.

 

Larry

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When you said you were going to post about Merle Oberson and her opium bed, I just had this vision of Merle hitting the pipe. Glad you cleared that up. :)

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Hi again,

 

I forgot that I always called her "Naughty Merle", which she loved.

The reason is because when I first met her on board the Queen Mary, they played one of her movies called "Temptation" in which she poisons her husband. After I saw it I said to her, "You were very naughty!"... She laughed and said, "I'll always be naughty for you, darling!".....

We then had our first date.

 

Larry

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Dear Larry,

 

Do you happen to know whether Ann Miller was actually romantically involved with Louis B. Mayer? I was under the impression that Miller went to some nightspots and parties with him (sometimes with her mom along), but that it wasn't a romance so much as a mentorship. On my new "Broadway to Hollywood" DVD set, there are more references to her "dating" Mayer.

 

I've also always wondered the same about Arthur Freed and Lucille Bremer.

 

 

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Hi Ayresorchids,

 

I don't know anything really about Lucille Bremer nor Arthur Freed. Sorry..

 

Ann Miller's dates with Louis B. Mayer were quite platonic. He loved to dance and their nightclubbing was mostly dance marathons. It didn't hurt her career though and there doesn't seem to have been any envy or jealousy from anyone else.

Louis B. also dated Ginny Sims with the same dancing goal.

Ann also dated Conrad Hilton with the same dancing duo itinerary and it didn't seem to upset Zsa Zsa. They remained friends for life.

Annie was so upset over Zsa Zsa's accident and feared she wouldn't survive. Ironically, Zsa Zsa is still with us and doing quite well so I hear.

 

Larry

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Mongo,

 

Here's some interesting tidbits about two of your 'birthday girls' today (April 8th):

 

Sonja Henie -

In the late 60's, when someone asked her if she would do any more movies, she replied as she turned her backside to him, "My career is all behind me now!!".....

 

Ilka Chase -

I was dining with friends in Manhattan around 1965, when Ilka came in with her grandchildren and sat at the next table.

She was wearing grey and coral coloured chiffon.

The waiter spilled maranara sauce all over her and while profusely apologizing, she just said, "Oh, don't worry, it's not your fault and it does match the dress!". I said that she was a very gracious lady not to get mad.

She just laughed and said, "This stuff is rather hot, I can't wait till they spill ice water on me!!"....

What class......

 

Larry

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Dear Larry:

 

Did you ever seen the "Private Screenings" episode Ann did with Robert Osborne. It seems to me I remember Ann telling Bob that Louis B. Mayer was in love with her. According to Ann, her mother disapproved, and that was the end of that. She felt Mayer was too old for Ann.

 

Ann also said that Mr. Mayer was also a perfect gentleman at all times. She obviously had very fond memories of him, as did Mickey Rooney. Mickey Rooney looked on Mayer as a father figure. Mayer even helped Mickey's real life father, get some bit roles in Mickey's movies.

 

I know a lot of people badmouth Louis B. Mayer. He could be ruthless, as well as a number of other things. My feeling is a guy who could make such wonderful movies couldn't be all that bad. Besides the fact, it seems that not everyone hated him, either.

 

Take care. I thought Ann was a dear as well. I loved that story you told at the MGM Grand. It kills me those employees don't know the stars of their own hotel.

 

Deborah

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