Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

They Walked Away


Guest finnie12, moira

Recommended Posts

Guest finnie12, moira

A few famous faces have turned away from the fame, money and incessant insecurity of life on the silver screen. Greta Garbo's long retirement most readily springs to mind as an example of an actor who found better, or simply, other things to do with her life. Do you know of any classic era figures who had other careers to supplement their movie work? Were there other actors who just said "that's a wrap" to a career and walked away?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Jeannecooper

Didn't Gail Patrick of "My Man Godfrey" and "My Favorite Wife" open a children's clothing shop in the 40's? What about "the singing cowboy" Gene Autry? By the late 50's and 60's he was big in owning real estate, radio and TV stations and eventually the California Angels. Not exactly from the classic film era, but Dolores Hart of 2 Elvis flicks, "Loving You" and "King Creole" and "Where the Boys Are" fame - gave it all up short in her career to become a nun.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Although both Veronica Lake and Frances Farmer didn't exactly walk away they showed little interest in their careers and rebelled against the system. Ultimately both actress' self destructed and were down and out. What a waste.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest finnie12, moira

For actors who seem to have interests outside of show biz-- I believe that Reginald Denny had a successful hobby shop in LA after his early successful silent career led him to less remunerative roles as a character actor in the sound era. Hedy Lamarr patented a type of radar system in the '40s that is said to have broader applications today than initially realized. I believe that she's said to have gained her knowledge of this field while married to a Nazi sympathizer in Austria who was a big wheel munitions manufacturer. She reportedly escaped him when MGM called her to the states. I'm not sure if she made a cent on this, so it may not exactly have been a sideline. Yet perhaps she was as smart as she was beautiful? For those who apparently left a career by choice-- William Powell and James Cagney (with the notable exception of "Ragtime"),both retired and seem to have lived the spirit behind the lines-- "Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, into thin air..."

Link to post
Share on other sites

How about these: Norma Talmadge. She left when sound came in, only to die a short time later. Sad, very sad, and a loss to filmgoers. Dorothy MacKaill. She was a gorgeous blonde, and gave it all up to move to Hawaii. I always wondered what her career would have been like, if she had continued. Norma Shearer. When she realized her appeal was slipping, she retired, and got married again. Anita Page. Although it sounds like she was slightly forced out of the biz by studio execs, she retired at an extremely young age and is still alive today. William Haines. Another one helped into "retirement" by studio execs. Haines however, showed them all up by developing an excellent career in the interior design field.

Link to post
Share on other sites

After winning two best actress Oscar's in a row I believe Luise Rainer had a run-in with Louis B. who just about banished her from Hollywood. From what I understand she despised him however today she has one up on the coot....she is still alive.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest son, jery

Deanna Durbin walked away on the top of the heap in l949 to marry one of Universal's producers. Anita Page announced her retirement to marry in the mid-30s. We know now she probably had little choice since Louis "The Killer Shrew" Mayer blackballed this adorable blonde vixen. June Haver retired in the 50s to enter a monastery but obviously found it a lot different from her Hollywood rat race. So she came out of the convent and married multi-millionaire Fred McMurray. From nun to multi-millionairess. What a change of habit! Betty Grable also retired in the 50s after being the number one superstar in the world for 20th Century Fox. She moved to Las Vegas and developed lung cancer but was able to perform in "Hello, Dolly" and a few other stage productions. Clara Bow made a sparkling comeback in the 30s but then retired for good. Constance Bennett was forced to drop out of movie-making because of her acidic personality and tongue but played a few minor roles until her death in the 60s. And what about Doris Day? I loved Dottie!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Cat, Maggie the

IIRC, Hedy Lamarr's invention was kind of tossed aside by the Allies, as it was late in the war, and who knows if they took it seriously, since she was a babe, and Lord knows babes can't invent stuff. To be fair, she got help refining the idea from George Antheil, but the concept she came up with is now part of cell phone technology. You can read about at Lamarr's official page, or here's a Google search with links to other pages about her invention. She also sued the pants off Corel Corp.--and rightly so--for using her picture on the packaging for their photo-editing software. Morons. You can buy all kinds of royalty-free, model-released pictures of pretty girls and beautiful women. Y'know, if George Sanders is to be believed, she thought of her beauty as a burden. Do ya wonder why?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Cat, Maggie the

In the "Lord, They Tried" category, I have to nominate my man George Sanders. The man was a genius, but he was a sitting duck for some of the most dumb@ss bidness ventures ever: Looking to rebuild his family fortune, which was usurped in the Russian Revolution, he entered into two dubious ventures: One was a company that was to manufacture records (LPs, for you young 'uns) that were thinner and lighter. Fellow actor Brian Aherne invested in the venture. When he visited headquarters, he found it abandoned, with the lovely desks gone and stacks of records in the corner. The second was a sausage-making enterprise, incorporated under the fitting name, "CADCO." Sanders's partners (read: conmen) received funding from the UK gov't., because they were to set up plants in a depressed area of Scotland. It's a long story, but when the whole operation went t*ts-up, Sanders escaped prosecution for his negligence only because exposing the details of the deal would embarass the government. And I'm a big flamin' liberal, in case anybody wants to know, so I'm all for incentives to provide jobs in hard-hit areas. The main problem in this case was the lack of due diligence on the part of the agency handing out the money. Not that I think it's appropriate to discuss politics in this forum. I'm just sayin'.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow Maggie, although I was never a George Sanders fan he certainly was a character. I often wondered why a man like him with his rakish charm involved in so many ventures, married to Zsa Zsa and four other women could possibly be bored enough to take his own life. Although he wasn't that old is it possible he felt that he did it all?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest son, jery

Maybe we should start a discussion of all those stars who SHOULD have walked away while at the top. Can anyone forget those ghastly cheapies that Ray Milland made for American-International, most notably, "The Thing With Two Heads." Or Olivia DeHavilland rolling on the grass with a bee walking up her nose in "The Swarm"? Or the horrible sight of a real-life crippled James Cagney in "RagTime." Or Bette Davis, barely able to open her mouth, in "The Wicked Stepmother." And--I cringe to even mention this one--Joan Crawford in that eternal classic of smother love entitled "Trog"--in which Joanie lavishes her warmth and affection on a man wearing an ape suit? And shouldn't someone tell Clint Eastwood that he's a just a tad mature to be the love interest of a teenie-bopper in his latest slew of movies? Arnie Schwartzenegger is also showing his bones--but, he'll star in 'terminator III' in 2003.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest finnie12, moira

Jery, as usual, your pointed observations cut through the nonsense and you made me laugh! I haven't seen many of the latter day work of those you mentioned, except for a few minutes of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"--I gave up since it was painful for me to see both those actresses in such grotesque parts. I have seen Ray Milland in Roger Corman's "The Man with X Ray Eyes" and that had some imaginative moments, despite the basic weirdness of it all... Call me pollyanna, but how about also including a discussion of leading men and women who made the transition into character parts with some apparent grace? A couple of actors who made this sometimes difficult journey were Don Ameche and Mary Astor. To be honest, I think Don Ameche was a better actor when he was older. In "Trading Places" Ameche deftly played one of a pair of Machiavellian brothers--along with another good actor who kept working, Ralph Bellamy. "Cocoon" and "Things Change" also provided Ameche with interesting, "age appropriate" (terrible term), roles. Mary Astor went from being a seraphically beautiful girl in the silent "Don Juan" to a tough cookie in "Act of Violence" to the overly possessive mother in "Return to Peyton Place"--not to mention the classics like "Maltese Falcon" and "Meet Me in St. Louis" in between. These characterizations never dipped a toe into the grand guignol pool but were distinctive for their consistent intelligence and imagination--she did what a good actor hopes to do--holding a mirror up to human nature. On top of all this she led an, ahem, "active" social life and became a good writer, eventually penning her memoir "A Life on Film" that reflected on her crowded life. Most significantly, she apparently knew when to leave the spotlight...or did the parts just stop coming?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Cat, Maggie the

The "Dear World" note was the public statement. He also wrote a second note to his sister that was probably closer to the truth, saying he'd mere accelerated the inevitable. He'd had a couple of strokes, and was terrified of being incapacitated, after watching his wife and mother both reduced to near-vegatative states within a couple of years of each other. He was also severely depressed, and had taken up with a godawful succubus of a woman who got him drinking again (he'd given it up on doctor's orders) and talked him into selling his house in Mallorca, which he loved. Zsa Zsa basically shanghaied him into marrying her sister Magda, just so the Gabors could keep an eye on him. It was annulled after a week or so. It's heartbreaking how confused and frightened he was in the last years of his life.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Cat, Maggie the

Oh, Moira. Do not deny yourself the pleasure of Baby Jane. One of the things I like best about Bette Davis is her utter fearlessness. She was never afraid to play a character who was mean, venal, or crazy, even if she had to look like hell doing it. Her Baby Jane is a tour-de-force of wack! According to Robert Osborne, Mary Astor was shooting Little Women and Act of Violence at the same time. Talk about your Madonna/**** dichotomy! According to IMDB, the roles were drying up, but she also had a heart condition, which probably made it hard for her to work.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest son, jery

Moira, am so glad you mentioned Don Ameche who had completely slipped my mind. I always thought this guy was so super sexy and talented. He only got better as he got older. I first saw him with Betty Grable in "Moon Over Miami" and fell in love with him. And what a voice. You're right. Quite a few of our favorite oldsters transitioned over to character parts. But just look at that incredible Sean Connery! Here's a man, in his 70s, whose even sexier and more desired than any of this new crop of puppy dogs. You've got both a father figure and a lover figure in one. And in his younger days, he was supposed to be catnip to everyone from Lana Turner to Ava Gardner. Oh, those lucky gals!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest finnie12, moira

Jery, Since you mention Don Ameche's excellent voice, let's not forget "The Bickersons" which he and Frances Langford began performing in on radio in 1946. As a kid growing up in Appleknocker, New York and Maine, I listened to these highly entertaining radio programs on local stations that replayed them well into the 1970s, (no tv for several years when my parents insisted on improving our minds----yeah, sob, I was culturely deprived.) The exceptional writing and interplay between the leads is terribly funny and, even if a person's never been married, offers insights into human nature, and the apparently, <-sigh->, eternal battle of the sexes. More info about this comic gem can be found at http://www.bickersons.com/bickersons.html. "Ramona"(1936) with Loretta Young in beautiful technicolor is an Ameche movie from the early years that gets me, for no rational reason. Don in a pageboy is a sight to see. P.S. Sean Connery is one actor from our time that I would cross the street to gawk at...as referred to in another post, lucky Jeane Cooper has even had a wink from the gentleman in question! Connery's best performance may be one of his scariest--"The Offence"(1973), though I also like "The Great Train Robbery"(1979),and LOVE "The Russia House"(1990)---oh,and how could I forget when he ran around in the orange diaper in "Zardoz"--talk about embarrassing!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JeaneCooper

Boy do I agree about Sir Sean! I was lucky enough to walk 10 feet away from him once - one slow Sunday morning in London, near Victoria Station, 5 years ago. He was gorgeous! I spotted him about 50 yards away, and being a good New Yorker did not make a fuss. I was cool, collected and waited until after he had passed to hit my non stop talking oblivious friend in the ribs. He knew that I knew who he was and rewarded my "coolness" with a wink from those eyes! Too bad his wife was right besides him. Oh well!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JeaneCooper

I should learn to read a bit more, Moira. See how excited I still am...haha. Would I make you perfectly pea green if I told you I had James Garner once kiss my hand? Right hand - ring finger just above the knuckle. Yes, I know I am extremely **** retentive!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest son, jery

Oh, jeanne, you missed the chance of a lifetime because you didn't practice what Lorelei Lee would've done. You don't remember? She would have fainted and would naturally have done so in a sexy manner with her hem just barely covering her thigh. And of course, she would never have come to until Sir Sean had carried her some place private and only a kiss would have brought her back to reality. Ohhhh, I'm so jealous of you--actually seeing Sir Gorgeous in person!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest son, jery

Johnny Sheffield, who played "Boy" in the Tarzan movies and then went on to play "Bomba" in his own series, quit at the ripe old age of 22. To me, the word Adonis is used too freely but this is one time I would definitely use it to describe this golden-curled, beautifully proportioned hunk. His BOMBA films thankfully had him clad only in a loin-cloth. I always thought he would have been perfect for all those muscle-man epics filmed in Italy during the 50s and 60s, usually starring Steve Reeves, Reg Parker and Ed Fury.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

As much as I love Bette Davis, I think she should have let "The Whales of August" be her swan song, but maybe she had no idea how close she was to her own mortality. Although I believe I have read in several journals that "Whales" is considered to be her last film, probably due to the very small amount of screen time she actually had in "The Wicked Stepmother", and the fact she was unable to complete it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
Guest finnie12, moira

I don't think that anyone has mentioned John Kerr in this message string. I was reminded of him this morning when I caught a few minutes of TCM's presentation of the remake of "Waterloo Bridge"--1956's rather lackluster "Gaby" with Kerr and Leslie Caron in the leading roles. Kerr's memorable roles as an often misunderstood youth in fifties' films such as "The Cobweb" (1955), "Tea and Sympathy" (1956), and as Lt. Cable in "South Pacific"(1958), might have marked the beginnning of a long showbiz career. Interestingly, disproving F. Scott Fitzgerald's contention that American lives have no second acts, Kerr went to law school and became an attorney, though he still took an occasional acting role. Apparently, Mr. Kerr, Esquire found steadier work as a lawyer than as a rapidly maturing juvenile lead!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2021 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...