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Relationships we don't hear about...


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I was watching a Kay Francis film this morning, and it started me to thinking. I wonder what her relationship at the studio was like with Bette Davis...? We never hear about any of this. They were the two top female stars on the Warners lot, with very different styles I might add, and they never appeared on film together (to my knowledge). I am sure they had dressing rooms near each other and studio gossip and rumors kept them both very much aware of each other's careers and lives.

 

Over at Universal, I wonder what Rock Hudson thought about Audie Murphy and vice-versa. They were both the top male stars at the studio for twenty years. Another top male star at Universal for many of those years, Tony Curtis, writes some interesting anecdotes about Audie in his autobiography. While the rest of the contractees had dressing rooms, these three had lavish bungalows right next to each other.

 

At Fox, I wonder what Marilyn Monroe though about Joan Collins. And what Tyrone Power and Gregory Peck thought about each other.

 

Maybe we'll never know the answers to these questions, but it's fun to think about it.

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A grandson/grandfather type of relationship developed between Mickey Hays and Jack Elam during the filming of "The Aurora Encounter" (1986)

 

There use to have been a nice website about this friendship but is no longer there but this can fill the void .

http://videosift.com/video/Mickey-Hays-coolest-kid-with-Progeria

 

Jack called him his little buddy.

 

The producers used Mickey's Progeria medical condition to cast him as an alien in the film.

 

aur14boy.JPG

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Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

 

I read somewhere that Alice Faye attended Betty Grable's funeral. At first, I thought they would've been rivals but it seems they were very good friends.

 

Also, I was reading about Robert Fuller who appeared in several hit television series at Universal. He said that in the late 50s and early 60s there was a group of male actors (himself included) who met up at the end of each shooting day to drink themselves silly. Their dressing rooms were in close proximity and that hallway was called 'Whiskey Row.'

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> I read somewhere that Alice Faye attended Betty Grable's funeral. At first, I thought they would've been rivals but it seems they were very good friends.

Faye outlived her younger "rival" Grable by twenty-five years (and they both outlived Marilyn Monroe, who was Grable's general successor at 20th Century-Fox), a sad irony that cannot have been lost on her.

 

Anyone who wants a career in show business, particularly as a performer, really needs to understand one thing before he or she starts: when you arrive in Hollywood, say at the tender age of twenty-two, and begin to achieve a measure of success (if you're talented, and/or lucky), there are already eighteen-through-twenty-one-year-olds who are lining up to take your place, some of whom eventually will, because the Public -- ever fickle and easily bored -- is always looking, and ready, for something and someone that at least gives the appearance of being new and different. The Next Big Thing.

 

If you learn that, and make your peace with it, you'll probably be okay (no swan-dives off the Hollywood Sign, like Peg Entwhistle).

 

 

As for Faye and Grable, it's easily explained because both ladies were genuinely nice people who understood the above. And when Marilyn Monroe began to be cast in roles at Fox that Grable had owned a few years ealier, the older woman accepted that with the same cheerful grace and helpful equanimity that Faye displayed during Grable's ascendancy at the studio. Both women probably understood that while dramatic actors can transition into mature supporting roles, the options of those who are primarily musical comedy stars (particularly women) are more limited.

 

 

Transitions can be messy things, but a measure of realism and honesty can go a long way toward making the process easier on everyone.

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Also, I was reading about Robert Fuller who appeared in several hit television series at Universal

 

Any website you can share, TopBilled? Or was it an actual, OMG, book?

 

I wish I still had my fan clippings from the 1960s on him, pictures of him dating Keely Smith, etc. There's no movie/television crush like your first movie/television crush.

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There are those legendary friendships you here about but don't know for sure if they are true or not.

For instance, legend had it that Marlon Brando and Wally Cox of all people were really good "buds", although Brando never mentions him in his Auto bio.

 

Then there's the supposed buisiness/friend relationship that Victor Mature and Jim Backus was said to have.

Sepiatone

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I *was watching a Kay Francis film this morning, and it started me to thinking. I wonder what her relationship at the studio was like with Bette Davis...? We never hear about any of this. They were the two top female stars on the Warners lot, with very different styles I might add, and they never appeared on film together (to my knowledge). I am sure they had dressing rooms near each other and studio gossip and rumors kept them both very much aware of each other's careers and lives.*

 

Throughout most of their joint tenure at WB in the 1930s, Kay Francis was the bigger star. While Davis was acknowledged for her acting prowess, the studio wasn't quite sure what to do with her; they often gave her programmers that she balked at doing. Francis, meanwhile, was having vehicles developed specifically for her. It wasn't until 1938 that things changed. Kay po'ed her employers so much that they announced in the trades that she would finish off her (expensive) contract in B films. Properties bought as vehicles for her were reassigned (TOVARICH, THE SISTERS). Concurrently, Davis, fighting the Brothers Warner for better parts, had the first of a long line of vehicles designed for her, JEZEBEL, and this, along with the part meant for Francis in THE SISTERS, established her once and for all as a top moneymaker for the studio as well as its top dramatic actress. Kay, who didn't do as WB had hoped and leave or refuse roles, got some rather poor movies to wind down her years there.

 

What these two actresses thought of each other over the years I don;t know. Kay was more interested in the money than in making art; Bette vice versa. Bette must have felt bad for her fellow stablemate, and the shabby treatment their employer (and nemesis) was doling out in publicly humiliating and trying to break Kay.

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*I read somewhere that Alice Faye attended Betty Grable's funeral. At first, I thought they would've been rivals but it seems they were very good friends.*

 

**+As for Faye and Grable, it's easily explained because both ladies were genuinely nice people who understood the above. And when Marilyn Monroe began to be cast in roles at Fox that Grable had owned a few years ealier, the older woman accepted that with the same cheerful grace and helpful equanimity that Faye displayed during Grable's ascendancy at the studio. Both women probably understood that while dramatic actors can transition into mature supporting roles, the options of those who are primarily musical comedy stars.*

 

 

 

 

Most accounts have it that Grable got along well with female costars and rivals. Exceptions to this include Carole Landis (according to a Landis bio) and June Haver (which one Grable bio states that Betty thought June was a sanctimonous hypocrite).

 

*Both women probably understood that while dramatic actors can transition into mature supporting roles, the options of those who are primarily musical comedy stars (particularly women) are more limited.*

 

Both Faye and Grable had opportunities to try out more dramatic roles than usual, especially in early phases of their stardom. Neither felt comfortable in anything outside of musicals, although Faye welcomed a change of pace at the end (FALLEN ANGEL), although she felt Zanuck sabotaged her career, whereas Grable thought Zanuck wanted to sabotage her career and refused to do PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET.

 

Monroe on the other hand, caused no end to problems for her studio (and to herself), and was often the butt of jokes and snide remarks, by wanting to expand her range and doing stuff other than the light musicals and comedies in which the studio felt she excelled and the public adored her.

 

Edited by: Arturo on Jan 10, 2012 7:08 PM

 

Edited by: Arturo on Jan 10, 2012 7:10 PM

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