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Larry's Classic Star Reminiscences


vecchiolarry

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Hi Joe,

 

No, MOMA is out.... The gentlemen from Poland can only get visa's for Austin and so that's where I'm going.

They made a mistake or misunderstanding when I told them that she lived in San Antonio and put on their application - Austin.

But, since it's only down the road, I'm going to see if we can't get to SA and film her house and condo building (????).....

 

Larry

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hey Madge,

 

Greg Bautzer was a lawyer, who worked mostly in divorce cases (some of which he caused!!) and worked for Howard Hughes.

He was mostly seen at Ciro's, the nightclub and only phoned if he wasn't coming that night..

I saw him when he was married to Dana Wynter and they made a very good looking pair. Around 1956, both Hedda and Louella had columns heralding the bidding wars for his 'little black book'.

 

He is rumoured to have caused the divorce between Joan Crawford and Philip Terry. Allegedly, she told PT one night, "Oh by the way, I've moved on!"......

Another story has it that Joan broke up with him finally by asking him to get out of her car and check the tires one night and then drove off leaving him there in the road!!!!!

 

A very filty story about him (I won't tell it here) went that he'd had every woman in LA except Louella Parsons, even though she begged him for it. Quite a boy.

Dana and Greg did have a son (Mike???) but don't know what happened to him. Dana did move to Ireland years ago and I don't know if she's still with us???

 

Larry

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Larry -

 

Thanks for the info - he certainly was a ladies man! Re Louella - I don't know if this is urban lore - I recall reading that her doctor husband often drank too much and would (once under a piano) pass out at parties, to which Louella would say "Oh he needs to rest - he has to perform surgery tomorrow morning!" That must be an old wives tale - it's just too funny to be true!

 

Madge

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Hi again Madge,

 

Actually, that story about Louella and Doc, her husband, is true. It happened at Bill & Edie Goetz's house in the 40's and I have it straight from Edie's mouth. The Goetz's were great friends of ours.

It happened only the once, but the story has been embellished so that people tell it like it was a common occurrance.

 

Louella was a nice but dumb old lady and had no idea about anything important. My favourite story about her is that when Europe was exploding with World War II and the papers were full of Hitler's attrocities, she wrote in her column, "The deadly dullness of the past few weeks in the world will be broken by the news that little Shirley Temple has been signed to appear in 'The Bluebird'. At last everyone in the world can lighten their hearts with joy!!!"...... Duh!!!!!!!!

 

Larry

 

 

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Larry - what WONDERFUL stories!! I've always read that Edie Goetz was one of the best (if not THE best hostess in town!) I know that she had a hot and cold relationship with Irene - but I'm curious - I've read that Selznick and Jennifer Jones gave great day long parties - was there any social conflict for friends (you know seperate camps) since Selznick used to be Edie's brother-in-law? Did that make any sense? Lol!

 

Madge

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Madge,

 

Yes, you made sense and I understand what you're asking. I think I've mentioned somewhere along the way that there was rivalry and sometimes tension among the 'hostesses' in town.

Apart from the Los Angeles social scene, where there was a Spanish and Mexican and American hierarchy, there was a heathy bitchery among the movie girls.

Edie Goetz, Louise Fazenda, Marion Davies, Binnie Barnes and Theda Bara were high powered hostesses. The Countess Dorothy di Frasso tried to make inroads here too.

Ann Warner and Virginia Zanuck gave parties about 4 times a year.

Irene Selznick probably was a contender too but she moved to New York City in the late 40's and I never knew her. I also never knew David Selznick nor jennifer Jones, although I have had lunch a half dozen times with Danny Selznick (but that was later in NYC in the 80's).

Edie and Irene were sisters that fought and made up and who knew where you were with them. I was always a champion of Edie and so was Nell. Great woman -- should have been Empress of Russia!!!!!

Loved and adored Louise Fazenda -- she should be a saint!!!!!

 

Larry

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Just to let you know that actress Dana Wynter is alive and well at age 74. She divideds her time between California and Ireland. She was last seen on TV in 1993.

 

Her ex-husband Greg (Gregson) Bautzer died in 1987 at age 76. A Navy pilot in WWII, and Attorney to the stars, on his resting place is written "As Long As Memory Lives, So Will My Love".

He was also the lawyer for mobster Bugsy Siegel.

 

Mongo

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Larry and Mongo -

 

Thank you for taking the time to share your stories and knowledge! What a joy!

 

Larry -

 

Louise Fazenda must have really been a lovely woman. Just a few weeks ago I saw an obit for writer/actor Edward Bunker - it mentioned that when he was a very young man in prison Louise Fazenda gave him his first typewriter. To think that her gesture of kindness changed the direction of his life. You were so lucky to be friends with this big hearted lady!

 

Have a nice evening!

Madge

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Good Morning Madge,

 

That story about Louise Fazenda helping a young convict had a happy ending but her end came about because another young man allegedly beat her up.

'Aunt Loolie' or Lulu as she was known helped everybody. She is the only movie star I know who went into the jails and prisons and literally handed out soap, shampoo, razors, clothes and money to help them along. When they came out, she helped them with rooms and sometimes jobs.

One such young boy she had helping her in her garden (she couldn't stand the sun and was half blind) and he attacked her. His story was that he hit her in the head, but I've heard that she was kicked and her kidneys and liver were damaged. Anyway, she died later in the hospital of cerebral hemorrhaging.

He got 10 - 12 years but was out in four and a half. What justice!!!!!!

 

Well, I'm glad she helped somebody to a better life, like that writer you mentioned. Bless him......

That's why I say, she should be a saint!!!!

 

Larry

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Oh Larry -

 

What a heartbreaking story! I had never heard about that - what a tragic and unfair way to end! Thank you for sharing your special memories of your dear friend Louise.

 

So sorry-

Madge

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Larry, Larry, I'm totally new to this wonderful board and getting caught up on your fantastic memories!

 

I have a strange question re some male stars from all over the map - did you ever know Joel McCrea, Robert Wagner, or Jeffrey Hunter? I've spoken with Mr. Wagner on the phone and he was so nice. But I'd love to know more about these three. Thanks.

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Dear Larry:

 

That is a sad story about Louise Fazenda. I never heard that before. I bet Hal Wallis and his son wanted to get their hands on that guy. I wonder if that guy who got off easy did anything worthwhile with his life. What on earth would possess someone to kick someone who was trying to help them.

 

I remember an interesting story about Louise Fazenda and Hal Wallis regarding Sunday afternoon barbecues they had. It seems Hal would invite a bunch of his friends over for barbecue. A lot of these so-called friends would bring their mistresses instead of their wives to these shindigs.

 

Louise, I guess, did not approve of this, but Hal didn't tell them not to bring their girlfriends. When she had enough of the shenanigans, she played a little trick on the friends. One Sunday, she invited her own special guest, a gossip columnist by the name of Louella Parsons. Well, Larry, the following Sunday, the erring husbands brought their wives to the barbecue instead of their girlfriends. It might have been in an Adela Rogers St. John book I read this story, but I don't remember for sure.

 

That stuff you said about the "Bluebird" sounds like typical Louella. I can just picture her saying it, especially with that nasally, sing-songy voice of hers." It's interesting the "Bluebird" flopped. Then again, dear old Lolly thought Benito Musselini was such a good example to the people of Italy, encouraging all of the women of Italy to become pregnant and often to do their duty by their country. I loved the movie "Malice In Wonderland," with Liz Taylor doing marvelous Louella impersonation.

 

It's funny, but neither her nor Hedda Hopper finished grammar school, but yet they had all of this power over the acting community in Hollywood. I bought this book several years ago called "Tell It To Louella." It was published around 1961. I glanced at it towards the back and ran across her talking about the top ten couples in Hollywood.

 

Well, she had a list of who she thought had the most successful marriages, and they weren't whom you would normally think of. In fact, most of whom she picked, with a couple of exceptions, wound up getting divorced. But, the prize was the number one couple she picked: Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. I think they were divorced the next year or so.

 

Take care.

 

Deborah

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Hi,

 

Chandler -

Welcome to the boards.

I did not know Joel McCrea nor Frances Dee although I have seen them on occasion. And, I've seen their son, Jody several times. They were all beautiful people, literally and figuratively..

Didn't know Robert Wagner, although I have seen Natalie Wood filming "West Side Story" in NYC.

Also, didn't know Jeffrey Hunter. Agnes Moorehead coached him for his role in "King of Kings"..

Sorry, I don't know much more than that about them.

 

Deborah -

What a great story about Louise Fazenda.

If Hal was giving a barbeque, Loolie probably would not have joined in since she was averse to the outdoors. So she probably wouldn't have been around the friends and their mistresses.

When you see a caricature of the lady movie star with sun glasses and a big hat and palazzo pants, that's not Gloria Swanson or Constance Bennett, it's Louise Fazenda....

Loolie was practically blind from the klieg lights on old movie sets and always wore sun glasses - she started that trend. And, the sun hurt her eyes and skin, so she was mosty dressed in wide hats and pants. She usually entertained at night... In fact, she once joked to Bela Lugosi, "I only come out at night, too!!"....

 

Larry

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Thanks so much, Larry. Did you happen to know Constance Bennett? Although I guess you were fairly young when she passed away. I have recently become interested in her since the old films have been running on TCM. I just love her. And I remember David Niven saying that she would walk into a room looking exquisite, play cards all night, and leave the next morning looking exactly the same! I have an old fan magazine with her photo and I remember a friend seeing it and commenting on how incredible looking she was. Anyway, I'm enjoying your commentary.

 

P.S. You don't know exactly how Agnes Moorhead coached Jeff Hunter, do you? Dialogue? Acting? How did she get involved in it? Just wondering - that's the kind of fascinating thing I love to hear about.

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Hi Chandler,

 

No, I didn't know Constance Bennett. She was gone from LA by the time I got there. Didn't know Joan either. Saw Barbara once at a party but didn't know her either.

They were all glamourous!!!!

 

Agnes Moorehead had an acting / coaching school(?) at her home and helped many people when she had the time.

She was a very religious woman (her father was a preacher) and could quote chapter and verse from the bible. So, she coached Jeffrey Hunter in the proper enunciation of the passages and generally encouraged him along.

I heard a funny story about her and Jayne Mansfield. Agnes had a wicked sense of humour too! Jayne bumped into Agnes at 20th Century-Fox, and asked, "What advise do you have for me, Miss Moorehead?" Agnes had seen her "Girl Can't Help It" movie and replied, "Just don't let them sell you as a pair of milk cartons, dear!!"

Obviously, Jayne disregarded those 'bon mots'.....

 

Larry

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Hi Larry -

 

I hope that you have some clout with the weatherman when you make your visit to So. Cal next month! I'm afraid that global warming has us in it's grip! The SG Valley hit 106 degrees today - it's brutal. If this keeps up you'll be able to fry an egg on Ryan Seacrest's star! ... I bet you have some fun memories of Santa Anita Race Track - years ago I remember spotting spotting Greer Garson and her bright red hair in her box. Unfortunately it's gotten a little shabby over the years, but they still have fantastic corned beef sandwiches!

 

Hoping that you will facilitate a rain dance

- Madge

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Hi, Larry:

 

I loved all your stories about Marion Davies. From what you've told me and from what I've heard, she was a really sweet lady. You sure cannot tell she had a stuttering problem, seeing her films. As for whether Pat was Rose's or Marion's daughter, who knows. The people who know for sure took it to their graves.

 

I wanted to ask you if you ever saw the made-for-TV film about Heart and Davies, with Virginia Madsen as Davies and Robert Mitchum as Hearst. There was also a film called the "Cat's Meow," with Edward Hermann as Hearst and Kirsten Dunst as Davies, about the so-called Thomas Ince affair. From what I've gathered from reading different sources, it seems the incident probably never happened as shown in the movie, with Hearst murdering Ince. Although, no one knows for sure. I believe Hearst loved Marion Davies, and Marion Davies loved Hearst. She sure helped him out when he was broke. For my money, Madsen's protrayal was better than Dunst's, who is not that much of an actress.

 

The most unfortunate aspect of "Citzen Kane" was that people thought it was the story of Marion Davies, which it wasn't. I think that is why Hearst was so angry, not for him so much, but because Marion was hurt by the whole thing. To my way of thinking, it is not Wellese who is the biggest villian. The biggest villian is Herman Mankiewicz, who was a friend of the couple and went to San Simeon often. I think Hearst felt more betrayed by Herman Mankiewicz than Orson Welles, who had no business calling anyone else a drunk, especially since he was an alcoholic himself.

 

There is also a myth going around that "Citizen Kane" was destroyed by the Hearst newspapers. That may have been true in the big cities, but not in smaller cities and towns, where Hearst did not have newspapers. Some guy in "Films of Golden Age" studied how the film did in Indianapolis, which was not too good. Studying data from "Movie Herald" and different movie theaters, the gentleman came to the conclusion that most folks in small-town America did not care for the movie, mainly because they did not understand it or get it. For myself, I like "Citizen Kane." I think it's a very creative movie, but I certainly don't think it's the greatest film ever made.

 

In fact, I prefer Welles' second film, "Magnificent Ambersons," a lot better than I do "Citizen Kane," which I admire a lot. I think it's one of the most creative films ever made.

 

Take care, Larry. Good luck on your trip. I'm very interested to hear your take on the actresses playing Marion Davies.

 

Deborah

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Hi Deborah,

 

I'm afraid I never saw either Virginia Madsen nor Kirsten Dunst in their Marion Davies persona's... Madsen is a good actress and I have never seen Dunst in anything but I hope they didn't make her out to be a dingbat....

 

"Citizen Kane" and "The Magnificent Ambersons" are both great movies and I've only seen them once, mostly for Agnes Moorehead.

I really am not that much of a film buff. I have never been overly taken with movies or television.

Of all the people on this message board, I am probably the one who knows the least about film; the dunce about the actual movies. I knew some of the people in the movies, but most of them were 'passe' or over their peak period. Even running around Paramount or MGM, I was mostly in the commissary getting goodies for the guards! Going onto a set or into a studio wasn't that interesting really.

 

About Citizen Kane -

It isn't necessarily about Hearst and Marion. Several other people fit the characters of Kane and Susan:

Hope Hampton and Jules Bulator (sp?)

Harold McCormick and Ganna Walska

Both these men tried to make opera stars out of these women and failed and McCormick even owned the Chicago Opera House, where Susan supposedly debuted in the film.

Ganna had an awful voice and was booed off the stages of several places and Hampton was nicknamed 'Hopeless Hampton' all her life...

Orson Welles has stated that the movie isn't about Hearst and Marion but a compilation of several people.

 

Larry

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Hi Madge,

 

I personally love hot weather, the hotter the better. In 1998 in Las Vegas, the temperature reached 112 one day and I was one of only a few walking The Strip. I went into several casinos for water and a sit down along the way but I made it from the MGM Grand to the Sahara and back in 6 hours. Most people were passing out on the sidewalks but I survived......

 

And, I would not waste an egg on Ryan Seacrest. Eggs are much to valuable to throw away on a 'ham' (and not even a good one)... I do not believe in wasting or destroying food. When I see those films of people throwing tomatoes or oranges at each other in Spain, I cringe.

 

Eggs are one of the most whole foods on Earth and revered in many cultures.

I have 12 of Nell's Faberge eggs, which I inherited. Her first two husbands were Russian princes, so she had a lot of such things - too many really.

 

I'll just stomp on Seacrest's star. I'd spit but that would be filthy and I don't believe in that!!

 

Larry

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Hi Larry -

 

If you love hot weather, then you will truly enjoy your visit - the temps went wild again today. It's odd - the humidity is unusally intense this year, I would imagine it is due to the heavy rains that we experienced last winter....What a wonderful story about your complicated Nell gifting you with her precious eggs - she not only sounds like she was a fascinating lady, but that she clearly adored you!

 

I know that you were close with both Agnes Moorehead (no - I haven't read her book yet) and Mary Astor - did you know Ms. Astor at the time Ms. Moorehead directed her in the touring production of "Don Juan In Hell" in the late fifties?

 

- Madge

 

 

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Hello Madge,

 

It is quite hot here in Calgary too -- I can't figure out if it is because of El Nino or La Nina -- never could figure out weather, high front / low front - Duh??

 

Yes, I knew Mary Astor when Moorehead directed her in that play. I never saw the play itself but it did offer both Agnes and Mary a glamourous role for them.

I do know that Mary left because she couldn't get along with Ricardo Montalban.

Agnes and Mary were very good friends and loved to laugh together. I have had lunch with both of them at MGM commissary a couple of times and was often confused about who and what they were laughing about. I think those naughty girls were raking someone over the coals but why I never knew. They could be scamps.

Once they got done up like a couple of geisha girls and couldn't stop looking at themselves and laughing hysterically. My mother said to them, "You look like a couple of 'Shanghai whores'!!" and they went into gales of laughter. That's how I sometimes remember them and I have to just smile....

In 1986, when I last saw Mary, I reminded her about this and she said, "I wonder if we would have made even 50 cents??"

 

Larry

 

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Hi Larry -

 

What fun! Both of those ladies were so smart and observant I'm sure that quips flew when they got together! I've read (and yes, I know to take the things I read with a grain of salt) that when Ms. Moorehead directed her in "Don Juan" that she happily shared alot of tricks that she herself used in the role - if Ms. Astor wanted to use any of them. Alot of actresses would not have a strong enough ego to want another actress shine - especially in a role that they had played themselves. Have you ever seen "What's The Matter With Helen?" Ms. Moorehead gives a great turn as an Aimee Semple Mcpherson type.

 

As much as I admire Mary Astor's film work, I would have loved to see her on stage in "Time Of The Cuckoo" - I would also have loved to see her play Norma in the television production of "Sunset Boulevard." I think Darrin McGavin played Joe - I have no idea who played Max. Didn't she also do "The Women" on television? Those kinescopes are probably stored away in a cameraman's niece's garage in a box mislabled "MISC. KITCHEN" - Hopefully someday someone will realize the treasures they have!

 

- Madge

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Hi,

 

Yes, I have seen Aggie as 'Aimee Semple McPherson' ans I thought she was a hoot!! The funny thing about that is that anyone who knew Agnes would have clued in to the fact that she was "sending up" all the religious bigots and charletons.

Aggie was a very religious woman (her father was a devout preacher) but always thought religion should be kept close to the heart. She and her father were not a "hellfire and brimstone" type.

I loved the big red bun she attached to her own hair.

She did that role as a favour for Debbie Reynolds and I've heard they both had trouble with Shelley Winters. Apparently, Shelley really got to poor Debbie but Agnes let her go on and on with her tantum and then said calmly, "Are you finished yet, so we can get on with the picture?" Shelley didn't pull any more stunts with Agnes.

 

I've never seen Mary Astor as "Norma Desmond" but she would have been a hoot also.

 

Apparently, people are finding lost or partial film reels in their trunks and attics and basements every year. So, who knows what old treasures are out there undiscovered.

A whole years worth of German films were found in Holland two years ago and are being restored in Berlin now.

 

Larry

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Hi Larry -

 

With Mary Astor and Agnes Moorehead on my mind a "Six degrees of seperation" occured to me. In the early 50's during your adventures on the MGM lot, did you ever run across Dolores (DeDe) Barrymore? Not Diana - DeDe was the daughter of John and Dolores Costello. DeDe was an old family friend. In the early 50's she would have been in her early twenties. She left an unhappy first marriage and was at loose ends as to what path to take. She buckled under to pressure to take a stab at an acting career (which she was always the first to admit was NOT her calling) - I know that she spent quite a bit of time at MGM and studied with Lilian Burns before she hightailed it out of there. She was very tall and oddly beautiful - sort of a combination of Christine Baranski and British actress Joanna Lumley. Do you recall crossing her path years ago?

 

- Madge

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