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Larry's Classic Star Reminiscences


vecchiolarry
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Hi madge,

 

I knew that Dolores Costello had a son and daughter but never knew any of the Barrymores nor Costellos.

 

However, you do bring up a name (ghost) from the past that I haven't thought about in years - Lillian Burns.

She was a real powerhouse at MGM and a big influence in Hollywood in general.

She had been a silent film actress (not sure if she was a star though) and became a coach for most of the stock company. Her voice was just as obeyed as Louis B. Mayer.

She gave drama and comedy lessons and also how to be ladies and gentlemen. Even I took lessons from her in manners and deportment. It was she who told me always to behave like Ronald Colman and I still do today (well, I try!!)...

She looked and reminded me of Louise Brooks and was married to George Sidney for decades.

Georgie unceremoniously divorced her and left her practically destitute in her 70's, he proved no gentleman.

Lillian was cared for by Debbie Reynolds and Janet Leigh and Cyd Charrisse for years and died around the time I was in LA in 1998. Ann Miller went to her funeral.

Georgie died about 2 years ago and Annie went to his funeral too....

 

Larry

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Larry, your stories about these legends never fail to amaze me. What great memories of Agnes Moorehead and Mary Astor, two of my favorites. I laughed out loud at Mary Astor's speculation as to how much money she'd make in her geisha girl outfit.

 

I know we've all badgered you about this before, but you really should write a book, a memoir, it would be fascinating. And I wanted to ask you, do you know Debbie Reynolds at all? I know that she was great friends with Agnes Moorehead, so I thought perhaps you hung out with her on occasion, since you were so close to Agnes.

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Hi Joe,

 

No, I did not know Debbie Reynolds. She and Agnes became friends after 1962 and I then lived in Malibu and worked at MGM and didn't go into Beverly Hills as much.

 

My Debbie Reynolds story however is:

In 1998 in Las Vegas, I went to her hotel/casino one afternoon to see the place and her movie stuff. Only the lobby was open and the museum door was slightly ajar, so I peeked in and actually got some pictures of costumes (Mae West's, Lana Turner's and Dorothy Lamour's). Just then a rude young man came up to me and barked, "This place is closed, get out"... I apologized and said that I had hoped to see Debbie Reynolds, as I once knew some friends of hers. He said, "She's out of town filming, so on your way"... I realized it was Todd Fisher and so I then lied and said to him, "You were a much nicer person as a young boy, I hope your mother's proud of you now. A lesson in manners would not go amiss; Agnes Moorehead would never have allowed you to speak to her that way!!"...

I then turned and spotted a guest book on a table. As he was temporarily flummixed, I signed it and added, "Debbie, you have raised a very rude monster!" "Good luck to you, 'the late Eleanor Doheny's grandson'".......

She would know who Eleanor Doheny was........

I never heard from either of them; but in relating this tale to Ann Miller, Loretta Young and Elaine Stewart, they have all voiced the opinion that he's always been an 'a--hole'......

 

Larry

 

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Joe,

 

There is a couple of postings further down about Marion Davies. I know you wanted me to do them.

 

Mongo,

 

I will do a posting on Martha Raye for you tomorrow or the next day.

I have been busy over the weekend with attending 2 dinner parties and I'm semi-hosting one next weekend for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, so I'm more than a little frazzled.

 

Larry

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Hey Chandler,

 

I have seen Hope Hampton about half a dozen times and she did know my name, but I did not know her really...

She was a sweet lady and we waved at each other a couple of times across The Russian Tea Room and The Mocambo. I also saw her once in Jolie Gabor's jewelry store and we hugged and air kissed but that's about all.

I liked her, she was harmless. But, a lot of people were nasty about her and I thought that was unfair.

 

I never saw Jules Bulator/Brulator (??) I never did know what that guys name was.

 

Larry

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Hi Larry -

 

I think that it SO NEAT that you knew Lillian Burns! I've read about her for years. In all of the print and filmed interviews I've seen, all of the ladies adored her and credited her for much of their success. Janet Leigh, Lana Turner, Debbie Reynolds, Jane Powell, June Allyson all raved about her. BUT - I thought that it was interesting that the mermaid made very snarky nasty remarks abut her in more than one place. This lady has said many negative things about many people - when I read her comments re Ms. Burns I knew that this lady probably had a 'glass half empty' view of alot of things.

What a shame Lillian Burns got the short end of the stick with George Sidney - as talented as he was he sure followed up on replacing husbands!

 

I've got a million qustions for you Larry, but it sounds like you are in the middle of a crazy week - I'll jot some down and save them for later.

 

Thanks for your memories!

Madge

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Hi Madge,

 

I never knew Esther Williams but did know one of her husbands slightly - Ben Gage. He was a great guy but Esther wore the pants, I guess. She dumped him for Fernando Lamas, who wasn't going to put up with her orders.

Esther probably didn't want Lillian telling her what to do and when to do it. Lillian was commander-in chief at MGM and some didn't care for that..

 

You probably know that Fanny Brice once said about Esther: "Wet, she's a star; dry, she ain't!!"....

Acting lessons probably wouldn't have helped her and she knew it.

 

Larry

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Hi Larry -

 

I love that zinger from Fanny Brice! I had never heard that one before - that's priceless! I know that Esther Williams had a swimming pool line and a bathing suit line but didn't she and Ben Gage run a restaurant for a time - for some reason that sounds vaguely familiar ... I know that you knew Lana Turner and Cheryl Crane - did you know Steve Crane? Did you ever visit the Luau? And here's an obscure one, did you know one of Steve Crane's wives - I think her name was Helen (her last name escapes me)she was also married to Doug McLure at one time - she always sounded like an interesting lady.

 

- Madge

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Hi again Madge,

 

No, I didn't know Stephen Crane. I came on the scene with her next two husbands, Bob Topping and Lex Barker and then later, Fred May. In between Barker and May was the Stompanato mess but I was in Europe for all that.

Never made it to the Luau. I believe there was one in Hawaii as well as LA.

Is it open now? If it is, I'll go there next month. I'd love to see Cheryl again. We were 'in love!' at 10 and 11, in the early 50's. Apart from holding hands, nothing much came of it, but Nell and Lana thought we were cute together!!! And, we were!!!!!

 

Some more on Fanny that I just remembered:

In 1937, Nell returned to California to live after 30 years in Europe. Fanny Brice came to visit and welcome Nell to LA.

Nell brought with her all her various treasures, among them a small Faberge green enamelled crab encrusted with peridots. She called it Buster Crabbe after 'you know who' (Nell had had an affair with him in the early 30's). Fanny thought that was hilarious...

And, also there was a Faberge pink enamelled swan with pink diamonds. When Fanny saw this swan, she went into raptures over it. (It is exquisite). She kept going over to it and exclaiming, "Oye, de schvawn, de schvawn, how I luv de schvawn!!" Nell prompty said, "OK, we'll name it 'Fanny'".......

I have Buster and Fanny today on shelves in my library....

 

Larry

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Wow Larry, you have some incredible treasures in your home. I hope you have them insured! And I did read your recollections on Marion Davies and they were wonderful, thank you for sharing.

 

I'm not surprised that Todd Fisher acted like a jerk. He was selling stuff on Ebay at one point, a few small items from his mother's collection, and most of it was from the Pickfair estate sale. I had corresponded with him about the stuff, and he was very abrupt in his replies. Debbie does have the LARGEST collection of Hollywood memorabilia in existence, which is a whole other side of her that most people don't realize. She's preached about how she's "saved" these artifacts, and she has, but the fact is, she's just a collector like the rest of us (me, anyway) and she wants these things for herself. And because of her fame she came upon a lot of these things VERY easily, and now her collection is worth tens of millions of dollars. And she's never properly displayed even the half of it, even though she says she wants it to be on display for people to see. So to me she's made a very wise investment. And I'm sure that she enjoys collecting these artifacts, otherwise she never would've started, but it's a shame that other collectors couldn't acquire these things as easily as she has. And now she's a millionaire many times over, since the stuff has gone up in value so much. Too bad she doesn't do something constructive with it, instead she just hordes it. But that's a whole other story.

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Hi Joe,

 

All of this 'junk' as my father and brother deem it is insured; and it is willed to the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills, California.

 

It is to be displayed in a reception room in locked glass cases donated by me and bearing Nell's name and also Mae Murray's and Mary Astor's. All of this has been prearranged in 1998, and paid for by my family and is in my will.

Apparently, the reception room has been built next to Roddy McDowell's garden. My mother has said, "Now, they're just waiting for you to die!!"..... Thanks, Mom...

 

I thought Debbie Reynolds had an agreement with the Kodak Theatre to build a museum for all her stuff??? I'm going to have to investigate that when I'm there in September.

 

Larry

 

P.S. - I'm going to visit Woodland Hills on September 28th to see this room, so that should be interesting.

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Hi Larry -

 

All of these posts have electrified old thoughts - you are so polite - please don't feel "honor bound" for quick or thorough replies - the topics are all SO ENJOYABLE!

 

First off, alas, 'The Luau' is gone - I believe it is now a strip mall. BUT - 'Lucy's Mexican Restaurant' is still across the street from Paramount. 'Cantor's Deli' is still going strong - I bet that you will still remember some of the waitresses! Lol! 'Musso & Frank' is still on Hollywood Blvd. and 'Miceli's Italian Restaurant' (my favorite!)is still on Las Palmas - a short walk from the Roosevelt Hotel (it has a museum now). If you are feeling particularly decadent on a hot day you can hit 'Pink's Hot Dogs.' My ex-fiance lived in Whitley Heights, so I used to know that area like the back of my hand. I rarely get out there anymore, but I think my info is pretty current.

 

Ahhh - I LOVE hearing about Fanny Brice! I've always read that as witty and talented as she was, she had absolutely exquisite taste in regards to manners fashion, jewels, interior design etc. I heard that Fran Stark lobbied for Anne Bancroft for "Funny Girl" - feeling that she would be a more accurate rep for her mother. Larry, at your convenience, any Fanny Brice tidbits that you would like to share - you have an eager audience! Wasn't her first husband a dentist?

 

Debbie Reynolds - the details are fuzzy - as I recall her last crummy husband (as opposed to crummy Eddie and crummy Harry Karl) made off with the funding for her Las Vegas museum ... She has had a dance studio in Hollywood for about 20 years, but I think it's really just her name - it's used for equity auditions and SAG cattle calls - she probably gets great rent - good for her!

 

Do you know whatever happened to the son that Mae Murray had with Prince Mdivani?

 

Wow - sorry - I said I would save my questions - please, take your time!

 

Goodnight,

Madge

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Hi Madge,

 

I better answer today as tomorrow and the next day, I'm busy organizing a huge party for our Orchestra on Saturday.

 

Thanks for telling me about the Luau and other restaurants. I'll bet LA has changed quite a bit and I'll probably be lost there now.

 

I really don't know much more about Fanny Brice than what I've told you. I really didn't know her at all.

 

Mae Murray's son was sent to a foster home in northern New York and changed his name to Daniel Canning. He never had much to do with either of his parents, although he did marry and have two daughters.

I don't think Maizie ever saw any of them as the son disowned her and the prince.

The Mdivani's are all dead now; most of them died in 1936, a bad year for Georgian princes!! David and one sister, Nina, lived into the 1980's and were based in Europe. I have met them but they were nothing special - sort of slimy and phony - I don't know why anyone would marry any of them. Yuck.......

 

Larry

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Hi Larry -

 

Thank you for taking the time to let me know about Mae Murray's son. Now I will live up to my word that I gave earlier - I will sit on my questions for awhile. I hope that your function goes well!

 

Best Wishes!

Madge

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Larry,

 

Hope all is well. When Hollywood and Highland first opened as well as the Kodak Theatre, there were big banners proclaiming the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Museum: Coming Soon.

 

That was almost five years ago. The banners are gone and there has been no further word on the Museum. If you find out any details, please let us know. I, like many, was very excited in anticipation of a real "home" for all of DR's colllection.

 

FYI, the Hollywood Broadway (atop the old department store at Hollywood and Vine) has been relit and is a thing of beauty. The Hotel Plaza neon has also been relit.

 

Hope your party goes well and can't wait to hear about your trip when you return this fall.

 

Lynn in Sherman Oaks

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I hit the enter button to soon (wish they had an edit button here).

 

Anyways, Larry and others, I wanted to let you know about the latest on the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Blvd.

 

After years of trying, the LA Conservancy has lost its battle to preserve the historic hotel and an auction of its remaining furniture and such will take place next month.

 

After that, the demolition of the building will not be far behind.

 

The Coconut Grove, the Paul R. Williams coffee shop, the pantry where RFK was shot, the swimming pool, the bungalows all will be lost to the wrecking ball.

 

:(

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Wow Lynn, what sad news. It's always a shame to hear about a Landmark being torn down. I hope you can get some mementos from the hotel when they sell all of its contents.

 

And regarding Debbie Reynolds' supposed museum, the idea of it being atop the Kodak theater was scrapped awhile ago. Last I heard she was opening a museum in Tennessee near Dollywood, but I don't know the latest on that project. She's always said that she wants a home for these artifacts, yet she really doesn't do much to raise money for the effort. She had one auction a year or so ago and made a little over a hundred thousand from that, but she has MILLIONS of dollars worth of stuff. If she sold a small chunk of the collection to other collectors and investors, she would have enough money to open a museum anyplace she wants. I don't know why she keeps so much of it. Perhaps she's afraid the people who buy these things won't take care of them properly, I don't know. It is a strange situation though, to have millions of dollars worth of movie collectibles and yet not have the resources to display them.

 

And speaking of Hollywood collectibles, there's a great museum devoted to Hollywood's history in the old Max Factor building right off of Hollywood Blvd., about a block and a half away from the Kodak theater. I visited it on my last trip out there, and it was great. They had some great costumes, photos, and even Cary Grant's old Rolls Royce. And in the basement is the entire set of the prison block and cell where Anthony Hopkins was held in "Silence of the Lambs." This museum is worth visiting.

 

And Larry, if you visit the Motion Picture Country Home, say hello to Edith Fellows. She's a former child star from the 30's and early 40's, and a sweet lady. And please find out if Yvonne DeCarlo is living there. I heard that she was, but I'm not sure. Jean Parker is also there, but she has Alzheimer's, and I don't think she has any visitors. That's very nice of you to will those artifacts to the home, especially since your placing them in memory of your grandmother, Mae Murray, and especially Mary Astor, who spent her retirement there.

 

And by the way, I hope your event is a blast!

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There was an interesting segment on Antiques Roadshow FYI Wednesday night about Ms. Reynolds collection, where they talked with her son Todd Fisher. They had a specialist appraiser with him and she did a few appraisals on some of the costumes. He said they had purchased a few things from auctions since she bought up all the stuff in the 70's and some of it they paid a LOT of money for, including a pair of ruby slippers and a pair of what I would call Genie shoes that they thought about having Judy Garland wear instead of the ruby slippers. It was interesting. If it repeats in your area be sure to watch it on PBS (and I know Mr. Fisher has had some things said about him here but I think he does truly care about this stuff.)

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Hi Larry -

 

Today in the L.A. Times there was a letter to the editor from Audrey Totter regarding an article on the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills. I originally missed the article in the actual paper - but I found it on line for anyone who is interested. The article was dated August 25th - it's called "Recasting the actor's studio - How to turn a sterile institutional setting into a stylish retirement retreat" - it's written by David A. Keeps. The easiest way is to go to "Google NEWS" and use "motion picture woodland hills" in the search.

 

- Madge

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Hello Everyone,

 

Lynn -

Thanks for all the info. I really am going to spend lots of time up & down & all around Hollywood Blvd. and Vine Stret, and visit the Chinese, Egyptian and El Capitan theatres.

I have nothing else to do really and no more friends left there except Elaine Stewart and her husband (just one afternoon or evening there). I am taking a young gentleman from Denver there since he is interested in old movie stars (especially Pola Negri) and has never been to LA. So, it will be interesting to see his reaction to things.

I want to see Chester Place and St. Vincent's Church on West Adams and Figueroa too. They're old stomping grounds for me (a family thing)....

 

I was very sorry to hear about the Ambassador Hotel. They need to preserve that, simply because RFK died there, and the Oscars were there in the 30's & 40's. Judy Garland sang at the Coconut Grove.

 

Joe -

I will try to see Edith Fellows for you - I know you met her. However, one must request an audience (like the Pope) and if these people don't know you, then you may be denied. All residents are assured their privacy. Some, as you know, don't want to be seen - they're old and ill and don't like to be remembered as such (eg - Mary Astor).

I think Yvonne De Carlo does live there now. I have heard that, but can't remember where I learned it.

Maybe Mongo has current information on her.

 

Madge -

Thanks for telling us about the Audrey Totter article. I'll find it later when I have more time.

Now, I'm off to put the final place cards on 32 tables for our luncheon today. Heaven help anyone who switches cards - they won't, they're all scared to death of me, even the bitchy first violinist. I'm a tyrant!!!!!! Kidding.....

Wish me luck.

 

Larry

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Larry,

 

Chester Place is beautiful as is the West Adams District. All those beautiful Craftsman homes, The Doheny Mansion, even the Triple A building at Fig and Adams and the church.

 

Can't wait to hear about your LA adventures.

 

 

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Larry, I thrive on your 'stories' and really believe you should write a book, too. I'd sure buy a few copies. Great new stories since I've last been here. Loved the stories about Marion Davies and Agnes Moorehead - they were both such fabulous actresses. Have you ever seen the classic episode of The Twilight Zone that Agnes Moorehead does totally solo? It's great as would be expected. I love TZ and have all the episodes on tape - am now recording them on DVD.

 

I loved reading that you don't really watch a lot of movies. That is a hoot considering you keep us "fed" with your stories. hehe

 

The Pola Negri special - will it air somewhere we can see it? Cannes is rather far - yes, my humor is quite droll. *grin* I would love to see it!

 

Todd Fisher - I'll try to keep a civil tongue but it'll be hard - it would be hard for any son of Eddie Fisher's to turn out decently IMO. Have you read Eddy Fisher's book? You mentioned someone else in this thread, who I'm not familiar with, and how they allegedly slept with everyone in Hollywood - well according to Fisher, so did he. Admittedly, he was "kinda" cute (only kinda) but get realistic Eddie. The only reason I didn't throw the book down half way through was because I began to look upon it as a 'comedy' rather than a 'bio' - or the 'tragedy' it truly is. *smile* I often wonder how Todd and Carrie get along if he's such an **** and she seems to really be a nice person, unless I've missed something. One of my favorite TCM "bits" is Carrie Fisher discussing Debbie Reynolds, when she says, at the end, that her mother had horrible taste in men except for the crush she had on Jack Lemmon. I love it because I think Eddie Fisher is likely a total jerk.

 

Have a wonderful vacation, Larry, my son just got back from Switzerland with a stop-over in LA (not on your usual route lol) and he went to Chinatown. Movies are TOTALLY lost on him - he knows zero about today's movies, never mind classics - but I did have him take some 'footprint' photos. He didn't get the one I wanted the most through, which was Claude Rains. It's nice to know you - who knew so many - will be planting your feet among the stars. :-)

 

 

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Hello Everybody,

 

Lynn -

Both Chester Place (the Doheny Mansion) and St. Vincent's Church were built by my great-grandparents.

I first went to church at St. Vincent's when Gladys Beltzer, Loretta Young's mother, took me there. My own grandmother would have never taken me there as she was on the outs with her step-mother all her life.

We then toured the church and then went for lunch at the mansion with Estelle, my step-great-grandmother. Isn't that a mouthfull????

I was invited back many times until she died in 1958, so I'm happy to see it again. It's now part of Marymount at USC.

I wrote to see if I could come to tour the place again and there's one on Oct. 8th, but since I'm leaving LA on the 6th, I asked for a special tour, telling them that I was a relative but not to mention to the Doheny's that I would be in town. Don't you love subtrafuse??

An old nun, Sister Symphorosa, who's now 89 remembered me and apparently declared, "Yes, let Master Lawrence come!" So, I'm in! I visit on Oct. 4th.

I must remember to pretend that I remember her -- I don't.... But, I'm good at charming the pants off old ladies; I've had lots of practice!!!!! Oh, but ooops!!, this is a nun - better not fool with her panties... Ha!!!!

 

Katy -

The Pola Negri documentary will debut in Cannes in May, but then depending how it does at Cannes, Miramax will shop it around to theatres, mostly in Europe and then North America.

The Polish gentleman, that I talk to on the phone (periodically - they're not that great with communications, believe me) has said, "Nobody know's who Pola was in America", which may be true for the most part, but they never will if the film isn't shown, will they???

I just got the questions yesterday, by courier, that I'll be asked for the film and we film in Austin on Sept. 20th, so that's how prepared they are. Being an overly organized and efficient person myself (yes, I am and can be **** retentive), I just want to tear my hair out with them, it's like talking to a wall. I may tear their hair out in Austin. If you never hear from me again after September, it's because I've murdered 4 Polish government officials -- Oh God, they have the death penalty in Texas, don't they!!!!!!!

When this thing was going to be filmed at MOMA in NYC in June, I asked the museum people to show the finished documentary there and they were going to have a Pola Negri Film Festival in the summer of 2006, but now I don't know what's what.

 

I think I've seen the Twilight Zone show with Agnes Moorehead. I know I watched that show every week when it first aired.

 

I can remember very well when Eddie Fisher was 'the heart-throb' of the nation and then married Debbie Reynolds; and also, the "Debbie-Eddie-Liz" scandal.

He was a good singer but I always wondered what all the fuss was about. He sure was '****' when Liz dumped him and then Connie Stevens picked him up -- 'what's up' I thought... "Jeez, if he can marry 3 movie stars in a row, then there's hope for me"....

I understand that Carrie Fisher is a very nice person, but that Todd is not. ?????

 

Where did your son go in Switzerland?

I'll see if I can find Claude Rains footprints for you.

 

Cheers,

Larry

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Hi Mongo,

 

Just to let you know, I didn?t forget you and here is:

 

Martha Raye ?

- she was my godmother. Just before we went to Europe in November 1946, my governess, Laura, discovered that I was not baptised yet; and so she set up such a howl that Nell arranged to have me baptised at Church of the Good Shepherd.

Neither Loretta Young nor her mother and sisters were available at such short notice, and I heard Nell barking into the phone, ?Mags, just get your bum over there tonight. I need peace over here, so if the ship sinks, this kid won?t go to hell!!??

At 8 o?clock, I met Mags and she stood beside me as a priest poured water on my head and did a mumble jumble. After the brief ceremony, Nell handed the priest an envelope and out we went into the night to await our car. It was quite cold and I was shivering, so Martha opened up her large fur coat and in I went to snuggle. Nell & Laura & Herbert (Nell?s butler) shook their heads as Mags exclaimed, ?Oooo! It?s so go to have a man snuggled up to my ****, even if it?s a young one!!!!???.

And, that?s how I met Martha Raye.

When our car came up, Laura and Herbert shook the priest?s hand and Martha kissed his cheek and trundled into the car. I got in the front next to Steve, the chauffer and Nell held out her hand for the priest to kiss. He was obviously used to her as she was not going to kiss his cheek. Nell always distained priests and clergy ? she thought it was all phoney.

Years later, I was privileged to snuggle up with betty Blythe, so is it any wonder I?m a ?boob? man??.

- Martha had beautiful legs too and often displayed them in gowns with a slit up the left side. She could have challenged Betty Grable or Marlene Dietrich to a gam contest.

She also had an impressive bust, one that could have put Jane Russell to shame. But, Hollywood focused on her ?big mouth? and her buffoonery and her legs and boobs were relegated to the background.

- her daughter, Melodye and her were estranged off and on all their lives. Melodye was closer to her father, Nick Condos; he was either husband 3, 4 or 5 out of her several husbands (I don?t know which); Martha never stayed married long (2 or 3 years at the most!)?..

- she had been married to Buddy Westmore and they remained friends all their lives. He was one of several brothers and their father who were makeup men to the various studios.

Buddy once made up Mags to look like Ava Gardner and she looked stunningly like her. I have a picture of her taken in a black evening gown and mink stole with her hair in her Ava pose. Incredible. It?s how I prefer to remember her considering how she ended up.

- she also gave me a picture of herself as ?Bonita Bizarre? the last time I saw her. She told me ?This is the before picture, before all the paint pots are applied??

- Nell financed her TV show in 1954, but then they had a falling out and Nell pulled out. It had to do with one of her husbands, Ed Bageley or Begeley (not the actor Ed Begley). Mags show got cancelled and they never spoke again. Mags divorced Ed anyway but Nell still banished her; it really hurt Martha. I, however, still kept in touch.

- Martha was literally ?born in a trunk? backstage in Butte Montana and went on stage at 3 years old.

- she had nursing training during WWII ? was trained on the job, so to speak, and many people thought she was a nurse. But, the truth is, she never graduated from anything ? she couldn?t take the tests, she was illiterate and faked it in the reading department all her life. She had her maid read her scripts to her.

- entertained the soldiers in WWII, Korea and Vietnam and received the Jean Herschold Humanitarian Oscar in the 60?s and a Presidential medal just before she died.

- Mark Harris ? never knew him but he definitely took advantage of her. She was lonely and forgotten by the time he came along. He did take her out and made some of her last months happy but she was suffering from dementia. Melodye had petitioned the court for conservatership of her estate, but Mark swiftly became her spouse and so he gained everything.

- she had had a massive stroke in 1988; but mercifully she recovered enough to joke to the press, ?That jolt would have killed a water buffalo but not me, I got a head like cement, nothing in it for a stroke to kill but concrete!???

Unfortunately, the next one in 1990, left her flat on her back. She never walked again.

- she had her left leg amputated a year before she died and it devastated her. She was very proud of her beautiful legs.

- her cataracts grew worse and couldn?t be operated on. She was quickly sinking into dementia. Her right leg was amputated without telling her and the shock of it killed her

- the last time I talked to Melodye, she said about Mark Harris: ?Howard Stern is his biggest fan but he?s just a queen without a court?? And, ?He makes Andy Dick and Tom Green look normal?..

- on an up note to end this: Martha?s best role is definitely in ?Monsieur Verdoux? as the wife Charlie Chaplin couldn?t kill. It is a movie everyone should see. Chaplin wanted Martha Raye for this film and she was terrified but Paulette Goddard talked her into it. Chaplin treated her like gold and she was given the ?star treatment?, not something Charlie did for anyone, even Goddard??

She should have gotten an Oscar nomination for it!!!!

 

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