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Larry's Classic Star Reminiscences


vecchiolarry

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Hi Judith,

 

I think there have been movies based on the murder/suicide incident but none with the name Doheny attached.

The Doheny's are still pretty powerful and influencial in California and are a suing bunch, if push comes to shove.

The reason Nell is not in that book or even known now-a-days is because my father has sued and stopped all reference to her in Canada, US and France. He's not a person to oppose...... I have not seen or talked to him much in the past 40 years even though he lives only 4 blocks away from me. The last time I saw him was in September 2005 at my nephews wedding. We were civil but that's all....

 

Larry

 

Larry

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Larry,

 

I had to hurry home this evening to tell you about this.

 

This evening I had the opportunity to go to an event featuring author Joseph Wambaugh talking about his new book "Hollywood Station".

 

When the interviewer, James Ellroy, another famous Los Angeles writer, opened the discussion up for questions from the audience, the first man he called upon asked if there was any chance that a non-fiction book about the best kept secret murder in Los Angeles History would ever be written.

 

What murder was he referring to? Why Ned Doheny, of course.

How weird is that?

 

The bad news, neither Ellroy or Wambaugh were familiar with the case. However, author Michael Connolly was in the audience.

 

So, you never know.....

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Hi Lynn,

 

Thanks for the update.

 

It would be interesting tosee how a credible book could be written at this late date.

It would have to be from rumours and innuendo as everybody connected is now dead.

Maybe Wambaugh could snoop through old police files but unless someone in the LA police dept. wrote out what he thought at the time, there wouldn't be much of a file. The whole thing was closed after 3 days and dropped.

I told you the Dohenys were powerful and still are but behind thick drapes!!

 

Larry

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  • 1 month later...

Hi SBK,

 

I have written some things on the board before about the Bennetts, so I?m just going to copy them and post them all here.

 

Never knew any of the Bennetts (saw Barbara once at a party) and haven't seen Constance in any of her movies. Have only seen Joan in a couple of hers.

 

But, I did give old Constance's star on the Walk of Fame a special rub last year (2005) because my grandmother told me a beautiful story about her kindness years ago.....

Constance was married to a French marquis and my grandmother had been married to his cousin, my grandfather. At the beginning of WWII, the Nazi's captured my grandfather, who was in the French resistance, and brutalized him. Smashed knees, hands and feet and starved him. He was rescued by the British and sent to Portugal and then to Mexico.

There, in Vera Cruz, was Constance Bennett getting a divorce from her husband and also there was her husband, my grandfather's cousin. They took care of him, Constance personally, bathing and feeding and nursing him.

My grandmother arrived to take care of him also, but he was too far gone; he died in January 1941.

My grandmother was overcome with grief - to see her once beautiful tall prince now a bent over carcass and yellowed from jaundice, his teeth all smashed out.....

Constance took care of her too and buried my grandfather in Vera Cruz.....

He was later reburied in Rouen Cathedral with full military honours. And, Constance attended with her latest husband, an American General......

So, I gave Consatnce's star a special cleaning last year...

 

Anybody who calls her a-s-s-h-o-l-e or a b-i-t-c-h (and she could be one, apparently) doesn't know the real lady.....

 

An interesting side light to this story is:

Constance's marquis (Henri) and my grandfather (Norman) both served in WWI and were both awarded the 'Croix de Guerre' for serves to France.

After his divorce in Mexico, Henri returned to France and joined the army and the resistance later and received another 'Croix de Guerre? for WWII. Norman received a 'Croix de Service', which was placed on his coffin before burial. Henri placed his medal on Norman's coffin also.

Henri used to say he was just a useless French aristocrat, but I think not...

 

And yes, the Marquis de la Falaise de Coudray was previously married to Gloria Swanson. He was her interpreter on the film she did in France in 1925. She was introduced to him by Nell, who was married to my grandfather. Nell divorced my grandfather in 1925 about the time Gloria was marrying his cousin.

Both marquis' were tall blue eyed blond Vikings, very handsome. We are descended from the Normans, Vikings who raided France........

Both Constance and Gloria spoke well of the Marquis and Gloria helped him escape the Nazis and after the war. He died in the early 70's and is also buried in Rouen Cathedral close to my grandfather.

 

Gilbert Roland, Constance?s next husband, did have two daughters with Constance Bennett. One called Gil and another called Lorrie. They lived mostly with their mother in Eastern US, but were seen occasionally in LA. Both were very beautiful and Gil was a very friendly girl, a few months older than me. I remember dancing with her around 1956 at a party and she had a lot of chrinolines on under her dress; very distancing when dancing.

 

Now some good dirt:

Gilbert Roland had a long and passionate affair with Norma Talmadge in the late 20's. She got him some good parts in the movies. She divorced her husband and hoped to marry Gilbert. Then the talkies came in and Norma's career went 'south', she was kaput.. Gilbert left her and she married George Jessel on the rebound. She became a drug addict and a recluse and then George left her too. But, her old husband, Joe Schenck came back to her.

Gilbert went on to romance several ladies of the screen and then married Constance.

 

Hope this helps you in the info dept.!!!!

 

Larry

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Hi again SBK,

 

An update on Joan Bennett:

After Hedda Hopper wrote disparagingly about Joan's husband, Walter Wanger, shooting Joan's agent, Jennings Lang in 1951 (this was a big scandal then), Joan sent Hedda a skunk for Christmas.....

Hedda named the skunk 'Joan' and sent it to the zoo.......

 

Larry

 

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vecchiolarry

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Hi,

 

Just phoned my friend, Moira Lister, to get caught up and see how she?s doing. She must be in her 80?s now, but is still going to parties in and around London. She recently attended a party for Edmond Purdom, who was visiting from Rome.

 

He told her a funny story about Bella Darvi when they were making ?The Egyptian? way back in the 50?s. Bella didn?t speak English that well and was very unfamiliar with colloquialisms and acting in general. So, when the director told her to look more sexy but menacing, she announced, ?Give me a big p-u-s-s-y!??.

Well, Victor Mature and most of the crew started laughing and poor Bella thought they were ridiculing her and when Victor Mature bellowed, ?Give me a big snake, please!? poor Bella became somewhat comatose and screamed at the director, ?No snack, no snack??.. ?I go now!?

Victor and Edmond had to calm her and tell her what she had said and why they were laughing.

She took it in good stride and laughed at her embarrassment and even told the story at a dinner party at Darryl Zanuck?s, where she was staying after Darryl brought her to Hollywood from Europe.

If and when you see the movie, you will see that Bella got her p-u-s-s-y, a big white one, which actually steals the scenes from her and everybody.

 

Larry

 

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vecchiolarry

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Speaking of Hedda Hopper, I remember something going back to about 1981. I was interviewing Stewart Granger about his career and his autobiography, "Sparks Fly Upward." He said he was going to write a second book and tell more about Hopper. I recall his anger at the mere mention of her name. He said that she destroyed people.

 

He died before the second book was ever done, but I certainly would have wanted to read what he had to say.

 

I have fond memories of Granger being a really pleasant man. He was the first star I ever got to interview.

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Larry,

 

I was reading the review today for the play "Legends" starring Linda Evans and Joan Collins.

 

The reviewer said that it originally starred Mary Martin and Carol Channing. They did not get along at all and the whole experience was so incredibly over the top the play never made to Broadway and the author of the play wrote a book based on the experience and to set the record straight about all the gossip that was going around about these two actresses that did not get along.

 

Any inside scoop?

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Hi Lynn,

 

Sorry darlin', no inside scoop here......

I know next to nothing about Mary Martin nor Carol Channing!!!!! Can't say I'm even interested in either of them - I'm shallow, I know.....

 

But, I can imagine that two big Broadway stars, who are used to controlling their own big shows individually may clash. Who gets the most lines, the spotlight, the entrances and from which side, and the star billing; not to mention the biggest brouhaha - the star dressing room!!!!!.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall there.......

 

Larry

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Lynn, what is the name of the playwright and/or the book that she wrote about Legends? Sounds like a fun read!

 

I saw Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly! when she made her last tour in the role in the 1990's. I have to say, she was spectacular. She had stage presence for DAYS, and was hilarious. There were 3 actors in the ensemble that were from Cleveland and at the curtain call she very graciously introduced them, as she knew that they had many family members and friends in the audience. I was thrilled, as I had worked with one of the actresses years before. Carol Channing had something on stage that just doesn't translate well onto film.

 

Sandy K

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  • 1 month later...

This is a great thread idea.

 

I saw James Ellroy on his Murder By The Book installment.

He also wrote the intro to the Hodel book entitled Black Dahlia

Avenger. I'll bet he and Wambaugh made for an interesting

evening. The Ned Doheny business is intriguing.

 

I never realized that John Huston might have been such a frequent visitor to the Franklin Avenue house scene until I read the Black Dahlia Avenger...

 

Intriguing....

 

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SueSueApplegate

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Sue Sue,

 

Interesting to note that Ellroy no longer talks to Hodel and dismisses Hodel's book as fabrications.

 

Not having seen Ellroy as part of live discussion before I was taken back by how much he kept the conversation focused on himself when he was there to interview Wambaugh and it was Wambaugh we were there to hear.

 

Sandy,

 

I will try to find the name of the book that the play was based on for you!

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Thanks, Lynn!!! I went to see Chita Rivera's A Dancer's Life last week here in Cleveland, and there was a poster for the touring production of Legends. It will be coming to Cleveland with Linda Evans and Joan Collins!

 

BTW, Chita Rivera was FANTASTIC! One of the most talented actor/dancers ever. I feel so blessed to have seen her perform live.

 

Sandy K

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I saw that Murder by the Book with Ellroy. I love the guy's books and I'm sure you're going to be messed up if you're mother is brutally murdered like that, when you're just a kid ... to a degree. But he gave us just a little bit too much information about his "feelings" for her.

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Hi Larry.

I stumbled onto this forum quite by accident, and have spent the last 2 days reading everything from the beginning post... now I know how Alice felt when she tumbled down the rabbit hole.

 

I have read your posts on "Ask Mongo", and was a little familiar with Lady Nell, but reading about your incredible life with her has left me stunned. Are you sure you aren't really "Patrick Dennis", and your grand-mama was actually "Auntie Mame"?

 

You answered a private msg about the lovely Agnes Moorehead, and now I wonder when did you find the time? It sounds like you are sitting at your computer non-stop! But please don't stop. I almost had a panic attack when I read that post of yours that said you were at the end of your stories....sure glad the other posters talked you out of quitting.

 

My treat for tomorrow is to read the From Russia with Love thread. And whatever became of the Pola Negri documentary? Any chance it will hit Kansas???

Does anyone reading this have the pictures of Nell from the magazine? and could they post them? I would love to see some pictures of Nell, Maizie, Norma Talmadge, Pola Negri.

 

Thanks Larry, for sharing your life with all of us. I'm sure there were some painful memories stirred while writing about the funny ones.

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Hi Knitter,

 

Hope you can dig your way out of that rabbit hole!!!!!

 

No, I'm not Patrick Dennis and Nell sure as Hell wasn't 'Auntie Mame'... Although I lived in the same house as her, she was mostly in the east wing and I was in the west wing and we didn't see each other that much.

One didn't just arrive and enter her domain; one waited until asked or summoned. Also, she left me alone mostly.

I had a governess, valet and two maids to look after me and Nell had her own court.

 

I have asked my cousin (the computer nerd) to help me post some pictures of Nell and me and some of her husbands.

I have a couple of my 65th birthday last month. So, you can peruse the ruin I've become.

Also, I may revive the Russia thread and post pictures of the people and places I was in.

If anyone's interested that is....

 

Larry

 

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vecchiolarry

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Hi,

 

It's me again.

 

Re: the Pola Negri documentary:

Can you believe that I've never seen it and have never even heard back from the producers or the Polish government, who begged me to participate.

I will never again be involved with any documentary or any other book.

I have 3 people wanting to pump my brains about another Pola Negri book and one on Lana Turner and one on Martha Raye. Too bad bozo's, but no way......

 

Can't tell you anything more about that docu. than it ran in NYC in September, where Moviejoe and Richard4nyc saw it and reported on it on this thread.

I thank them again for that - two exemplary gentlemen.

It played in London and Warsaw and supposedly in Chicago but now - Nada!!

 

Larry

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