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One of Connie Gilchrist's best moments on film (and my favorite) was in PRESENTING LILY MARS. Even though her voice was dubbed for her duet with Garland on the song "Every Little Movement Has A Meaning Of Its Own", she was wonderful in the brief part of a cleaning lady in the theater, who herself was once an actress on the stage when she was younger.


In any case, I know this thread's about Linda Darnell, but in regard to Jeanette MacDonald, wasn't it she who was known as the "Iron Butterfly"? Despite her screen persona, I have read that she was good friends with Louis B. Mayer and rather ambitious. I read somewhere she really campaigned heavily for role of Anna, aka the "I" in THE KING AND I, but of course Deborah Kerr got the role even though she was voice-dubbed by Marni Nixon.

Can you imagine if Jeanette got the role - she was at least 12 years OLDER than Yul Brynner, and while I know Astaire for example played opposite younger ladies as he aged, the role of Anna is that of a young widow with a young son. It might have worked on stage with Gertrude Lawrence, but not on film.


A really good and very underrated film of hers which was a major flop when it initially came out is a movie called CAIRO. I bought the video and watched it for the first time just a few weeks ago, and it was entertaining and well worth seeing. It had plenty of "in-jokes", great songs including a big number from her co-star Ether Waters, and a terrific last scene with co-star Robert Young.



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Dear all,

I have been following this message board for quite a while now, and this is the first time I decided to join the discussion.

I was very intrigued by vecciolarry's post about the Doheny family, as I have recently come across some stories about the tragic events that happened in that family.

Are you talking about the famed oil tycoon Edward Doheny whose son was murdered in 1920's.?

The Graystone Manor in Beverly Hills was built by Edward Doheny for his son, and is thought to be one of the biggest mansions on the West Coast. Today it belongs to the city of Beverly Hills and it is open to visitors as a public park.

Edward Doheny's son was married and had 5? children. Vecchiolarry, is this the family you are talking about?

I am intruged, but will understand if you choose not to reply.

Best wishes,


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Hello Barbara,


Yes this is my family. I have come across some sites on the internet that discuss quite a bit about all our acquisitions, money, businesses and the scandals, but I prefer to focus on the beneficial things that evolved. Like the Eye Institute that has helped thousands around the world and the USC, which I think is a renowned university around the world. Also, St. Vincent's Church on Adams Blvd. & Figeroa was built by E.L. Doheny and his wife, Estelle. I guess that's a good thing but I don't believe in religion, so as long as they continue to feed, clothe and shelter people (which they do), it's benenficial.


Greystone Manor was not open to the public in 1998, when I was last in LA, but I think the grounds are now. I will have to go there and snoop around! Also, the huge mansion at Chester Place now has been given to Marymount College (part of USC) but I may ask to see inside it again.

Truth to tell: I really don't want to visit any family members while I'm there because I would have to stay with them and visit and I don't want to -- boring!!!!!

I'm staying at the Century Plaza Hotel, but don't tell anybody!!!!!!! Shh.....





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Linda is one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. All of us have two eyes, nose and a mouth...I guess it's how it's shaped that determines beauty. She never seemed happy, she wanted to commit suicide early on, men only wanted her for one thing. I read somewhere people told her she had no talent just beauty, that's hard for being to hear. I hate she had such a terrible life which goes to show beauty doesn't determine, good life or bad life and that your exempt from badness and suffering in life. Men just took advantage of her. I wonder did she think cause she was beautiful that nothing could ever happen to her and that men would never hurt her? Well, it seems when you have beauty, your more of a target to get hurt, men want you more to take advantage of you and hurt you. Maybe being in Hollywood, hurt her, if she led a normal life maybe she could of gotten that "good guy." You can't have it all... beauty, riches, fame, and happiness. It seems you get the other three but happiness is never one for women in Hollywood.

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I agree with you "msladysoul" beauty sometimes is a hinderance.and it proves that even MOVIESTARS are human,Linda Darnell was a real beauty and was willing to take her life. Unfortunately stars like Carole Landis(29)and Capucine succeeded.It proves that Hollywood is harder on women than men.And you can't judge people by looks alone.

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fascinating reading, Normandie and Larry.


I read recently that very fine and well researched book which came out with the entire history of Edward Doheny and his life, called:


"Dark Side of Fortune: Triumph and Scandal in the Life of Oil Tycoon Edward L. Doheny"


Author: Margaret Leslie Davis


Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. ix + 339 pp. Notes, bibliography, index. $35.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-520-22909-6.


I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of Los Angeles, or just the early part of the 20th century. It can be ordered from Amazon, if anyone else is interested and it is for political history buffs also, due to the connections to the Teapot Dome scandal and other personages of that time period.


I remember that Edward Doheny's son Ned, by his first wife, Carrie only lived till 1929 as I recall, though the second wife lived on till 1955 at the Greystone Mansion. My friend who works at the Getty Museum has been lucky enough to view both places, and I shall have to ask him which is his favorite, as they were often compared I've heard.


The detailing of all the elements of how Doheny came to develop Brea as a fuel was quite fascinating and now after reading this thread, I am so glad I had already consumed this book as it is good background for the discussion.


I certainly learned a lot from the book and am so glad I read it.

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Hi Therealfuster,


So you've read that book!! As you can imagine, it caused a lot of controversy in our family and several members wanted to sue to keep it unpublished.

My father sued successfully to keep his mother out but she was Bo-Peep compared to the rest of them. All she ever did was shake up several European royal families by threatening to marry into them!!!!!


A minor correction to your post:

Estelle Doheny did not live at Greystone, she lived at Chester Place, downtown, and she died in 1958, not 1955. She was such a good woman and gave so much money to the Catholic Church, that she was made a Countess of the Church by one Pope and then a Princess of the Church by another. She outranked Rose Kennedy.

Greystone was Ned's house and his wife, Lucy, lived there and then gave it to Beverly Hills.

Chester Place was given to USC.


I've never read the book, and I don't know whether this is in it, but here's a juicy bit of gossip (scandal!!) for you. When my great-grandfather divorced his first wife, my great-grandmother, she committed suicide by drinking battery acid. His two daughters, Nell and Carrie, never spoke to him again. Ned became the favoured one.

Carrie died in 1918 in the Spanish flu epidemic and Ned was murdered in 1929 and Nell lived on.... till 1965.

The old man died in 1935, so I never knew him.



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reading, Larry.


For the record, I wasn't referring to Carrie Estelle Betzhold, the second wife of Edward as living on at Greystone Mansion but I made a typo, duh! I had meant Mrs. Doheny, the widow of Ned lived on at Greystone, but I made a typo calling her the second wife. I meant to say, that I recalled the wife of Ned, Lucy Smith Doheny lived on at Greystone Mansion till 1955, which stuck in my mind when I read the biography, due to the film "Rebel Without a Cause" coming out during that same time. Lucy Smith Doheny remarried after Ned's death, to that Leigh Battson and lived at the place called The Knoll after the 1954-1955 era.


Sorry about the confusion. Easy to do considering that both Edward's wives were named Carrie with #2 being distinguished as Carrie Estelle, and if I'm to understand correctly, you say that Nell is the sister of Ned, from the first marriage of Edward Doheny to Carrie #1. Okay, I shall remember that now and thank you for the information. You say that Carrie Doheny, #1 had two daughters named Carrie and Nell, who were siblings of Ned's, and this Carrie, their mother died by drinking battery acid. Gotcha!


I remember reading that Chester Place housed Mount St. Mary's College and what occurred with #8 and #10, which was fascinating.


That is engrossing and I shall refresh my memory and reread this book, as it was chockful of fascinating facts about the history of the times also. Thanks for the info and I plan to do a lot more research on this topic of interest, as I like reading about historical buildings, their origins and architects.



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Hi again,


After typing that last post, I wondered if you meant Lucy and not Estelle.

Yes, all those Carrie's make for a confusing mess.

And, to make matters worse, my brothers' named their children Cary (as in Cary Grant) and Kerry. Do you think we're stuck in a rut with that name?

There's even another Ned in the family; Ned Doheny is a musician, who is fairly renown in Japan. He's a grandson of Nell's brother and Lucy.


Well, time to get back to Linda Darnell!!!!



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Hi, Larry:


I really did not know a lot about Linda Darnell's private life, except that she had been married and divorced a couple of times. I also knew about her adopted daughter, whose name, was, I believe, Charlotte.


I'll tell you one think. Mr. Daryl F. Zanuck, while a brilliant film producer, was a total and complete heel as a human being. I'm sure he mistreated Darnell as well as other performers, like Alice Faye. After all the money Faye had made for the studio, he treated her like dirt and cut her part in half in a movie that also costarred Linda and Dana Andrews.


The movie was called "Fallen Angel," I believe. In it, Dana and Linda are sweethearts, but cannot marry because of money issues. Dana then looks for a nice rich girl to go out and marry. He figures he'll marry her for her money and then divorce her later. This person comes in the form of Alice Faye, whom Andrews romances promptly marries.


Things become complicated because Dana actually falls in love with Alice, who eventually finds out about Linda Darnell. Not to give too much of the plot away, but complications and more complications ensue.


Well, Alice was supposed to be the star of the movie and had a substantial part in it, larger than Linda Darnell's. However, since Linda was the up and comer at the studio, while Alice was an oldtime hasbeen (in Zanuck's eyes), unbeknownst to either Alice or Linda, Zanuck built up Linda's part, while substantially reducing Alice's part.


Well, of course, when Alice saw the movie, she felt fit to be tied. She could not believe what had happened. Alice felt betrayed and rightly so. She packed up her bags, left 20th Century Fox, and never came back, although she made at least one more film, the lackluster remake of "State Fair." She did appear on radio, though, including husband Phil Harris' radio show.


Of course, this sparked a big controvery. Zanuck decided to make the most of it. How? By creating a phony feud between Alice Faye and Linda Darnell. Zanuck claimed Alice was jealous because Linda had a bigger part than her and was a poor sport.


Years later, Alice said she had never had anything against Linda Darnell, and that she had never blamed Linda for what had happened. Her complaint was against Zanuck, not Linda. l can see her point. Zanuck was a total and complete jerk, a poor excuse for a human being. He eventually wound up dumping Linda when he was done with her as well.


I don't know, though, Larry, if I totally believe that whole thing about the beautiful woman getting used up and eaten by Hollywood. There have been a lot of beautiful women in Hollywood over the years, and not all of them led unhappy lives.


In the case of Linda, I think she just plum started in the business too young and maybe was too naive to understand the ins and outs and foibles of it all. Wasn't her mother some kind of stage mother? I don't think her father was around, either.


Then, there comes a time when you have to own up to your own mistakes and take charge of your life. Either way, Linda was one of the most beautiful women, ever and a talented actress. I thought she stole the movie "Buffalo Bill" away from Maureen O'Hara, and that takes a lot of doing, as far as female roles go.


Take care.




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Hi Deborah,


That is a horrendous story about poor Alice Faye. She was a tremendously talented woman and very kind to Betty Grable when Zanuck was building her to replace Faye.

Alice Faye could have gone on for another 10 years at the top of the heap but I guess she just was tired of the rat race.

As Bette Davis said in an interview in the 80's, "It is a long tough haul up the ladder of stardom, but even worse treading water at the top"...

And, Mae Murray once said that they were all like beautiful dragonflies hovering over a turbulent cesspool.


Darryl Zanuck has a rotten reputation, as does Jack Warner, for treating his people badly. But, nobody was worse than Harry Cohn. The only one, I know of, who got the better of Harry was Rosalind Russell. She billed him for $50,000.00 for the use of one of her mink coats and then bragged that the coat was old and only cost her $20,000.00!!!!!! Bravo Roz.......

I guess Louis B. Mayer doesn't come off so badly compared to the rest.





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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Larry,


The details of your family's history are fascinating! I used to work at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills so I learned much of the history of your family there.


One thing you haven't mentioned is the huge and extensive rare book collection that was donated to the Catholic Church upon the death of Estelle. It was a multi-million dollar collection - the largest ever sale of a private collection when the church sold it.


Have you toured the inside of Greystone? It really is quite extraordinary -- a hidden bar (the whole wall slides up), bowling alley, theater (and a smaller burlesque-type theater behind), gorgeous Italian marble floors, hidden panels in the living room, etc. If you check out the old movie "The Loved One" you can see a good portion fo the original grounds, including the waterfall and play house that are no longer there.


Also, if you can stand it, rent "The Disorderly Orderly," and old Jerry Lewis movie that was shot almost entirely inside the mansion.


(Trivia: The banisters in the main entry and second floor were hand-carved in place, and the movie folks painted them green for this movie... and later tried to remove the paint of sandblasting them. It really was a shame.)


I'm unclear on how you're related to Ned and his wife. You're a great grandson of Edward Senior?

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Hello Rangertark,


How interesting that you worked at Greystone. Yes, I have been in the house in the 50's when I was a kid. But not since 1955 when there was a party for the movie "Picnic" given there.

I am coming to LA in late September and may ask to see inside both Greystone and Chester Place, but don't know for sure. I'm trying to visit LA without seeing any relatives!!

I knew Lucy and the kids and Estelle, but my grandmother never really associated with any of them. She was Ned's elder sister; another sister died in 1918 of Spanish Flu. Ned, was murdered in 1929.

I would be more interested in seeing Chester Place as it's the house I'm more familiar with. And, I have seen Estelle's massive book collection. She was a collector of many things and I think most of it went to the Catholic Church. Estelle is on a list at the Vatican to be elevated to sainthood; she apparently has a chance as she was truly a good woman.



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I completely understand not wanting to visit the relatives! (But I'm sure that you could get tours of both houses if you threw your name around a bit!)


It would be interesting to hear how Greystone has changed since 1955 when you were last there. If you're interested, there's an extensive report about the Dohenys and Greystone at the Beverly Hills Library.


Greystone historical report / by Charles Lockwood and Peter V. Persic; SPEC COL; 979.493 Lockwood


It has interviews with Ned's children, wife, and others.


Also, I've driven by Chester Place, but never been inside. It looks amazing!


If you're interested in continuing this conversation off-line, I would love to talk to you. Please email me at rangertark@hotmail.com. I don't want to get too far off track from Linda Darnell in this thread.



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Hi Rangertark and Everybody,


Yes, let's get back to Linda Darnell! I'll send you a PM later.


I saw Linda Darnell in a movie 2 weeks ago at a friends house. It was called "Hangover Square" with Laird Cregar and George Sanders. I had never seen it before and I enjoyed it.

She looked so beautiful that she mesmerizes you. Gorgeous, gorgeous gorgeous!!!!!

Can you tell I liked her??????



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Hi Leo,


Yes, Bernard Herrman's music is always a great addition to any movie.


And yes, Linda was burned in a fire after returning into the house to save her secretary's daughter, whom she mistakenly thought was trapped in there. Linda was overcome by the fumes and apparently passed out behind a couch and was missed by the firefighters. Tragic and horrible. I can't tell you how the whole thing makes me shudder.....



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  • 9 months later...

I enjoyed catching up on this thread. Whew! Larry, your family background is pretty daunting!


I've always enjoyed Linda Darnell's presence in movies, and thought that it was interesting that she sort of embodied the Madonna-**** archetype during the early and later periods of her career. I do enjoy both aspects of her work.


I thought that her madonna-like beauty was perfect in Blood and Sand(1941), in which she served as a perfect counterpoint to Rita Hayworth's sizzling presence as the temptress. As a kid, when Hayworth led Tyrone Power away from his pure child bride(Linda), I definitely rooted for Linda's character, though now, I do think that Hayworth sorta stole the show. The most memorable sequence in Blood and Sand for me may be the final scene, which is reminiscent of a Pieta--with Power dying under the loving gaze of his reconciled wife, and all of this beneath the very El Greco-like painting of the crucifixion. There?s a powerful use of technicolor throughout this film, especially in this scene. A couple of other appearances of Miss Darnell in her quintesssential early career Madonna mode are in Brigham Young and Chad Hanna.


Still, I think I most enjoy her saltier renditions of women who are just trying to get through life as best they can in such wonderfully entertaining films as A Letter to Three Wives, Fallen Angel and My Darling Clementine.


None of the respondents to this thread seem to have mentioned Preston Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours(1948), a delightfully subversive comedy with Miss Darnell at her most appealing. It's shown occasionally on Fox Movie Channel and I recommend it for a dose of slightly misanthropic fun.


Regarding her personal life, I have read in a bio of Joseph Mankiewicz that during the making of A Letter to Three Wives, Miss Darnell and he had a sad love affair, (he was quite married) and that she was vigorously pursued by her boss at twentieth, Daryll Zanuck as well. At least she got one of the best written roles of her career during her involvement with Mankiewicz. I doubt if her experiences with these and other men in Hollywood really did alot for her emotional well being or, in the long run, her career.


On a more positive note, I recently came across the Tab Hunter autobiography, (fairly dull, for the most part, and i really didn't care about his private life, but yes, i read it anyway), Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, (oy, what a title!). In that book, Hunter has wonderful memories of the beauty and generosity of Miss Darnell. During the making of a forgettable film called Island of Desire(1952), she went out of her way to help him with his work and to be exceptionally kind to a naive and dazzled young actor.


Has anyone read the biography, Hollywood Beauty: Linda Darnell and the American Dream by Ronald Davis? I?d love to know your opinion.

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My mother went to Sunset High in Dallas with Linda Darnell, real name Monetta. Unfortunately, Mom has gone on now so I can't ask for any anecdotes from her to pass along. One thing Mom was always sure to say though whenever Linda's name came up was how very like her it was to have risked her life to save someone else.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Linda was a great beauty in the late 30's and 40's. She need to play more women who used sex to get what she wanted like in Summer Storm and Hangover Square. They seem to have made her more of a virgin type. But when she played wicked watch out.

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