Mary Pickford gets Hollywood ready for Christmas
Dear classic film fans,
Following this post, we’ve created an online petition to show publishers that there is, in fact, a market for a high quality coffee table-style book about Vivien Leigh. If you would be interested in purchasing a copy of the book I’m currently writing and assembling, please click the photo above, enter your email address, and pass this on!
Who is Vivien Leigh and why is this book important?
Vivien Leigh was arguably the most famous British actress of her generation and is considered one of the most beautiful women of her time. She won two Oscars for her performances as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind and Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, fluidly moved between stage and screen, and made up one half of one of the most glamorous and popular celebrity couples of the 20th century. Think Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, rewind about 20 years, and you have The Oliviers, the Royal Couple of the English stage. Her life makes for a great story. She suffered from bipolar disorder and died of TB at the young age of 53. Yet, she continues to fascinate people around the world 45 years after her death due to her lasting legacy on film and her courage in the face of adversity.
Today, Vivien Leigh falls more toward the Marilyn Monroe/Audrey Hepburn side of the lasting-pop-culture-relevancy spectrum than many old Hollywood celebrities, mainly because of Gone with the Wind. So, it seems strange that we aren’t more inundated with books about her. Yet, such is the case. The last biography that fans actually take seriously was published about 25 years ago. In the mean time, a lot of new material has been made available.
Vivien’s 100th birthday is coming up in November 2013. For many classic film stars, the centenary has been a major opportunity for authors to bring their subjects back into the spotlight. Louise Brooks, Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow come immediately to mind. It is my goal to do the same for Vivien, a woman who been an inspiration in my life for so long, and who definitely deserves the recognition.
About me, the author
I’m Kendra, a film scholar and historian with a penchant for classic Hollywood and British cinemas. I’m also the weblady behind www.vivandlarry.com, the film blog and online archive dedicated to preserving the memories of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. It’s probably pretty obvious that I’m a big fan of Vivien’s, and hopefully it’s equally as obvious that this project is a true labor of love. I’m not out to sensationalize Vivien’s life, but rather shed new light on her story with factual evidence gleaned from in-depth archival research. I’ve spent the past four years digging through special collections in libraries in Hollywood and London, traveling, interviewing people who knew her, photo sourcing, clearing copyright, pitching, etc. It’s no easy feat, and there is still much to be done. But my goal of realizing this project remains a constant.
Thanks for reading. I really appreciate your support in helping me make this dream a reality!
Lessons from Women of the Silver Screen #1: Make friends with other women.
Read enough Hollywood memoirs and you’ll discern trouble in store for women who consider themselves ‘a man’s woman,’ those who shun the company of their own kind. Invariably they end up feeling isolated and bereft. Bette Davis’ memoir wasn’t called The Lonely Life for no reason. By the end, Davis had to pay a secretary to keep her company when the husbands and children had long gone. Joan Crawford, Gloria Grahame, Veronica Lake, Betty Grable all seemed to find little value in friendships with women. If only they had had a bestie to turn to during their hardships. By contrast, women who kept lady friends seemed more fulfilled, such as Ava Gardner, who went out of her way to sustain amity with the ladies onset, including a long-term friendship with co-star for Mogambo, Grace Kelly. Lauren Bacall didn’t look at Marilyn Monroe as a threat when they worked together for How to Marry a Millionaire. In her memoir she recalls that there was no ‘bitchery’ or catty games from Monroe. Anne Baxter enjoyed a rewarding friendship with designer Edith Head for many years. You can ignore the necessity for female friendship at your own peril along with so many other ladies who thought the company of men was enough.
“He was too old for me, he’d had three wives, he drank, he was an actor and he was goyim,” Bacall wrote in her autobiography of her prime passion. All that meant nothing to the slinky 19-year-old model who met the 44-year-old star while filming To Have and Have Not. They wed in 1945 (Bogie coolly muttered “hello, baby” at the end of the ceremony), and the two embarked on several delirious years running late with the Hollywood Rat Pack, saving time for two children. “Bogie and I were ridiculous, holding hands like teenagers….we mooned and swooned, we really loved,” Bacall has said. The honeymoon ended in January 1957 when Bogart died of cancer. Wrote Bacall: “No one has written a romance better than we lived it.” —People magazine
I have her autobiography here. I need to read it ASAP.
“A Wall of directory illustrating the location of the women’s Star Studios. When this picture was taken in 1937, the name of recently deceased actress Jean Harlow had just been removed, and in fact is still poignantly visible on line A”
Second picture is of the directory of the men’s Star Studio
pictures and captions come from the book MGM: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot by Steven Bingen
250 Films in 2012 | 79 | The Thin Man (1934)
► Favorite Films (7/50)
Gorgey-porgey Tyrone Power. Mmmhmmm.
Myrna Loy, The Thin Man (1934)
As one-half of married detective couple Nick and Nora Charles, Loy set a standard for lightning-fast witty repertoire that has rarely been matched — though outspoken fans Quentin Tarantino and Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino certainly gave it a try. Loy helped define booze-soaked elegance throughout the Thin Man film series, but she also managed the much trickier balance of making her character’s love for her partner seem as exciting as the white-knuckle cases they were trying to crack. Loy was never nominated for her work, but her famous fans and industry peers campaigned for her to get an honorary life-time achievement award in 1991.
Because Lugosi never learned to drive he got around Hollywood on rollerskates.
Vampira, in which she describes her first meeting with him: “I was a young girl window-shopping on Hollywood Boulevard. I was bending low to see the detail of some shoes and someone whizzed around the corner on rollerskates, almost bumped my fanny and crashed into me. ‘Pardon me,’ said he, and ‘Pardon me,’ said I. He was wearing an Ascot cravat and a beret. It was Bela Lugosi on rollerskates. He was on his way to a cigar store.”
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