Some time ago, Joe advised Frank about his encounter with the good star of the 1940’s Dorothy Lamour. Frank liked the telling, and would love a repeat. Thus, at this time’s blog.
As the writer and coauthor of greater than 20 books about such celebrated Hollywoodians as Lana Turner, Lucille Ball, Loretta Younger and Mia Farrow, Joe is all too acquainted with the annoying habit stars typically adopted — clamming up when it got here to the touchier elements of their personal or skilled lives.
Discussions of illicit romances, marriages gone incorrect, salaries, studio intrigue, costar rivalries and fights on the set have been among the many subjects often off limits, especially when someone else within the room was taking notes.
Keep in mind actress Arlene Francis’ dubious dictum – when you can’t say something good, don’t say something at all? We, of course, favor Alice Roosevelt Longworth’s formulation –”should you haven’t received anything nice to say about anyone, come sit subsequent to me!”
It typically took the diplomatic expertise of a Talleyrand to tease out the more fascinating elements of stars’ personal lives, and these have been, of course, the elements they most popular to not talk about on or off the document.
Joe coauthored The Superb Careers of Bob Hope. Joe’s pal Ward Grant, Hope’s publicist, stated that Hope’s (and Bing Crosby’s) longtime onscreen pal, Dorothy Lamour, needed to satisfy him to debate a ebook venture of her personal. Fascinating concept however Joe had reservations and other tasks to attend to.
In addition to back in 1980, Lamour came out together with her autobiography, My Aspect of the Street, (as informed to Dorothy McInnes) that coated most if not all of the bases referring to her life and 59-picture profession. Joe figured that, nicely, that was that. What extra might be written about Madame Dorothy?
In any case, who would pay to AGAIN learn a e-book about Lamour’s springboard into present enterprise as Miss New Orleans of 1931. Or, that Mary Leta Dorothy Slaton (her given identify) was an enormous band singer married to bandleader Herbie Kay at age 21 (it lasted 4 years).
Or, that her strong singing profession on radio (she performed with the likes of Rudy Vallee) preceded her first Hollywood film, an un-credited bit as a chorus woman within the 1933 Jimmy Cagney musical, Footlight Parade.
Or, that 1936’s Jungle Princess launched the world to Dorothy’s signature sarong. (Say what you will, there’ no denying Dorothy appeared smashing in the garment.)
And, while she was dogged by the darned thing for the remaining of her life, the very fact is that she wore a sarong in solely six of her 59 films. In a publicity stunt with Freudian overtones, Dorothy as soon as burned a sarong before assembled photographers.
Absolutely coated definitely in My Aspect of the Street have been Dorothy’s adventures with Bing and Bob and the seven “Road To…” films, which spanned a dozen years beginning in 1940. Though Dorothy was never notably near Crosby on a private degree, she and Hope (as well as his spouse Delores) remained pals until the top.
Dorothy’s career as a leading actress ended after 1952’s The Street to Bali. Ten years later when Dorothy’s career was a fading memory to most film fans, a ultimate street picture The Street To Hong Kong was made with Hope and Crosby. However Joan Collins took the leading woman position, not Dorothy.
The by-then 48-year-old Lamour was incensed by what she considered a casting affront, and took her case to Hollywood columnist, Louella Parsons. To placate Dorothy the studio carved out a cameo in Hong Kong through which she performed herself.
The upside of all this was that Dorothy’s look within the film drew the eye of none aside from director John Ford, who a yr later forged her in a supporting position in Donovan’s Reef, an motion car for John Wayne and Lee Marvin. And this movie look in turn led to some late-Sixties stage work.
No matter Joe’s reservations about another Lamour ebook, Dorothy needed to satisfy him and stored after Ward Grant to rearrange a gathering. Lastly Joe agreed.
There’s no query that after 1952, Dorothy Lamour spent much less time on her career and increasingly time on her marriage to William Ross Howard III, with whom she had two youngsters and shared a step son. The couple, married in 1943, stayed collectively till his dying.
He met Dorothy when he was within the service during WW II and she or he was a Hollywood star promoting conflict bonds with nice gusto and success (the “Bond Bombshell” was personally credited for closing the sales on some $21 million – a staggering quantity at the time – in conflict bonds). She was with Bob Hope entertaining the troops on Hope’s first of what would turn out to be his many legendary journeys.
William Howard was a dashing, aristocratic officer in uniform. Dorothy Lamour was the patriotic beauty of strong, conventional values (Dorothy was Roman Catholic).
They fell in love, obtained married and presumably lived happily ever after. (Though Dorothy starred within the 1968 national street show of Hiya, Dolly, her family life came first and she or he remained largely a homemaker.)
Howard’s household came from of previous line Maryland lineage (he and Dorothy lived through the 60’s and 70’s in a suburb of Towson), and Howard himself was described as a businessman with pursuits in the frozen meals and advertising businesses.
Then something fascinating happened. Like a lot of the leisure world, Joe was highly impressed with Lamour’s energetic re-emergence in the leisure world following her husband’s dying in early 1978.
All of a sudden, she was in all places – on tv (Bob Hope specials, The Love Boat”and Murder, She Wrote) and in regional theater.
The question: was Lamour’s cover-all-bases showbiz return after almost 35 years of domesticity simply one other example of a merry widow kicking up her heels? Joe wasn’t positive, so he dropped by Lamour’s residence in North Hollywood through the 1980’s to seek out out.
After a collection of conferences and conversations a few attainable guide challenge, it turned clear that Lamour’s frenetic re-emergence on the show biz scene within the 1980’s — which astonished a lot of present enterprise on the time — was primarily pushed by one factor.
As she confessed to Joe, Dorothy needed the cash.
Like many women of her age and time, she had absented herself from the finances of her household, leaving such matters to her businessman husband. After he passed she found that each one their credit cards had been maxed out. That each one their stock had been bought. That her husband had cashed in his life insurance. That there was little if any cash left.
Dorothy was urged to file for private bankruptcy.” No,” she stated.” I’ll go back to work and pay all my debts.” And that’s exactly what she did.
Fortuitously her step-son, William Ross Howard IV, knew sufficient concerning the entertainment business to take over as Dorothy’s agent. At first the only job obtainable was a supporting position in an El Paso dinner theatre’s manufacturing of Neil Simon’s Barefoot within the Park.
GASP! IS THAT DOROTHY LAMOUR ?
Lamour advised Joe that her most making an attempt moment occurred when she walked onstage for the primary time, and was greeted with a collective gasp from the audience. Naively anticipating to see a youthful, sarong-draped Dorothy out of her earliest films, audiences needed to visually modify to the intentionally frumpy-looking actress in her mid-Sixties enjoying the mom of a brand new bride.
But with Dorothy’s identify, the gives quickly got here flooding in. What started as nervously tentative return driven by financial desperation shortly became late-career present business triumph.
Lamour recommended to Joe that her monetary predicament might provide the makings of an exquisite new guide, with Dorothy the centerpiece representing so many women of her era who had blissfully left funds to husbands solely to seek out themselves financially stranded after their mates departed. There was an actual story right here!
All throughout America there were hundreds of ladies of their 50s, 60s and 70s who, when their “upper middle income” or even “rich” husbands died, came upon that they had the truth is been dwelling in a financial home of playing cards. There WERE no stocks, investments or financial institution accounts that these ladies might fall back on.
And not using a film star identify to again them up, these ladies have been pressured to return to the work pressure typically as waitresses, restaurant hostesses or sales clerks. Writing a e-book with Dorothy about how such ladies cope in such urgent circumstances seemed to Joe to be a worthy and most fascinating undertaking.
He whipped up a four-page guide proposal, and took it to a number of New York publishers. One, the late Lyle Stuart, snapped it up. He advised Joe he was shopping for the guide concept at the least partially as a result of Lamour was the first movie star he had fallen in love with. (Stuart had by no means forgotten seeing as a young teenager Dorothy in 1936’s The Jungle Princess. Ah, that sarong!)
And, Stuart was savvy enough to comprehend the potential of a e-book a few famous Hollywood star experiencing the identical distressing state of affairs as a mean housewife confronting the truth that pricey departed husband had spent all the cash. (Comparable fates befell, by the best way, Doris Day and Debbie Reynolds.)
But over time, Lamour started to get cold ft. Would this ebook be too revealing?
She lastly made it clear to Joe that the subject of her financial straits was something much too personal — not a lot about her personal misery but concerning the damaging impact public disclosure may need on the memory of a person she had beloved for more than three many years.
To Joe’s remorse to today, the e-book challenge with Dorothy never got here to be. (Dorothy continued working into the late 1980’s. She even appeared as a matted housewife who will get bumped off in the horror film “Creep Show 2.”)
She died in her North Hollywood house of a heart attack on Sept. 22, 1996. She was 81. Dorothy is remembered in many ways including her two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for her films and one other for her radio exhibits. By most accounts she was fairly nicely off financially at the end.
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