Ingrid Bergman & Alfred Hitchcock

Ingrid Bergman told her first husband, Peter Lindstrom, that she could never work effectively without being in love with either her director or her leading man – hence her affairs with Gregory Peck, Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, Omar Sharif and Bing Crosby, to name but a few. In time, she would give birth to director Roberto Rossellini’s child, but that was still in the future. Whenever she and Peter were invited to Alfred Hitchcock’s home for dinner, she failed to notice that her host would invariably sulk throughout the evening because of his ongoing crush on her. His infatuation was not reciprocated.

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Rita Moreno & Brando in ‘The Night of the Following Day’ 1968

When Marlon Brando ditched Rita Moreno in 1961, thus ending their 12 year, on-again, off-again affair, she took their parting very badly and overdosed on sleeping pills. Fortunately, she survived. The much-troubled Pier Angeli was another of his lovers. So were Shelley Winters, Nancy Qwan and Katy Jurado. He could have almost any woman he met and his list of conquests was one of Hollywood’s longest, yet his own daughter, Cheyenne, would accuse him of abusing her, both ‘physically and sexually’. Biographer Peter Manso believes Brando sired as many as 15 children during his life, and paid for numerous more abortions. He was also bisexual. ‘Like a large number of men’, he admitted, ‘I too have had homosexual experiences and am not ashamed.’ Sexually, nothing was considered out of bounds for the man cited by many as the greatest movie actor of all time.

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Note: Dorothy is billed ahead of Hope

Paramount offered Road to Singapore to Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in 1940, the first of the seven massively successful ‘Road’ pictures because the studio had nothing else to give them. Even so, they were only approached after the picture had been turned down by Fred MacMurray and Jack Oakie. In essence, therefore, their greatest hits as a comic duo were a bit of a fluke. Furthermore, everything they did together, including live performances, was scripted from beginning to end. Jerry Lewis wrote that he honestly believed Bob and Bing did not particularly like each other and that it showed. Interestingly, the billing for this first ‘Road’ picture had Hope third behind Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. But not for long.

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Gloria De Haven (L) & June Allyson

In August 1948, Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis were the new kids on the block and in great demand. Californian movie studios wooed them one after another until Paramount eventually won out. Their brief trip to MGM bore fruit too. Dean commenced a hot affair with studio star June Allyson, while her closest friend, actress Gloria De Haven, latched onto Jerry. All four were married to others at the time – Dean was wed to Betty and shared three children; Jerry’s wife Patti had already born him a child; June was married to director Dick Powell and Gloria was the wife of actor John Payne. When Dean and Jerry returned to New York City and booked two suites on the 24th floor of the Hampshire House on Central Park South, the two MGM actresses booked into a suite directly above them the very next day! For the next week there was a lot of partying in those suites as all four conveniently ignored the fact that they each had a spouse at home.

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Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis

The ‘Fearsome Foursome’, as the papers quickly dubbed them, were photographed, arm in arm on shopping sprees, on Broadway, at El Morocco, and at other night spots all over town. Both Dean and Jerry were allowed considerable freedom by their wives when it came to womanising, but Betty and Patti soon drew the line when their husbands began to make fools of them. Phone calls were piped through to Hampshire House and the world’s newest and hottest comedians were read the Riot Act by their infuriated spouses. ‘Listen, you schmuck’, Patti told Jerry, ‘If you have to get your rocks off, why do it in Madison Square Garden?’ Dean was warned accordingly and both men kept their infidelities at a considerably lower-key from then onwards. Not that they stopped fooling around. They simply ceased broadcasting their two-timing to the world.

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Boomerang (1947) is a drama based on a true incident. On February 4, 1924, a popular Catholic priest named Father Hubert Dahme was shot to death at an intersection in Bridgeport, Connecticut. A homeless veteran named Harold Israel was arrested and charged with his murder. Witnesses identified him and other circumstantial evidence seemed to link him to the crime. Israel eventually confessed, but then immediately recanted. The prosecutor, Homer Stille Cummings, to his great credit, dropped all charges at the arraignment, discrediting the police investigation and claiming that Israel’s confession had been coerced from the mentally impaired suspect. Cummings would go on to be appointed Attorney-General by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Father Dahme’s murderer has never been apprehended.

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Harrison Ford & Kelly McGillis in Witness (1985)

Witness (1985) is the only film in which Harrison Ford has (thus far) garnered an Academy Award nomination, albeit an unsuccessful one. The former carpenter who got the chance to demonstrate his skills during a barn-building scene in the film, once built an entire recording studio for musician Sergio Mendez. Ford’s leading lady, Kelly McGillis, was recruited for her part in this picture whilst working in a coffee shop in Greenwich Village, New York City. Ford and Australian director Peter Weir personally visited the shop to offer her the role, much to the delight and astonishment of customers. The script had been hawked around all the major studios, none of them showing much interest, until Paramount realised its potential. It would be unsuccessfully nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 1986.

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Fonzie meets Mork from Ork on Happy Days 1978

When Star Wars came out in 1977, it heralded an unprecedented interest in ‘space’ movies and TV series. Garry Marshall, producer of Happy Days on television, began looking for a ‘space alien’ to make an appearance in the series, and was told to check out an unknown comic named Robin Williams who was working on street corners and passing the hat for tips. Williams was placed in a February 1978 episode as the alien inhabitant named Mork from Ork of a Fonzie dream. He was a sensation. On taking his curtain call in front of the live Happy Days audience, Williams was greeted with a standing ovation. The Mork & Mindy show was born shortly afterwards. The preshow live audience warm-up was often funnier than the script because Williams could then be more irreverent and indulge in the use of bad language. At times he would even walk offstage and then come back naked.

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