When Henry Fonda first went to New York City a friend picked him up on a double date with a couple of sisters. The friend convinced the girls’ mother, Mrs. Davis, to let him and Henry show her daughters the Princeton Stadium by moonlight. The two young men had a wager on who would score the most kisses from the sisters. When Henry found himself alone with the younger one he gave her a quick peck on the lips. The next morning he found a note on his pillow, the girls having left early. It read: ‘I’ve told my mother about our lovely experience together in the moonlight. She will announce the engagement when we get home… (Signed) Bette Davis.’ A decade or so later, Henry met her again on the set of Jezebel, and told Bette how he had hurried home to Omaha after reading the note, fearful she would return to carry out her threat.
Actress Sally Kellerman attended group therapy sessions with her mentor and close confidante Jennifer Jones, where she met hot-shot producer Jonathan D. Krane in 1978. They started dating and eventually married in May 1980 at Jennifer’s Malibu home in a private ceremony. The couple separated for a few months in 1994, reconciled, but then separated again in 1997 over Jonathan’s affair with actress Nastassja Kinski. They got back together again in 1999 and remained a couple until Krane’s unexpected death in 2016 from a heart attack. Less than three months later their adopted daughter Hanna died from heroin and methamphetamine use. Sally herself died from heart failure in February 2022, aged eighty-five.
Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot
In the hit movie Some Like it Hot (1959), it took Marilyn Monroe forty-seven takes to get the line, ‘It’s me, Sugar’ correct. Three words! In another scene she was required to rummage through some drawers looking for a bottle of booze. She had to say, ‘Where’s the bourbon?’ Again just three words. After fifty-nine takes, director Billy Wilder said she finally got it right – but had her back to the camera! Many of the crew believed that Billy then gave up and had the line dubbed.
Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest
The lovely Eva Marie Saint entered this world in July 1924. As of this writing (December 2022) she is, at ninety-eight, the oldest living Hitchcock blonde, having made North by Northwest for him in 1959. Her two closest rivals for that title are Kim Novak (eighty-nine) and Tippi Hedren (ninety-two). Kim starred in Vertigo in 1958; Tippi starred in two Hitchcock films – The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1964).
Sylvester Stallone in Rocky
Producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff became interested in Sylvester Stallone’s script for Rocky. They offered him $350,000 for the rights. At that time Stallone had $106 in the bank, no car, and was trying to sell his dog because he couldn’t afford to feed him! He was earning $36 a week as an usher. Nevertheless, he refused their offer unless they agreed to let him star in the film. They agreed, on the condition that he continue to work as a writer (without a fee), and that he work as an actor for scale. In the movie Rocky has a dog named Butkus. It is actually Stallone’s dog in real life.
Bernard Hill in Titanic
Fans of Titanic (1997) will know British actor Bernard Hill’s face, even if his name probably escapes them, for he portrayed Captain Smith in the film. He was also King Theoden in a couple of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ features Brad Dourif was one of his cast-mates in ‘The Two Towers’ and never stopped using his English accent until right at the end of the shoot. Hill was convinced Brad was English by birth. When he finally heard Dourif using his real accent (he was born in the USA), he thought it was fake, and accused him of having the worst fake accent he had ever heard!
James Woods in Salvador
Although Marlon Brando was director Oliver Stone’s first choice for Salvador (1986), he also offered the lead role to Paul Newman and Lee Marvin. Newman liked the project but was unable to fit it into his schedule. Marvin also liked the script but felt he was too old for the role, and he also did not want to travel as much as the film required, due to his health problems. Indeed, he died the year after the picture was released. James Woods eventually secured the lead.
On February 23, 1965, Stan Laurel told his nurse that he wouldn’t mind going skiing right at that very moment. She replied that she was unaware he was a skier. ‘I’m not’, said Stan, ‘I’d rather be doing that than have all these needles stuck into me!’ A few minutes later, the nurse looked in on him again and found that he had quietly passed away.’
The Continental Baths was a gay bath-house located in the basement of the Ansonia Hotel in New York City, and it operated from 1968 until 1976. It was advertised as ‘reminiscent of the glory of ancient Rome’. Bette Midler sang there before she became famous, accompanied on the piano by Barry Manilow before he became famous. When asked about her time there, Bette said: ‘I’ve never been to a sex orgy in my entire life. Studio 54 was way worse than the baths.’ Interesting.
Elia Kazan receiving his Honorary Oscar
When renowned director Elia Kazan was presented with an Honorary Oscar at the 2000 Academy Awards, the response was mixed. Interviews on the red carpet indicated that Liam Neeson and Kevin Costner felt that honoring his achievements in the art of film-making over-rode his betrayal of colleagues to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) decades earlier. In the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion where the award was presented, about half those present were pro-Kazan and half were not. Among those who stood and applauded with enthusiasm were Warren Beatty, Meryl Streep, Lynn Redgrave, Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn and Helen Hunt. Steven Spielberg also applauded but remained seated.
Noticeably, actors Nick Nolte, Ed Harris and Ed’s actress wife Amy Madigan remained seated and did not applaud. As the presentation proceeded, director Martin Scorsese and actor Robert De Niro embraced Kazan. It was Kazan’s friend Karl Malden who had, as a member of the board, proposed the special award. Not surprisingly, conservative activist Charlton Heston was pro-Kazan. ‘To deny a film-maker of Elia Kazan’s abilities, to deny him the life achievement award is not only petty but shocking’, he said.
Oliver Martinez & wife Halle Berry
Actor Olivier Martinez (his mother is French, his father Spanish-Moroccan), was in relationships with Juliette Binoche (1995-8), Kylie Minogue (2003-7), as well as with Angelina Jolie, ‘Victoria’s Secret’ model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Mira Sorvino, at various times. He became engaged to American actress Halle Berry in January 2012 and married her in July 2013. She presented him with a son, Maceo, in October that same year, although by then he and Halle were estranged.