Showing posts with label Lana Turner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lana Turner. Show all posts

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Stars & Their Hobbies ~ Lana Turner

Lana Turner, Deep Sea Fishing
On wanting her next role to be worthwhile... “Otherwise I’ll go fishing.” – Lana Turner

Thanks to J.P. of Comet Over Hollywood for the tip on this one! Lana Turner had several hobbies and by far the most interesting of them was deep sea fishing. Turner picked up this hobby when she married husband #3, wealthy socialite Henry J. Topping (also known as Bob Topping).  He owned a fity-eight foot long Yacht named “Snuffy” that came fully equipped with deep sea fishing supplies. They would travel down to the Bahamas to catch Bluefin Tuna. When they eventually separated, it was said that Topping fled to Oregon to go deep sea fishing alone. I wonder if Lana Turner only dabbled in this hobby while she was married to Topping?

Turner with her husband Topping and some Bluefin Tuna they caught.  Source
My series Stars & Their Hobbies explores how notable actors and actresses from Hollywood history spent their free time. Click here to view a complete list of entries.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Get Your Read On ~ The Man Who Seduced Hollywood by B. James Gladstone

The Man Who Seduced Hollywood
The Life and Loves of Greg Bautzer, Tinseltown's Most Powerful Lawyer
by B. James Gladstone
ISBN 9781613745793
Hardcover 352 pages
Chicago Review Press
May 2013

Barnes and Noble

“... Bautzer’s legacy is the way he created a public image in order to advertise his services and the swashbuckling way he practiced law. He planned his life as if it were a movie. He wrote the script, cast himself as the star, and directed it himself.” - Gladstone

I confess that I've never heard of famed Hollywood lawyer Greg Bautzer. Now thanks to B. James Gladstone's book I'm fully informed about this fascinating man. Bautzer was a quintessential charmer who used his people skills to woo beautiful women and win court cases. His list of romantic conquests is as impressive as his list of clients. Bautzer had relationships with actresses Lana Turner, Ginger Rogers, Joan Crawford, Dorothy Lamour, Merle Oberon, Jane Wyman, Ann Sheridan, Simone Simon and that's only part of the full list.  Bautzer's clients included Howard Hughes, Marion Davies, Ingrid Berman, Robert Mitchum, Farah Fawcett, Jeanne Crain, Kirk Douglas and more. One of his clients and friends was actor Robert Wagner who wrote the foreword for this book.

Bautzer handled many high-profile Hollywood divorce cases most notably the very complicated one between Ingrid Bergman and her first husband Petter Lindstrom. There was adultery, a pregnancy, child custody issues as well as a morality clause in Bergman's film contract. Bautzer also handled Nancy Sinatra's divorce from Frank Sinatra but still managed to befriend Frank after the fact (that's an accomplishment if there ever was one!). He also handled wills and estates of big tycoons like William Randolph Heart and Howard Hughes as well as financial transactions of major corporations like TWA, CBS, Warner Bros., MGM, Paramount and the Flamingo casino in Las Vegas. He faced notorious gangster Bugsy, got punched by actor George Hamilton and tried to pick a fight Humphrey Bogart. Needless to say, there are countless stories about all the romances, fights, legal battles, friendships and partnerships that Bautzer had in his long life and career. Bautzer wasn’t perfect. He had a short temper, was obsessed with winning and eventually became an alcoholic. He wasn’t very good at monogamy either and didn’t take naturally to fatherhood. However, he was a talented lawyer who wanted loyalty above all else, loved his clients and would do anything for them. He was generous too and even waived legal fees if his clients were in financial straits.

The author B. James Gladstone is the Executive Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs for Lionsgate Entertainment.  In this book, he’s covering the life of a figure who is both a legend and a hero to him. I couldn’t quite tell if Gladstone had ever interactive with Bautzer during his lifetime but he did have a brief friendship with actress Dana Wynters before her death in 2011. Wynters was Bautzer’s third wife, the mother of his only child Mark Bautzer and proved to be an invaluable resource to Gladstone in writing this book.

This book is an endlessly enjoyable read full of interesting stories about a figure who is very captivating. It follows Bautzer’s life story chronologically for the most part but some chapters dip in and out of different time periods. Some chapters focus on big moments, relationships and trial sin Bautzer’s life and career. These chapters profile Bautzer’s relationships with the following key figures: Lana Turner, Bugsy Siegel, Howard Hughes, Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Dorothy Lamour, Marion Davies/William Randolph Hearst, Robert Evans (Paramount), Kirk Kerkorian (MGM), Dana Wynters, etc.

Bautzer was a key figure in many deals, transactions, divorces and meetings. Because of him certain movies were made and certain careers rose and flourished. While not essential to one’s film history education, I think it’s very interesting to read about the other people who worked Hollywood during it’s golden era. It wasn’t just actors, actresses, directors and producers. Many people in the industry and on the peripheral influenced film history in many ways.

I loved the story of how Bautzer borrowed $5,000 to start his career. He used that money to dress nicely, get the best tables and the best restaurants so he could pique the interest of the Hollywood elite and open doors to both meet them and work with them.

I did find one error in the book. The author recounts a story that Bautzer himself told many times of Marion Davies requesting a black Rolls Royce so she can take it to the 1953 New York wedding of JFK and Jacqueline Bouvier. The wedding was actually in Newport, Rhode Island. I thought maybe it was just a location error until the story also said that Davies had the car waiting for her at Grand Central Station. It's very possible that the story was actually about Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy's New York wedding in 1954. I did a little digging and found out that Davies was a guest at that wedding. Davies might have also gone to the JFK-Bouvier wedding too. I've been told that the author is looking into it and it will be clarified when the paperback is released.

Thank you to Meaghan of IPG for sending me a copy of this book to review!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Warner Archive Wednesday ~ Dancing Co-Ed (1939)

What a rush it is to discover a movie that becomes a new favorite. I love that feeling, the moment of discovery, the wash of pleasure that passes over you and the settling in of contentment.

Dancing Co-Ed is from the golden year of 1939. There must have been something magical in the water in Hollywood in 1939 because it was consistently a good year for movies, even B ones.

Dancing Co-Ed (1939) is an MGM production starring Lana Turner, Richard Carlson, Ann Rutherford (she was the last surviving cast member when she passed away last year) and features popular musician Artie Shaw, Lana Turner's soon-to-be first husband.

The Dancing Tobins are a married dancing duo who are famous for their movies. When ToddyTobin announcing she's expecting their first child, it leaves Freddy Tobin without a dance partner for their upcoming movie Dancing Co-Ed. Producer Joe Drews (Roscoe Karns) has promised Patty (Lana Turner) a part in the picture but now it all seems unlikely. Drews, under pressure to make the film without a major star, comes up with the idea of a college contest in which unknowns try out for the part in the movie. They'll send Artie Shaw and his Orchestra to perform at the college and it would get the movie studio great publicity. But Joe Drews and Freddy Tobin don't want to risk the movie being a flop so they chose a dancer to replace Mrs. Tobin and plant her at a college so she can pretend to be a student, enter the contest and win. And that dancer is Lana Turner's Patty.

It's a "potato of an idea"! Joe Drews sends Patty with his secretary Eve (Ann Rutherford) who will accompany her as a student, keep an eye out for her and help her with all the academic stuff. At the college they meet Pug Braddock (Richard Carlson), a college student and editor of the school's newspaper The Porcupine. He thinks the contest is a scam and is investigating it. But he also has a crush on Patty not knowing she's the contest's plant. While rehearsals and auditions are going on, Patty has to keep Pug off her back. She comes up with a new potato of an idea that she'll "help" Pug with his investigation so that she'll be ruled out. It all becomes a lovely complicated mess as the big contest date looms.

Dancing Co-Ed is charming and fun. It has collegiate culture, dance, music, romance, a little bit of drama and a delightful, light-footed and well-dressed Lana Turner. I love the conceit and the actors are all wonderful especially Lana Turner, Ann Rutherford and Leon Errol who plays Patty's showbiz father. It's hard for me to articulate why I adore this movie so. I'm still trying to pinpoint my decade long love affair with Bachelor Mother (1939) so I imagine this one will not be easy either.

This movie reminds me a little bit of The Disenchanted, the Budd Schulberg novel I recently reviewed, with it's Hollywood meets College campus theme. 

Dancing Co-Ed (1939) is available on DVD from Warner Archive. I rented this film from Classicflix but I'm going to buy it on my next Warner Archive purchase.

The Jelly Jar seems like a jivin' place to be! 

Pug: Go on, you heard what the man said. Get hysterical.
Patty: I can't, it gives me hiccups.

Lana Turner, Sweater Girl

Pug to Patty: You look like you swallowed a sunset.

Warner Archive Wednesday - On (random) Wednesdays, I review one title from the Warner Archive Collection. I rented Dancing Co-Ed (1939) from Classicflix.


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