Sunday, September 21, 2014

Stars & Their Hobbies ~ Jill St. John

Jill St. John, Model Trains
Singer Grace Slick on visiting Jill St. John - "Her house included an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, a vast array of tropical fish and a basement filled with miniature trains." (Source)

While doing research for my Stars & Their Hobbies series, I stumbled upon a New York Times bio listing Jill St. John's hobbies as collecting model trains and dating high-profile men. I've encountered the dating-men-as-a-hobby thing multiple times in my research. It's something that frustrated me because it's such a double-standard. 

I was intrigued by the idea of Jill St. John collecting model trains so I did some research. I discovered that both her real hobby of model trains and her "hobby" of dating men are somewhat linked.

On her childhood – “I was always working… I missed a lot of things kids do. Maybe that’s I collected and put together electric trains from Germany for a while. I made the little trees and houses and everything. But then I gave it all to a boys’ home because my dates were paying more attention to the trains than to me.” - Jill St. John (Source)

St. John's hobby was a way to recapture some of her lost childhood and it seems the men in her life intruded of her private interest. One source claimed a Walter Robin (either a hotel magnate or toy tycoon, I couldn't tell which one) sold her $2,000 worth of model trains and track in 1963. Another source said that her ex-husband Lance Reventlow gifted her 200 feet of model trains and tracks valued at $10,000. 

I wonder if Jill St. John picked up the hobby again after she ditched her collection in 1971? Over the years she's had other hobbies including collecting Faberge jewelry and teddy bears, playing chess and doing yoga.

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.

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