5 Episode results for "Lindsay D Schoenholtz"
144: The Trials of Confidential Magazine: Maureen O'Hara (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 18)
"Just. To another episode of you must remember this the podcast dedicated to explain the secrets, and or forgotten stories of Hollywood's first century, I'm your host Corinne along. And this is another episode of our ongoing series fake, news fact, checking Hollywood Babylon. This is news. This is totally unfounded gossip it's a long way from Hollywood, criticized for dealing to frankly such themes as sex nudity Hollywood Babylon. Last week. We began the story of confidential magazine the scandal sheet that transformed the way Hollywood was ridden about and approached its own scandals today, we're going to continue by talking about the trial that brought confidential down and the actress Maureen O'Hara who took full credit for that take down. Here is an excerpt from Hollywood Babylon. The trial. Finally started in Los Angeles. August second nineteen fifty seven the press called it. The trial of a hundred stars actually after a brief appearance by Dorothy Dandridge who withdrew her complaint after considerable out of court settlement the trial counted, only one other star beautiful redhead, Maureen O'Hara confidential had informed. It's literati that miss Maureen O'Hara had indulged in eight Chinese chest game in the plush seats of the loge section of Grauman's Chinese theatre her playmate was said to have been in a tractive, South American judge. Walker felt additional information was required. The scene was reenacted in the balcony the manager of. Almonds agreed to play the part of the South American a young woman reporter was standing for the star the manager sat down the double stretched out and even raised her legs in the air all twelve jurors repaired to row thirty five where minute examination of the three seats in question showed them no different from any others in the theater, Maureen did not appear until August seventeenth. She proved that at the time of the alleged frolics the balcony of Grauman's she had been in Spain. Her passport was entered as proof. She asked five million dollars in damages. The witnesses persisted in spite of her passport proof of absence insisting that it had been the actress they had seen in the lows. Her sister, an Irish nun emerged from convent to come to her defense the court pride and a lie detector. Which did not prove that Maureen was telling the truth, the hung jury finally reached a compromise. The obscenity charges were dismissed confidential only had to cough up five thousand dollars. There were many out of court settlements. However, which one added up came to a lively, some the magazine paid forty thousand dollars to Liberace and almost as much to a dozen other celebrity the biggest actual drama of the case came with the suicide of Polly Gould of the magazine's editors staff, she killed herself the night of August sixteenth. She was to testify the following day. It was then discovered that Polly had been playing a double game selling the secrets of the magazine to the DA and informing Harrison of. The maneuvers of the police following the trial. Howard Rushmore Harrison's editor in chief on confidential pulled out a gun while riding in a cab with his wife in New York. Separately side shot MRs Rushmore, then killed himself Harrison sold confidential in nineteen fifty seven. Maurino Harris account of her battle against confidential as related in her two thousand four auto biography has been widely mocked as has much of her auto biography, which ranks among the memoirs of Elliott Kazan and Roman Polanski for its lack of self awareness. The crucial difference is that Kazan and Polanski's books are fascinating reads and o'hara's. Tis herself is not in part. This is because the only hero in o'hara's account is O'Hara and literally everyone else is a villain. She's absolutely obsessed with the idea that she never became a great actress because she was too beautiful, which is not a great look and much of her commentary about the most. Memorable films of her career including miracle on thirty fourth street. And the quiet man is either completely prosaic or is focused on quote unquote, setting the record straits on issues that I don't think matter at all all of this is to say that her account of the confidential situation should be taken as perhaps not a pure unvarnished unemotional slice of truth. And it's because of this that angers distortions of o'hara's portion of the confidential story seem not that bad. Today, we will compare the different stories and try to sort out what really happened with Maureen O'Hara in that movie theater to confidential magazine in the courtroom and to Howard Rushmore in that taxi cab. Join us won't you for the story of Maureen O'Hara and confidential magazine. O'hara had been discovered as a teenager in Dublin and at age fourteen she was signed to a personal contract by the actor Charles Lawton. She came to Hollywood with lot in to make The Hunchback of Notre Dom in nineteen thirty nine and then lot and sold her contract to our KO. The gorgeous red headed teenager felt she had been abandoned by her mentor and stranded in a city and an industry for which she had little respect she longed to travel back to the UK and pursue theater, which she thought was the only venue for real acting. Yes. She was one of those. Instead O'Hara found herself working in Hollywood for an uninterrupted two decades during which she appeared in five films directed by John Ford, including the best picture winner. How green was my valley and the technicolor masterpiece. The quiet man in which O'hare plays the quintessential feisty Irish lass opposite John Wayne in her book of Hera categorizes Ford as a mentor who turned into a creep and at tyrant. She catalog some strange, and borderline sadistic behavior, he directed towards her ranging from harassing letters and onset comments to Harris suspicion that Ford schemed to ensure she wasn't nominated for an Oscar for the quiet, man. O'hara Chuck's this. All up to her belief that Ford was painfully closeted homosexual who attempted to hide his true sexuality by projecting a facade of impossibly inflated, conventional hetero, masculinity O'Hara backs up this theory by claiming that she once walked in on Ford and another man and was creeped out if John Ford was living a secret life, and if the masculinity of his movies and his persona did come from a place of shame. Well, that's fascinating. But the way O'hare writes about it is itchy because she sent herself as a victim of Ford who she paint says being virtually deranged and she in tangles her version of his sexuality with her disparaging view of his mental state. O'hara's own true personal life for much of her stardom was hidden from the public. She had a secret. I husband left behind when she left Ireland for Hollywood when that relationship was annulled O'Hara entered into what the public believed was her first marriage. That husband will price was according to O'Hare, a desperate alcoholic who spent her money wantonly stole from her and forced her to work more than she would have liked in order to make sure the bills he ran up got paid and to maintain the facade of her movie star lifestyle, again O'Hara paints herself as a helpless damsel trapped in Hollywood due to forces beyond her control. One of those forces was her own Catholic faith, which made a divorce an option of absolute last resort. Short. By the end of the nineteen forties. She had come to believe that in addition to being too beautiful to be taken seriously. There were two other problems in her career one was that her movies made so much money that they helped to finance the prestige pictures starring less beautiful actresses. So the studios couldn't take the financial risk of taking her out of the dumb technicolor blockbusters and putting her in say, a Bette Davis type picture the other issue in o'hara's mind was the casting couch as she wrote in her auto biography. Quote, I wasn't a whore. I've said over and over you can have anything you want in life provided you're willing to make the necessary sacrifices for it. I was unwilling to make that kind of sacrifice to get a part in a movie. I'm not saying O'Hara should have submitted to the advances of movie producers to get the part she wanted. But today, it feels real shady for her to blame the other players. I e those actresses she deemed, quote, unquote, horrors rather than blaming the game. On the day of o'hara's tenth anniversary of her wedding to will price. Her husband finally, moved out for good. This was shortly after O'Hara had begun a relationship with recap par a Mexican politician who she I met at a film festival in Mexico City at the beginning of the relationship and Rica, didn't speak English, and Maureen didn't speak Spanish and his teenage son would translate for the couple on their dates and Rica was married but separated and his wife had a boyfriend of her own satisfied that her new partner was essentially single marine agreed to pay off her husband's debts. If he would submit to a quiet divorce. He agreed. But then according to Maureen John Ford told price that his soon to be ex wife was. Living in sin with a Mexican. Will sued for custody of their daughter Bronwyn, alleging that her relationship with Parral was immoral and Maureen countersuit revealing that price was a drunk who was frequently too intoxicated to care for a child O'Hare out also claimed in her book that after filing her suit a quotes, very obvious homosexual approached her at Schwab's drugstore called her husband, a quote, cock sucking bastard whose shouldn't have custody of their child and offered to testify to such in court O'Hara vista mean that her ex had been secretly gay and thus unfit for parenting. This is the last significant story O'Hara tells in her book before getting into the allegations made. About her own sex life in confidential her repeated negative judgment of gay sex is gross. But it also serves to make it clear that she looked down on sex that she considered to be transgressive in her book. She trumpets were prudery perhaps a bit much which might be a way of inoculating herself in advance against what is about to come. Sony Pictures classics proudly presents STAN and Ollie starring Steve Coogan, and John C Reilly as the iconic comedy team, laurel and hardy after their golden Hollywood, here's laurel and hardy facing uncertain future as they set out on a comeback tour trying to reconnect with their fans, and rediscover just how much their friendship means to each other. The New York Times says Coogan and Riley delivered dynamite performances while the observer deems, STAN and Ollie four stars not to be missed certified fresh from rotten tomatoes. Stan and early now playing in theaters in select cities and opens everywhere January twenty fifth. Here are excerpts from the story. Confidential. Ran in their March nineteen fifty seven issue under the headline. It was a hot show in town when Maureen O'Hara cuddled in row thirty five. A gentlemanly assistant manager at Grauman's. Didn't give it a second thought. One November evening not so long ago when he greeted lovely green eyed Marino Hera at the head of the main aisle, escorted by a tall and handsome Latin American. She looked as dignified as a Queen the manager had his share of over amorous couples in Grauman's, but such a problem never entered his mind as he watched red haired Morenes we've down the aisle in the darkness, O'Hara necking a public theatre. It just couldn't be easing down the aisle. He saw the entwined to some. It was Maureen and her south of the border, sweetie. Maureen had entered wearing a silk blouse neatly button. Now. Now, it wasn't the guy had come in wearing spruce blue suits. Now. He wasn't moreover Maureen had taken the darndest position to watch a movie in the whole history of the theater. She was spread across three seats with the happy Latin American in the middle seats, the manager was embarrassed at the prospect of having to walk over and tell them to break up the anad ver- ties love scene on the other hand what they were doing threatened to short circuit the air conditioning system later, he found Maureen occupying one-seat her boyfriend's that is they were both in it. She was sitting on his lap facing the back of the theater that was too much. This is in manager turned his flashlight directly on Maureen and her Latin lethargic. Flicking off the light he marched over to the romantic Dua. When suggested perhaps it might be best. If you left the theater. Of course, the story wasn't outrageous lie O'Hara leader wrote. It never happened. I had been seriously libelled in the most offensive way. The story does redes- fiction concocted to counteract o'hara's previously established persona and to make her relationship with a non white foreigner seem all the more salacious again, we see that the subtext of so many of confidential hit pieces was racism, but unfortunately, o'hara's own account of what happened after the article ran also strains credulity in her book. She claims that the entire industry was outraged by confidential by the time her story ran and that all of her colleagues were in search of a figurehead to take the publication down. She claims she was told by actor turned politician, George Murphy, We have picked you. I felt like I was Joan of arc responsible for saving the. Motion picture industry O'Hara declared. And so I said, yes, oh Heron did file a five million dollar libel suit against confidential, but she was not the pioneer. She makes herself out to be. She was not the first star to file such a suit. As we noted last week Lisbeth, Scott and Robert mitchum filed way back in nineteen fifty five two years before Dorothy Dandridge filed and the closeted pianist Liberace follow Dandridge by filing suit in mid nineteen fifty seven in fact newspapers from nineteen fifty seven indicate O'Hara filed hirsute after she testified to the grand jury in August, nineteen fifty seven she switches the order of events in her autobiography. Now, I am going to quote directly from o'hara's book. Remember the events she's about to describe would have to occur after O'Hara filed hirsute. But before she testified, then all of a sudden Liberace and Dandridge dropped their cases. And settled with the magazine without any warning, George Murphy called me and said, Maureen these lousy bastard sons of bitches the industry is no longer supporting you won this you're on your own. I'm starry and may God help you. He then hung up the phone my own industry. Cut thrown me to the wolves. This seems to be if not a total fiction venit least, a distortion for one thing. Most of the industry never intended to support O'Hara by testifying when the DA claimed at one point that he would subpoena. Hundreds of stars the studio started pressuring the DA to drop the case because everyone knew that if stars were put on the stand to defend themselves against what confidential go wrong, the stars would have to admit to embarrassing or scandalous details. That confidential had omitted or got him rights second. We know from last week's episode that despite her settlement with the magazine Dandridge did testify. Finally, it was the judge in the case who declared that the scope of the subpoenas be limited to just six stories in question, Feo, Hera and Dandridge are. Articles were among the sex. But the Liberace story was not which was why he gave his deposition out of court in a private session with confidential attorneys, contrary to O'Hare claim that he abandoned the caused by settling he didn't settle his case until a year after the trial in July nineteen fifty eight in any case the industry had not thrown O'Hara to the wolves most of the industry wanted this whole thing to go away. But Dandridge and Liberace the two stars. She named as turncoats were apparently just as committed to this fight as heroin. If we take their actual on the record actions as evidence. There is another major issue that calls o'hara's version in doubt, confidential did not know if the Dorothy Dandridge story was true. But because it's tipsters swore. It was they felt they were safe in publishing it. They felt they were safe in publishing the Maureen O'Hara story because they absolutely believed it to be true. Unlike the dandruff story, this one had been thoroughly vetted, and the fact checker had found enough I witnesses who worked at the theater whose stories were more or less consistent, and who had no reason to collude with one. Another these witnesses testified at the trial again in contrast to the Dandridge story Hollywood believed that even if the article wasn't true, the racial identity of o'hara's boyfriend was worth gossiping about o'hara's relationship with PA. Era had already been the subject of disapproving reports in mainstream local newspapers by the time confidential ran their story. Maybe the tabloid had exaggerated the details, but most people around hound believed that O'Hara was due to have her pristine image muddied, just like everyone else's. The details of confidential story about O'Hara were hazy enough that when a single juror who was having trouble. Imagining the scene depicted in the magazine requested clarification, the whole jury was bust over to grens to see the scene of the alleged crime for themselves. I'm on the jurors side here confidential description of o'hara's, shall we say hawks jer is vague enough to allow the mind to real. All kinds of sex acts could have been happening or none. At all contrary to angers report. The reenactment that followed did not involve a theater manager or a young female reporter with her legs in the air. Instead the single juror who had requested the visit sat in the center seat and wriggled around his arms outstretched towards a male bailiff most likely as a comic gambits. Sidebar anger claims the biggest drama of the trial was the suicide of paulie Gould. This is not the whole story, and it sort of weird that anger leaves out the rest Gould who was a private investigator on Harrison's payroll was found dead in her apartment in the middle of the trial. The Los Angeles Times reported that the cause of death was an apparently accidental pill overdose. This was extra shocking because gold was the second witness to die before she was able to testify the I was chalky white. A black boxer turned chauffeur who had sold confidential. A story about his Sexcapades with may west after white died in his bathtub his widow alleged that she had been besieged by threatening phone calls warning her not to talk about her. Husband's relationship with may west and sidebar. When it came time for her to testify O'Hara was accompanied to the court by her two brothers and her sister who really was a nun on the stand O'Hara was a fierce witness, totally unshakable and her insistence that her passport, which bore stamps from a trip to Europe to shoot. A film was all the proof necessary that she had not ever done anything. Inappropriate at Grauman's Chinese theater. The problem was that confidential hadn't specified a date when the incident had occurred o'hara's passport may have proved she hadn't been in Los Angeles the previous November. But on the stand to assistant managers confirmed all of the details in the story while acknowledging that they couldn't agree on the exact date it took place. Also, her claim on the stand that she had only been two Grauman's twice both times for movie premieres was disputed by young lady who worked at the grounds, candy counter. The candy counter girl was sure she had seen Herat theater, and it couldn't have been at a premier because the candy counter was closed during premiers. In other words, both sides had their story and stuck to it. Anger claims O'Hara took a lie detector test, which quote did not prove she was telling the truth, but I can't find any other reporting that backs that up Marjorie Meade, Robert Harrison's niece and head of confidential personal spy agency. Hollywood research did offer to take a lie detector test during the trial. But in regards to a story about the producer, Paul Gregory and Liberace offered to take one in his out of court testimony. But as far as I can tell no lie detector tests were actually submitted into evidence at the trial. However, confidential 's lead defense attorney did make much of the fact that Maureen O'Hara was a trained actress, and thus her testimony shouldn't be believed. After six weeks of total testimony. The jury was sent to the embassador hotel to deliberates after seventeen days of sequestration. The longest deliberation in California history to that point the jury announced they were deadlocked. Unable to move beyond vote of seven to five in favor of guilty rather than go in for a second trial. The state of California proposed settlement they would drop the charges against confidential if Robert Harrison paid ten thousand dollars in fines, and if confidential got out of the celebrity expose business. Harrison didn't have much choice confidential network of sources had been destroyed by the trial. Thanks to Rushmore having sold out all of its previous tipsters to the prosecution which made any potential future tipsters too wary to tip. And the magazine which had been banned in California during the trial was now, essentially gray listed because newsstands were afraid of carrying it. In April nineteen fifty eight Harrison announced that confidential would no longer cover Hollywood three months later. He's sold the magazine for a paltry twenty five thousand dollar the magazine continued publishing under new management running headlines like Castro raped. My teenage daughter Howard Rushmore. The former confidential editor turned turncoat found himself after the trial, totally broke. And with a history of selling out his co workers and his professed values to the highest bidder. He was essentially unemployable anger makes what happened next seemed like a direct consequence of the trial. But of course, the trial had only come about. Because of rush Moore's missteps at confidential and his bloody end was the combination of the many dark threads of his life resolving in the same ugly. Not he and his wife Francis were both alcohol IX, and he beat her and around Christmas nineteen fifty seven. She finally left him on January. Second Howard came home and found Francis packing up. What was left of her stuff? He followed her down to the curb yelling when she hailed a cab to leave. He pushed his way into the cab. After her the driver pulled away from the curb, and then the shots wrung out the driver turned his head and saw a blur of blood and guts Howard, Rushmore had shot his wife and then himself. In her book, Maureen O'Hara claims that she won the trial and that her victory as she put. It was the first time a movie star had one against an industry tabloid as I hope we've shown across these two episodes. She couldn't personally win the case in which she testified because it wasn't her trial to win. It was the state of California her libel case was separate and she settled it in July nineteen fifty eight for an unpublished amount of money. Liberace's settlement was reported as forty thousand dollars. So it stands to reason O'Hara got about that much but o'hara's tale of victory survives in part. Because so many people who have written about these events, Kenneth anger included, conflicted. The stars is individual civil. Suits with the state of California's prosecution of confidential. Next week. We will bring you the last episode of fact checking Hollywood Babylon. Join us then won't you? Thanks for listening to you must remember. This. Today's episode was written narrated and produced by Karina Longworth. That's me our research and production assistant is Lindsay d Schoenholtz. Our social media assistant is Brendan Wayland. This episode was edited by Cameron Druze and our logo was designed by teddy blanks. For more information about this episode and other episodes, please go to our website, you must remember this podcast dot com there you'll find show notes for every episode with information about our sources music used and much more. If you like the show, please tell anyone you can any way that you can you can follow us on Twitter at remember this pod. And where on Facebook and Instagram. And my book seduction sex lies and stardom in Howard Hughes's. Hollywood is available now from Amazon or your local independent bookstore. We'll be back next week with another tale from the secrets, and or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century join us, then won't you good night.
133: The Bacchanal of 1920s Hollywood, via Frederica Sagor Maas (The Seduced Episode 2)
"Just. Well. To another episode of you must remember this. The podcast dedicated to exploring the secrets and or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century. I'm your host Karina, Longworth. And today we bring you another story from the seduced a miniseries related to my new book seduction. Sex lies and stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood. This book will be released on November thirteenth, but you can pre-order it now from your local bookstore or Amazon dot com. Seduction begins with a prologue set at the embassador hotel in nineteen twenty five. The Ambassador Hotel was where Howard Hughes I settled in Los Angeles as an adult and nineteen twenty five was the year. He did it in. But the story I chose to set the scene of the book doesn't directly involve Hughes. I was looking for something that would set the scene and help explain the environment Hughes was deliberately fleeing Houston and running towards. I stumbled on the memoirs of a woman. I had never heard of before named Frederica Sagar moss born in one thousand nine hundred in her twenties. Frederico worked as a story editor at Universal's offices in New York City, and then she bounced around Hollywood as a screenwriter in nineteen twenty five. She was working on developing a feature for Greta Garbo at MGM when she got invited to what she thought was a dinner business party at the Ambassador Hotel via mbassador hotel in the nineteen twenty s and the nineteen thirties was for Hollywood akin to what the Chateau Mont has. Been for the past couple of decades, a hub for business and pleasure where famous and powerful people can go and somehow alternately enjoy the thrill of being on display and let loose under a scrim of discretion accounts of ambassador social scene from the nineteen twenties. Often describe a parade of stars and certainly the famous and the wannabes alike went to the embassador to be seen, signed to a contract by MGM on Christmas Eve, nineteen, twenty four Joan Crawford, then still called Lucille lure was a nobody going nowhere. She spent much of the following year dancing at the ambassador's nightclub the coconut grove, forcing her bosses and the local reporters to notice her by any means necessary. My skirts had to be trifled shorter. My heels, a little higher. My hair tint brighter in my dancing faster. Crawford later remembered. She won over one hundred dance contests at the coconut grove. More importantly as she put it Hollywood saw me in action and starring roles follow. For every story of a girl coming to the ambassador to take a step above their station. It was also a site where women sold themselves and other ways or worse old Frederica Sager moss though not much of a drinker was a regular on the same social scene as the future star of Mildred Pierce. She had even helped Lucille, la- sewer transform into Joan Crawford by remaking the actresses wardrobe sixty five years later Sager moss would write about a dinner party at the mbassador that took place in nineteen twenty five, which by design devolved into an all out or g. As she wrote with a desert a group of starlets nightclub belly dancers and ladies of the evening made their entrance. There were greeted by halos of drunken delight and room was made for them at the table. One girl to each unescorted mail. Pretty soon. The men started disappearing with one or two girls heading for the bungalows. You'll have to buy my book or hers to learn more about what happened that night. But suffice it to say the recollections of the then ninety nine year old Sager moss were invaluable to my understanding of the sexual politics of nineteen twenties. Hollywood Frederica is essentially a forgotten figure of early Hollywood and her book. The shocking miss pilgrim is not widely known. So today I'm going to share with you some of Frederica 's stories. Some that served as useful background to me in writing seduction and some that have nothing to do with Howard Hughes and his view, but which speak to the experience of being a woman and trying to have a career on one's own terms in twentieth century Hollywood, which is the real subject of my book to join us. Won't you for the story. Of Frederica, say, or moss. Some companies are special when the rest of the world is still zigging Vaneau when it's time to zag. Elizabeth banks, the actor director and business owner has teamed up with State Street global advisors to uncover the bold moves mid cap companies make to thrive and survive. In fact, they've made a whole series of podcasts and films about them like how the New York Times started charging for quality, journalism, just one everyone else was giving away the news for free or how e. PR properties built an empire of places to go and things to do as the internet was keeping us glued to the couch. These are the ideas that are crazy enough to. You work, which just happens to be the name of the series. Download the podcast. Now, wherever you find your podcasts or just do a quick internet search for crazy enough to work to watch the films. Provided by State Street global advisors funds distributors, l l c. Frederica 's parents had met in Russia and her family had settled in Manhattan by way of Ellis Island Frederica. The youngest of four daughters was born in a railroad flat near one hundred I street in the summer of nineteen hundred. One of the most formative experiences of her childhood came in nineteen fifteen. When a teacher took Freddie and her classmates to see the birth of a nation, the fifteen year old girl was gobsmacked by the drama of the epic film. But after her students had written reaction essays based on pure emotion. The teacher explained that the movie presented a biased view of history as Freddie later wrote. I learned from that lecture that concessions often have to be made in the interest of box office receipts and prevailing public opinion on slavery, including the opinion. Of d w Griffith. There were no good slave masters. The teacher claimed only better ones for slavery was totally evil, accept nothing. She would say, examine challenge, think it out for yourself. These lessons that movies must make concessions to popular opinion and that young women like Freddie should learn to think for themselves and challenge thority would prove to be incompatible once the young woman got to Hollywood. Freddie had always wanted to go to medical school, but her family thought sending a girl to medical school was a bad investment that with her looks, she would do much better marrying a doctor than trying to be one. But since there was no marital prospect as she was finishing high school, her parents insisted she go to college to study something. So Freddie chose journalism, but Freddie hated her time at Columbia and a few months shy of graduation. She quit when she was offered a job as secretary to the story editor at Universal's offices in New York City. She was twenty three. Her direct supervisor fell in love with her and the bus in an effort to escape from the temptation to break up his marital home resigned. His replacement was a drunk who went missing on the job. Universal was Secondly desperate for a story editor and they offered the position to Frederica. She played what she thought was hardball. She told them she'd take the job, but only if by the end of the year they sent her to Hollywood. I want to write. She told them universal agreed with fingers crossed. The story editor position that that time mostly involved finding novels and plays to option so that someone else could write them into screenplays. She spent much of her waking hours chasing down the galleys of new novels and seeing plays during her year on the job. Freddie fell in love with a novel called the plastic age, an expose of college. Athletics ridden by professor Freddie thought he would make fabulous film about young people. She purchased the film rights when the book was still in galleys to make sure that universal gotta jump hunter property that was sure to be a best seller before. Other studios got wind of it. She was extremely proud of herself and excited about watching this content. She believed in become a movie and then Kara Leme. Lee, the head of universal told her to sell it off his. Is son had told him it was a dirty book and as a newly appointed Representative of the so called clean picture campaign to give the public, the impression that the studios were no longer peddling. Smuts Leme. Lemme couldn't have his studio, making a movie about a football star, partying with a coed floozy. So FREDDY, reluctantly sold the rights to an old friend, a producer who had recently left universal preferred pictures the BP shellberg company that had recently signed Clara bow. Soon after that Freddie reached her one year anniversary as story editor, which meant that based on their deal, universal was supposed to send her to Hollywood and allow her to become a screenwriter. But apparently the studio never had had any intention of doing that on day three hundred sixty six after she took the job Freddie was not handed a train ticket to Los Angeles. Instead she was introduced to her replacement and asked to train her. Unceremoniously cut from universal Freddie ended up making her way to Hollywood on her own there. She summoned her courage and called she'll Berg's office to ask for a meeting. She then proceeded to pitch herself as the writer of the plastic age. She'd been thinking about the education for a full six months since she had read the galley sushi had plenty to say shellberg hired her for the job on the spot. A female screenwriter was not an anomaly in nineteen. Twenty-three. In fact, Saggers arrival in Hollywood coincided with the waning of what had been a glory period for female power behind the scenes. A decade earlier, an actress turned screenwriter and director named Lois Weber had been one of Universal Studios most valuable assets both in terms of her. Talent and the publicity potential. She represented Weber had been a stage actress, but she semi retired when she married another actor Phillips Smalley to alleviate her boredom as wife to an itinerant actor. Weber began writing motion picture scenarios. She was as prized as anyone when these scenarios began to sell. Not that I doubted their meriting production. She explained later, but I imagine they had to be introduced the scenario editor by some person with influence. I was wrong and the check I received testified the allusion under which had labored. Weber's soon signed a contract with the wrecks motion picture company, working in collaboration with her husband Weber wrote and directed one film a week for almost two years with Lois and Phillips often appearing before the camera as well, though lowest was the driving creative force. Both husband and wife were usually credited as co directors by nineteen thirteen. Rex had been absorbed into a new conglomerate of independent companies called universal, which under the auspices of Carl Leme. Lee had taken over a plot of land in the hillside, just north of Hollywood on the other side of the Kalinga valley Leme had set up shop on a ranch, large enough that he was able to promote his new fiefdom as Universal City to be extent that it functioned like a real. City. It was a utopian one in September nineteen. Thirteen Lois Weber ran for mayor and won a New York newspaper claimed. She was the only female mayor in the world at the time and called universal. The only bona fide woman's fear on the map where women do all the bossing and where mere man is just tolerated. That's all just tolerated. At universal Weber was able to make a number of social issue oriented dramas on topics, ranging from poverty to birth control to social Justice reform. As Freddie would learn. Weber was not the only woman who found that getting a foot in the door of making movies was easier than wedging ones full body into the room. Few women who worked as writers and directors found career, longevity behind the scenes. Sagar's idol was June Mathis who had written the four horses of the apocalypse discovered Valentino and became the first female executive at MGM Mathis career ended when her life did in nineteen twenty seven when she suffered a stress related heart attack. For Freddie, though her script for the plastic age was well liked by the studio, and the movie was a hit. There was no permanent job on offer at preferred pictures. Her first salaried position came through a contact. She had made a New York to the writer and director at Mond Golding Golding had written a play which Freddie had seen in her capacity as story editor called dancing mothers. She had met with a writer to give him some notes and constructive criticism, and he had taken her advice with his rewrite. The play became a Broadway hit and was turned into a film, starring Clara bow by the time, FREDDY found herself unemployed post plastic age. Golding was wasn't executive at MGM she called and he agreed to meet with her and give her the inside track to a job in the story department at the studio as thank you. You for her help with dancing mothers. Freddie was put on the team designed to develop and write material for Norma Shearer who Freddie described as a plain looking gal who was absolutely transformed by camera magic. At MGM Freddie would come to learn the extent to which Hollywood was a playground for male ego, and it unrestrained. She was sexually active girl about town, so she was not surprised to learn that Hollywood was as she would describe it later a bucket knol. The master of ceremonies was my depraved friend. Edmund Goulding with Marshall Neilan another director, a close second in command. These two men initiated more young women and men into more kinds of kinky sexual practices than one can possibly imagine. This is actually how I discovered Moss's book. I read the unpublished memoirs of Marshall Neilan in which he took credit for not only introducing Howard Hughes to this debauched mid nineteen twenty s Hollywood party scene, but also claimed he had given Hughes the initial idea to make Hells Angels. I then went looking for more information about Neilan probably read about in the context of general silent film history, but didn't really know much about. And my searching mosses book came up. Men like Goulding and meal in presided over a party scene that was initially inherently underground because Hollywood, the city had done such a good job of legislating against immorality. In the teens. There was hardly anywhere you can get away with publicly sipping booze near Hollywood, which was it self officially dry. And the bars downtown like the Alexandria closed promptly at two AM. So Marshall Neilan and friends discovered the Vernon country club located across the border of a wet county, five miles south of downtown LA. When the local bars kicked them out, everyone hikes themselves to Vernon and soon with the place packed to the rafters. It would roar on into the night Neil Neilan remembered. Many guest has been startled upon making their exit to walk out into the bright sunlight. Lights, thus local temperance which predated nationalized prohibition helped to institutionalize the idea of an underground social scene in which part of the fun was in taking extreme measures. If you were Marshall Neilan you drunk drove at two AM to the city of Vernon. If you were newly famous and knew the rich like Mabel Normand or Wallace read you, I showed your newfound power by stocking may home seller with the help of a bootlegger. And from there it was a slippery slope to experimenting with black market drugs. If you're new in town, like Howard Hughes was in nineteen twenty five and like dozens of new young women arrived in Los Angeles every month. One way of trying to make a good first impression was to make your way into the hotel bars Speakeasy and house parties frequented by the newly-established moody, elite. Freddie cited her friend, Joan Crawford as an example of a girl who went these so-called sexual route in search of stardom, but still only succeeded due to a mix of natural talent gumption and iron will. But it wasn't just that women in the film industry were subject to be subordinated sexually by man menus their power, Justice, cavalierly, and possibly more insidiously at the office Freddie found that many of the films she worked on, went out into the world without her name on them. In one instance, Freddie was given nothing, but a title, his secretary and was told to turn it into a vehicle for Norma Shearer Freddie ginned up a workplace romance in which a man in power and his subordinate initially hate each other and then fall. All in love. She was the first to admit that she was far from the first writer to come up with such thing, but still she wrote it. She submitted it to her supervisor. A man named Carey Wilson, and he made no changes to it except that he replaced her name on the script with his when Freddie protested Wilson promised her that she'd get an onscreen writing credits, but she didn't. And she would later claim. It was far from the only Norma Shearer vehicle that she wrote the story for, but failed to receive credit for. After the plastic age was released by preferred pictures. Freddie did receive credit on one of her, Norma Shearer pictures dance madness, but she was not credited on at least two additional films. She wrote at MGM the Shearer vehicle, the winning sex and flesh and the devil. The American debut of Greta Garbo. She wondered if the fact that she was working in the unit overseen by producer Harry wraps was the problem. So she went to another unit producer at GM, hunt Stromberg, and asked if she might work under him. Instead Freddie had no idea that in doing so she was making a major misstep. She didn't realize that producers were boys club within the larger boys club and that they stuck together when rap discover that Freddie had gone behind his back to request a transfer. He lost any goodwill he'd ever had for the young lady writer, and he hadn't had much given that Freddie was known for standing up for herself and her work. And if she thought that one of her male collaborators was doing the wrong thing for a given movie, she would say. So when her contract expired at MGM it was not only not renewed, but Freddie learned. Through wraps secretary that the executive had spread the word around the studio and other studios that Freddie was a troublemaker. The waning sex was released after FREDDY was released from duty at MGM, and in order to see it, she had to Serb tissue sleep drive to LA Hoya to attend a preview screening. It was as the credits rolled that she discovered her name had been taken off that movie too. She drove back to Los Angeles that night alone squinting to see the road through the tears in her eyes. Freddie couldn't find another job right away. So she economize d- she got rid of her maid and moved into cheap apartment above a kindly English couples garage. She eventually got a two picture deal at the minor studio, Tiffany. She wanted to write serious pictures, historical epochs. She had written one hundred fifty page treatment on the life of Goya that she couldn't sell. But the films she had worked on that had actually been made had been light flapper comedies and in the Hollywood of the nineteen twenties much like Hollywood of any era studios weren't in business to help a writer, expand her brand. After some lean months, Freddie was happy for the work at Tiffany, but she was disillusioned with screenwriting in general and started fantasizing about quitting the business, moving back to New York or up to San Francisco and trying her hand at short stories. And van at a business lunch at Musso and Frank's grill where she was enjoying her usual order of the mushroom souffle omelettes Frederica Sagar met a man named Ernest moss. Actually, they had met before they had both worked at universal in New York at the same time, but they hadn't taken too much notice of one another back then. Now, Ernest who had been a writer and director of documentary films was working as a producer at FOX and Freddie was intrigued. When another meeting brought her to the FOX lot. She found an excuse to drop by Earnest's office. Earnest and Freddie's. First date was another party at the embassador, but this one posted by FOX instead of MGM was less of an orgy, then a family picnic. The couple ended up leaving to go to a burlesque club with John Ford and his wife, Mary, and then Ernest and Freddie drove around together until after dawn. They ended up at Freddie's apartment together and with the exception of notable separation, they were together for the next sixty year. They married an August nineteen, twenty seven and Freddie was so in love that she put her potential career change on hold. He restored my faith in the glamorous motion picture business. She later wrote an I began to view it again with renewed hope that effort and dedication would bring though just for wards. Unfortunately, not long after their marriage, Ernest found himself at the helm of totally misbegotten project. And when the dust settled, he had been fired from FOX, the newlyweds began writing movies together. And at first they had no trouble selling their scripts. But none of their sold scripts were made into movies and they failed to find a studio that would hire them as a screenwriting team. So they took what they could get Freddie took assignments on her own writing a scenario here for FOX, putting in a year as a script doctor on clear abo- films for paramount there in nineteen twenty eight. The couple moved to New York where Ernest took a job at a story studios and then headed a unit producing sound shorts for paramount. One of the couples collaborations called beef steak. Joe was inspired by Earnest's father and was the story of a restaurant owner who's crush on his wife's sister destroys his life beefsteak. Joe was never made, but a friend of there's a sensually stole the story for a paramount film called the way of all flesh. This film, starred Email, yawning as Bank manager. But otherwise the story details were the same, the Mazdas protested to paramount where the movie was being made. But this kind of thing happened all the time and they couldn't sue because if they did all of their hopes of ever working in Hollywood would disappear for Freddie that ambition had already waned worn down by one disappointment after another, and the prevailing feeling that she was being cheated out of what she deserved. And had earned. She told her husband that she wanted to quit the business and wanted him to quit too. But I still had his ambition and so- Freddie put aside her own career and focused on supporting her husband's. But there wasn't much to supports the stock market crashed and the mosses lost ten thousand dollars. They returned to Los Angeles and spent four years barely working like many writers artists and intellectuals during the depression. They began questioning capitalism and subscribe to a number of socialist publications. They went back to New York and worked briefly as theater critics by spring of nineteen thirty seven Freddie was frustrated to the point of needing to force a change. She told her nest that she was going back to Hollywood alone. He told her that if she did it, it would be grounds for divorce. She went anyway. She didn't want to split up, but she needed to do something. In Hollywood Freddie was on the verge of signing a deal with Republic pictures to develop a screwball comedy. She had pitched them called a Bill of goods, but the contracts they offered her guaranteed only two weeks of employment after which point the idea would belong to the studio and Freddie could legally be shown Vidor Freddie dead, the two weeks of work, but refused to sign the contract. At the end of fourteen days, she told her supervisor that he could have the outline she had produced if they offered her better terms, they wouldn't, and she walked away. It was a kind of victory. She had failed to grovel for crumbs the way she was expected to. But the experience left Freddie feeling more disillusioned then ever chewed attempt to write other ideas that could be pitched to other studios. But she started to feel like there was no point one way or another. She was bound to get screwed. She contemplated suicide. She actually turned on the oven with the intention of putting her head in its, but she decided that would be selfish a cop-out. Instead she sent her strange husband telegram it read darling, please return to Los Angeles without further ado, I need you. Freddie eventually found a job as a writer's agent through which she met and befriended, John Houston, Irving Berlin and Dalton trombone and manage to set in motion a chain of events that would get BP schilberg hired at cells. Nick international pictures schilberg the mogul who had taken a chance on her to adapt the plastic age. Many years earlier was now considered to be washed up. Freddie said her last ambition in Hollywood was to pay shelbert back for his generosity to her still, she and Ernest kept writing and in nineteen forty one. They manage to get four studios vying for a script. They advert in about the invention of the typewriter, Freddie Saad as a comedy about the battle of the sexes about women crashing, the gates of the male dominated business world and the typewriter. The tool that broke the shackles of gender-based servitude and allowed women to seize economic independence. FOX bought the story, but then put it on the shelf for six years and eventually produced a version that had been rewritten from the top down. Still the shocking mispelled grim starring Bette grabble became a blockbuster. Unfortunately, it busted blocks before the writers guild had managed to secure residuals for its members. So after their initial payments, earnest and Freddie never saw a dime. The shocking mispelled grim would be the last film produced from Freddie's writing. She and Ernest continue to try to sell scripts throughout the nineteen forties. Mostly historical films about subjects, like civil war photographer, Matthew Brady and one about a famous set of quintuplets. But after a World War Two, the couple's dabbling in socialist politics came back to bite them. They were investigated by the FBI and blacklisted from the film industry. Ernest lost a job. He was up for making documentaries for the Pentagon when his old subscription to people's world was unearthed by nineteen fifty. One Freddie was. Fifty and Ernest fifty nine. They had had it. They started putting their affairs in order. They got in their car and drove to a spot perfect for a his and hers suicide. But just as Freddie had that day with the oven, they decided that this wasn't the answer. The answer was to quit Hollywood. The next day Freddie landed a job as a typist at an insurance company. Ernest went to work as a ghost writer, authoring texts under the bylines of doctors, lawyers and others who were expected to publish, but didn't necessarily possess literary gifts. Freddie ended up working her way up the ladder of the insurance business. Their marriage remained happy until Ernest died of Parkinson's, the summer of nineteen Eighty-six. Freddie lived another twenty six years dying at the age of one hundred. Eleven in two thousand twelve for as long as she was able every year on her wedding anniversary, she would go to Musso and Frank and order a Sherry and mushroom souffle omelette. Thanks for listening to you must remember this. Today's episode was written narrated and produced by Karina Longworth. That's me. Our editor is a Livia NAT. Our research and production assistant is Lindsay d Schoenholtz. Our social media assistance is Brendan Waylon and our logo was designed by teddy blanks for more information about this episode and other episodes, please go to our website. You must remember this podcast dot com. There you'll find show notes for every episode with lists of all of our sources and the music used on each episode. And if you go to, you must remember this podcast dot com. Slash said duck Shen. You'll find information about how to preorder the book that this season is related to seduction. Sex. Lies and stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood written by me. We also have a schedule of events that I'll be doing related to the book which include book, signings, film screenings and more if you like fish, oh, please tell anyone you can any way that you can. You can follow us on Twitter at remember this pied and we're on Facebook and Instagram to we'll be back next week with another tale from the secret and or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century join us then won't you good night.
142: Bugsy Siegel (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 16)
"Just. To another episode of you must remember this the podcast dedicated to exploring the secrets, and or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century, I'm your host Karina Longworth. And this is another installment of our ongoing series fake. News fact, checking Hollywood Babylon. This isn't news. This is totally unfounded gossip it's a long way from Hollywood, criticized dealing to frankly, the such themes as sex nudity Hollywood. Today's episode covers a character who Kenneth anger helped to mythology is even though he had little if anything to do with making he wasn't an actor director or producer. He was a killer a swindler and a failure at least within his own lifetime. And yet he has become a legend of a sort played by no less of star than Warren Beatty in a movie and given credit for inventing an industry and reinventing a major American city. Here we present Kenneth Anger's version of the story in an edited excerpt from Hollywood Babylon. Handsome, mobster Benjamin Bugsy Siegel of the flashing teeth and baby blue eyes had during his heyday more of Hollywood by the balls then ever any despot director or dicta to'real studio. Head Segel grew up in New York's hell's kitchen side by side with George raft. This boyhood friendship developed into a lifelong association. Bugsy started off like many another gang land punk raping girls, while still a teenager through his pal. George raft. Siegel was introduced to the cram of Hollywood society and was soon hobnobbing with Richard Bartholomeusz, Jean Harlow. Clark gable? Gary Cooper and Cary grant's one of Seagal's close business. Friends was the. Lady Marino Bello, Jean Harlow. Stepfather Bugsy was often taken to the platinum blonde's home by Belo, although Harlow never warmed up to him. And resisted his advances. Siegel was the only big gang-land figure present at her funeral in nineteen thirty seven by that same year Bugsy shakedown business, which fed on Hollywood extras and bit players was going strong. It had been decided that these hordes of Spiring souls would have to pay off or go without work Bugsy worked both ends of the fatted calf. And also made the moguls payoff if they didn't three hundred extras might disappear just when required by producer for a mob scene. This racket netted Siegel half a million a year. The prophets were put into his share of the Hollywood dope and white slave. Traffic's. Segel had a wife stashed away who mostly stayed out of the picture. His last big fling was with the Torian Virginia sugar hill Queen of the mafia this voluptuous X flea circus. Carney girl from Alabama had risen to some sort of fame in New York as the girlfriend and hostess of affairs thrown by lucky Luciano and Frank Costello in nineteen forty one. She set up operations in Hollywood Virginia ingratiated herself to Sam Goldwyn and got herself in acting Plum in a great movie a supporting role in Goldwyn 's ball of fire starring Gary Cooper, and Barbara Stanwick her liaison with the mobster had been in progress for several months by the time. The picture was finished Siegel was her escort to Ballo fires gala premier and party where the hoodlum lovers. Socialize. With Dana Andrews director Howard, hawks Cooper, and Stanwick seagull will not go down in history for any of his sorted criminal activities. Most of them were not that unique. But for better or worse, he has left a lasting Bugsy monument on the face of the American continents that colossus of kitsch Las Vegas Segel's grandiose scheme was to build the biggest hotel casino in the United States. He borrowed several million dollars from several shady sources and in nineteen forty five bought up the land surrounding eight tacky hotel owned by bankrupt. Widow he moved in with an army of architects, decorators entertainers and bandits with one and two arms. The Flamingo was born the metropolis of super schlock arose out of the sans Siegel. And. Planted a style which flourished lick a wild flaming out of control cancer in the Mojave desert one which continued to grow after his death to become the Vegas. We all know, and perhaps love he demented highway of nouveau riche manic American playboy, the Flamingo was ready by Christmas nineteen forty six and cost six million dollars. It was slow in earning. It's cost back. But Siegel was already showing signs of wanting to expand to nevadans. It was apparent that. He intended to take over not just Las Vegas, but the entire state a few thousand new enemies were added to the long list of which Bugsy could boast after a lover's quarrel in Vegas Virginia packed up and left town in spring nineteen forty seven she returned to California and rented a Spanish Morrish castle in Beverly Hills at eighteen ten Linden drive. Bugsy trailed after her and as semi reconciliation was affected. She had accepted an invitation to travel around Europe with a wealthy French boy half her age, she left Segal the keys to her house near midnight June. Twentieth of that year Siegel was sitting in Virginia's living room reading a newspaper a fiery blast. Suddenly shattered the window Bugsy Siegel lay on the couch. His ex pretty face veiled in a thick sheet of blood three bullets through his skull. The police investigation got nowhere. Dozens of his ex colleagues had reasons to want Bugsy out of the way. Although no indictments were forthcoming it has since been established that he was murdered for not repaying the vast sums he had borrowed to construct the Flamingo although he had often turned up and movie stars as funerals. Not even a bit player turned up at his. Here are angers main claims that Bugsy Siegel raped teenagers that through George raft he befriended a number of Hollywood stars that he had a shakedown business that involved bilking both movie extras and the studios they worked for that. His girlfriend Virginia hill was an ex Carney turned gangsters mole that Seagal deserves credit for setting the template for the Vegas of today with the Flamingo and finally vetted has been quote unquote, established that bugs is murder was ordered by the flamingos investors. We will cover all of these matters today, but we will pay special attention to Bugsy Siegel's actual connections within Hollywood his involvement with the Flamingo and the question of who killed him and why he had to die. Join us won't you as we fact check Kenneth Anger's version of the Bugsy Siegel story. Benjamin Bugsy Siegel famously hated to be called Bugsy, although stories vary as to whether he earned that nickname as a Jewish kid on the playgrounds of New York or as an up and coming gangster on the streets of New York. It was in the latter. Milieu that Seagal I met George raft. Who by the early nineteen thirties would become one of the biggest gangster film stars in Hollywood. But during the nineteen twenties. Raft was a struggling dancer who sometimes slept in the subway. Prohibition. Was scrambling ideas of right and wrong of legality and respectability. I felt there was no difference between a gangster ended detective raft. Recalled later to him. They had the same methods of working and were just trying to outsmart each other more than that the gangsters had great. Suits, and nice cars and more often than not the police would step aside and let them have their way raft. Idolized the crooks later when raft portrayed gangsters and movies. He would tell the hairstylist to comb his hair just like Bugsy Siegel war his hair at first. This was an inside joke between the two old friends. But then Siegel showed up in Hollywood. Then had been arrested when he was twenty years old on a charge of rape, the accuser recanted. Her story apparently under some pressure from Segel's associates, and the charges were dropped Siegel was already climbing the ranks of the New York Jewish mafia. He married a girl he grew up with esta crack, our and had two kids the family was stored in scarsdale while Siegel stayed in the city seemed to his business which revolved around the sale of bootleg booze. But then prohibition ended and the mob had to look for new ways to keep making money. The syndicates Siegel was part of headed by Meyer Lansky decided to expand into new geographic areas Siegel settled in Beverly Hills in nineteen thirty five renting the mansion owned. By opera, star Lawrence Tibbets Siegel volunteered for this cross country gig, leaving his family and all of his friends behind in New York for the same reason that so many people came to Hollywood he was hoping to become a different person to leave the dreaded Bugsy persona behind and remake himself as a genuine high roller. When he rented Tibbets house. He told the opera singer that he was a sportsman. Segel was blue eyed and handsome, and he began to believe he belonged on the silver screen. He paid for head shots and a screen test with less than magical results understanding that stardom would be a struggle Bugsy abandoned that dream and became content to merely fraternize with fame and allegedly profit off of other people's desire to get it. Hollywood Babylon claim that Bugsy organized and extorted Hollywood extras pops up in a lot of other books and websites, but in no more detail than what anger offers, which makes me wonder if Hollywood Babylon is every other sources source the screen extras guild was established in nineteen forty two. Which was while Siegel was active in Hollywood. There is no hard evidence that he was involved. And while of course, that doesn't mean he definitely wasn't particularly behind the scenes, particularly as muscle. The only source that seems to have recorded any detail as to what Siegel would have gained from getting involved with the extras is anger in nineteen forty sag began investigating reports that racketeer's had violently intimidated and dissuaded extras from seeking work. But this investigation seems to have gone nowhere. What does seem clear is that extras began organizing before Segal or any gangsters got involved. There had been an extras committee within the Screen Actors Guild. I some time before the effort to create a separate guild gathered. Steam in nineteen forty one. Segel seems to have wanted to be accepted as an equal to Hollywood's most powerful men and pursuant to that much of his presence in Hollywood wasn't as a gangster exploiting movie workers. But as a bridge between Hollywood and the underworld shortly after settling down in Los Angeles. He accepted an introduction to meet Jean Harlow and her stepfather Marino Bello as we've discussed previously on this podcast Marino Bello was a sleazy guy. But he wasn't quite a gangster Bello became Siegel's partner in a couple of shady financial schemes including an offshore gambling boat into which raft. Also sunk a chunk of money Siegel socialized with Harlow, but she died just a couple of years into his Hollywood sojourn. She was just one star Bugsy had a whole list of. Prominent and famous people in Los Angeles that he wanted to be friend. Jack, Warner one of the names on that list. Rebuffed the gangster, but many others, including apparently Clark Gable? Gary Cooper, and Cary Grant, did rub shoulders with him. Much of that fraternizing took place at nightclubs like Ciro 's and the Trocadero both of which were owned and operated by Billy Wilkerson. A former Speakeasy owner who had attained an enormous amount of local power as the editor. And publisher of the Hollywood reporter Wilkerson had started the paper in nineteen thirty. And at that time, it was the only locally published daily trade paper in Hollywood even variety which had begun as the trade paper of theater and vaudeville didn't have an LA office when Wilkerson put down his stake. Wilkerson would right over eight thousand editorials for the reporter between nineteen thirty and nineteen sixty to a failed filmmaker himself Wilkerson held a grudge against the studio heads who he believed had discriminated against him. A Catholic when they universally refused to take a chance on distributing a feature. He had made in the nineteen twenties at the reporter Wilkerson used his voice to alternately influence, studio, policy and reinforce it to disparage the moguls when it suited him and spout. The company line. When that did ultimately he made a fortune by selling ads to film companies whose reputation and commercial prospects. He had the power to manipulate and by running nightclubs were his staff could eavesdrop on champagne drunk celebrities and powerbrokers to generate content for Wilkerson column. It was an incredible racket. But it wasn't enough for Wilkerson. Who was also a compulsive gambler. He lost money on card games and horse races. As fast as the reporter Ciro 's and his other restaurants could make. One of Wilkerson 's frequent patrons at his club's was Virginia hill a mysterious glamour girl with a seemingly endless supply of cash and no apparent conventionally legitimate profession when the Alabama born Virginia I arrived in Hollywood fresh from a New York stint as a peripheral Broadway character and escort two gangster. Joey donnas hill decided to announce her presence to the locals by offering Wilkerson five thousand dollars to let her throw a party at zeros on a Monday night when the club was usually closed. This kind of stunt got Virginia's name in the Hollywood papers heralding promise of star quality that she was unable to cash in on. She was signed to a contract at universal. But it was the kind of contr. Act under which she was expected to pose for pinup photos all day and be available to male producers at night Virginia swiftly recognized this understood she didn't need it and bought the contract out after a short stint in Columbia's acting school Virginia more or less gave up on being in movies. Anger claims Virginia got a good part in ball of fire. But if so she ended up on the cutting room floor, the only film in which she is known to make an appearance is manpower directed by Raoul Walsh, starring Edward g Robinson, Merlene Dietrich and released in nineteen forty one anger makes hill seem like an up and coming starlet whose association with Seagal made him more glamorous. But from what I've read I think hill and Siegel were similar in that both. Were essentially creatures of the underworld who tried to live on the same level as the rich and famous both of them attempted to pull off this allusion primarily by throwing a lot of money around. And most of the time the money they were throwing around had been bilked loaned or given to them for services, rendered by genuine, rich people. That's the nutshell story behind hills notoriety. She used the endless credit line provided to her by her sugar. Daddy, Joe Epstein Ishikagi accountant for a betting outfit to throw her lavish Hollywood parties and dressed to the nines and make sure her name was frequently in the gossip columns, and it's the nutshell story behind Bugsy and the Flamingo. Deaf Lamego was supposedly Virginia hills nickname. I some reports given to her by Joe Epstein and others by Siegel in reference to her long legs, and flaming red hair. Or maybe it was in reference. The fact that when she drank her cheeks turned pink because people believed that Virginia hill was called the Flamingo. It only seemed logical that Ben Siegel would have created the Flamingo casino and hotel in Las Vegas as a monument to her. This is more or less. The impression you get from watching the nineteen ninety one film Bugsy ridden by James toe back based on a book, I've read called we only kill each other. And starring Warren Beatty as Bugsy and Annette Benning as Virginia hill, but the more you learn about seagull hill their relationship and. His relationship to Mingo the building the more that apparently simple math seems to fall apart for one thing the most trustworthy evidence. I've found suggests that the Flamingo was not initiated by Siegel. But by Billy Wilkerson, the Hollywood reporter publisher and sunset strip nightclub. Impresario Wilkerson had decided to build a casino in Las Vegas as a way of mitigating his own gambling losses. If he was the house than even when he lost. He would win though. Anger claims Seagal bought the land from a widow most histories of the Flamingo allow that it was Wilkerson who sent lawyer, Greg. Bouncer to make that purchase. And it was Wilkerson who began construction on the casino in early nineteen forty five. Long before Bugsy Siegel ever became involved, a recent biography fluker sin written by his son suggests that Wilkerson came up with the name the Flamingo going the exotic bird route in an effort to mimic, the stork club much of this book seems reliable. But the Flamingo thing seems like too much of a coincidence. If Virginia hill was really nicknamed the Flamingo. The thing is I can't find any contemporaneous reports that suggest that this was her nickname. And I wonder if maybe this idea that Virginia hill was called the Flamingo is an urban legend that bubbled up after the fact after Bugsy was killed and the MiFID begun to take hold of him having invented Las Vegas as is claimed by the jacket copy on the biography, which formed the basis for the movie Bugsy. Wilkerson had been working with various gangsters for a good twenty years before he met Siegel his dealings with New York boos runners had gone relatively smoothly and in Los Angeles, mobster Johnny Rosell had been for Wilkerson. A kind of all around fix her at Wilkerson clubs, his clientele was a free mix of celebrities and gangsters Wilkerson had special knowledge of Siegel who had been a nearly daily patron of short lived barbershop Wilkerson had owned called the sunset house there. Wilkerson had become aware of Siegel's famously hot temper when the gangster in the middle of an argument with another customer, snatched, a straight razor out of barber's hand and lunged at the other man with it. This kind of thing didn't make headlines. What did make headlines was? That when Bugsy had been incarcerated in the downtown LA jail awaiting murder charges in nineteen forty one. He had used and shown his clout to order in from Cero's on a daily basis a stunt which ensured that when the charges were dropped and Segal was released. He was even more beloved by Hollywood. When Wilkerson I initiated the Flamingo project. He brought onto casino experts to help him. A bookie named Gus Greenbaum and mo- said way who likes Siegel reported to mob boss Meyer, Lansky Wilkerson, got a big chunk of his initial funding from Bank of America and a smaller chunk from Howard Hughes hoping to earn the rest through gambling. He actually lost. Most of what he started with. He managed to begin construction in the fall of nineteen forty five in part, thanks to making deals with the studios to trade their surplus metal and lumber for discount advertising in the reporter. But by January nineteen forty six with the Flamingo still in skeletal form Wilkerson had run out of cash, and he was forced to halt and a Bandon construction that. When most said way brought in Meyer Lansky who brought in Bugsy Siegel Wilkerson was offered cash to finish the project and in exchange. He would keep a one third ownership of the Flamingo. And he was promised. He would retain creative and managerial control. He did not. As soon as Egal was put on the project. He started an effort to push Wilkerson out Siegel quickly saw the Flamingo as an opportunity to make a legitimate name for himself. Even if he got there by illegitimate means Wilkerson thought of Segal as his errand boy. But though Bugsy would take the publishers directions to his face behind. Wilkerson back -sego would treat the project and the money behind it. As though they were all his Siegel would often give the contractors instructions that were the opposite of what Wilkerson had dictated. He spent money wildly and stupidly often authorizing a piece of the project without acquiring all the necessary information, and then having to spend double when that peace had to be redone by the end of the summer of nineteen forty six with the support of his mob. Bosses Siegel had essentially pushed Wilkerson out of a position of creative input. And then a few months later when other investors began to get restless Bugsy somehow convinced Wilkerson to apply for a Bank loan to keep construction going in hopes of salvaging his initial investment hoping to start earning money fast. That could help him pay off his creditors. Segal decided to advance the opening date of the Flamingo from March nineteen forty seven to the day after Christmas nineteen forty six. He planned a massive gala opening that he hoped would instantly establish the casino as the it place for Hollywood to vacation despite ample evidence that the casino would not be ready for action by the new opening date. Wilkerson so hoped bugs plan would work that he paid for a publicity campaign featuring smiling. Scantily clad women essentially promising male gamblers that at the Flamingo. It would be easy to get laid. But then before opening night Siegel threaten to kill Wilkerson and Wilkerson went into hiding in Paris. The opening weekend of the Flamingo was disaster flights were grounded due to bad weather and the only celebrities to make the drive from LA aside from George raft. We're not quite a list. Raft. Told Siegel that William Randolph. Hearst had told all the big stars to stay away, which might be true. Although Hearst's influence in nineteen forty six was not what it had been a decade earlier the dealers and servers had been badly trained and somehow every night the house racked up a loss. One of Seagal's biographers suspects. The casino had somehow been sabotaged by the owners of Nevada's competing working class gambling houses who were afraid of being taken over by glossy upstarts. But to that point the Flamingo didn't look like much of a threat by the end of its first two weeks in operation. The Flamingo had lost a record breaking amount of money and Siegel was forced to close the doors Virginia hill who according to one report had secretly, married. A newly divorced Segal a few months earlier hated Las Vegas and when the casino closed she moved back to Beverly Hills and let her maybe husband, Stu in his losses in the desert alone. Segel was determined to reopen the joint his way and an order to do. So he had to get rid of Wilkerson. The Hollywood reporter publisher asked for two million dollars in exchange for his shares. According to one report favorable to Segal Wilkerson settled for one hundred twenty thousand dollars according to another report favorable to Wilkerson. The total was six hundred thousand dollars in any case Wilkerson lost more on the venture than even he probably could have gambled away during that period of time and the Flamingo became entirely Segel's albatross the casino reopened in March and business started to pick up but Siegel had racked up so much debt that he was still unable to pay back. His investors Virginia hill had already physically left Siegel months before. Although. Their relationship remained in limbo. Anger is correct. That in the summer of nineteen forty seven. She did sail for Europe at the invitation of another man, and she did allow Bugsy to keep the keys to her. Beverly Hills home he came to LA on June nineteenth and moved into a guest room in hills house down the hall from where her younger brother chick was shocked up with a girl he had recently, secretly married. The next night after dinner while chick was upstairs with his lady Benjamin Siegel was murdered while sitting in the living room of the house. The shots came from outside the window the L A P PD's investigation was cursory and no one was ever charged. The Flamingo was taken over by Gus Greenbaum and most said way and under their mob supervised control if thrived. It's true that none of Siegel's Hollywood friends attended his funeral which was held at Hollywood forever cemetery including raft, but neither did any of his mob. Cronies? It was a family only affair Segel's biological family. Being the only people on earth who didn't feel as though Segal had cheated or screwed them for Jinya hill was not there. And there has been some speculation that she had Bugsy killed perhaps by her own brother, whether or not there is any truth to that for Jinya spent the rest of her life suffering. She had tried to kill herself with an overdose of sleeping pills at least once before Siegel's murder. She tried again many times after his death. She was always saved by the stomach pump until one day. She decide. Did to make an attempt where no one who could pump her stomach could find her. She had been living in Austria and one day in nineteen sixty six she drove through a mountain village parked on the outskirts and walked alone into the snowy woods, very she took Twenty-eight pills, washing them down with icy water that she cupped with her hands from a stream. There was no one to stop her or save her. And she died at age forty nine. In two thousand fourteen the son of most said way came forward to tell Los Angeles magazine that his mother's lover had killed Bugsy at the direction of his father. Most said way had been the money manager at the Flamingo during its rocky development and launch. And he knew just how badly Siegel was misspending. One day Siegel threatened to kill segue. Instead Siegel was killed and said way was handed the reins of the casino by Lansky the boss of the mob. Who had sanctioned bugs execution said ways. Wife be the killers girlfriend insisted that Seagal had not been killed for money. But for love by one man, she loved to protect the other man, she loved. It says good a story as any is it not. Thanks for listening to you must remember. This. Today's episode was written narrated and produced by curbing along worth. That's me. Our research and production assistant is Lindsay d Schoenholtz. Our social media assistant is Brendan Wayland. This episode was edited by Cameron Druze and our logo was designed by teddy blanks. For more information about this episode and other episodes, please go to our website, you must remember this podcast dot com there you'll find show notes for every episode with information about our sources music used and much more. If you like the show, please tell anyone you can any way that you can you can follow us on Twitter at remember this pod. And where on Facebook and Instagram to. And my book seduction sex lies and stardom in Howard Hughes's. Hollywood is available now from Amazon or your local independent bookstore. We'll be back next week with another tale from the secrets, and or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century join us, then won't you? Good nights. The my. God. So have I. One two.
132: Rupert Hughes's Women (The Seduced, Episode 1)
"Just. That's. To a many season of you must remember this. I'm your host Karina, Longworth. We will have more fact checking Hollywood Babylon episodes for you in December. But first we're going to do a series of episodes peripherally related to my new book seduction. Sex lies and stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood. This book grew out of a recurring series of this podcast, which I did way back in two thousand fourteen and two thousand fifteen called the many loves of Howard Hughes through which I covered the Texan aviator and film producers, relationships with the likes of Katherine Hepburn idle Pino, and Jane Russell. The book which I researched and wrote over a period of three years goes several steps further using the stories of ten actresses who were involved with Hughes most romantically some just professionally to explore what it was like to be a woman in Hollywood from the late nineteen twenty s through the end of the nineteen fifty. In addition to the actresses who stories of chosen to focus the bulk of the book on many, many other women in countered Hughes during his time in Hollywood. This series is about a few of those women who stories. I was only able to partially delve into in the pages of seduction. Each episode will offer bits of information pulled from the book, but will also include outtakes and new research. Four of the six episodes in this season will deal with actresses who Hughes, either romanced signed to personal motion picture contracts or attempted to do both. One episode will deal with a female writer and film executive who associated with two of Howard Hughes's early mentors and who wrote candidly about the boys club atmosphere of Hollywood in the mid nineteen twenty s when Hughes arrived in town looking to make a name for himself in the movies. And today we will begin the season by talking about the complicated and intermingled romantic and professional relationships of Howard's uncle Rupert Hughes, who paved the way for his nephew as a Holly. Would figure known for his colorful history with women. Join us. Won't you for chapter one of the seduced. When Howard Hughes moved to Los Angeles from Texas with his first wife, ELO rice in toe, the nineteen year old heir to the Hughes tool company moved into the Ambassador Hotel. The ambassador had opened in nineteen twenty one on Wilshire boulevard in an area that is now considered Koreatown, but was then in the days when nearby MacArthur park was lined with luxury apartments considered part of the wider downtown Los Angeles area. Just a few years before the ambassador opened. It had been presumed that if the city of Los Angeles was going to sprawl, it would do so to the east rather than towards the sea. Because as real estate developer, William may garland put it. People won't drive home from their day's work facing into the sun. Garland was wrong people in Los Angeles loved to drive loved the freedom, their private automobiles afforded them and the status they conveyed even when conditions were less than ideal and few things. Pit him is the spirit of the west more than a drive home into the sunset. Between the mid eighteen hundreds and around nineteen ten Los Angeles had slowly developed as a handful of flung enclaves separated by expanses of dirt and sky with a traditional commercial downtown. But no social centre launched in the midst of record local growth at the end of a decade during which the population of southern California doubled the ambassador sought to be that center. The hotel was very intentionally designed as a testament to the topi- in qualities of the west, both the real things that California actually offered and the projected fantasies for which all that wide open space provided a blank screen. It had been designed to make the most of its placement on a slight hill a site that had been rejected by previous developers as too challenging and expensive to grade for residential property. But with the right planning would allow for a structure that could work in tandem with the horizon and as a conduit for the sun architect, Myron hunt sketched out a layout that would fill every room with sunlight and arranged the public spaces. So that at various points in the hotel, you could look straight through the building and have an unobstructed view fifteen miles out to sea. The hotel was set back from the streets, separated from busy Wilshire boulevard by a wide expanse of grass bisected by a path like what you might see at a country manor outside of Paris or London, except instead of pristine Lee manicured rows of pines, tropical ferns and palm trees weighed at the winds of the win. The main building was Spanish style and surrounded by bungalows the to earth styles of California architecture coming together with no one structure touching another. There were flowers everywhere. And from the beginning perfectly hewing to the model of overnight stardom perfected by Broadway and borrowed by the studios that had already burrowed their way into the hillsides a few miles north of Wilshire boulevard, the hotels dreams were realized in its headlines. It's opening night celebration happened on New Year's Eve, stretching into the early hours of nineteen twenty one, and it was a happening. The kind of event that people who weren't there read about in the paper the next day and became determined not to miss the next time around. The splendor of the setting for the fair probably has never been equaled on the Pacific coast marveled the Los Angeles examiner. The opening night drew what passed for old money, Los Angeles, the dough, Heaney's Mr. and MRs. Van Nuys and other people whose surnames hang above the city's whitest boulevards to this day and the movie people soon followed. The hotel became a home away from home for stars would not get built their own mansions and those who wanted to throw classy parties, but lacked both the infrastructure and the refined know-how be ambassador. Let such nouveau riche, buy their way into a high society experience rather than earn their way in socially. The hotel became the first place in Los Angeles where the. Elite of established industries like banking and building mingled easily with these stars and moguls of film industry that had in just over a dozen years time risen from the cultural gutter to become a beacon calling pilgrims from all over the world to southern California. Two of those pilgrims who preceded Howard Hughes, as residents of the ambassador were his father, Howard Hughes, senior who moved into the hotel after his wife suddenly died and the elder Howard Hughes's brother Rupert Hughes. In nineteen nineteen. After filming, broken blossoms, d w Griffith decided he was through with Hollywood and return to the east coast where he opened the first repertory movie fitter designed to revive his own classics with Hollywood's greatest filmmaker to date. Having skipped town producer, Samuel Goldwyn, spotted a vacuum of quality filmmaking and an opportunity to broaden the appeal of motion pictures by lending them. A pedigree Goldwyn launched a campaign called eminent authors designed to bring literary stars to Hollywood to translate their talents to the writing of photo plays. One of the imminent authors he learned to Los Angeles was Rupert Hughes. By this point, Howard Hughes junior's uncle Rupert had already traveled the world working. For encyclopedia. Britannica had served as a captain in the Mexican border service, and then a Lieutenant Colonel in World War One and had become a literary celebrity writing bestselling novels and hit plays that made him the toast of New York and made a tidy secondary profit in sales to Hollywood Rupert had authored his first original scenario in nineteen sixteen glorious romance. A serialized vehicle for Billie Burke wife of Florenz ziegfeld. Rupert collaborated on the scripts with his wife. Adelaide a former actress and aspiring poet with striking red hair. Such was the marketing value of Rupert's name and the questionable add of Adelaide's. That glorious romance was promoted as a motion picture novel by Mr. and MRs Rupert Hughes. Adelaide whom Rupert married in nineteen. O eight's was the second MRs Rupert Hughes Rupert's first marriage to Agnes. Hedge began in eighteen ninety three when Rupert was a twenty one year old student at Yale and Agnes was nine teen. She gave birth to a daughter named Elspeth four years later while Agnes was raising their daughter, Rupert established himself as a published poet and novelist, and then playwright when Elspeth was six Rupert filed for divorce, Agnes countersued, both partners claimed their spouse had been unfaithful and a headline making trial in sued, Agnes testified that Rupert had called her a battery washerwoman and had told her she was living an adventurous and adulterous life. According to Agnes, Rupert threatened her that if she did not agree to a divorce, he would make the name of Hughes. So odious that she would be glad to get rid of it and gave her to understand that he had no further use for her. Agnes countered with her own charges of impropriety in an affidavit. She described Rupert's degenerate tastes, and habits claiming he boasted openly of his elicit relations with other women. When asked on the stand if she had seen her husband kiss her female, best friend, Agnes responded. I have seen Mr Hughes, kiss nearly every woman who ever came into our house later, the New York Times gave the headline use violence to defend Hughes, jury to a story about how several lawyers as well as two of the eight men named by Rupert as Agnes lovers. Almost mobbed the jury, as they left the courtroom, the alleged lovers of Agnes were so persistent that the officers assigned to protect the jury got into a hot fight with them. And finally, knocked one or two of them down. The divorce was eventually settled out of court and Agnes swiftly married one of the men with whom Rupert had. Edged her to have been unfaithful. Immediately after his marriage to Adelaide Rupert cast her in a play for the first decade of their marriage. They would live mostly in New York with Adelaide's two children from a teenage marriage rush and Avis Rupert supported Russia and Davis, and they took on his surname, but he never legally adopted them in nineteen sixteen Rupert invited his wife to collaborate with him to write Gloria's romance to ensure an authentic female perspective over the next few years Adelaide transitioned away from acting to focus on writing mostly poetry. After nineteen nineteen Rupert's new career demanded that the couple spend increasingly more time in California and in nineteen twenty one. He and Adelaide mayday semi permanent home in a forty two room mansion at twenty four, twenty five south western avenue in what is today called south central Los Angeles, Rupert and Adelaide had separate bedrooms Rupert's was painted dark blue to facilitate his habit of sleeping all day. After writing all night, the house was about two and a half miles south of the embassador and Rupert would occasionally throw evening parties at the hotel. In defiance of the meth of California's, restorative powers, Adelaide Hughes, almost immediately started suffering from colitis, so severe that it necessitated several operations Adelaide came to believe that what she needed was an escape from paradise. She wanted to take a cruise around the world. A rift opened up in the marriage because Rupert's didn't wanna go with her. Rupert's didn't wanna go anywhere. He had quickly fallen in love with both the industry town and the industry so much so that he felt protective of Hollywood and Hollywood was about to need protecting between nineteen ten and nineteen twenty. The population of Los Angeles nearly doubled and the film industry was now the fourth biggest in the nation trumped only by steel, railroads and cars. But Hollywood's national profile was starting to be made, not by the success of its products, but by the scandals that increased scrutiny of the industry resulting in the establishment of will Hays as the public face of Hollywood on its best behavior. His first week in town will Hayes was the guest of honor at a party at the Basseterre where Rupert Hughes gave the toast Hughes was vehemently against censorship. But then so in theory was Hades. That was why the studios had pursued him to run the organization that would substitute for government, censorship. Hayes and Hughes, both understood the need to sell the idea that Hollywood was being cleaned up while also leading the market ultimately rule. By this time, Rupert Hughes was no nationally as a fixture of the new movie smart set. He was included prominently alongside Charlie Chaplin, glorious Wanson, and Buster Keaton in a caricature of Hollywood's elite by Vanity. Fair cartoonist. Ralph Barton and the Los Angeles Times is society column would announce with no small bit of amusement. His every social Antic of a trip. He and his older brother. Howard Robart Hughes, senior took to Mexico in nineteen twenty one columnist. Edwin shaller's reported that the mayor of Ensenada gave members of the excursion. The key to the city and the local school children celebrated their arrival. In addition to frequent trips to Los Angeles and John with brother Rupert. Howard senior happily took advantage of his nepotistic connection to the very center of the entertainment industry in other ways to on a trip to New York in the summer of nineteen seventeen big Howard reportedly set his eyes on a model and aspiring actress named Eleanor Boardman and offered to introduce the eighteen year old girl to his brother Rupert, who at that point was a celebrated playwright who was just beginning to transition to the movies. This almost too cliche to be true pickup seen allegedly took place in full view of both Boardman's mother and Hughes his wife, a lean Gannett Hughes. If this really happened, it would have taken place when Howard junior was twelve the same year, he went off to boarding school. He would as an adult often refer to this year as a traumatic turning point for him in leaving the family home for school, he had been forced to separate from his mother before he was ready. This need for maternal attention made a convenient talking point in adult Howard seduction of women, which is not to say that there wasn't something real to its Hughes would be diagnosed post mortem by psychologist, Raymond d, Fowler, as having suffered from avoidance disorder. A syndrome commonly suffered by those who experience some kind of rejection or isolation in childhood. The syndrome causes the desire for connection to other people to become so strong and so important that it turns into a source of anxiety causing a feedback loop in which the sufferer further isolates themselves. That Howard Hughes junior lost both parents in the midst of the confusing years of adolescence could explain his struggles with this sort of. Zayed's. But psychologist Fowler believed the root of the problem began even earlier. Alien Hughes died suddenly and almost inexplicably in March nineteen. Twenty two losing consciousness in the midst of a routine gynecological operation. A lean and Howard's only son had just turned sixteen. It was a devastating loss for Howard senior who could not bear to return to the house. He had shared with the lean in Houston. He decided to relocate to Los Angeles and he wanted to take his son with him. Big Howard eventually pulled his son from school entirely rendering Howard Hughes, junior a high school dropouts. He'd follow Rupert to the studio and wander around asking questions, soaking up the process of filmmaking like a sponge. He showed more sustained interest as a part time playmate to and protege for his father who took him along to parties model the process of wooing starlets and gave him lectures about business, the father stress to his son, the importance of autonomy, never share control, never share credits and never share profits. There is some evidence that Howard senior had begun an affair with Eleanor Boardman before a leans death, nineteen twenty two. The year of leans death was a watershed for Boardman after years of modeling in New York. She was selected as one of the new faces of nineteen twenty two, an honor which included train fare to Los Angeles and a token contract at Samuel Goldwyn studio. Goldwyn, of course, was the studio home base of Rupert Hughes Boardman's. First film part came in these strangers, banquets directed by Marshall Neilan who had become friends with the elder Hughes men. Her second and third parts were in movies, made by Rupert Hughes, gimme, and souls for sale. So's for sale has outlasted any other picture on Rupert Hughes's filmography based on Hughes's own novel. It was intended as passionate defence of the film industry against the scandal mongers in the form of a behind the scenes, satire souls tracked the adventures of an on Jeju with the unlikely name of remember. Meme started who gets bad vibes about her husband while on route to her honeymoon and ends up jumping off the train and wandering into the desert shoot of a movie. By the time Boardman was making her on genug debut in Rupert Hughes film in late nineteen twenty. Two big Howard was a widower whose teenage son tagged along to parties such as the regular Sunday brunches an uncle Rupert's house. It was at one of these brunches that Howard junior I met Boardman and became infatuated one day Howard invited Boardman over to his suite at the embassador to meet his son, so they could all go to a party together. Beg Howard according to Boardman trying to sell me young Howard by telling me he was going to be so rich for a few Sundays. Eleanor allowed young Howard to pick her up and take her to Rupert's parties, but she was not sold with the benefit of hindsight. Boardman claimed she could spot Hughes's future eccentricities way back in twenty two. He was strange from the beginning, but Boardman's relationship with the elder Howard was such that with his urging she agreed to go out with his son once on what was probably his first real date and with a woman about five years, his senior who had been a professional model in cosmopolitan New York and was in the process of being groomed into a movie star. Young Howard didn't impress. Eleanor reported that she found sunny to be unattractive, very shy, hard of hearing difficult. It seems likely that whatever kind of relationship big Howard had had with Boardman. By this time, they were not engaged in a serious romance. Immediately after souls for sale. Boardman made her first film for director king Vitor who she would eventually marry. And Howard senior seem to be making the most of the single life. He had always lived large, his step knees reported that he was the first person to own a car in Houston. But after his wife's death in March nineteen, twenty two, he took up residence at the Ambassador Hotel and ran up the kinds of bills on things like jewels flowers and Brooks brothers Taxila does which suggested that he had thrown himself into bachelorhood with the same vigor. He had applied to the source of his fortune mining. Howard Hughes senior was not a strikingly handsome man, but he had something his much more conventionally attractive. Son didn't have people like Tim after his father's death. Howard junior would become unusually introspective in talking about his father's combination of aggression and charm. He had a hill, Philo, Wilmot quality that I never had. He was a terrific, we loved man. I am not. I don't have the ability to win people the way he did. I suppose I'm not like other men. Most of them like to study people. I'm not nearly as interested in people as I should be. I guess. You must remember this is sponsored by the great courses. Plus today's episode features a couple of visits to China in the early nineteen twenty s which makes now the perfect time to explore the fall and rise of China from the great courses. Plus each lecture in this series offers a sinked glimpse into our particular period of Chinese history without sacrificing the detailed touches that draw you in and keep you hooked. I particularly enjoyed the way the chorus delves into the personalities behind the politics, such as in the lecture, the failed Republic, nineteen twelve to nineteen nineteen. When the love lives of two sisters lead I to a personal falling out and then to a bitter political rivalry that sees each rise to a powerful office on opposite sides in China's civil war. I'm fascinated. By the way, individual experiences, shape history, and the fall and rise of China offers a comprehensive overview of its subject while eliminating the people behind the events making history come to life in every lecture with the great courses, plus you'll get unlimited access to stream this and any of their thousands of lectures. You can learn about anything that interests you. People places into events throughout history, scientific breakthroughs, even how to meditate or take better photos. Watch or listen anytime anywhere with a great courses plus app. I know you're going to love the great courses plus two. So for a limited time, my listeners can enjoy any of the courses, including fall and rise of China for free for an entire month. But to start your free month trial, you need to sign up through my special URL the great courses plus dot com slash remember sign up today at the great courses plus dot com. Slash remember, that's the great forces plus dot com. Slash remember. The year and a half or so that Howard Hughes senior was single in Hollywood from mid nineteen twenty two through the end of nineteen. Twenty-three coincided with the peak of his brother Rupert's film industry success. The first quarter of the year brought to Rupert Hughes film releases souls for sale would open in March just two months after the wide release of gimme which was promoted as the truest film play. You ever saw picturing the real joys and monthly bills of wedded bliss. MRs Rupert Hughes had a writing credit, but Adelaide's contributions were no longer highlighted in the press Adelaide herself was floating out of the center of Rupert's sphere of influence the physical pain. She was in and her depression fed on one. Another. Eleanor Boardman said she saw Adelaide popping pills and assumed MRs Hughes was addicted to drugs. In late nineteen twenty two with her husband at the peak of his Hollywood success Adelaide gave up on her dream of traveling the world with Rupert and embarked on the voyage without him sailing to China, accompanied by a nurse Adelaide return to Los Angeles in early nineteen. Twenty-three at which point Rupert was beginning to direct Reno another film about marriage, which husband and wife had co written Rupert's biographer, James Chem notes that the film gave Rupert an opportunity to expound on his views about the unfairness and inconsistency of divorce laws. These views were by now legion. Marriage is the greatest bunko game in the world. Rupert had declared two years earlier and Adela Rogers Saint John's piece published in photo play. If a man has a wife, he doesn't like he should get rid of her as soon as he possibly can. In the plot of Reno. A bigamist deals with the consequences of having taken three concurrent wives each, his legal bride and a different state Rupert himself was on his second marriage, and would soon begin the relationship that would become his third. A small part in Reno was played by actress born as a Lisbeth. Patterson who went by the screen name. Patterson, dial dial, had begun her career in New York appearing in d-w, Griffiths way down east by nineteen twenty five. She would be known to her friends as Pat Hughes. In August nineteen. Twenty-three Adelaide decided to take a nother cruise to the far east. Again, Rupert stayed home Adelaide arrived in Peking and promptly rented a palace in raptured by her surroundings. She began devising an idea for a film set in China. She wrote to her husband about her idea, but Rupert shot her down telling her the concept sounded economically unfeasible. Dejected Adelaide became depressed. She told Rupert she had decided to sail around the world. Rupert told her he'd meet her when she got to France. She began suffering from an ear ache and got off the boat in Haiphong to see a doctor. She returned to the boat in a terrible mood. That was the evening of December thirteenth nineteen. Twenty-three. The next morning Adelaide's lifeless body was found hanging from alleged strap. Rupert learned the news from a man named a m Kirby who worked for standard oil in Haiphong and sent him a telegram that read in part Adelaide Hughes committed suicide here today. In the New York Times the next day Rupert called Adelaide brave, brilliant woman whose lack of self-confidence alone prevented her from being known to the world. As I know her. One month and one day after Rupert Hughes's wife hung herself. He got word if the death of his brother Howard robot Hughes, senior Howard had gone back to Houston for meetings at the Hughes tool factory and had dropped dead of a heart attack at work. Rupert Hughes was omitted from big Howard's will Rupert's biographer James Chem who was also a distant relative of Hughes suggests. This was because Howard new Rupert had money of his own in air, not apparent a chronicle of the protracted battle to determine the fate of Howard Hughes juniors, fortune in the absence of a will author, Suzanne Finstads paints a more complicated portrait of Rupert, Hugh. Infant's dad's telling Rupert was at the time of his brother's death reeling from the very recent suicide of his troubled wife Adelaide. He was in double morning, but he also owed a lot of money and Rupert himself indicated that the two crises might have been related. In a memorial to Adelaide, which Rupert wrote to begin a volume of her poems, which he posthumously published. The widower gave only slightly coded reference to his second wife's habit of spending his money. When we were married, we had not much money later. She had a good deal for writers wife. Then she indulge yourself as best as she could in as much splendour as she could afford. She was called by many, the best dressed woman in America. In this same piece of writing Rupert described his second wife's suicide as a ghastly and desperate conclusion like Sappho 's leap from the Lou Kadian cliff. Just when you thought Rupert Hughes couldn't get more bizarrely insensitive Ghia Societa d- his second wife's suicide, which likely took place after Rupert had begun a relationship with his third wife with a myth about how one of history's most famous sexually voracious. Women took a dive off lover's leap when a man rejected her. 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But gobble sent me the cauliflower pre rice and they included ingredients to mix in like fed and garlic confused sauce, which was so good and no kidding. The whole thing really took fifteen minutes and it all happened in a single pan. This is what makes gobble special. Their meals are customizable to your health requirements and they're faster than pretty much any other option. The results actually eating a balanced meal that will give you time to do other things like have a relationship with your spouse or kids or unwind by yourself or watch movies you learned about on. You must remember this. I want you to try gobble too. So gobbles offered nine listeners a fantastic limited time, deal of fifty dollars off your first box. Go to our special URL at gobble dot com slash remember now to get fifty dollars off. That's gobble dot com. Slash remember. I mid nineteen twenty four Rupert headed Vance to an executive position at the newly formed Metro Goldwyn Mayer's studio. And he would soon announce his engagement to Patterson dial the actress, whom he had met on the set of his film. Reno before Adelaide's death. The pair would marry in December nineteen, twenty four and move into you, guessed it? The Ambassador Hotel before embarking on the construction of a new mansion on those feelers boulevard at the base of Griffith park Rupert had designed the home himself in a blue and white style of Morrish architecture inspired by his love. For a and nights, there was an enormous library where Rupert kept five different desks. Each intended to how. A different project. The new home was built around in a tram which housed an indoor swimming pool. The house is still there. If you live or work near Los feelers, you might drive past it nearly every day. The timing of these events was enough to sour Adelaide's children from an earlier relationship rush and Avis on the man who had unofficially adopted them both my sister and I had developed a resentment rush Hughes would say to the fact that father Rupert had allowed my mother to go off alone on a trip around the world on a boat that had no medical officer. And then very shortly after my mother's death, he made an association with another much younger woman Rupert was fifty, two, Patterson dials. Birth date has been a matter of dispute, but she was likely thirty years younger than her new husband rush and Avis never saw Rupert again after the announcement of his engagement to dial and rush implied that Rupert and Patterson cut him and his sister off saying they dropped a curtain between. Join us. Some years later, a close female friend of Patterson's would recall asking Rupert about his relationship to rush Hughes, who then had a radio show in San Francisco. She was shocked when Rupert responded, that man is not my son. He is not my adopted son, in my opinion. He is an impostor who has always used my name as a stepping stone. If rush Hughes had arrival for Rupert Hughes's animosity. It was Howard Hughes junior in later years, once his nephew had become a subject of public fascination Rupert would somewhat revised the family history, but at the time of Rupert's marriage to Patterson dial at the end of nineteen twenty four. The relationship between he and Howard junior had apparently soured into permanent estrangement. Thanks to sonny's actions in the immediate aftermath of his father's death, which I detail in seduction. Patterson supposedly wouldn't allow Howard junior in her house. Not that many people were invited over where Adelaide when healthy had loved to entertain and Rupert had become known for hosting party. Pat Hughes was more private and reserved with the nineteen twenties drawing to a close Rupert's Hollywood currency began to fade Justice his nephew. Howard star was rising. Both Hughes men were nominated for kademi awards at the first ever. Ceremony held in Maine, nineteen twenty nine Howard for producing a gangster film called the rackets and Rupert for writing a picture called the patent leather kid by then Rupert had published two controversial biographies of George Washington. His work in film would tail off in the nineteen thirty. S? Meanwhile, Pat began publishing short stories. And by nineteen forty four. She had written a short war thing novel, which she failed to find a publishing house for. She took her own writing extremely seriously and also toiled as an editor on her husband's writing. She often found herself so wound up. She couldn't sleep at night. One night in nineteen forty five seventy three year old Rupert Hughes came home around ten thirty p. m. and chatted with his forty two year old wife. She told him she planned to take a sleeping pill and go to bed. He went to work in his study until after three a m before retiring to his own room Rupert checked on Pat. She looked pale and he checked her pulse and found it to be racing. He was apparently unconcerned and went to bed in the morning. The maid came to wake Pat up and found that she couldn't Patterson dial Hughes, died of what was either an accidental or intentional barbiturate overdose making her the second of Rupert's. Two wives to die at a relatively young age due to what looked like a mysterious suicide. In the Los Angeles Times story reporting, Patterson's death Rupert acknowledged that she had been prescribed the pills to help with the exile. She felt over her own writing. She had intense depression when she became morose because she felt her own writing was not up to the goal. She set for herself often. She said life was vanity and that she could leave it anytime. Later he would pen Alette her to Francis McLean Smith, a daughter of one of his cousins in which he worried that the long grueling hours he subjected Patterson to proof reading his own work might have led to her death. I blame myself because it was more than she could take. Rupert Hughes did not remarry in nineteen fifty. He sold the Arabian nights themed house and six years later, he died at the age of eighty four. Twenty years after that. Howard Hughes junior would die. And the strange tales of Rupert Hughes's life and marriages would be dredged up over the course of a long, protracted battle to determine the rightful heirs to his nephews, massive fortune that battle is a story. You'll find in seduction. Next week, we will tell the story of a woman who came to Hollywood in the nineteen twenties determined to become a screenwriter and seventy five years later ended up publishing an account of that time and place that sheds much light onto why the Hollywood film colony would have held so much allure for a young man such as Howard Hughes join us, then won't you. Thanks for listening t- you must remember this. Today's episode was written narrated and produced by Karina Longworth. That's me. Our editor is a Livia NAT. Our research and production assistant is Lindsay d Schoenholtz. Our social media assistance is Brendan Waylon, and our logo was designed by teddy blanks, special fakes to our special guest. Noah seeking who returned to the podcast to play Howard Hughes for more information about this episode and other episodes, please go to our website. You must remember this podcast dot com. Very fine. Show notes for every episode with lists of all of our sources and the music used on each episode. And if you go to, you must remember this podcast dot com. Slash said duck Shen. You'll find information about how to preorder the book that this season is related to seduction. Sex lies and stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood written by me. We also have a schedule of events that I'll be doing related to the book which include book, signings, film screenings and more. If you like the show, please tell anyone you can any way that you can. You can follow us on Twitter at remember this pod and where on Facebook and Instagram to we'll be back next week with another tale from the secrets and or forgotten histories of Hollywood's. First century join us then won't you good night. House. The story of chums. Expanse. Came to robbing.
145: Ramon Novarro (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 19)
"To another episode of you must remember this the podcast dedicated to exploring the secrets, and or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century. I'm your host Karina Longworth today, we bring you the last episode of our own going series, fake, news fact, checking Hollywood Babylon. This is news. This is totally unfounded gossip it's a long way from Hollywood, criticized we're dealing to frankly, the such themes as sex nudity Hollywood along. Long. Today's subject is Ramon Navarro Ramon Navarro was a Mexican actor and singer who apparently had sexual relationships only with men, but due to a combination of his devotion to Catholicism censorship of non heterosexuality in early Hollywood and his own preference for privacy Novara chose to keep his sex life private and his public persona closeted for all of his sixty nine years alive. Navarro was brutally outed when his murder at the hands of two men who he invited over to his house ostensibly for sex came to light, you wouldn't know most of even this very basic summary of who've Ramon Navarro was firm reading Hollywood Babylon here is an unedited excerpt from. Hollywood Babylon containing Kenneth Anger's only extended writing about the star. Ramona Varos ghastly death by beating in nineteen sixty eight brought to mind the bizarre crimes of Hollywood's past here was a man dying as he had lived extravagantly choked in his own blood, the lead art deco dildo, which Valentino had given him forty five years. Earlier thrust down his throat too dumb beasts hustler brothers from Chicago Paulin, Tom. Ferguson chose October thirty first Halloween to play death. Angels for the sixty nine year old Ben her all the boys wanted was his petty cash five thousand dollars, which they had heard from other hustler bums that Navarro kept hidden in his Hollywood hills home. They tore the place apart ripping the pieces the mementos of his long career, which meant nothing to the greedy credence. Souvenirs drenched in blood. Anger details. Navarro's violent death without really dealing with who he was when he was alive up to this point in the book anger has only dropped breadcrumbs here. And there about the star including the claim which we teased in. Our Rudolph Valentino episode that Navarro kept the quote, unquote, art deco dildo engraved with Valentino signature in a shrine to the Italian star in his bedroom. Anger also claims that in nineteen thirty one novato entered a monastery to cover for the fact that he had been forced into retirement by talking pictures. But that's it. Anger says nothing else about Navarro his movies, what kind of star he was or what he did for almost forty years between supposedly retiring to a monastery and getting murdered in his home. So today in our final episode of fact, checking Hollywood Babylon we are going to fill in the blanks left, by anger and talk about who Ramon Navarro was the myriad reasons. His career waned somewhat later than the date anger gives how he navigated his seemingly contradictory religion and sexuality and the truth behind the grisly evening that ended his life. Join us won't you for one. Last fact, check on Ramon Varo. And his obituary in variety. Navarro was described as the gentle gentlemanly version of Valentino, but Navarro's background and star persona were quite different from that of the Italian star. Ramon was the fourth of twelve children born to marry on. Oh and Leonor Samaniego 's Ramones father was a successful dentist and the family was upper class until the Mexican revolution. Around the same time, the patriarch contracted a nerve disease that forced him to retire from his dentistry practice after a few years of struggle. The family legally immigrated to Texas and then moved on to Los Angeles because Ramon was hoping to pursue a career in show business. Ramon began finding sporadic work as a movie extra while also working as a theater usher and a nude model for art classes, Mary and Morgan choreographer and partner of director Dorothy ours ner spotted Navarro when he was working at the majestic. Theater and cast him in her dance troupe. Growing up in his devoutly Catholic Mexican family with whom he still lived Ramon probably would have been sheltered from examples of out homosexuality until meeting Morgan who lived openly with ours ner and working and traveling with dancers for months on end those little evidence that he pursued relationships with men right away. This is likely the point in Navarro's life when he began to acknowledge his sexual preference to himself and to understand how a gay person could have a career in entertainment without reprisal or punishment for who they choose to sleep with. If they compartmentalized their sexuality and their work. Ramone's first major film role was in the silent picture the prisoner of Zenda. The film was directed. By Rex in grim who had helped to launch Rudolph Valentino by directing him in the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Ramon had been an extra in that film. Ingram had been looking for a replacement for Valentino who had been difficult to work with unholy sman and had since left. Ingram's home base of metro pictures for rival studio famous players Lasky Ingram worried that Navarro at twenty three was too young for the part of the rogue Rupert in Zenica. But Ingraham liked the idea of being able to shape a star and retain control over him. He put the young actor through three screen tests. And then finally gave him the part. Ingraham was so happy with Ramones performance that virtually as soon as the Zenda shoot was over the director cast the actor and his next project a remake of Ingram's own black or kids in which Navarro would play a dual role Ingram began working with the movie press to build Navarro up as a rival star to Valentino even having the Mexican actor comb his hair like the Italian actors for photo shoot. This time Ingraham wanted to avoid the egomania which he felt had afflicted Valentino after their collaboration Ingraham gave Navarro the following warning very soon, you will be seeing in print that you are a genius and the reincarnation of Apollo don't believe either statements as I am paying good money to have that published. It was during the production of black or kids that Ramon under mild duress agreed to change his last name from the difficult to pronounce and spell some Aena goes to Navarro. Navarro didn't have the biggest part in the prisoner of Zenda. But when the film was released he upstaged the ostensible top billed star actor Lewis stone. There was a touch of danger to this character, and this performance, but very quickly Navarro would distinguish himself as a very different type of Latin lover, then Valentino as we discussed in our episode about him Valentino's appeal had much to do with his pantomine of defying consent. Allowing women to fantasize about being forced to have the sex the movies assumed they wanted to have. But weren't allowed in polite society to say yes to. Navarro's characters rarely took women by fours. They won them over with their boyish, charm and moxie or asked politely movie, publicity, frequently mentioned Navarro's Mexican ethnicity. But there was little attempt to conform his star persona to stereotypes about Mexicans in fact, though, he would be cast as all kinds of ethnicities some of which he played more credibly than others during the period of his major stardom. He never played Mexican characters. Navarro soon signed a long term contract with metro pictures who now took over promoting him as a star. Although he would continue to work with Ingram on films like where the pavement ends and scare moosh in which Navarro's. Sword fighting hero would become a sensation. Catapulting Navarro to a new level of stardom by nineteen twenty four when scare moosh was released. It was important to have a studios publicity department behind a star, especially if that star like Navarro had a personal life that he wanted to keep quiet magazines like photo play would occasionally print. Rumors about the unconventional relationships of the stars. These items would be written in a code decipher -able by sophisticates and insiders almost as if they were secret message. Ages to both the members of the audience that would appreciate queer nece and to the Hollywood workers who wanted to patrol that clearness and make sure it was kept on the down low with metro behind him. Ramon was able to avoid gossip about his personal life until he started dating a key architect of Hollywood gossip. You're. Prudent, family lovers friends difficult boxes. Difficult bosses. Who are also are lovers. Life can get pretty complicated by our relationships. It's why I host dear prudence, the podcast that offers commentary and conversations all sorts of questions about questions about sex work, family and life. And now, I'm taking the show on the road. Join me Daniel Mallory or Burg and a series of guests at live events in Brooklyn, Denver, San Francisco and Washington DC come watch the drama unfold in person, just visit slate dot com slash live for more info. After the success of Skara moosh Ingram felt emboldened to take on his former protege Valentino more directly. He convinced metro to pay for a location shoot in Turkey for a film, titled the Aira which aimed to counter Valentino's blockbuster the chic with a more accurate portrayal of the air ab- world. It would be difficult to be less accurate than the rape e this chic, but the Arab would still be a fantasy film with Navarro playing a bedouin in love with a Christian missionary. To get to Turkey. Ramon. And the film company sailed first to France there accompanied by Herbert held a reporter for photo play and other publications who had been hired to work as the ribs publicist beginning with this boat trip, and the location shoot how and Navarro would become an inseparable power couple with how revealing himself to be Navarro's, quote unquote, closest friend in the fan magazines. He wrote for to those who knew the real nature of Howland Navarro's relationship, the publicists columns about the star would read as revealing. But most readers were totally oblivious to the fact that both writer and subject were gay certainly nothing about Navarro screen persona read as feminine. And unlike Valentino he didn't tempt the rumor mill by dressing, like a dandy or consorting with strong bisexual women fans were not given a reason to ask questions about Navarro's sexuality. After the air ab- footage was in the can Ingram expected to be assigned to direct the studio's next epic then her, but while Ingram and Navarro were on location there studio metro had been merged with two rivals to form Metro Goldwyn Mayer, then new super studio would be run by Louis b Mayer who thought Ingram was over rated in fact, mayor demanded supervision over the editing of the arrow and made it clear that Ingram would only direct. Ben Hur over mayors dead body in grim had been feeling fed up for a while. And he then announced that he would not return to Hollywood and would instead settle in Europe and make films there this put Navarro in a tough spot because all he wanted to do was work with. His mentor with whom he had made all five of his most significant films to date, but Ramones contract had been absorbed by M G M. And he was at the mercy of the studios new managements in grim wouldn't get a chance to work on them her. But Navarro would the film began production with George Walsh in the lead directed by Charles braven from a script by June Mathis after a few months of production. The film was proving to be such a disaster that MGM fired Mathis, brave and Walsh and regrouped. Fred Nebo who had worked with Navarro twice was hired as the new director and mayor decided to give Navarro the title role. Probably because the only other star of has stature at MGM John Gilbert was unavailable. Navarro was not obvious casting for the role of a Jewish prince putting aside the obvious issue of his ethnicity. Navarro was physically not ready for a film, which would require him to be frequently topless at just five foot six Ramon tended to run a bit pudgy as soon as he got to Rome for the shoot. He was paired with a physical trainer. But in the end the makeup department had to paint muscles into his flesh and his co star Francis bushman had to stand in a trench to make up for the difference in their heights. Ben her was the most expensive film produced at that point in history and didn't needed to make an enormous amount of money at the box office to turn a profit like future, money, pits, Titanic and avatar much of the industry. Betting against it. And as would happen with James Cameron's blockbusters, Ben Hur proved the doubters wrong demand for the film was so massive that it was able to play special roadshow engagements for a full two years before entering into nationwide. General release in nineteen twenty seven. It became Ramon Navarro's signature film and cemented his status at MGM where the only quivalent stars were John Gilbert's and horror. I con lawn Cheney, but Navarro's ethnicity made his star persona more complicated than that of other stars as the nineteen twenties were on and the Hays office became more powerful Navarro couldn't play Mexicans onscreen and romantic parts because there were no Mexican actresses for him to play opposite and the censorship rules forbid, the depiction of mixed race coupling because Navarro's skin did not appear dark onscreen and silent films did not require him to speak in his accented voice. Navarro was often cast as a European while MGM's publicity reported that the. Mexican after was just like an American. As for his sexuality the studio leaked reports that Navarro dated numerous starlets, but they did not pressure Navarro to actually go on these dates for to marry a woman to hide his true sexual identity. One reason for this was probably that his boyfriend Herbert how was in charge of Navarro's publicity. But also Louis b Mayer was not bothered by the fact that Ramon was gay because Ramon was so discreet about it. And because Navarro's movies consistently made money, especially overseas. Even when they weren't very good instead of focusing on fake romances. How promoted the fact that Navarro supported his large family, which was true and credited that support for occupying so much of Ramones time and money that he couldn't even think about taking a life. But then in nineteen twenty eight how and Navarro broke up. How wrote a barely veiled assessment of his now ex lover in the magazine new movie accusing Ramon of essentially having no inner life or at any rate being unable to share his true in herself in an intimate relationship. You get the essence of him seeing him on the screen. How wrote off the screen. He is a theater with the lights out. Even before Navarro lost this key ally. He missed working with Rex Ingram and felt as though his career was at loose ends. It was around this time that he did contemplate joining a monastery Kenneth anger mentions this desire to flee Hollywood for the spiritual realm in the context of Navarro's rocky transition into talking's, but it actually happened earlier and had more to do with the fact that MGM seemed unsure as to how to use Navarro on screen Navarro did reportedly contact a monastery and ask to take their vows. But the monastery turned him down believing that a Hollywood star couldn't be serious about or well equipped four amongst life. There was more disappointment ahead in nineteen twenty seven. He had decided to begin pursuing his childhood dream of singing opera Navarro did travel to Europe in March nineteen twenty nine in anticipation of making his opera debut. But for reasons that remain unclear the actual singing debut didn't happen with these two paths away from Hollywood close to him Navarro put his hopes on the coming of sound. Yes, he spoke with an accent. But he hoped his burgeoning singing career would earn him a place in musical films. He successfully dipped a toe in that water with the pagan a transitional late silent film with a sink soundtrack which featured a theme song sung by Navarro. The. This song runs throughout the pagan rendering its narrative, all the more dreamlike and swooning. Ramon plays the quote, unquote, half caste owner of a South Pacific plantation who has no interest in monetize ING, the bananas and coconuts that grow there. Then an evil white trader comes around wanting to export his coconuts when we first seen Varos. Character. Henry he's being told by his native servant that the white man has come to do business. Henry says I'm too busy for business. What he's busy doing is lying around barely clothed in just a brief sarong eating bananas while they fall in White City woman played by Rene Adirah, watches him admiringly. There's a pan up of Navarro's barely clothed body from his toes to his face emulating, the actresses gays as she's lamenting that she wishes she had made. Her way to the island before whatever happened to her virtue. Henry is hypnotized by the siren. Call a native woman who is being kept on a ship by the white trader who calls her his ward, but obviously has sexual designs on her Henry and this girl fall in love and their desire and simple minded, basic decency. Overcomes, racism and capitalism. The pagan was a massive hit in may nineteen twenty nine and Ramones song became an even bigger success. This inspired Louis b Mayer to take a renewed interest in his star. And the studio mogul wired Navarro in Europe and asked him to come home to Hollywood. So that the studio could capitalize on the success of the pagan that chosen vehicle devil may care was billed as the first dramatic operetta of the talkie era. The film was well received especially internationally and now contrary to angers depiction of Navarro as one of the early sound Erez casualties. Ramon felt like his career was on sturdier footing than it had been since Ben Hur by musicals as John RA would have a rocky road during the first years of the talkie. Era all the rage in nineteen twenty nine. They were considered passe by nineteen thirty and were essentially dormant until Warner Brothers revived the gene Gina a couple of years later with their gritty pre code Busby. Berkeley hits like gold diggers of nineteen thirty three and forty second street Novara was again worried and he again, more or less landed on his feet by agreeing to star opposite, Greta Garbo in Mata Hari. Navarro's character in Mata Hari is pretty ridiculous. He's a Russian air courier of state secrets who manages to seduce Garbo's stripper slash spy moments after meeting her then easily becomes her Mark. But somehow makes her fall in love with him. Which is of course, a stripper slash spies half to do. Not many actors could pull this off. And I don't mean this as a backhanded compliment, but Ramon Navarro was perfect for playing eight totally love struck completely naive idiot. Who you totally believe Greta Garbo would bone once and then develop a self destructive soft spot for. Mata Hari became one of 'em GM's top grossing films of nineteen thirty two and with sixty percent of its revenue coming from overseas and reinforced that Navarro was a valuable international star. And yet with the depression creeping on MGM was in cost cutting mode and mayor asked Ramon to take a pay cuts. He refused allowed his contract lapse and focused on singing. He sings a lot in his last film under his original contract to MGM the bar Burien the bar Burien in which Ramon played a gyp shin. Prince turned crook who kidnaps Myrna Loy white turist was a retread of Valentino's the Sheik and Ramones own retread of that the Aarab it's original screenwriter quit because she felt that writing a fantasy of exotic rape from depression era. Los Angeles was just too silly. Certainly the replicas of the pyramids, and thus Finks erected in Yuma. Arizona are creaky and the film's attempts to reconcile a woman's eventual love for her rapist is not only gross. But completely unbelievable. Ultimately, the bar Burien is a bad movie with some good scenes and images in which two stars who deserve better do their best with very bad material. It takes every opportunity to show Loy almost naked. And because of that the film was altered in different ways by different local, censorship boards. And it may just a small profit before the nineteen thirty four production code took effect and the barbarian became one of many films banned from re release. Navarre overturn to Hollywood from European singing tour and signed on to make a few more films for M G M, one of these the cat, and the fiddle an operatic co-starring the Queen of that John Russian at McDonald was a good choice for Navarro, but it was extremely expensive to produce and it lost money. Then came a terrible choice for the first and only time in his Hollywood courier Navarro would be cast opposite a Mexican actress Lupe allows in a film called laughing. Boy, this casting opened up the possibility of a censorship sanctioned romance. But laughing boy wasn't about to Mexicans in love. It was about native Americans Navajos one of whom is a prostitute aside from Navarro and Valencia's the cast was populated by. Actual native Americans non actors who were taught to speak, the scripts English lines phonetically, laughing boy was based on a Pulitzer prize winning novel, but the studio consider the finished product to be so underwhelming that they barely gave it a release screenwriter. John Lee Mahan was not the only one to blame the casting of an aging Varo who in his Johnny Depp in Benny and June wig looked nothing like the real Navajos. He was cast against. But my Hans criticism was exceptionally cruel. The poor guy was a fag Mahan sneered, and he was an old fag. Then and he looked like an old whore with his hair hanging down and a blanket on Navarro would make just one more disappointing film at MGM then right after new. New Year's nineteen thirty five Navarra was called into studio fixer at a manic says office, y'all last pictures want very good Mannix told Navarro Ramon couldn't disagree. He was paid nineteen thousand dollars to go away. Ramon Navarro's career as a movie star was essentially over. So what did he do with himself for the next thirty three years in nineteen thirty five Navarro had what has been described as a nervous breakdown? Although rather than seeking psychiatric treatment he moved back into the mansion he had bought for his family where his parents and siblings still live. He brought his current boyfriend a swimming champion with him forcing his Catholic family to confront his unspoken of sexuality for really the first time in his thirty six years. While recuperating Navarro began writing an autobiographical play about a Mexican actors disillusion with wealth and fame he abandoned this project when he was given the chance to direct a Spanish language movie, which he did finish. But it was never released. Then came a huge disaster. Navarro made his stage acting debut in London in a musical adaptation of his early hit film. The prisoner of Zenda rapidly losing control of his physique. Thanks in part to a drinking problem that had developed as his movie career had tailed off without the magic of movie makeup and lighting Navarro appeared bloated, even while wearing a corset. But the real problem was that he was unable to project his voice in a theatrical setting at the play's premiere the audience heckled Navarro to speak up. They couldn't hear or understand what he was saying Navarro did not handle this. Well, at one point he broke character and shouted back into the audience. Now, I don't understand you. At the end of the show, he thanked the audience for coming and praised those who had quietly enjoyed the show. This was greeted with jeers of gab back to Hollywood. Reviews were bad and the play closed word made it back to the Hollywood trade papers that Navarro had been laughed off of the London stage. This was not the end of Navarro stage career far from it like many other faded Hollywood stars. He began making a living in summer stock and other small town, repertory productions and tours Navarre's film career also wasn't entirely over. He found some work in the forties and fifties as a character actor in some interesting films, including John Houston's we were strangers and the big steel produced by Howard Hughes and directed by Don Siegel in the latter incredibly Navarro was cast for the first time as a Mexican character in a Hollywood movie. By beginning in the nineteen forties. Navarro began making headlines for a more unsavory reason over the next few years Navarro was arrested many times for drunk driving sometimes on the scene of an accident that he had caused as a result of one car crash a concussed Navarro also suffered two broken ribs, a dislocated ankle and a chest injury after another arrest. Navarro's driver's license was temporarily revoked. It would be notable that anger excluded. These scandals from Hollywood Babylon's portrait of Navarro. If anger had shown any interest in anything about Navarro other than his death. It's fictional connection to Valentino, and the fact that gay hustlers were responsible. Navarro had begun seeking the services of male sex workers in the nineteen fifties. He usually had to be very drunk to take the plunge and would sometimes drive recklessly around Hollywood looking for pay to play boys to pick up after a few more drunk driving arrests. Navarro was actually put on trial in nineteen sixty and ordered to pay a fine two years later. He crashed his car again this time the police claimed that while being arrested Navarro had muttered I am old and I just want to die which he later denied after this arrest. His license was permanently revoked and he was sentenced to fifteen days in jail, although due to legal maneuvering he'd be released after one night. In the mid nineteen sixties Navarro moved to a house in laurel canyon, which would have been isolated for anyone. But was particularly isolating for a Man Who Wasn't able to drive himself. His finances were not good, but he continued to pay small amounts of money twenty dollars here, forty dollars there for sexual services, and companionship, he wrote checks and usually noted that they were gardening for a massage Navarro accumulated a network of boys could call or who could call him if they needed the money on October thirtieth nineteen sixty eight Navarro got a call from a young man who said he had received the former stars phone number from Larry Ortega, one of Navarro's repeat visitors. The caller described what he looked like and Navarro invited. Him to come over later for a drink. The caller said he'd bring his younger brother with him Navarro's one employee his secretary slash driver had the day off. So they would be alone for the night. The two brothers Paul and Tom Ferguson told conflicting stories as to what happened that night. Here is what seems to be true Paul age twenty two had been divorced more than once. And as of the summer of nineteen sixty eight he was newly remarried to a woman named Mary Ortega sister of Larry Ortega Paul's brother, Tom age seventeen had dropped out of school in Chicago and got an into a bunch of trouble and in October nineteen sixty eight he had come to Los Angeles to live with Paul as a last resort around the same time Paul was laid off from his job and his wife of less than six months left him Paul who had hustled men for money before. Decided to try to find some older sugar daddies who could help support him and his brother her a friend gave Paul Navarro's number and told him to drop the name of Larry Ortega, the brother of Paul's now, estranged wife, the boys came over that evening and Ramon and Paul began drinking heavily Navarro told Paul that he should be in movies that he could give Burt Lancaster run for his money. Navarro told the younger Tom that he might be able to hire him as Gardiner. It's what happened next. That's murky. Paul initially told the police that he had drunkenly passed out on the couch only to be awoken awhile later by Tom who told his brother that Navarro was dead Paul said, he then went into Navarro's bedroom and found him. There naked his hands tied behind his back. His skin already blue Paul said he wanted to call the police, but his brother suggested they make it look like Navarra was killed in a robbery and Paul when along with it. But Tom told police that he had left Paul and Ramon alone and had gone into a guest room to call his ex girlfriend in Chicago while on the phone Tom said, he heard screaming he went into Navarro's bedroom and found the actor naked and blue. Leading profusely from his face. The actor was dazed but alive Paul began swinging around prop cane he had found in the house and demanding money. Ramon said he didn't have cash in the house Tom claimed he went to the bathroom, and when he came back Navarro was on the floor dead. The prosecution would later explain that the boys fixed the crime scene to make it look like Navarro was murdered by a female prostitute, or maybe Larry Ortega, they moved the body into bed and wrote Larry's name on the bed sheets and on a note pad. They also stuck a condom in Navarro's stiffening hand and wrote in pancake makeup on the mirror. The barely literate phrase us girls are better than faggots. They ditched their clothes which had blood on them over a fence and put on new clothes from Navarro's closets and left Navarro's body was found by his driver the next morning. The actor had bruises on his head neck chest left, arm, penis and knees, and he was missing at least one tooth which was found broken on the floor. But there is no indication that an art deco dildo had been shoved down his throat. Certainly if such a thing had been found on the scene. No one else who was on the scene ever mentioned it. Navarro had probably choked to death on his own blood flowing from his broken nose Navarro's murder made the morning papers. But it took a while before the full story came to light eventually Tom's phone call to Chicago led police to the Ferguson brothers. It would be almost two months before Paul and Tom were indicted at which point it was revealed in the press that Navarro had died because he had invited men over to his house to have sex with him. This was the first indication to most of the public that Ramon Navarro had been gay. The trial began in July nineteen sixty nine about two weeks before the Manson murders on the stand. Paul stuck to his story that while he had been passed out on the couch. Tom had killed Ramona Varo, but Tom said that Paul had killed Navarro and had convinced Tom to take the rap for the murder because as a minor he wouldn't face the death penalty. Tom said that once he discovered how badly Ramon had been beaten. He couldn't go through with a false confession. The two brothers couldn't agree on their defense. But both of their lawyers blamed the victim in his closing arguments Paul's lawyer disparaged Navarro for having been a drunk and called him, quote, an accident walking around looking for a place to happen. Tom's attorney reiterated. That Paul was guilty but used Ramon sexuality as a tool to mitigate the degree of guilt of both Ferguson boys of Navarro, he said back in the days of Valentino, this man who said female hearts flutter was nothing, but a queer there is no way of calculating how many felonies this man committed over the years for all his piety. What would have happened that night? If Paul had not gotten drunk on Varos booze and Varos urging and add Navarro's behest with this have happened. If Navarro had not been seducer and traduced or of young men, the answers to those questions will determine the issue and degree of guilt of Tom, Ferguson, and the issue and degree of guilt of Paul Ferguson. The district attorney weekly asked the jury to not put Mr Navarro on trial and declared that even if Navarro was morally reprehensible for buying gay sacks, the Ferguson's were worse for selling it. They are hustlers. The DA said, I don't know why keep using those nice words that means a male hor that is what they are. They sell their bodies to other men for money. What kind of a person, do you think does that? The Jerry decided that both brothers were guilty during the sentencing phase, Tom change, his story now essentially combining Paul's original version with his own and taking credit for beating of our with the cane after Ramon quote kept trying to put his fingers up my rectum, Tom explained that he had lied before. Because he thought his previous story would ensure a lighter sentence for both. He and his brother Paul was supposed to get manslaughter. And I was supposed to get off. Tom said, it's not our fault that we got a dumb jury. Both Ferguson's were sentenced to life in prison over the next decades. Both would change and complicate their stories in two thousand twelve Paul claimed he hit. Ramon to fend off his advances of murder. I was innocent. He said of manslaughter. I wasn't innocent even manslaughter maybe could say I was innocent. But I was guilty of hitting him. I did hit him. But I did it on drunken stupor Mr Navarro died because he was so drunk that the blood in his throat the involuntary muscle in his throat didn't work because the alcohol suppressed it if he had turned his head if he had been a little more sober. He would not have died. That's the God's truth. In the same interview, Paul said, he believed the police had planted evidence at the crime scene to make the crime look worse than it was Tom was released in nineteen seventy seven then went back to prison for most of the eighties on a rape charge. Then was re incarcerated for failing to register as a sex offender, then he was released, but then in two thousand five he killed himself slitting his own throat after his release from San Quentin Paul was given a thirty year sentence for rape and sodomy in nineteen eighty nine. He maintained that he had been framed by the prosecutor. When it comes to Ramona Varo, Kenneth Anger's version of the story commits crimes of omission, distortion, and just plain confusion. I don't know what he's talking about. When he says Navarro died extravagantly and extravagantly certainly was not how Navarro lived particularly toward the end of his life when his only expenses were cigarettes booze and twenty dollar asset nations. Hopefully, if you've learned anything from this series, it's that Hollywood Babylon is not a reliable source of history. But then neither is anything else. Taken out of context or read without skepticism or scrutiny if there's anything I hope the one hundred forty five episodes of this podcast has made clear over the past four plus years. It's that our collective memories of Hollywood. Would are often distorted incomplete or just plain wrong. Even when we're not getting our information from a source that has been as thoroughly debunked as Hollywood Babylon. After today this podcast will be on hiatus. I cannot tell you when there will be new episodes because I don't know if this is the last time we speak for awhile. Please know how much your listenership has meant to me this show has only gone on as long as it has. Because there continue to be people who want to hear it and share it with anyone they can any way. They can I hope to join you soon. Thanks for listening to you must remember. This. Today's episode was written narrated and produced by Karina Longworth. That's me our research and production assistant is Lindsay d Schoenholtz. Our social media assistant is Brendan Wayland. This episode was edited by Cameron Druze and our logo was designed by teddy blanks. For more information about this episode and other episodes, please go to our website, you must remember this podcast dot com there you'll find show notes for every episode with information about our sources music used and much more. If you like the show, please tell anyone you can any way that you can you can follow us on Twitter at remember this pod. And we're on Facebook and Instagram to. And my book seduction sex lies and stardom in Howard Hughes's. Hollywood is available now from Amazon or your local independent bookstore. Goodness.