I Was Totally Wrong About Teresa Wright!


Actress Teresa Wright I always thought Teresa Wright was talented and sweet, but kind of an ineffectual limp noodle. She plays the good girl well, and I guess that was my problem.  Sure, her screen characters had pluck, but pluck is an anemic version of the charming ballsy-ness of a Stanwyck or the fearless hijinks Irene Dunne might throw down. In movies like The Best Years of Our Lives, I worried that, although clearly a better choice than skanky Virginia Mayo, super he-manly Dana Andrews would eventually tire of Teresa when ingénue curdled into insipid.

Well, I was wrong. Turns out Teresa Wright was smart, sassy, and not to be fucked with.

OK, picture this: It’s the late 1930s and you’re a young woman barely out of high school when talent scouts from the Goldwyn Studios spot you in a play and whisk you away to Hollywood, where you score a part in “The Little Foxes” with Bette-freaking-Davis, no less. You and I, we’d likely feel a mash-up of lucky, awestruck, terrified, intimidated, overwhelmed, grateful, and scared shitless. And don’t forget, this is the 1930s when women were to be sometimes seen and never heard.

So — this key clause that Missy Wright made them put in her studio contract is all the more impressive:

“Miss Wright shall not be required to pose for photographs in a bathing suit unless she is in water. Neither may she be photographed running on the beach with her hair flying in the wind. Nor may she pose in any of the following situations: in shorts; playing with a cocker spaniel; digging in a garden; whipping up a meal; attired in firecrackers and holding skyrockets for the fourth of July; looking insinuatingly at the turkey for Thanksgiving; wearing a bunny cap with long ears for Easter; twinkling on prop snow in a skiing outfit while a fan blows her scarf.”

In addition to it being a dame-irific move, it’s also pretty hilarious. She not only doesn’t want to be reduced to fodder for the cheesecake factory, she totally nails the stupidity of what she doesn’t want to do with humor and charm and zero invective. This, girls, is how it is DONE. Like a boss, Teresa! Wow – like a BOSS.

I’d like to have been a fly on the set when, according to fellow dame and blogger Self-Styled Siren, Mr. Goldwyn, trying to loosen up Teresa while filming “The Little Foxes” called to her from behind the camera: “Teresa, let your breasts flow in the breeze!”SEXY Teresa Wright

(My brain hurts just pondering what I would need to do to follow those instructions. Jump up and down? Unhook my bra and throw it behind me whilst laughing manically? Frankly, I’m stumped.)

The good news is: Teresa was nominated for Academy Awards for her first 3 films (The Little Foxes, Mrs. Miniver and Pride of the Yankees). She was the only actor ever to be nominated for an Oscar for her first three films. And until Jennifer Lawrence received her 3rd nomination in 2014, Wright held the record for youngest actor to receive three acting Oscar nominations. AND…her 4th movie was Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, where she got billing above Joseph Cotten! Then, a coupe of years later, she’s the aforementioned goody-two-shoes homewrecker in Best Picture winner, The Best Years of Our Lives.

(A cute side note: Teresa was married to screenwriter Niven Busch, who wrote Duel in the Sun for his wife so she could depart from her girl-next-door roles and blow everyone’s minds as the swarthy all-out seductive bad girl. But Teresa got pregnant and Jennifer Jones got the sizzling part. Jennifer was married to the producer David Selznick (quelle coincidence!), though David initially tried talking Busch into letting Teresa play the seductress. But the role called for a lot of physical action, so Teresa’s husband refused. As he turned to leave the office, a disappointed Selznick exclaimed, “Dammit, Busch, she isn’t the only one you screwed!”)

Anyway, according to the Self-Styled Siren, Teresa’s“insistence on establishing a foundation for her career through her performances and not through publicity photos was relatively unheard of in Hollywood at the time, and some skeptical fan magazines even speculated she was avoiding the cheesecake photographers because there was something physically wrong with her.”  (The photo above proves that was not true.)

But here’s the bad news: Teresa’s independence rankled studio heads, and Goldwyn fired her in 1948, claiming she was “”uncooperative” when it came to publicity. Rather than being upset, Wright was relieved:

The type of contract between players and producers is, I feel, antiquated in form and abstract in concept. We have no privacies which producers cannot invade, they trade us like cattle, boss us like children.

Without studio backing, Teresa never did regain her earlier film success, and spent most of the rest of her career on Broadway and on TV. (In her last film role she was touching as Matt Damon’s elderly landlady in John Grisham’s The Rainmaker.)

Though she died in 2005, Teresa Wright leaves a truly stunning cinematic legacy of good roles in great films. But she’s not only missed by movie aficionados. After cinema’s Mrs. Gehrig was asked to throw out the first pitch at a game on July 4, 1998, she became an avid Yankee fan, and after she died, when the roll call of former Yankees who had passed on was announced, her name was among the ballplayers. (Aw!)





The thing about hearts that love a lot, they just keep breaking. And this time it’s the ease and energy with which I love a lot of stuff a lot – weird, wonderful stuff – that’s doing me in.

The last vestige of the big weekend Manhattan Flea Market, known as ‘The Garage”, is closing this weekend. Back when I first came to the city in the early 80s, it was a massive outdoor weekly event for me and hundreds of other New Yorkers. In a half-dozen or so parking lots in the heart of Chelsea, vendors would set up with all kinds of antiques, memorabilia, vintage clothing, furniture, art and multitudes of tchotchkes astounding in the variety of their kitschy cool specificity.

It opened early, but folks armed with flashlights would come while it was still dark, hoping to get the crème de la crap while the dealers were still setting up. For regulars like me, it wasn’t unusual to spot famous habitués like Andy Warhol, Anna Sui, and various musicians, designers and models. I once spied market regular Greta Garbo, and even followed her for a few blocks, my heart beating fast with the surrealness of being only a few yards from the exploding Living Legendosity of it all.

Me in my flea market stall

Me in my flea market stall

Young, broke and wet behind the ears, I’d come all the way down from the Bronx to get old movie memorabilia, WWII-era dresses, and anything that was both really odd and really affordable. I especially loved the demented detritus that evinced some long ago individual’s life, love or obsession. I also sought pieces of early 20th century pop culture that radiated the charm and innocence of bygone eras. My specialty was what I call “femorabilia” – vintage anything having to do with being, speaking to, or lusting after the female of the species. A series of 40s b/w photos of a woman fixing a bicycle and losing all her clothes in the process; a Hawaiian Girl lamp with the giant red light bulb nipples; dirty magazines almost sweet in their clueless corniness and relatively harmless horniness – I bought it all.

Back then, vintage clothes were relatively cheap. Sure, I might have been a muscular South Bronx grade school teacher in a Jewfro, but I could dress like Gloria Grahame, Lauren Bacall, or any of the chorines from Golddiggers of 1933. Gorgeous 40s cocktail dresses with sequins and rhinestones, fantastic rayon novelty prints, 50s felt circle skirt where the street lamp motif came with actual light up bulbs(!), and ornate western wear fit for a more flamboyant, floozy-er Dale Evans (in other words, me).

I’d even set-up there from time to time, to make cash when I was unemployed, and make friends when I wasn’t. (I met one of my dearest pals, Coco, at my flea market booth.) I’d also taken to taking out-of-town guests to The Garage – everyone from my newly discovered half-sister Ann, to a pal who was a North Dakota delegate to the ’92 Democratic convention. It was a landmark because in addition to the stuff for sale, the people were just as interesting and inviting. As dealer Larry Baumhor puts it:

 “It was entertaining theatre, a community of artistic and creative people sharing a common bond, a cultural phenomenon. It’s where eccentricities were nurtured, cherished, and admired. At the heart of the matter it was the friendships developed and the camaraderie enjoyed of both dealers and collectors week after week. This was our home, and this was our family. The buyers and sellers were eagerly seduced by the romance of nostalgia and the lure of discovery.”

I’ve been going to the flea market with intermittent periods of regularity for almost 30 years. (Wow, that floors me.) Though I’m no longer as young, slim or hopelessly naïve as I once was, today I still feel exactly like that same awestruck little Southern girl who didn’t know that what she liked (or dressed like) was at all strange. The only real way I know that decades have passed is the depth of the bond I feel with so many of the dealers who’ve become my friends, confidantes, and surrogate family over the years. They’ve seen me through being broke, and being heartbroke. They were there when I got married, got my dog(s), and got sick. They’re my sisters, brothers, and one vendor, Miss Eve, has been like a mother to me. I love these people. My people.

It’s the end of an era.  I don’t know what I’ll do with my weekends now, but I still have my memories, and lots of stuff. All I have to do is look around my apartment and see the wacky and wonderful objets d’art I’ve procured over the years. (I only wish I still had all of them, but I’d need a MUCH bigger space, and a much skinnier body.) I’m older and wiser now and I realize I don’t need to constantly add more artifacts to my already overblown collection. So what I’ll really miss is the weekly dose of friendship, fun, and all the love.  Those are the true treasures I’ve found all these years at “the flea.”


Best Job Hunting Advice You’ll Ever Get, Ever!


A LOT of people come to me looking for help finding a job. They either contact me with a hidden agenda of wanting me to give them a job (fat chance), tell them about some incredible job somewhere for which they’d be perfect (fairly chubby chance), or help them craft their resume, LinkedIn profile or cover letter (be happy to).

What I’ve noticed over the years, aside from the fact that a lot people have a LOT of nerve, is that most of these poor job seekers are going about it all wrong. They are under the impression that what they need to do is contact lots of people and tell them all about how great they are and how fast they type and how well they did in school and use the words managed, and utilized and organized, and eventually someone will contact them and gush, “When can you start?”

Jean ArthurWell, I’ve got news for these folks. There are, roughly speaking, 4 billion katrillion people out there who can manage and organize and utilize and do exactly what you did. Nobody cares. The best solution to the problem of getting a job is 50% stop thinking about yourself, and 50% really thinking about yourself. Here’s what you do:

Think of Yourself as a Bar of Soap. Essentially, you need someone to buy Product You. You’ll need to find out what a potential employer might need in a bar of soap aka Product You (we’ll get to that in a minute) and what distinguishes you from all the other bars of soap out there.

You need to figure out your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What makes you different, what do you bring to the table that separates you from the pack? Maybe you’re bilingual, maybe you combine an inventive mind with a passion for measurable results, maybe you are an expert at X or are passionate about Y, but whatever it is, you need to make that clear in all your marketing stuff.

Have Marketing Stuff. Make what makes you uniquely awesome apparent in all the places employers and others might become aware of you. This includes your resume, your LinkedIn profile, your business card, and any other platforms you use to communicate who you are and what you bring to the table. All these “touchpoints” are opportunities to market yourself and should be treated as such. For example, your LinkedIn profile is not a resume. It’s a place to succinctly and clearly convey what’s special and unique and useful about Product You. It’s more elevator pitch than book report. When people hire me to augment their LinkedIn pages, we explore how to put their best foot forward and what language and what aspects of their skill set and experience will resonate best with employers.

Think “How Can I Help?” Most of the people who come to me for help in getting a job talk endlessly about themselves and what they need when their focus should be on what a potential employer might need. Research what they’re about, what they’re doing now, what they’ll be doing in the future. Instead of talking about me-me-me, ask questions so you can know what the employer needs and think about how you can make contributions concerning both their opportunities and challenges. How, specifically, can you be an asset? How can you help solve their problems, help save money, improve service, expand their customer base, convey their messaging, help with employees, the environment, their pro-social initiatives, etc.?

Getting back to the soap analogy, you don’t know whether to talk about your antibacterial superpowers, moisturizing properties, organic ingredients or your fresh lemon-y smell if you don’t know what the customer wants in a soap. Find out what your prospective employer needs so you can make your marketing messages relevant and powerful

Think Like a Consultant. Don’t just think like an employee looking to get the best benefits package and flexible hours. Think about how to improve the impact, performance, effectiveness and value of the position. Let’s say you’re applying to be a cashier. If you were a consultant, what could the cashier do to make waiting in line better for both the store and the customer? How might the cashier improve customer service, increase sales, or save the store money?

Don’t Be Generic. Now that you’ve given some thought to why you are the bar of soap they need, communicate your USP and how it can be of value. If you’re applying for that cashier job, your cover letter might explain (briefly) how your experience, focus on customer satisfaction and attention to detail are well-suited to the position and would benefit the store. (The letter’s job is to snag the interview, and once you’re there you can share some concrete ways you’d rock the job if hired.)

Like most things in life, you get when you give. When you concentrate on how you can uniquely be of service, you’re much more likely to demonstrate your value than if you just keep regurgitating the same old tired clichés about how you’re a “people person” or an “effective manager.” (As opposed to all those applicants who’ve explained how they don’t get along with people and manage ineffectively.)

Understand your brand, and how it can make a difference, and you’ll be in that new job daydreaming about retirement in no time!

Ann Dvorak: Hollywood's Forgotten Rebel (The Most Interesting Star You’ve Never Heard Of )

Ann Dvorak

What would you do if you had to choose between becoming a famous movie star or traveling the world with the love of your life?  When she was just 20 years old, Ann Dvorak made just that choice, and it changed the course of her life.

If you love classic movies — . . . → Read More: Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel (The Most Interesting Star You’ve Never Heard Of )

Mary Astor and Her Dirty Diary


I learned about blow jobs from Charlie Chaplin. (Yes, that Charlie Chaplin.) I was about 12 and with my babysitting earnings I bought the book Hollywood Babylon. As a passionate old movie fan, and an adolescent girl with a filthy mind and an even filthier curiosity, a book like Hollywood Babylon was a dream . . . → Read More: Mary Astor and Her Dirty Diary

Sippie Wallace: A Mighty Tight Woman

Sippie WallaceAccording to F. Scott Fitzgerald, “there are no second acts in American lives.”  Clearly, F. didn’t know f—, and he certainly didn’t know 1920s Blues singer and writer, “Sippie” Wallace.

Like the more well-known Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey, Sippie Wallace was one of the most popular ladies who sang the Blues  — in an era and genre in which women routinely outsold their male counterparts.  Her career spanned seven decades and had a significant impact on two distinct blues movements separated by half a century.  She was also unique among the ladies who sang the blues as she wrote her own lyrics, giving a voice to the female experience in more ways than one. “There isn’t anything I sing about that hasn’t happened to me,” said Sippie, the author of such songs as  “After I Was Loved My Eyes Flew Open Like an Electric Light”. Almost a century ago, Wallace sang about things that wouldn’t be discussed at American dinner tables until Monica Lewinsky hobbled on to the scene.

Most people I meet aren’t aware that things were not so prim and proper back in the day. Take just a couple of Blues songs, like Cleo Gibson’s “I’ve Got Ford Engine Movements in My Hips”; “I Let My Daddy Do THAT” by Hattie Hart; Margaret Carter’s understandable plea, “I Want Plenty Grease in My Frying Pan”; and Clara Smith’s lament, “Ain’t Got Nobody to Grind My Coffee”. (We’ve all been there.)   Hell, as a teen back in the permissive 70s I was actually shocked when I heard Al Miller’s tragic tale of woe, “I Found Your Keyhole Baby (But My Key Just Won’t Go In)”. And when it comes to dames, they don’t get much dame-er – or game-er – than Sippie.

Beulah “Sippie” Thomas was one of 13 (yikes!) children, born November 1, 1898 in Plum Bayou, Arkansas – a place no doubt whose name sounds much more pleasantly pastoral than the reality. (Coincidentally, eighty-eight years later she died on November 1st as well.) Beulah got her nickname because she had almost no teeth until she was 3 and had to sip everything she ate. When she was still a child, the Thomases moved their weary loins and big brood to Houston where Sippie sang and played piano in the church where her father was deacon.  But like many preachers’ children before them, in the evenings the children would sneak out to tent shows. By her mid-teens, Sippie and her brothers Hersal and George were playing and singing the Blues in tent shows throughout TexasSippie Wallace

Sippie got herself a solid following, and in 1915 she and George moved to New Orleans. (By the way, what’s the most dangerous thing to be? One of Sippie’s brothers!  Hersal died of food poisoning at the tender age of sixteen, while George would die after being hit by a streetcar.) Two years later the woman who penned the ditty “A Man for Every Day of the Week” got married to Matt Wallace.

 While in New Orleans Mrs. Wallace met Jazz giants like King Oliver and Louis Armstrong ,who were friends of her brother George. Before long Sippie went on the road and was in great demand as “The Texas Nightingale” on the Theater Owners Booking Association black vaudeville circuit. (Its acronym, TOBA, had performers describing it as “Tough on Black Asses.”)

In 1923 she went to Chicago’s toddlin’ town and began performing in the cafes and cabarets. In 1923 she became an overnight success when she recorded her first record, “Up the Country”, which sold more than 100,000 copies in the first three months. Sippie went on to record over forty songs between 1923 -29. In addition to her great women-centric lyrics, her records featured her pals who just happened to be the era’s best jazz musicians; in addition to King and “Satchmo”, her sidemen included people like Clarence Williams, Johnny Dodds and Sidney Bechet.

The bona fide Blues star’s most popular recordings included “Special Delivery Blues” with Louis Armstrong, “Bedroom Blues” (written by George and Hersal Thomas), “I’m So Glad I’m a Brownskin”,“Mighty Tight Woman” and arguably her most famous tune, “Women Be Wise” – a warning about keeping your mouth shut when it comes to your man’s bedroom prowess.

Adorable, right?

Adorable, right?

Successful as she was, in 1929 Sippie moved to Detroit and left show business in the early 1930s when the Blues craze died down, as did several relatives. She got religion and stopped doing secular music, concentrating on church music. But thirty-some years later Sippie had her Fitzgerald-poo-pooed second act.  She launched a comeback in 1966 with fellow Texan and longtime friend, Victoria Spivey.  She followed up an album with Spivey with Sippie Wallace Sings the Blues and Women Be Wise.

But, just as things were looking up, Sippie suffered a massive stroke in 1969. “It was six months before she could walk or talk,” recalled her manager, “but the first thing she did was to play the piano.” This Blues badass was not about to let a little thing like that stop her. “If I was in the middle of dying,” said Wallace, “and someone said, ‘Sippie, sing me a song,’ I’d stop dying to sing that song.” She was still in a wheelchair in 1972 when popular singer-guitarist Bonnie Raitt heard of her idol’s recovery and urged that she be invited to perform at the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival.Sippie-Wallace-Bonnie-Raitt-1979

After majoring in African studies at Radcliffe, Bonnie Raitt had become a fixture on the folk/blues scene in Cambridge coffeehouses.  In 1968, an album in a London record store featuring a photo of Sippie caught Bonnie’s eye. “I saw the rhinestone glasses and the tiger-striped vest and said to myself, ‘This woman really knows how to dress.’” (I would have fallen in love with her in that outfit, too. I get girl crushy feelings just thinking about it.) The two women met and really hit it off, culminating in the trans-generational soul sisters’ duet on Sippie’s Women Be Wise. In 1971 Bonnie recorded her own rendition of “Women Be Wise” and Wallace toured and recorded with her throughout the 1970s and 1980s, while also performing on her own. Bonnie helped Sippie score a recording deal with Atlantic Records and recorded an eponymous album that featured Raitt and was nominated for a Grammy in 1983 and won a W.C. Handy Award for “Best Blues Album” in 1984.

Bonnie really related to her friend’s twin love of music…and men. “Sippie has always seen the struggle of the sexes with a sense of humor and compassion,” explained Bonnie. “She knows that freedom is the name of the game even though women have always had to answer to men.”

Sippie died on November 1st 1986, but her legacy lives on. Thanks to Ms. Wallace, millions of women like me know not to “Advertise our man” and are far better off for it. Continue reading Sippie Wallace: A Mighty Tight Woman


Unplanned Parrothood


You never think it’ll be you.

After all, you seem sane (publicly). You think you’re pretty cool (privately).  But then, one day you wake up and somehow, it’s happened. There’s no use denying it. You‘ve become crazy parrot lady. There’s no escaping the fact I’ve become one of those women you read about, . . . → Read More: Unplanned Parrothood

The Scandalous Suicide of Hollywood's Carole Landis

Carole LandisCarole Landis is known primarily as the bosomy blonde movie star who offed herself over Rex Harrison. Of all the schmucks who’ve driven ladies to leap, the idea of killing yourself over a tool like “Sexy Rexy” seems especially senseless. But in Hollywood’s Golden Years one of filmdom’s most glamorous and popular stars did indeed end her life over that Doolittle douche.

Today not many people have heard of Carole Landis, but her story is one of Hollywood’s most fascinating tales, with more twists and turns than her enviable curves.

Carole’s story begins in Midwestern Gothic luridness with a steady stream of heartbreaking details that make you periodically have to stop reading and go, “Seriously?!”, then sigh and warily dip in for more.

She was born Frances Ridste on New Year’s Day in 1919 in the aptly named burg of Fairchild, Wisconsin, to a farmer’s daughter and a “drifting railroad mechanic” who’d already abandoned the family before little Carole came along. (The “drifting railroad mechanic” wasn’t a stable family man? Quelle surprise!) Her mother was no saint either; Charles Fenner, her second husband, and the man with whom she’d been having an adulterous affair, was most likely Landis’s biological father. The youngest of five children, two of whom died in childhood, her early years were filled with poverty and sexual abuse.

Carole was such a beautiful infant she earned the nickname “Baby Doll”. According to family sources, she was sexually molested by a relative for much of her childhood. Given young Baby Doll’s shitty start in life, it’s no surprise that Carole 1) seemed much older than her years, and 2) was interested in being in show biz. Little Carole covered her walls with photos cut from magazines of movie stars like Mary Astor and Clark Gable. At age nine, little Carole ran up on stage during a local talent show and started to sing. Using make-up tricks to hide her age, she started entering beauty pageants at the tender age of twelve!  (She won a pair of silk stockings and an electric heater. Who says beauty can’t buy you anything?)

In high school Landis often skipped class –  “boy crazy ” was the general consensus. “I always seemed so much older than the other kids my age,” said Carole, “They seemed like tots.”

 She was ahead of her classmates and ahead of her time. As a teenager she tried to form an all female football team at school, but the principal stopped her because it was “unladylike”. It’s not surprising that Carole dropped out of high school at 15 to get her whole show biz thing underway. She worked as a hula dancer in a San Francisco nightclub, she sang with a dance band, and she worked at a hamburger stand, a department store, a movie theater. She dyed her hair blonde and changed her name to “Carole Landis” after her favorite actress, Carole Lombard. She eventually saved up $100 and hightailed it to Hollywood.

The Ping Girl

The Ping Girl

Her 1937 film debut was as an extra in the original film version of  A Star Is Born. Next she found herself in various horse operas and an untold number of cheesecake photos. Eventually her cheesecakery paid off big; in 1940 studio head Hal Roach cast her as a scantily-clad cave girl in the original film version of One Million B.C.. Just as it would for Raquel Welch a quarter-century later, the movie made Landis a star. Soon, just as Clara Bow had been dubbed the “It Girl” and Ann Sheridan was crowned the “Oomph Girl”, publicists gave Carole the title the “Ping Girl.”

The Ping Girl moniker was attributed to a take-off on the popular motor oil ad at the time that claimed to take the ‘ping’ out of an engine and “make it purr”.  

Some claimed it was a mash-up of PIN-up Girl. Some say it alludes to Carole’s erection-generating abilities, as in “I saw her and –ping!”  Miss Hard-On of 1940 may have very well been aware of this etymology; once in an interview Landis said ‘ping’ was a term in Hollywood slang, but neglected to mention for what.

Most interesting to me about the whole “Ping Girl” thing was how brilliantly Carole (or possibly her PR folks) leveraged being against the sobriquet:

“I want a fair chance to prove myself something more than a curvaceous cutie. I want to get out of bathing suits and into something more substantial. Unfortunately the publicity department of my studio does not agree. They have conceived the brilliant idea of selling me to the public as ‘the Ping Girl’. This flash of genius is to be illustrated with a series of pictures out of their files, suggestive of anything but acting talent.”

Still, Landis was well aware that being pin-uppity had been her ticket to the big time:

“Leg art did the trick — naughty leg art, if you happen to look at it in that light. When the boys needed someone to pose in a skin-tight white bathing suit, go sleigh riding in shorts, or climb a ladder in a skirt, they’d yell, ‘Get Landis!’ That made everybody happy except, maybe, the goody-goods and the bluenoses, and I suspect they took a second peek now and then.”

Like a lot of women, Carole had a lot of ambivalence about using her assets to get ahead.  She posed for cheesecake photos by the thousands, but then resented all the attention they garnered.

 “Heaven knows I want people to think I have sex appeal. But I also want to think I have something besides sex appeal.”

God knows Carole was a smart cookie in every sense of the word. She loved to read, and was a fan of Ernest Hemingway, Noel Coward, and W. Somerset Maugham. (Hemingway gifted her with a set of personally autographed books.) But it was Landis’s more physical charms that got her places, both on and off-screen. She scored a contract with Twentieth-Century Fox, and was involved with studio head Darryl Zanuck, though it’s not entirely clear to me which came first, the chicken or the egg. She was in a series of successful films, playing second fiddle to Betty Grable in I Wake Up Screaming and Moon Over Miami. But she lost a pivotal role that ended up thrusting Rita Hayworth into stardom in the soapy bullfighter pic, Blood and Sand — very likely because she ended her affair with Zanuck. In fact, her ditching Darryl got her relegated to B pictures at the studio from then on. Continue reading The Scandalous Suicide of Hollywood’s Carole Landis


Great Sites For and About Great Dames


Angela Lansbury looking all damey and shit

Of course, The Lost Art of Being a Dame is not really lost at all. It is alive and well at these wonderful sites where you can find great content that is entertaining, informative, and dame-rific as all get out. I recommend you bookmark:


I . . . → Read More: Great Sites For and About Great Dames

Down There: Woody Allen, Dylan Farrow and Me

Woody Allen & Dylan and Mia Farrow

The public debate surrounding Dylan Farrow-Woody Allen has kept me up nights. I’ve been immobilized by sadness, anger, and shame.

For 40 years I’ve been terrified to write about this, and 40 years is a long time to be terrified.  But now, maybe it’s been long enough. Both my parents are dead now.  And . . . → Read More: Down There: Woody Allen, Dylan Farrow and Me