At Home With Bogie, Bacall, And Some Other Everyday Legends


image from the Academy

I went to a wonderful party the other night at the Academy Theater. There was Marilyn and Clark and Cary and Ginger Rogers and Dolores Del Rio, and they all said hello—with their eyes anyway. They were all onscreen at Hollywood Home Movies, the latest installment of the Academy’s “Monday Nights With Oscar” monthly film series, which unearthed a time way before YouTube and TMZ, when movie stars were a little more private about their private doings. The home movies the curator dug up were priceless, spanning all kinds of alternately cute, homey, and campy activities. There was Hitchcock hambone-ing it up in a baby crib; Esther Williams posing with her stunt double—a man in drag!; and Elsa Lanchester mock-grabbing Danny Kaye’s privates as the funny man howled in agony.

And throughout the meticulously planned evening, star relatives and other drop-ins provided extra gossip tidbits. To wit:

*Natalie Wood was “spoiled and short-tempered” on the set of Marjorie Morningstar.

*Douglas Fairbanks Jr. never took his jacket off, even in the house.

*Betty Bacall thought Bogie was “the ugliest handsome man I ever met”

*And Steve McQueen first saw Neile Adams on the street and said “You’re pretty.” “You’re pretty too,” she replied.” “And then he stalked me,” Neile told us, plainly.