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Archive for the ‘Movie Stars’ Category

Gene Tierney- A Hollywood Profile.

In Movie Stars on July 7, 2013 at 3:15 pm


“Wealth, beauty, and fame are transient. When those are gone, little is left except the need to be useful.”

Date of Birth
19 November 1920, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA

Date of Death
6 November 1991, Houston, Texas, USA (Cause: Emphysema)

Birth Name
Gene Eliza Tierney

Facts and Trivia

She came from a privileged upbringing, went to a private school in Switzerland and spoke French, but her father was domineering, ‘overly strict’ and against her desires to become an actress. He took hold of her income when she started her career, upon her first marriage she found that he spent her entire savings when he suffered financial problems.

She was discovered while on a tour of Warner Bros and later when her father allowed, was signed by Darryl F. Zanuck from Twentieth Century Fox. She negotiated her salary and made sure her contract allowed her control over her teeth and hair- she didn’t want her appearance tampered with. Her first film was The Return of Frank James starring Henry Fonda, which was a hit, but Tierney’s performance was not well received by critics. Harvard Lampoon named her as “The Worst Female Discovery” of 1940.

She was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her part as Ellen Brent in Leave Her to Heaven (1945). She lost the award to Joan Crawford for her role in Mildred Pierce, but the nomination greatly helped her career.

Upon seeing herself on screen for the first time, she was embarrassed by her voice complaining she “sounded like an angry Minnie Mouse”. She began smoking to lower her voice, but this later resulted in her contracting the fatal emphysema that caused her death.

She was linked romantically with Howard Hughes, John F. Kennedy (pre-presidency), Tyrone Power and Prince Aly Khan. She was married twice, first to Oleg Cassini (1941-1952) and then to Howard Lee, in 1960 until his death in 1981.He had previously been married to Hedy Lamarr.

She had two daughters with Cassini, Daria and Christina. Daria was born deaf, partially blind and mentally retarded because Gene had contracted Rubella during her one appearance at the Hollywood Canteen. Later a female officer confessed to Gene in person that she had broken her quarantine just to see Gene because she was such a fan.

She suffered from severe depression and bi-polar disorder, which caused bouts of confusion and suicidal tendencies for which she was hospitalised and administered with shock treatment. She said Humphrey Bogart could tell she was mentally unstable because he recognised the signs from his own sister. He helped her on the set of The Left Hand of God (1955) and encouraged her to get help.

She spent her retirement from full time acting from 1964 as a ‘housewife’ in Huston, Texas. She enjoyed this lifestyle with her husband, Howard Lee until his death, which resulted in her deep grief.

What to watch (my top recommendations)

Heaven can wait 1943
Laura 1944
Leave her to Heaven 1945
Dragonwyck 1946
The Ghost and Mrs Muir 1946
The Razor’s Edge 1946
The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (1947)

Also check out the A&E biography Gene Tierney- a Shattered Portrait. 1999


On This Day- Rock Hudson.

In Movie Stars on October 2, 2012 at 10:14 am


On this day, October 2nd 1985, actor Rock Hudson died of AIDS. He was the first public figure to announce he had the disease, though his publicity department and doctors told the press he had liver cancer at first. He searched worlwide for a cure, which included travelling to France at a stage when he could barely move. His search for a cure and his disclosure of contracting the AIDS virus gave the disease worldwide attention and gained support from other celebrities, such as Doris Day and Elizabeth Taylor, as advocates for AIDS awareness and research. His biographer, was told by a friend that it was possible Rock had contracted AIDS via blood transfusion during his quadruple bypass surgery in 1981. When he found out he contracted the disease in 1984 he told his doctor that he hoped he would die of a heart attack before the public found out he had AIDS. Obviously there was a lot of stigma surrounding AIDS and homosexuality and he had often denied being a homosexual in reaction to rumours and questioning. When he was dying he decided to tell his true life story to biographer, Sara Davidson, and revealed his lifestyle to her which is documented in the book Sara Davidson, “Rock Hudson: His Story” (1986).

“I’ve always been a private person. I’ve never wanted to write a book, I’ve never let my house be photographed, and I’ve never let the public know what I really think. Now that’s changed–there’s a lot I want to say and not too much time left. I want the truth to be told, because it sure as hell hasn’t been told before. So I’ve asked those who know me best–my real friends–to work with Sara Davidson in telling my story.” Rock Hudson

Vital Statistics

Date of Birth
17 November 1925, Winnetka, Illinois, USA

Date of Death
2 October 1985, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA (AIDS)

Birth Name
Roy Harold Scherer Jr.

Five Facts

1/. Talent scout ‘Henry Willson (II)’ coined the stage name “Rock Hudson” by combining the Rock of Gibraltar and the Hudson River.

2/. His favorite performances were in Giant (1956) and Seconds (1966).

3/. Along with Cary Grant, he was regarded as one of the best-dressed male stars in Hollywood.

4/. He was very near-sighted and wore glasses all the time off screen. He would rarely allow himself to be photographed wearing glasses though.

5/. He was Universal Studio’s first choice to play Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), but was rejected as being too young at 36.


I welcome my birthdays. Relish them, as a matter of fact. I have confidence now and can look forward to trying new things. I don’t think fifty was a crucial age. Forty was, and thirty-nine because I was facing forty. But lately everything has fallen into place. (1983)

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