de wolf in sheep’s clothing

Famous Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper was born Elda Furry. When she married actor DeWolf Hopper she consulted an astrologer cum numerologist who advised her to change her first name to Hedda. At least it sounded less like the names of DeWolf’s previous four wives: Edna, Ida, Ella and Nella.

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DeWolf was over 25 years older than Hedda. Bald from childhood (he had alopecia), Hopper wore wigs both on and offstage. In later years, a reaction to harsh medicines that he took for throat problems made his skin have a bluish tinge. With an insatiable appetite for young actresses, he left a long trail of wives and countless mistresses in his wake — he became known by the nickname “The Husband of His Country.”

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Hedda divorced him in 1922 and devoted herself to her gossip column, courting controversy wherever she went.

After publishing a blind item on Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy’s relationship, Tracy confronted her at Ciro’s and kicked her in the behind. Similarly, after she had printed a story about an extramarital affair between Joseph Cotten and Deanna Durbin, Cotten ran into Hopper at a social event and pulled out her chair, only to pull it out from under her when she sat down.  She reportedly tried to “out” Cary Grant and Randolph Scott as gay lovers, but Grant was too big a star even for her to touch. Joan Fontaine sent Hopper a skunk one Valentine’s Day with a note reading “I stink and so do you”. Hedda merely said that the skunk was beautifully behaved. She christened it Joan and passed it on to James Mason as a present.

Joan Fontaine

***In a March 1927 edition of Screen World Magazine, Hedda reported this April Fools Day story. EDITOR’S NOTE: Mae West was responsible for this new item being planted, and the so-called Queen of the Show Biz title. As she relates in her unpublished account of the match below, Mae was trying to promote herself to the Hollywood, and she thought beating the “IT” Girl, Clara Bow, would be her ticket to Tinsel Town.

“Boxing is in Mae’s blood. The daughter of pro fighter “Battling Jack” West, Mae knows her way around the ring, and loves it! Says she: “Look, dearie, if there’s any thing better than “SEX” it’s lacing on the gloves, stepping in the ring, and punchin’ the daylights out of some hussy! There ain’t no canvas made I’d ever lay on. Besides, I know plenty other places that give me more pleasure.”

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Hedda’s rival Louella Parsons then supposedly wrote this riposte

“About the upcoming bout, Clara Bow purrs, then hisses: “I can’t wait! I love to fight so much! I love the smell of my leather boxing gloves! I don’t care how good a fighter Mae West is. I got twelve years on her, and I’m fit and in fighting trim. She’s old news, Louella, and when I’m done, she’s gonna be dead news!”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Parsons-Hopper animosity is of course legendary, but research indicates that it ran much deeper than professional rivalry. Both women had boxed on the underground circuit in their youth, and clashed in a number of bitterly fought matches, with Hedda the stylish boxer and Louella the shorter brawler. Of the three known bouts, Hedda outpointed Louella over six rounds; Louella knocked out Hedda in the fourth in the rematch; and the two fought to a bitterly contested draw over 12 rounds in the rubber match.”

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*** found at Reocities which appears to specialise in April Fools Day Boxing Stories. None of the characters actually participated in any of this…..

Published in: on May 30, 2010 at 7:49 am  Comments (32)  
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32 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow those old gossip columnists probably turned to writing harlequins in their later years. So smutty..haha

    • Now we have Perez Hilton…..

  2. I love the phrase “he left a long trail of wives and countless mistresses in his wake ” ….. I don’t approve of course …….

    • Your approval means everything daddyp ;-)

  3. Whilst I like the name Hedda Hopper, Miss Elda Furry is rather wonderful, I think. I like the picture of gloved and amputated arms too.

    • I’d be happy with the name Elda Furry!

      • You be called Elda Furry, I’ll be called Ella Fante. We could sit in a tree and drink cups of tea. Oh! How fine and dandy!

  4. I’m sad that she did not choose to hyphenate a few of her surnames. She coulda been a Furry-Hopper…

    • That sounds like a fetish….

      • Or a bunny…

  5. Speaking of Hoppers – I found out today, via Malach’s blog that Dennis Hopper has died. :(

    • Yes, I watched it on SBS news…. He’d been sick for quite a while

  6. Poor DeWolf… he was blue and bald. i’m told it can be a painful condition.

    • oh that old blue balls chestnut…..

  7. Re: Mr. Hopper – bald, okay. Bald, be-wigged and blue and still a success with the ladies? Charisma or money? Or both?

    • I don’t object to the blue skin but he’d have to lose the wig to impress me

  8. Bald, blue and frequently naked? Sounds like DeWolf was the inspiration for Doctor Manhattan in the Watchmen.

    • I haven’t seen Watchmen – are you recommending it?

  9. Dude must have been doing a lot colloidal silver…

    http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/22536241/

  10. Have you seen Deanna Durbin? If I were having an affair with her, I’d thank Hatta Hopper for doing my bragging for me!

    Hedda appeared as herself in over 30 movies and television shows, and also appeared as a credited actress in over a 140 films going back to 1916.

    • way back in my youth when I was working as a barmaid one of my old regulars used to tell me I looked like Deanna Durbin. He did sport a remarkable pair of beer goggles for most of the day though…..

  11. I wonder if this sport could be re-introduced. Paris Hilton v Justin Bieber would be a great start :)

    • um….. Justin who?

      • I think he’s that boy with the fringe-flick that makes young girls turn feral. I think he also sings.

  12. Hmmm I wonder if De Wolf a forerunner of the Smurfs…

  13. Why don’t you come up and see me sometime?

    • You got etchings?

      • Of course he’s got etchings. He’s Malach!

  14. Husband of his Country – could pass off as a movie title (if there hasn’t been any yet)

    • Nope, I just did a search on imdb – it’s up for grabs.

  15. False stories about Deanna Durbin’s life is just one of the reasons she left Hollywood for Paris in her late 20s – can’t blame her!!


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