warts and all

Misia Sert (born Maria Zofia Olga Zenajda Godebska; 30 March 1872 – 1950) was a pianist of Polish descent who hosted an artistic salon in Paris.  She married Thadée Natanson, a Polish emigre politician and journalist, who became the editor of a Parisian Dreyfusard journal.

Misia (1947) found here

Thadée started the Revue Blanche. Verlaine, Mallarmé and other famous painters duly gathered. Those who couldn’t paint Misia wrote poems for her. The painters had the privilege of immortalising her miraculous looks, which included a legendary pair of legs and a bosom that kept strong men awake at night thinking.

Misia by Renoir found here

Being published in the Revue Blanche was like getting into a party: you had to know Misia. At a party thrown by Misia’s brother-in-law to celebrate the completion of nine large panels by Vuillard, Toulouse Lautrec was the barman. Misia met Liszt, whom she remembered for his warts, long hair and transvestite travelling companionThree hundred people were present, of whom a large proportion were already famous and all promptly became drunk, since Lautrec’s cocktails consisted of several layers of different-coloured liqueurs. A room was set aside for casualties and ended up jammed with the bodies of Vuillard, Bonnard, etc

Toulouse Lautrec found here

When Natanson was on the brink of bankruptcy, the newspaper magnate Alfred Edwards saved him, on condition that he surrender his wife to him. Misia began living with Alfred Edwards in 1903.

Edwards was a coprophile, among his other charms, but he was also loaded. There were butlers, chandeliers and an endless supply of Louis XVI furniture. Misia played for Caruso while he sang Neapolitan songs, and told him to pipe down when she grew sick of them. Renoir longed to paint Misia with the famous breasts naked, but she would never bare them to him, probably because Edwards was lurking heavily in the adjacent room, ready to exact jealous vengeance even though the artist by that time was an all but total cripple.

Alfred Edwards found here

Misia eventually lost Edwards to the gorgeous young actress Genevieve Lantelme, who had started off as a whore at the age of fourteen. In 1911, Lantelme drowned in the Rhine. The newspapers licked their tabloid jaws over every detail. Referring obliquely to Edward’s bizarre sexual perversion as the cause of the murder, one journalist wrote “An unspeakable idea that I cannot even describe crossed his mind, an idea that he wanted the horrified and indignant actress to put into practice. She struggled and screamed and he threw her body into the water.” Edwards sued for libel and was awarded damages of one franc. 

Lantelme found here

Misia moved on to José-Maria Sert, a colourful, muscular painter of colourful, muscular murals. Sert was a tirelessly fiery Spaniard with enough cash to keep Misia in the style to which she had no real intention of ever becoming unaccustomed.

By 1923 Sert and Misia were both in love with the same girl, Roussy Mdivani, a junior member of the marrying Mdivanis. Roussy was chic as opposed to artistic. She was also young as opposed to old. The triangle lasted for as long as Misia’s pride allowed, plus a bit longer. Then she consoled herself with Coco Chanel, who took her turn to assume the dominant role.

Chanel found here

Joanie

Joan Collins has had her ups and downs

With her dark glasses, expensive chiffon dress and designer shoes, the woman in the dole queue could not have looked more out of place among the down-and-outs, deadbeats and drunks shuffling towards the counter.

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When she reached the front of the queue, the clerk behind the desk gave a gasp of astonishment. “Weren’t you Joan Collins?” she asked, her eyes widening.

“I still am,” said she. “Then what are you doing here?”asked the clerk.

“I’m not working at the moment,” said the actress. “I’m resting.”

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As she pondered her next move, Joan remembered how some years previously she had persuaded her sister Jackie, the bestselling novelist, to let her have the film rights to her blockbuster The Stud, the story of a randy London disco manager and his conquests.

Released in April 1978 and savaged by the critics, it took more than £2 million at today’s prices in just ten days – a British box-office record – and went on to become the highest-selling British video ever. 

Still from The Stud found here

A month after the release of The Stud, Joan’s autobiography, Past Imperfect, hit the streets of Britain. It caused an instant sensation, blasting straight into the bestseller lists.

She knew that if the book was to make money it would have to be as spicy as possible, so she included explicit descriptions of even the most reprehensible, embarrassing and tasteless episodes of her life.

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These included sadistic assaults by a homosexual boyfriend when she was at drama school, her abortion of Warren Beatty’s baby, and her startling promiscuity – with, among others, actors Ryan O’Neal and Terence Stamp, and Charlie Chaplin’s son Sydney. She also wrote openly about her marriage to Anthony Newley and his taste for under-age girls.

Anthony Newley found here

Such unashamed honesty was her autobiography’s greatest virtue, but there were some possible anomalies – such as the story of her alleged rape by her first husband, the heart-throb actor Max Reed.

Joan recounted how, on their first date, Reed had picked her up in his huge, flashy, blue American car and instead of taking her out to dinner had driven her straight to his flat in the West End, given her a doctored whisky and coke and a book of pornographic pictures and gone off for a bath.

Joan and Maxwell found here

Joan, who was just 18 at the time, alleged that Reed then forced her to have oral sex with him before driving her home at 3.30am.

She also had a brief affair with Rafael Trujillo, playboy son of the dictator of the Dominican Republic.

Rafael found here

Zsa Zsa Gabor told her that Rafael Trujillo Jr. had been lusting after Joan for ages, and he was renowned for showering his girlfriends with lavish presents.

He had given Zsa Zsa a Mercedes convertible and a full-length chinchilla coat, and he had given a Mercedes to Kim Novak.

Kim Novak found here

Zsa Zsa suggested an assignation with the man she called by his nickname, Ramfis, telling Joan: “It might be worth your while.”

“Joan’s reply,” she later wrote, “was: “I only want to meet him if he gives me a beautiful present.”

“Tactfully, I relayed the message to Ramfis, who said: “Okay, if she wants something, call up Van Cleef and Arpels and order a diamond necklace for her.”

Van Cleef & Arpels diamond zip necklace found here

Joan flew from California to meet Trujillo in Florida – more than 3,000 miles for a one-night stand.

Moored off Palm Beach, they ate a magnificent dinner on his 350ft yacht, eating off gold dishes with gold cutlery, and afterwards they danced.

Then, although Joan did not pretend to any particular affection or even lust for him, she went to bed with him. “Afterward,” wrote Zsa Zsa, “I asked Ramfis if he had had fun with Joan. “I picked her up in my yacht in Miami,” he said tersely. “She was so boring that I put her ashore in Palm Beach”

Palm Beach by Nik Wheeler found here

“I said nothing, having quickly come to the conclusion that the clever Miss Collins had probably taken the diamond necklace and then proceeded to make herself appear to be so boring that she didn’t have to do anything with Ramfis afterward.”

Extract from Joan’s autobiography Past Imperfect

Ronald loves Harry who loves Gaby who just wants a pearl necklace

Ronald Firbank (1886-1926) was already a published author and a fully formed personality by the time he entered Cambridge at the age of nineteen.

Ronald Firbank

“In 1907 he converted to Catholicism, a religion whose ornate rituals, costumes, symbols, and pageantry provided him with a vehicle through which to express his homosexuality obliquely. Firbank visited Rome with the intention of taking holy orders; however, as he later revealed in a letter to Lord Berners, “The Church of Rome wouldn’t have me, and so I mock her.” Accordingly, his fiction is populated with a ribald gallery of homosexual choirboys, lesbian nuns, cross-dressing priests, salacious bishops, flagellants, and self-canonized saints.

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His last and most explicitly gay work, Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli, appeared in 1926, the same year as Firbank’s early death at the age of forty. The book begins with the cardinal baptizing a police puppy named Crack, and ends when the naked cardinal drops dead while pursuing a choirboy named Chicklet around his church.”

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Gaby Deslys (1881-1920) was a famous French dancer and actress of the early 20th century.

Gaby

“She had many admirers among royalty, most notably Manuel II of Portugal. Deslys became a celebrity following newspaper stories which gossiped about King Manuel’s infatuation with her. Manuel is thought to have given Deslys a pearl necklace worth $70,000 after first meeting her in Paris in July 1909. More gifts soon followed. One was a diamond necklace with black and white pearl drops set in a platinum band. Deslys cultivated a pearl fetish. She collected so many that before she died she said she owned her weight in them.

Gaby

Her American feature film debut was in 1915 with Her Triumph costarring her dancer boyfriend Harry Pilcer. The film is lost but surviving stills show a scene with Deslys and Pilcer and also the intro card with Deslys’s picture in the credits. Deslys made only two more French silent films in 1918 and 1919, both with Harry Pilcer in the cast, before getting the illness that would take her life.


Harry

Her carved and gilded bed, in the form of an enormous swan, was bought at auction by the Universal Studios prop department, and was used in the 1925 film of “The Phantom of the Opera”. In 1950 it was in “Sunset Boulevard” as the bed of Norma Desmond.

According to Beverley Nichols, Gaby spent most of her stage career stalking up and down staircases in the traditional manner. When Ronald Firbank first saw Harry Pilcer dance, he was chasing Gaby up one of her staircases at the time. Firbank was so overwhelmed that he rushed out and bought a huge bunch of orchids which he sent to Pilcer’s dressing room accompanied by an invitation to supper.

“Whether Pilcer ever got the flowers we shall never know; he gave no answer. Whereupon Firbank, with tears streaming down his face, returned to the theatre. Still sobbing, he advanced to the front row and walked slowly along by the side of the orchestra pit, tossing cypripediums and odontoglossums with tragic gestures to the astonished musicians. “

Orchid Mantis found here



Published in: on November 9, 2010 at 7:38 am  Comments (38)  
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Him I would shoot

Back in the 1950s Zsa Zsa Gabor was famous as a panelist on Bachelor’s Haven.

Zsa Zsa

“Zsa Zsa is often peremptory. When she senses that a man does not meet her rigid standards she dismisses the offender with a curt “Him I would shoot“. One man wrote in “I gave my fiancée a fraternity pin, a ring, some china, black lace lingerie, a stove and a bed. Then she broke our engagement and refused to return any of my gifts. What shall I do?” Said Zsa Zsa “She should give back the stove.”

she should give back the stove

To a woman who complained that “My husband travels with other women” Zsa Zsa suggested “Shoot him in the legs.” A bachelor wrote “I have a lot of oil wells. Do you think that I should marry now that I am 50 years old?” Zsa Zsa answered “For this man life is beginning. He is now becoming interesting. I do not think I should just give him advice, I should see this man personally.”

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Zsa Zsa had many husbands and lovers including Conrad Hilton, George Sanders and Porfirio “my profession is Playboy” Rubirosa otherwise known as The Love Machine. Rumour has it that waiters referred to the largest pepper-mill in the house as “the Rubirosa.” Porfirio jilted Zsa Zsa to marry heiress Barbara Hutton but just ten weeks later he took the private plane Hutton had bought him as a wedding present and flew back into Zsa Zsa’a arms. The reunion lasted three years until he left her for yet another heiress, Doris Duke, attracting world wide publicity for smoking a cigarette throughout their wedding ceremony.

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Zsa Zsa’s divorce from George Sanders freed him up to marry her sister Magda. Her other sister Eva, who is mostly known for her role as the ditzy wife in Green Acres, was instrumental in popularising the game Twister.

“Milton Bradley, the games company, was dubious about a game that had so little to it and that used humans as the playing pieces. That was, however, to be its selling point. That became clear after chat show host Johnny Carson played it live on TV with the actress Eva Gabor. The sight of Eva on all fours in a low-slung dress with Johnny Carson contorting over her was enough. It was, complained competitors, ‘sex in a box’. And thus the game became the runaway craze of 1967.

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Published in: on November 2, 2010 at 7:11 am  Comments (47)  
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follow me to Shangri-La

Shelley Winters was a great character actress who portrayed a drab factory girl in A Place in the Sun and a sex starved mother in Lolita. She wasn’t particularly beautiful but her love life was steamier than most other sex symbols of her time.

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“Yvonne De Carlo told me that Mr Erroll Flynn was giving a small dinner party and asked if I wanted to go so I put on my red satin you-know-what-shoes and drove out to his place in Hollywood Hills. The butler handed me a double martini in a silver goblet and Yvonne and I  were introduced to Mr Clark Gable and another couple.

Erroll

We ate at a glass top table in an outdoor dining room surrounded by flowers and birds, and there were real gardenias floating in the pool. While we were having Irish coffee a doctor arrived and all three men left the dinner table. I heard each of them yell “Ouch” and one by one they returned buttoning their shirts and rubbing their right shoulders.

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After the second “ouch” I excused myself and sneaked down the hall so I could peek in the room where the doctor was. I saw Mr Flynn with his shirt off and the doctor cutting a little flap of skin on the back of his shoulder, inserting a capsule, then stitching it back up. It seemed very weird  and to this day no doctor has ever been able to offer an explanation for what I saw.

Before we headed into the screening room to watch a movie, Yvonne invited me to go to the ladies room with her. “Which one do you want?” she asked. I hesitated and she said “I think Erroll really likes you so I’ll sacrifice myself and take Gable” and that’s how we decided.

Sacrificial Yvonne

As the lights went out Mr Flynn put his arm around me and I swooned like a Victorian heroine. I couldn’t tell you what the film was about but half way though watching it something shiny caught my eye. Mr Flynn must have pressed a button because a 12 foot panel slid back to reveal a raised platform with a huge satin covered bed with the top sheet turned back, ready. Around the bed were books, telephones, a bar, an icebox, a radio and a phonograph. On the ceiling was a mirror which also slid back to reveal the moon and stars through a flowering magnolia tree.

seduction den found here

When the movie ended everyone got up to leave but Mr Flynn’s arm kept me pinned to the seat. Maybe I wasn’t trying too hard to escape. He said to the others “Don’t worry about Shelley, I’ll see she gets home.”

“Remember she has to be at work at 6:30 on Monday morning” said Yvonne. I wondered what the hell she was talking about, it was only Friday night. In those days when the film industry considered a scene censorable, the camera would pan to such things as the fireplace or waves on a beach or fireworks in the sky.

So… cut to:

A fire ROARING in a fireplace

Waves POUNDING on a beach

Fireworks EXPLODING

Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, WITH CANNONS

Sydney fireworks 2007

By the way I WAS late for work on Monday…….



a little dovie told me

When Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos were ousted from power in 1986 the newspapers had a field day reporting on her 3000 pairs of shoes  and vast collection of lingerie including a bullet proof bra.

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The power couple stayed together until his death in 1989 but playboy Ferdinand had been anything but faithful in the preceding years.  Deciding his image needed a facelift, Marcos authorised a movie about his mythical fantasies and imagined wartime gallantry with American actor Paul Burke playing the part of Ferdinand and busty blonde bombshell Dovie Beams playing his then-girlfriend.

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Over the two years that it took for the film to be completed, Marcos conducted a passionate affair with Dovie who recorded the details on tape every night. At the end of filming they exchanged snippets of pubic hair, assured each other of mutual love and parted.

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Seven months later, when a final payment for the movie was not delivered and after receiving no word from Marcos, Dovie called a press conference and produced the tape recorder. Journalists were amazed to hear the voice of their president singing off key love songs and desperately begging for oral sex. For her own protection Dovie was whisked away on a flight to Hong Kong. On board she discovered how long the reach of her former lover was when the seat next to her was taken by Delfin Fred Cueto, Marcos’ personal hitman and half brother. The Philippines consul-general also got in on the act and tried to block her departure but she was eventually placed in the custody of MI5 and escorted safely home.

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Dovie was not the only blonde to fall under Ferdinand’s spell.

Evelin Hegyesi, who modelled mink bikinis in the 1970s and once graced the pages of Playboy magazine, is now a 57-year-old eastern suburbs multimillionaire with a waterfront Point Piper mansion and several investment companies.

She also has a Eurasian daughter, Analisa, who lives with Dean Fleming, son of the wealthy racing and fruit markets family worth $270 million. She called the baby Analisa Josefa. Josefa is the name of Marcos’s mother.

It is not clear how she came to be connected with Marcos in 1970. But something happened that prompted the president to assign one of his secret Swiss bank accounts to Evelin’s company.

While her mother eschewed parties, daughter Analisa is described by social writers as “exotic”, “vivacious” and “flamboyant”, with a super-curvy body.

Rumours that she has an interest in recordings have so far proved unfounded.

Published in: on September 1, 2010 at 8:30 am  Comments (46)  
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slumming in a cheap nightclub

Sir Francis Henry Laking, Baronet and Royal Surgeon, was knighted in 1893. In 2004, historian Tor Bomann-Larsen published revelations concerning him that rocked the royal family of Norway.

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Bomann-Larsen makes an interesting case for King Haakon’s royal physician Sir Francis Laking as Olav’s real father. The book contains a photograph of Laking’s son Guy Francis Laking, born in 1875, who bears a striking resemblance to the adult King Olav. Bomann-Larsen also raises the possibility that Laking’s son was a possible sperm donor for Queen Maud, and that Olav was the result of artificial insemination.

Guy and Olav

The royal couple had been childless for six years before his birth in 1903, and Prince Carl was in Denmark while Princess Maud was in England at the most likely time for his conception.

The third Baronet was also named Sir Guy Francis Laking. Unlike his grandfather and father he did not seem particularly interested in medicine or museums. According to Tallulah Bankhead he was the greatest mischief maker in all England.

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“He was witty, malicious and petulant and lipthed when he spoke. When Tony Wilson and I were on the brink of wedlock Francis surpassed himself in offensiveness. We were slumming in a cheap nightclub with a crooked chemin de fer game upstairs when I spied the evil Francis nearby. He sent Tony a note via a waiter that stated “You’re a pimp”. Tony was furious and hunted him down in his rooms.

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“You can’t tuth me, you can’t tuth me, I’m on Tom Tiddleth ground” he cried.

Sir Francis was loathsome in many ways, yet his pranks and talent for troublemaking fascinated me. More than once I went round to the Bow Street jail to ransom him when he had been plucked from the gutter by a bobby. Even in death he was fantastic. He died at the age of 26 after drinking too much yellow chartreuse. His Will stated that he left “to my friend Tallulah Bankhead, all my motor cars”

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It was a posthumous prank. He never had a car to his name.

Published in: on July 14, 2010 at 8:05 am  Comments (34)  
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playing with burnt cork

In 1920s New York, actress Dorothy MacKellar was offered the lead part in a play depicting a marriage between a white woman and a black man – a partnership that was illegal at the time.

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“She is said to have accepted the role on the condition that a white actor and burnt cork play opposite her. When she was told that it was intended to have a real Negro fill the bill, she retired without more ado.”

Thanks Jahsonic

Around the same time the “Green Twigs“, a group of socially prominent middle class ladies, set out to choose a queen for a community fiesta via a popularity ballot. Early on, the tally showed 17 year old honour student Miss Dorothy Derrick was pulling ahead. This was a cause of great consternation as Miss Derrick was black.

Dorothy Dandridge NOT Dorothy Derrick

After another day of voting she had fallen to third place, having been overtaken by a Miss Violet Meyer. The Green Twigs were still not pleased as Miss Meyer was a Jew. The contest was abruptly cancelled.

Ultra Violet NOT Violet Meyer

Fast forward to the beauty contests of the 1950s. The catholic church was in an uproar about them and threatened to expel college students who participated.

Mrs Edward Belitz, whose daughter Mary Jean withdrew from the Miss Nebraska competition because her education was jeopardised said “I’m just sick. I’ve trained her so long.”

But in New Mexico, 20 year old Sue Ingersoll elected to remain in the Miss Universe contest despite being told she would be denied the sacraments for a period of time unless she withdrew.”

Sacramental Bingo

Now in Thailand pretty boys in Pattaya compete for the title of Miss Tiffany with the aim of creating human rights awareness and promoting a positive transvestite image to the world. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how far we’ve come but Marine Marine Monroe, Barbara Style Sand and Donna Summer are there to remind us.

2009 winners found here

A few years ago in Sydney, Boaz Stark published a book of inspired drag queen names.

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“Having a Drag Queen baby but no idea what to call her? Uma Gawd! This Trudy Light of a book has literally hundreds of names to suit Drag Queens of every shape (Justine Ormous), age (Terri Daktil), race (Fu Ling Yu) and religion (Cath Lick). Your Drag Queen is destined to be the Bella DeBall with this Paige Turner!”

But my favourite will always be my son, Cherry Ripe.


Published in: on June 1, 2010 at 8:14 am  Comments (45)  
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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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the doctor does little

Sir Ranulph Twistleton-Wykeham Fiennes was very upset when he heard 20th Century Fox planned to make a film in his picturesque village.

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He was seconded into the SAS, and promptly expelled following an unfortunate incident – “that Castle Combe business” – in which he was fined £500 for plotting, with the aid of flares and some plastic explosive, to blow up bits of the set of Dr Dolittle, which was apparently causing enormous inconvenience to the good residents of that idyllic Wiltshire village.

My favourite Dr Dolittle animal

Of course, this escapade is not the only thing that Ranulph is known for. While travelling to the North Pole in 2000, he developed frostbite.

Evacuated by air the following day, Fiennes underwent emergency treatment but was told that he would have to wait five months while the only partially damaged tissue healed and his “gnarled, mummified, witch-like talons” could be safely amputated.

Frostbite (not Ranulph’s) found here

So he decided to do the job himself. “I purchased a set of fretsaw blades at the village shop, put the little finger in my Black & Decker folding table’s vice, and gently sawed through the dead skin and bone just above the live skin line,” he writes. “The moment I felt pain or spotted blood, I moved further into the dead zone. I also turned the finger around several times and cut into it from different sides. This worked well, and the little finger’s knuckle finally dropped off after some two hours of work.” It took him five days to do the rest; a job, he says, well done.

The star of Dr Dolittle was Rex Harrison. During the making of the film, he was invited to present an award at the Directors’ Guild Annual Awards dinner. A limo was booked to pick up Rex and his wife Rachel Roberts and drive them to the ceremony. When the chauffeur rang the doorbell, he discovered the Harrisons were far from ready.

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Rex and Rachel were joyfully soused and soaking wet. They had both been drinking in the pool and Rachel answered the door wearing her bikini as a waistband. Rex was wandering around minus his toupee and with his left testicle hanging out of his trunks. The studio sent over a “wrecking crew” of hairdressers, makeup and wardrobe people to make them presentable.

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According to Mark Harris, the behind-scenes shenanigans of Mr and Mrs Harrison were legendary.

The man was anti-Semitic, passive-aggressive, alcoholic, avaricious, and egomaniacal. His wife, the severe and perpetually stewed actress Rachel Roberts, was a toxic presence on the set. Apparently in keeping with the movie’s subject, she embarrassed herself with dog yowling imitations, and even got bestial with a basset hound.

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Sir Ranulph has a couple of cousins in the movie business, Ralph and Joseph. Ralph is famous for his escapade with a Qantas Flight Attendant.

Actor Ralph Fiennes considers himself to have been the victim of a sexual aggressor in an alleged mile-high sex scandal.

Hos media manager, Sara Keene, declared flight attendant Lisa Robertson had instigated the incident in a toilet cubicle of a Qantas flight between Darwin and Mumbai.

“She initiated the encounter,” Ms Keene said, in the first confirmation from the Fiennes camp that an incident did occur.

“This woman seduced him on a plane. She was the sexual aggressor.”

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Reports that Lisa Robertson is the owner of a basset hound may have been greatly exaggerated….


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