reprint from Modern Screen
if Ty had his way . . .
If Ty had his way,
would he marry Lana? Here is
a frank and unusual
interview with the only man
who knows all the facts --
Ty Power himself!
If Tyrone Power had his divorce from Annabella today, he'd marry Lana Turner tomorrow. That's the way Hollywood's number one star romance stacks up, in my considered opinion. I've never seen a pair of people more in love.
I called Ty as soon as he came back to Hollywood from Mexico, where Lana had flown to visit him twice.
1"I'm not trying to muscle in on young love or anything," I kidded Ty, "but how about a date with a middle-aged lady who thinks you're pretty cute -- meaning me? I'm curious as a cat about a lot of things -- so come over and see me, and I won't breathe a word to Lana."
Ty laughed. "If you didn't breathe a word," he cracked, "you wouldn't breathe at all. I know you. Don't kid me!"
"You're absolutely right," I admitted. "But how about it anyway? I promise not to tell anyone -- except maybe a couple of million people who read Modern Screen."
When Ty stepped inside my doorway, it was hard to believe that this was the same grim guy I'd seen right after he'd split up with Annabella, his wife. Drawn, pale, nervous, he was then, with furrows between his eyes like hatchet marks.
This time Ty was still might serious-looking -- but the beaten-up look had vanished. He seemed at least five years younger, handsomer, and that old jolly, interested sparkle was right back in his handsome black eyes. I came out with the only possible question.
"Young man," said I, "just what is all this -- love?"
Ty wasn't grinning when he said what he said, because it wasn't a kidding remark.
"If it isn't," answered Ty, "then it's the nearest I've ever come to it. She's a wonderful girl, Hedda, and I want you to know her."
"For heaven's sake, Ty!" I exclaimed, not believing my ears this time. "I do know Lana Turner." He shook his head.
"I don't believe you do, Hedda. I don't think anyone has ever tried to know her."
"Well," I began, "I understand she's pretty spoiled, and --"
He stopped me with another vigorous headshake. "Put that in the past tense," corrected Ty. "She's not any more."
Now this Tyrone Power has never tossed me a curve in any department, and I decided -- playing a quick truth-and-confessions with myself -- come to think of it, he was right as rain. I certainly had never "tried to learn to know" Lana Turner. I thought the answers to Lana were fairly obvious. Maybe she'd been fooling me all these years -- just as she'd fooled me not so long ago; in fact, the first time she'd appeared publicly in Hollywood with Tyrone Power.
That was at a party Otto Preminger, the director, gave. Ty brought Lana -- and that's what I'd missed and Lana knew I'd missed it -- that's why she wore a smug proud-to-fool-you-Hedda look. Well, I take off my best hat to a gal who can slip one like that over on me.
Ty had seen Lana before that. Here's how they discovered each other, just as Ty Power told it to me the afternoon he dropped by my house.
it all began . . .
It was at Romanoff's last winter, just after she came back from her South American tour, just before Ty flew off on his. He came in after dinner at the party both were invited to and the first person he saw was Lana, sitting by herself in a booth. She smiled invitingly and patted the empty seat beside her. Ty strolled over, feeling a funny pounding inside his shirt. Before he left, he'd found himself asking Lana's telephone number, and getting it. He drove by her house the next afternoon, and they took up where they'd left off. Then Ty flew away on his "Filthy Five" all-male barnstorming tour of South America. When he came back, there was plenty to talk about concerning the romantic land they'd both visited. And when Ty Power came back things were very different with him. His marriage rift, already a fact, was announced in New York.
And since the formal separation was now known, Ty felt free to follow his heart. It led straight to Lana Turner.
Lana found out in the very beginning that her new love was all man. She had her eyes opened once and for all when she flew to meet Ty in Mexico City. Ty was working there, making Captain From Castile , and Lana was on vacation. She was out for fun; Ty was working. They went to Ciro's, at Mexico City's Reforma Hotel, the first night. After dinner, it was late but Lana was just starting her evening. "Let's stay and dance," she said, but Ty shook his head firmly.
2"No," he said, "I've got a four o'clock call, and I've got to get some sleep."
"I want to stay," pouted Lana, and that pretty pout had always worked before.
Ty rose from the table and Lana place her hand on his arm. That had always worked, too. "You're not going," she whispered. "You're going to stay and dance with me."
"You don't know me", said Ty. He paid his check, walked out and left -- by himself. Lana had to call a cab. But I don't think she was so mad as she was surprised, and probably pleased. I doubt if anyone had ever done that to her before. Anyway, Lana liked what she discovered, because she flew to Mexico City again against M-G-M's wishes, right in the middle of Green Dolphin Street.
"I guess I don't know the Lana you describe," I confessed to Ty after a few minutes' chat, "and I want to know her. Why don't you bring her here for dinner?"
"Love to," he smiled. "I think you'll be surprised."
hedda goes overboard . . .
I was. I certainly was. In fact, after one of the most pleasant evenings I've had in a long time with the most handsome and utterly love-struck couple I've seen in ages, I'm prepared to go a bit overboard. 3Not only do I think they'd be wed tomorrow if Annabella had her divorce -- but I think they'd stay married.
It wasn't necessarily the perfect picture they made together -- although that was as flawless a matched male-and-female vision as I've ever seen. I've always thought Lana Turner one of the world's really great beauties. She had her naturally taffy silk hair darkened for Green Dolphin Street. It made her even more striking.
"I'm going to try and keep it this way," she said. "Do you like it?" I nodded. "I'm glad," said Lana. "I love it this way." Then she added what was most important. "Ty does, too."
That recurred like the theme in a symphony as we sat and talked until midnight. What Ty thought, what Ty did, what Ty said. And when Ty spoke, it was about Lana.
We chatted about Mexico, and all that Lana had seen was through Ty Power's eyes. They'd both collected a golden tan together which made them look younger and fresher and more alive. Ty's was a darker hue. Lana's a honey-gold. And every other moment it was "Ty did this and Ty showed me that." Through Ty, it was plain, Lana saw things that just wouldn't have been there otherwise.
They went to Acapulco, the heavenly seaside resort where Mexico's mountains meet the blue bay. To Lana, with Ty it was the most romantic spot on earth. "You've never seen such stars, Hedda," Lana marveled. "You could reach right up into the velvet sky and pluck them out, they were that big!"
I couldn't help asking, "As big as the stars in your eyes?"
"Does it really show that much?" Lana smiled, startled.
"It certainly does, my dear," I told her. "and it's very becoming."
It was, too. Everything is more becoming to a lady when she's in love. Lana seemed more at peace to me, quieter, lost in a dream. I saw what Ty meant. Maybe I didn't know this Lana. She wasn't restless. She was content to sit and hold his hand all evening.
We talked of pictures and both Lana and Ty wanted to talk about one they'd like to do together. Together. We talked about their living problems. Ty has moved out of Annabella's house and he's camping with his friend, Watson Webb, until he can find one he wants to buy. He looked at Lana when he said that "I want". I took it to mean "we". It was not long after Easter then and Ty and Lana told about their own particular Easter Day, about the identical bonnets Lana had made at John Fredericks for herself and her daughter, Cheryl. "They looked like twins," chuckled Ty. Lana said Cheryl was crazy about the chocolate Easter eggs, chicks, and bunnies Ty brought over. It all sounded like a cozy understanding.
"What about you two?" I asked them. "What about wedding rings and things?"
"We can't discuss that until after Ty's divorce, Hedda," said Lana.
Said Ty quickly, "Of course, you know Annabella's getting it very soon."
Later Lana told me, "It's just as though all the past romances in my life had never existed. Ty is the only man I've ever loved."
There was a time when I would have smiled pretty skeptically at that remark, coming from Lana Turner. 4But it suddenly occurred to me that Lana certainly could well mean what she said. Not only did every word and gesture she made that night in my house back her words, but for the first time I realized Lana Turner was in love with a man who matched up. Probing my memory through the men in her life, I knew Lana had always consistently picked the wrong kind for the girl she is.
"I'll bet," I told myself wonderingly, "if Lana and Ty had met and fallen in love at the start they'd be settled happily down now with a bunch of kids!"
But they didn't meet at the start.
There isn't space enough here to go into the romances of Lana Turner. But the ones that flashed through my mind that night all fell smack in the same wrong-guy-for-Lana groove. Greg Bautzer, the lawyer-man-about-town, for instance, whom Lana thought she loved and would have married, only Greg liked his independence too much to be tied down. And Artie Shaw, the band leader, whom Lana married.
Then there was her unfortunate, spectacular marriage to Steve Crane. You'll remember the hideous mix-up when it turned out that his divorce had not been final when he'd married Lana. The one bright spot in this brief, ill-starred alliance was Cheryl, Lana's darling little girl.
There was Howard Hughes, the brilliant millionaire aviator who's never married anyone of the Hollywood stars he's beaued. Howard flew Lana across the continent and went out of his way to show her the Grand Canyon. It was deep enough to swallow their romance, because when they landed in Hollywood they never saw each other again. There was a South American swain supposed to be captivating Lana with Latin love and lavishness when she took her flying trip to Rio. He was supposed to send her a race horse, as I recall, but that horse, like the romance, melted into the mists.
All the time, I know, Lana wanted to get married, and maybe that was why she circulated, stayed the party girl even though she was a mother -- until Ty Power came along.
Ty Power matches Lana in more ways than just being an extremely handsome guy perched on a Hollywood star's throne. He, too, had been unlucky in love. Furthermore, though he has an acting tradition in his family, he came through in Hollywood almost as suddenly as Lana did when she put on her first fatal sweater. 5They're both -- Lana and Ty -- Young America who came through -- and I've always thought Young America should team up together to make a marriage work.
Well, that sums up the reverie I slipped into while I talked to Ty and Lana over coffee at my house and watched them hold hands like a couple of puppy lovers. They used to save a table for Turner every night at Mocambo, and she usually showed up with some pretty boy or other. They don't save it any more. Ty and Lana go out to dinner and to parties, of course -- they aren't ready for slippers and a rocking chair yet, by any means. They came together to one I gave the other day for Col. Robert McCormick, the Chicago Tribune's publisher, and Lana proved she hasn't lost any of her wonderful flair for elegance when she wants to use it.
She wore a sable-black dress with diamond earbobs, rings and clips and a perfect black hat with flowers. I appreciated her dressing up for my party. I knew Ty would have to run Lana home to change to informal clothes, because they had another informal dinner engagement later that night. But she knew I wanted the Colonel, on his first Hollywood visit, to see Hollywood's most beautiful star at her most glamorous.
I'm not quite sappy enough to think Lana Turner will ever settle down to making apple-pan dowdy with flour on her face, or anything -- don't misunderstand me. But I think with a quick divorce action there might be something very solid for Lana and Ty in a Hollywood union that would blend successfully with two very flourishing careers.
the waiting game . . .
But the path of true love never did run smooth -- in Hollywood or anywhere else -- and there are clouds that hang together over Ty and Lana's hopes and plans. 6For one, although Ty and Annabella's property settlement is all signed and sealed, the divorce has been delayed until she returns from Paris.
Everyone who is interested in the happiness of these two hopes the way will be clear for their marriage before long.
7For if time drags on, say another twelve months or even six, then the danger curve for Cupid rises, day by day. There are too many psychological termites boring away at a love affair in Hollywood, and anything can happen to a drawn-out romance.
When they said "Good-night" at my door that night, I told them right out what I thought, no matter what they admitted or didn't admit about wedding talk. "You've got companionship, and love -- and that spells marriage to me," I said. They didn't say no, at least . . .
What I didn't say was something I thought, as I watched the handsome jet-and-marble male features of Tyrone Power blend into the darkness with the lovely ivory-and-gold beauty of Lana Turner:
It was, "If they only were married, those two, think of the beautiful babies they'd have. Why," I mused, as I closed the door on my disappearing dinner guests, "that pair could found a whole divine new dynasty of movie stars if they had the chance!" I hope they do.
1 Hedda Hopper was a noted columnist in the golden era of Hollywood. She was known to be quite hard on celebrities. However, there were four that she did give bad press. They were Tyrone Power, Clark Gable, Alan Ladd, and Howard Hughes. (Eells, George. Hedda and Louella, New York, Putnam, 1972.)
2 Ty was known to be very serious and professional about his career. He did not let his private life interfere with how he did his job.
3 In her autobiography Lana Turner said that she felt that she and Ty would definitely have married had not his divorce from Annabella taken so long.
4 In her autobiography Lana Turner explained that Ty was the one love that really was special -- the one who broke her heart.
5 This could possibly be a reference to the fact that Annabella was French, not American.
6 It seemed at the time that the property settlement was sealed. According to Linda Christian's autobiography, however, even months later, Annabella was still making more demands with respect to the property settlement. Though the Powers officially announced their separation in October of 1946, it was not until January 1949 that the divorce became final.
7In her autobiography, Lana Turner speculated that her studio (MGM) and Ty's studio (20th Century-Fox) conspired to break up their romance. In September 1947, Ty, friends, and crew flew off for a 32,000-mile three-month trip to Europe and South Africa. Lana claimed that the trip was at the urging of Darryl F. Zanuck. While he was in Rome, Ty learned that Lana had been seen dining and dancing with Frank Sinatra. Lana, however, stated that she and Frank were never any more than friends. She also mentioned that she believed the Frank Sinatra story, as told to Ty, was part of the plan by the studios to break up the romance. When Ty returned from that trip, he told Lana that he had met another woman, Linda Christian, whom he married in January 1949. Whether the studios were involved is, of course, speculation.
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