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EVEN AFTER PICTURES OF THEIR WEDDING had been radioed to America, photographs showing Ty and Linda being wed in the church of Santa Francesca Romana by the Pittsburgh-born Msr. WIlliam Hemmick -- even then, Ty's friends found the marriage difficult to believe.
For months those friends had been going around Hollywood slyly whispering that Tyrone Power would never marry Linda Christian. "She's not his type," they would say. "We've known the guy for years, and take it from us, this is just an infatuation."
Even now, months after the marriage, a large segment of Hollywood finds it difficult to realize that Linda is actually Mrs. Tyrone Power. It's hard for the movie colony to admit how wrong it was.
Actually, it shouldn't be. For Tyrone Power has always been one of the foremost mystery men in Hollywood.
In the past 13 years, he has starred in more than 40 films. His every romance has been avidly charted by the press. He's been interviewed by a multitude of writers. He's played opposite scads of talkative actresses. And yet, despite this, almost no one really knows his heart, his mind, his true personality.
"I'd have bet my last dollar," says one director, "that Ty would never have married Linda. Guess I really don't know the boy."
Ty Power rarely speaks about himself or his plans and almost never about his women. He's been like that ever since he first set foot in Hollywood. Reporters who've questioned him repeatedly about his past heart interests have always gotten little from him but irrelevant replies.
Fourteen years ago, when he was making his first picture, he was nervous, frightened, and quite ill at ease in front of the cameras. He had just been bawled out by the director and was about to be bawled out again. Alice Faye, at that time a great Fox star, walked up to him without ever having met him before and said, "How about having dinner with me tonight?"
That invitation, subtle in import if not in delivery, saved Power's skin, and he was seen with Alice on many occasions after that. On one of them, a newspaperman approached his table and asked, "Are you engaged to Alice Faye?" Ty thought a moment and then said, "In reply to your question, I can honestly say that Darryl Zanuck is going to let me play in Lloyds of London."
In addition to such refusal to answer direct questions, it is also characteristic of Ty that while all his external doings may portend one obvious course of action, in the end, he usually does the unexpected. For instance, when he started going with Lana Turner, he really rushed the lady. Night after night he saw her exclusively. Ty and Lana partied together, danced together. They were virtually inseparable.
Lana made no mystery of her feelings toward Ty. Each time she looked at him, she saw him with her heart. When they sat down together in restaurants, they held eyes across the table. Lana was very frank with her intimates about the actor. She hoped to marry him.
As for Power, he said nothing. Whenever he's gone with a girl, he's let others do all the talking. He holds his own counsel.
In the case of Lana Turner, he decided to take a round-the-world flight. Everyone predicted that, as soon as he returned, he and Lana would marry. Tyrone publicly predicted nothing and promised less.
When he hit Rome in his aerial junket, a girl phoned him. He invited the girl to his hotel for refreshments. A day later, he and the unidentified beauty were throwing pennies in the Fontana de Trevi, Rome's historic wishing well.
An Italian newspaperman who spotted the couple bouncing along the streets of Rome, wrote in his column the next day, "Lana Turner, the American actress, is secretly in Rome with dyed hair."
The girl wasn't Lana at all. She was Blanca Rosa Welter, professionally known as Linda Christian, now known as Mrs. Tyrone Power.
What had happened was that the press had so played up the Turner-Power love affair that no one could possibly couple Ty with any other girl but Lana.
When Ty got back to Hollywood, and Miss Turner's studio announced that Lana and Ty were no longer romancing, movie-goers everywhere were a little sad. The whole world loves a love affair, and here was one which had faded into nothingness.
Weeks later, when Lana moved on to New York and Bob Topping and could look back objectively on the whole story of her relationship with Ty, she sadly acknowledged, "He never said anything about marriage. People just took it for granted. They built up the whole affair."
And this, in general, is what three other women in Ty's life have said at different times.
The first was blonde, pert, winsome Sonja Henie. In the early years of his Hollywood fame, Ty was attracted to Sonja with all the ardor and passion of his youth. These two clicked right from the start. Rumors of their impending marriage were spread everywhere. The gossip columns were cluttered with Henie-Power items.
But Ty said nothing.
When eventually he stopped calling upon Miss Henie, the reporters were baffled. "How come," they asked Sonja, "you and Power didn't get hitched?"
Miss Henie was as sweet as ever. There had never been anything really serious between her and Mr. Power, she explained. "Besides," she added, "I'm not interested in marriage. I'm interested in skating."
Fade-out Sonja Henie!
Fade-in Janet Gaynor!
Up until the advent of Linda Christian, Ty has usually preferred the company of women older than he. Highly intelligent, he has found himself attuned to their likes, their standards, their settled ways.
Janet Gaynor was eight years older than Ty when they began going with each other. She had known success for many years and possessed wealth and charm and beauty. Power, newly come upon fame, found her maturity, her sharp intellect, completely irresistible. But only for a short while. For six months, however, he courted her exclusively. There was for him no other woman in the world. (Power always has been a one-woman-at-a-time practitioner.)
Naturally, the wedding bells were prematurely rung by the columnists. As they were rung more frequently, Ty began seeing less and less of Miss Gaynor. Finally, he broke off, and Janet married Gilbert Adrian, the dress designer -- just as, 10 years later, Lana Turner was destined to marry Bob Topping.
what romance? . . .
When Miss Gaynor was asked why her companionship with Ty had failed to ripen into matrimony, she told reporters that Ty had never discussed the subject, that their romance was merely a dream conjured up by the newspapers. Through it all, Ty held his tongue.
Fade-out Janet Gaynor!
Fade-in Norma Shearer!
Norma was nine years older than Ty. She had lost her husband, Irving Thalberg, in the 1930's. She was extremely wealthy, extremely talented, extremely anything good you want to think of.
Ty phoned for dates. Lonely, knowing that despite death, life must go on, Norma decided to accept the young man's invitations. They became a well-known combination. When people began discussing them in terms of matrimony, Mr. Power stopped concentrating on Miss Shearer and started concentrating on his career.
When she was asked what had caused the break in their romance, Miss Shearer evinced surprise. "What romance?" There had never been any romance between her and Mr. Power.
As usual, Ty said nothing.
The only times he has talked about any woman, he has talked about his two wives, Annabella and Linda.
In 1939, Ty frankly told the press that he would marry Annabella as soon as they could get a Papal dispensation. It wasn't forthcoming, but Ty married Annabella anyway. For three years Ty and Annabella lived together as man and wife. On August 24, 1942, Ty enlisted in the Marines as a private. Four years later, he was released as a senior lieutenant.
He tried to take up his marriage where he'd left off, but apparently something was wrong. Either he'd outgrown Annabella or Annabella had outgrown him.
Fade-out Annabella. Fade-in Lana Turner and Linda Christian.
It was while Ty was going with Lana that he met Linda. Few people realized that there was any fondness between these two until Linda suddenly showed up in Rome while Ty was there on his round-the-world trip.
It then became apparent to those in the know that Ty would drop Lana as soon as he hit the States and substitute Linda for her.
No one, however, expected the dark-haired Lothario to marry the Mexican girl. All Hollywood underrated Linda -- largely because Hollywood didn't know her and has never really known Tyrone.
Many persons thought they knew Power, thought they knew all about the women he liked -- the older women, the charmers, the sophisticates. Some of them had predicted that he would never marry Turner because she wasn't sufficiently mature and worldly. They were right.
These same prophets imagined that they could predict correctly about Linda Christian. They were wrong.
She knew from the start that she would marry Ty, and she so told the Countess Van Horne, one of those continental dowagers who introduce attractive young girls around town. Through the Countess, Linda met the Hollywood upper crust.
What made Linda so confident about capturing Ty, especially when some pretty nifty predecessors had failed, she alone knows, and at the moment, she isn't telling.
We do know, though, that of all the women Power had gone with previously, Linda was the only one who was willing to give up her career for marriage. There are some who say that she didn't have much of a career to give up, that she'd been put in a Tarzan picture largely through the intervention of Bo Roos, a Hollywood business manager, and that she had done precious little acting -- but such catty comments don't alter the fact. And the fact is that Linda does not want a career. She wants a husband, a home, and five kids.
womanly-wise . . .
If Lana had wanted such domesticity, if Sonja Henie, Janet Gaynor, and the others had wanted the same thing, perhaps Ty might have married one of them.
The undeniable fact, however, is that Linda was the first girl Ty had ever gone with who was willing to renounce everything for that gold band on the second finger. In addition, she was loaded with characteristics he admired. She was a linguist; she was better educated than he. There is no part of the world in which she doesn't feel at home.
She also ran into Ty at the right strategic time. A man who has been married once is almost dead-certain to get married again. Over the years he becomes accustomed to a woman around the house, and he misses a hostess and all the feminine niceties that come with a wife.
Moreover, Linda knew what traits appealed to Ty and, being equipped with these, she brought them to the fore.
Linda is the seventh woman of any importance in the love-life of Tyrone Power. She told her 18-year-old sister, Ariadna, who was her bridesmaid, "No matter what people say, I will be his best and last."
If anyone can speak with authority on the matter, the womanly-wise and beautiful Linda is clearly the one to do so.
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