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Ramon Novarro was a Mexican actor and singer whose stardom at MGM in the 1920s and 30s was not impeded by his offscreen life as a gay man. In Hollywood Babylon, Anger focuses only on Novarro’s grisly murder in 1968 -- which outed Novarro to a public that had largely forgotten him--and needlessly embellishes a crime scene that was already pretty horrible. Today, in our final episode of Fact-Checking Hollywood Babylon, we will explore the life which Anger left out of Hollywood Babylon, and correct that book’s version of Novarro’s death.
In part two of our two-parter on the demise of the biggest and most pernicious tabloid of the 1950s, we’ll explore what happened after the magazine’s claim that redheaded star Maureen O’Hara was caught having sex at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. O’Hara positioned herself the “Joan of Arc” of Hollywood, single-handedly defending a cowardly industry against the existential threat posed by Confidential. As we’ll see, this is one story where the Kenneth Anger version is more credible than the version related by one of the subjects. 
Over two episodes, we will explore Hollywood Babylon’s coverage of Confidential Magazine and the two celebrities who testified against the scandal rag in the 1957 trial that helped end what Anger rightfully refers to as its “reign of terror.” We’ll begin with Dorothy Dandridge, the first black actress to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. Dandridge’s testimony against Confidential reveals the publication’s racist agenda, as well as the double standards that governed her real private and public lives. 
Jewish gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel is frequently credited with corrupting Hollywood’s unions and “inventing” Las Vegas. Siegel did have movie star friends, but the true story of his involvement with the Flamingo casino is also the story of a much bigger movieland player: Hollywood Reporter founder/publisher/columnist Billy Wilkerson. 
The bisexuality of Marlene Dietrich was not exactly a secret in 1930s Hollywood -- in fact, her ambiguous sexuality was part of her on-screen brand. But there is some debate as to who Dietrich counted among her lovers, and which of her fellow stars participated in what has been called the “sewing circle” of female intimacy. Anger alleges that Dietrich had a “passionate affair” with Claudette Colbert, an Oscar-winning actress with an extremely heteronormative persona. We’ll explore what was going on in Dietrich’s life and career around the time when this affair could have taken place, and then delve into Colbert’s image as a very different kind of on-screen sex symbol, and her complicated off-screen personal life. 
Mexican actress Lupe Velez was the victim of one of Anger’s cruelest invented stories. His fabrication of her manner of death lays bare a vicious racism in addition to Hollywood Babylon’s usual sexism. Today we will sort out the fact of Velez’s life from Anger’s fiction and consider the star of the Mexican Spitfire series as a comedienne ahead of her time.
In 1936, actress Mary Astor (who had not yet made her most famous film, The Maltese Falcon) and her husband went to court to fight for custody of their four year-old daughter. The trail made international news thanks to both sides’ use of Astor’s diary, in which she had recorded details of her affair with playwright George S. Kaufman. How much did Astor truly reveal in her diary, and what role did the scandal play in her life and career?
Mae West was the biggest new star in Hollywood in 1933, thanks to two hit films she co-wrote and starred in as a sexually implicit, wisecracking broad who romanced a young Cary Grant. In Hollywood Babylon, Anger credits West’s abrupt decline in movies to a coordinated conspiracy organized by William Randolph Hearst and carried out by the Hays Office. Today we’ll explore West’s background, her history of pushing the censors past the limits of legality, and the truth of her lightning-fast rise in Hollywood and somewhat slower descent back to earth. 
This Italian pin-up, along with Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot, was emblematic of a brand of post-war European sexuality that America happily imported. But the Hollywood career of  “La Lollo” was delayed, thanks to Howard Hughes, whose obsession with Lollobrigida led him to keep her virtually imprisoned in a Los Angeles hotel and sign her to a contract that essentially made it impossible for her to work for any other U.S. producer.
136: Yvonne De Carlo

136: Yvonne De Carlo

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The future Lily Munster became a star when producer Walter Wanger cast her in Salome, Where She Danced (1945). A curvaceous brunette in her early 20s, De Carlo fit the mold of Howard Hughes’ mid-century girlfriends to a T. But that relationship would be brief, and De Carlo would go on to distinguish herself in movies, television, and as a star of the original production of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies. 
A stunning brunette sex symbol married to cinematographer Pev Marley, Darnell thought her affair with Howard Hughes would result in marriage to the aviator. But after Hughes’ near-fatal 1946 plane crash, Marley tried to make a deal to sell his wife to the tycoon--which was not what Darnell wanted. This was not the low point of a life that ended in incredible tragedy, amid a career that, to this day, has not been given the acclaim it deserves.
The child of a silent film actress, Dvorak was so determined to be a star that at first, she wouldn’t take no for an answer. Her big break came when she was cast in Howard Hughes’s production of Scarface. But Hughes would sell her contract to Warner Brothers, and when Ann later accused Hughes of having “sold [her] down the river,”  she would swiftly suffer the consequences of going up against Hughes in the press when his mastery over the medium of publicity was at its peak. 
Seduction begins at an MGM sponsored orgy at the Ambassador Hotel, as told through the eyes of one of the attendees, a young female screenwriter named Frederica Sagor. Sagor would go on to pen one of the frankest memoirs of 1920s Hollywood, revealing the systematic sexual exploitation of women in the film industry by men like Marshall Neilan--one of Howard Hughes’ early mentors. Frederica’s story also details how tough it was for a woman to hold on to power behind the scenes in the film industry as Hollywood evolved. 
In the new book Seduction: Sex, Lies and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood, Karina Longworth explores the lives and careers of over a dozen actresses who were involved, professionally and/or personally, with Howard Hughes. Inspired by the You Must Remember This episodes on “The Many Loves of Howard Hughes” produced in 2014-2015, the book goes in depth, with much new research, into the stories of stars like Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers, Ida Lupino, Jane Russell and many more. In this short series of You Must Remember This, we’ll discuss some of the women who serve as peripheral characters in Seduction: four actresses who were briefly seduced by Hughes, either professionally or romantically, and one writer whose travails in Hollywood during the Hughes era speak to the conflicted female experience behind the camera in 20th century Hollywood. We’ll begin the season by talking about the complicated, intermingled romantic and professional relationships of Howard’s uncle, Rupert Hughes, who paved the way for his nephew as a Hollywood figure known for his colorful history with women.
In the new book Seduction: Sex, Lies and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood, Karina Longworth explores the lives and careers of over a dozen actresses who were involved, professionally and/or personally, with Howard Hughes. Inspired by the You Must Remember This episodes on “The Many Loves of Howard Hughes” produced in 2014-2015, the book goes in depth, with much new research, into the stories of stars like Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers, Ida Lupino, Jane Russell and many more. In this short series of You Must Remember This, we’ll discuss some of the women who serve as peripheral characters in Seduction: four actresses who were briefly seduced by Hughes, either professionally or romantically, and one writer whose travails in Hollywood during the Hughes era speak to the conflicted female experience behind the camera in 20th century Hollywood. We’ll begin the season by talking about the complicated, intermingled romantic and professional relationships of Howard’s uncle, Rupert Hughes, who paved the way for his nephew as a Hollywood figure known for his colorful history with women.
We’ll close this half of our Hollywood Babylon season with one of that book’s most famously distorted stories: the tale of “It” Girl Clara Bow’s supposed nymphomania and alleged “tackling” of the entire USC football team. The real story of Clara Bow’s life and career is a much richer tale, involving changing sexual mores, and the change in the audience’s tastes that overlapped with the end of the silent era. 
Rudolph Valentino was Hollywood’s first “latin lover.” His shocking death at the age of 31 was attributed to side effects from an appendectomy, but Hollywood Babylon forwards theories that Valentino may have actually been poisoned, or killed by the husband of a lover, and/or secretly gay and recently divorced from his second secretly lesbian wife. What was the real story of Valentino’s marriages, and what really led to his untimely demise?
Rudolph Valentino was Hollywood’s first “latin lover.” His shocking death at the age of 31 was attributed to side effects from an appendectomy, but Hollywood Babylon forwards theories that Valentino may have actually been poisoned, or killed by the husband of a lover, and/or secretly gay and recently divorced from his second secretly lesbian wife. What was the real story of Valentino’s marriages, and what really led to his untimely demise?
Thomas Ince was one of early Hollywood’s most pioneering producers—in fact, some credit him for popularizing “producer” as a job title and for codifying what it meant to do the job, as well as helping to develop the Western as a genre. But today, if Ince is remembered at all, it’s for his death aboard a yacht owned by William Randolph Hearst, amidst a star-studded party attended by Chaplin, writer Elinor Glyn, and actress/Hearst’s mistress Marion Davies. For decades, rumors have swirled that Ince was felled not by “acute indigestion,” as Hearst’s papers claimed, but by “a bullet hole in [his] head,” as Kenneth Anger put it. Who was Ince, what really happened on that yacht, and why have fictionalizations of his death (spread by Anger and others) flourished for so long?
Thomas Ince was one of early Hollywood’s most pioneering producers—in fact, some credit him for popularizing “producer” as a job title and for codifying what it meant to do the job, as well as helping to develop the Western as a genre. But today, if Ince is remembered at all, it’s for his death aboard a yacht owned by William Randolph Hearst, amidst a star-studded party attended by Chaplin, writer Elinor Glyn, and actress/Hearst’s mistress Marion Davies. For decades, rumors have swirled that Ince was felled not by “acute indigestion,” as Hearst’s papers claimed, but by “a bullet hole in [his] head,” as Kenneth Anger put it. Who was Ince, what really happened on that yacht, and why have fictionalizations of his death (spread by Anger and others) flourished for so long?
Comments (186)

ID22591039

Great topics but the narration makes it unbearable. I’m sorry but this must be the most annoying presentation in a podcast I’ve experienced to date.

May 18th
Reply (1)

Ayn Carey

this is one of Mt all time favorite podcasts and the Sammy and Dino story did not disappoint. beautifully researched and presented so that we see, not only the two men but also the cultures that shaped them. also, there's absolutely nothing wrong with her voice!

Jan 26th
Reply

Erfun Naderi

do one about rod serling pls

Dec 9th
Reply

Mark Power

This is a great podcast, but this current series is particularly good.

Dec 1st
Reply

Daphney Riddle

absolutely terrible narration.

Nov 24th
Reply

Death Doula ☠

"Rona doesn't need a steak knife, she cuts her food with her tongue." #ronabarrett

Nov 11th
Reply

Death Doula ☠

Shits of the same feather 🐦🐦

Nov 11th
Reply

Death Doula ☠

Katherine Hepburn 👟

Nov 11th
Reply

Death Doula ☠

🌠🌠🌠🌠🌠

Nov 11th
Reply

Death Doula ☠

Great story-telling as always⭐🌠⭐⭐⭐ #FakeNews #MaureenOHara #row35

Nov 11th
Reply

Death Doula ☠

Jack Denison...trash bag.

Nov 11th
Reply

Death Doula ☠

Fascinating story on Dorothy Dandridge's $2M lawsuit against Confidential Magazine for criminal libel.

Nov 11th
Reply

Death Doula ☠

Resumé Razors pain you; Rivers are damp; Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp. Guns aren’t lawful; Nooses give; Gas smells awful; You might as well live. #DorothyParker #Poetry

Nov 11th
Reply

Death Doula ☠

Judy Garland. Love her for her inclusiveness 🌈

Nov 10th
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Death Doula ☠

She died like a champion. 🥀

Nov 10th
Reply

Death Doula ☠

Platt’s unpublished memoir recalls a dinner meeting with Verhoeven to discuss the possibility that she direct “Women,” a Charles Bukowski novel that Platt had adapted for the “Basic Instinct” filmmaker. Verhoeven had rejected an earlier draft by Platt. He did not respond well to the suggestion that Platt make her directorial debut with “Women” when the prospect was raised by Barbara Boyle, a producer who was also at the meeting. “He turned pretty nasty at the suggestion,” Platt wrote, adding, “When we were standing in the foyer of the restaurant saying good night to Paul when he put his hands up my sweater in front of everybody and whispered in my ear, ‘if you f–k me, I’ll tell you how to write it.'” 😠

Nov 10th
Reply

Death Doula ☠

..."that's the Polly I don't want to see. It's the sharp end of a knife." 😂 #PollyPlatt. #sayanything

Nov 10th
Reply

Death Doula ☠

Elizabeth Taylor was the first celebrity to go public about going to rehab.

Nov 10th
Reply

Death Doula ☠

Rabbit man

Nov 10th
Reply

Death Doula ☠

Sulphur shots in the ass to treat Platt's Polio. Wow 😱

Nov 9th
Reply
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