Sunday, July 20, 2014

Blind Item #5-Old Hollywood Blind

Throughout their careers, these two A++ singers, one male and one female, hated each other and for good reason. Back when they were on the brink of fame in the late 1930s, he tried to hook up with her with disastrous results. After dining and seeing a show at a nightclub, the married crooner parked his car in the local lover's lane and went in for the kill. He was one step close to sexually assaulting her, after he unsnapped the back of her bra and exposed himself to her. She did the only thing she could... slap him so hard that it left a mark on his face. She slammed the car door shut and yelled at him "I'm not going to be one of those cheap floozies you fuck around with! Your wife will love it that you put the move on a black girl!" Apparently the wife did find out and turned a blind eye like with the rest of his dalliances. The diva was still married (with two kids) to her first husband, but was then separated from him after he went on one too many trips to the bar.

Flash forward several years later and they're both working at the same movie studio.. and on the same movie: an all-star musical extravaganza which they both sang a few numbers in. When the diva first found out that she was going to co-star in the movie with him, she begged the producer to take her off the film not explaining why. Enter the very good female friend of both singers (who also appeared in the film), another A++ list legend, who told the diva to suck it up and ask if she could shoot around her foe. During the filming of this movie, the diva was scheduled to sing at a charity concert with many of the performers from this film, but when she found out he was going to be on the bill with her, she called up her friend to fill in for her and explained to her why she couldn't go on. When friend #1 died a few decades later, she moved her seat at the memorial service so she wouldn't go near her arch enemy.

It also is worth noting that the crooner married another good friend of the diva, an A/B-list actress, and was hammered with phone calls every time he laid a hand on her.

68 comments:

Renoblondee said...

Lena Horne?

Renoblondee said...

Ziegfield Follies?

sandybrook said...

Bing Crosby for the crooner?

sugarbread maker said...

Oooh good gossip

sandybrook said...

Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald for the girls?

Tricia Shaw said...

Billie Holliday/

it took forever said...

definately lena horne

Dave said...

Ziegfield Follies 1946 film; Fred Astaire male star (definitely A++, though not as a singer); Lucille Ball for the friend. Lena Horne had two children with her first husband but they separated in 1940.

Tricia Shaw said...

Josephine Baker/Holliday /Crosby

AJ said...

Dorthy Danridge ?

Unknown said...

Sinatra for the singer, on the brink of fame in the 30's.

sandybrook said...

Billie is a good guess but the way it is writtten it sounds like one of them died much later than Billie did.

VIPblonde said...

Gene Kelly / Thousands Cheer / Judy Garland as the friend that died in the 60's

fancyscreenname said...

a famous singing black woman in the 1930's is not hard to find. This is NOT Dorothy...

Number12 said...

Sinatra, Fitzgerald, Clooney

AJ said...

I'm probably not right.
It just was my first thought but looking at her IMBD list of movies it doesn't seem to fit.

Tricia Shaw said...

bing Crosby/billie Holliday
pennies from Heaven 1936- she performed
Friend Baker...died deep real decades later

Tricia Shaw said...

*several cecades

Tricia Shaw said...

Decades

Lisa said...

My grandmother was a close friend of Dixie Lee Crosby, who died young of cancer. She told me Bing Crosby was terribly cruel to Dixie, who was also an alcoholic (as was grandma, they both got sober). In those days you generally did not divorce if you had a large family as the Crosbys did. He beat Dixie, raped her, and said horrible things. Grandma witnessed some of this so she turned off the TV when Bing was on and would not have his music played in her home. She always blamed Bing for her death although it's said she died from illness.

Lisa said...

My grandmother was a close friend of Dixie Lee Crosby, who died young of cancer. She told me Bing Crosby was terribly cruel to Dixie, who was also an alcoholic (as was grandma, they both got sober). In those days you generally did not divorce if you had a large family as the Crosbys did. He beat Dixie, raped her, and said horrible things. Grandma witnessed some of this so she turned off the TV when Bing was on and would not have his music played in her home. She always blamed Bing for her death although it's said she died from illness.

LK said...

Lena Horne/ Gene Kelley, film was Ziegfeld Follies, friend Garland who was in the film, it was Garland's memorial service, friend Kelley later married is Jeanne Coyne who was a b list actress. Astaire never married an actress.

Sean Park said...
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Sean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean said...

Lena Horne/Frank Sinatra/Judy Garland fits this blind perfectly. Sinatra and Horne filmed a musical together called "Til The Clouds Roll By" in 1946. Garland worked on that film as well. Horne was also a very good friend of Ava Gardner, the A/B- list actress who ended up marrying Sinatra later in life.

Merlin D. Bear said...

From nominal research it appears that while Lena's career might have started in the late 30's, it wasn't until the mid 40's that she appears to have begun to really hit her stride.
So that fits the initial timeline for her.
Personally, I'm thinking Sinatra for the male - with the good friend he married being Ava Gardner (although I'm having a problem labeling her as B list) since their marriage was legendary for the fights.

LK said...

But Judy wasn't in Thousands Cheer. The movie is Ziegfeld Follies.

Tricia Shaw said...

Lena Horne was half Caucasian/ half African American...
Not sure if that's. A factor here, but might have been implied by "that she said" to him in that car

Sara said...

Sean got it: Lena/Frank/Judy/Ava

LK said...

But there wasn't a charity concert starring the people from that film. There were several tied to Ziegfeld Follies.

LK said...

Plus, that film was hardly an all star musical extravaganza. Not that Sinatra wasn't capable of such behavior! :)

Angela said...

There's a small problem about the all-star musical extravaganza.

There's no way Lena Horne or another black singer would have been featured in a scene involving white singers. Lena Horne's numbers, in particular, were shot so they could be edited out of the movie in Southern states, and nobody would notice. She suffered that fate in Till The Clouds Roll By and Words and Music in particular. In Till The Clouds Roll By, Sinatra is also just featured at the very end of the film, while Horne's number (during a Show Boat medley) appears at the beginning.

By the way, Sinatra had a scar on his chin (quite obvious on his police mug shot), but it comes from the claws that were used for his birth. And Horne and Sinatra performed together a few times:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeiprgKDR3A

They even planned a joint album in 1983 but the project wasn't recorded.

rocky619ca said...

I'd expect Crosby, he beat the crap out of his kids so I'm sure his wife was also a recipient.
Fred Astaire always struck me as too controlling, bordering on s &m to get the high. He also strikes me as a both sides player.

Gene Kelly? Never thought John Wayne would've hurt Natalie either.
Gene and John just seem like dudes you would do cause they were hot. Not like they would force anyone.
Frank ...I could see he'd be a dude to knock around a chick from force for kicks.

auntliddy said...

Lisa, i agree with and believe your grandma. Bing was a nasty controlling, physically abusive man. My god, look what he did to his first round of children!!! Nasty prick!!

Jessica Larson said...

All but 1 of Crosby's sons committed suicide.

I on with Crosby/Horne/Garland, Ziegfeld Follies.

I thought Fred was supposed to be a nice guy.

MISCH said...

Lena Horne. Judy Garland…and maybe Sinatra

Yoj said...

I agree that Lena Horne, Judy Garland and Ziegfield Follies (1945) fits best.
Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire were the only male singing/dancing stars in the cast. Enty describes the man as "on the brink of fame in the late 1930s", when Astaire was already a star.
I'd be confident that Gene Kelly were the man if not for that fact that, according to IMDB, he didn't marry until 1941. So, Lena wouldn't have said to him "Your wife will love it...".
Kelly's first wife, Betsy Blair was A-list on Broadway and B-list in Hollywood. From IMDB: "Betsy had been involved in SAG politics as early as 1946 proposing the formation of the first Anti-Discrimination committee". With Lena's support of the civil rights movement, I could easily see the two being friends.

PugsterMom said...

Wow I'm shocked by the Bing stories. They really knew how to control the media back then... of course that was pre Internet.

ozzyinch said...
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Emma said...

Lena Horne, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner.

figgy said...

Thanks for that fascinating story from your grandma, @Lisa!

I've been hearing that Crosby was an asshole for years. What a shame.

Sprink said...

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Diane Marie said...

this is definitely Bing…Sinatra never hit women. He was actually very respectful to even the prostitutes that he had on hand.

PJ said...

Or maybe Dorothy D. Both ladies were stunning and made huge ways for crossing the "color lines" back in the 30's.

PJ said...

*waves

The Ladydame said...

Long time reader, first time poster.

Cannot be Gene Kelly. His career in film didn't start until the 1940's with Pal Joey. He wasn't a big star until the late 40's. Also, he and his family were huge in the civil rights movement.

The all-star extravaganza was mote likely "That's Entertainment" which was two films, one released in 1974 & the other in 1976. Well past Jim Crow days. Although Z-Follies is ver likely as well.

Lena Horne also didn't break it big until the late 1940's. She was a contract player, often uncredited in her early work on film.

Im still thinking Bing Crosby for the asshole though.

Employee News Week 2 said...

the key word is crooner which describes crosby to a T as he was often referred to as a crooner!! also his second wife Kaherine was a b plist actress when he married her. I think other actress is Lena Horne

Selock said...
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Selock said...

No way for the Gene Kelly guess - he was reportedly one of the good guys!

Plus let's be honest, who would not have done Gene Kelly on the spot no matter what the circumstances of his behavior...I mean, c'mon. Siiiigh!

fancyscreenname said...

@selock
^5

I saw that dance routine with him and jerry and marveled at his dancing skills and body. couldn't take my eyes off that high tight dancers booty of his. So glad to hear he was a decent human.

miliosr said...

Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Judy Garland and Ava Gardner work best for this blind.

The blind specifies two A++ singers which would rule out Astaire and Kelly (who are best known as dancers.)

Crosby was already very famous by the late-30s so this would rule him out given that the two singers were on the cusp of fame in the late-30s. (Astaire had also been famous in movies since the early-30s.)

The two things that don't really fit are Ava Gardner as anything less than an A, and the fact that Sinatra and Horne crossed career paths later in life. Maybe time healed some wounds?

miliosr said...

One more thing: The blind doesn't specify that the two singers appeared in scenes together -- just that they were filming on the same picture at the same time at the same studio. This would fit 'Till the Clouds Roll By' (M-G-M, 1946).

Frosty said...

Lena Horne/Frank Sinatra

__-__=__ said...

Agree with Sinatra, etc. He was really horrible to women. After Kennedy's dissed him he never recovered although he became more humble, from what I've read.

dicey said...

Sinatra/Horne/Garland fits neatly ("Til The Clouds Roll By, 1946 -- which was followed by an all star tribute to composer Jerome Kern, in which Judy sang Lena's songs because Lena cancelled). However, Lena Horne was a guest star on Frank Sinatra's 1960 television special, which included a duet. It seems unlikely that Lena would agree to appear on Sinatra's special if she hated him that much.

Sunset West said...

Hey everyone!

Long time reader and first time poster here. :)

I think it's without a doubt Lena Horne/Ol' Blue Eyes aka Frank Sinatra/Ava Gardner.

Lena Horne was really the only famous A++ black actress/singer at that time. It really couldn't have been anyone BUT her. So that was kind of a giveaway. She was married and had two children in the 1930s. She separated from her husband in 1940.

So I had to figure out...who would've been connected to Lena?

It is very well known that Frank's second wife actress Ava Gardner and Lena Horne were very good friends. Ava discussed this in her autobiography.

I think the A/B actress comment is the author's opinion as some of the movies Ava appeared in during her later years definitely were "B" movies.

Frank's first wife Nancy was known to turn a blind eye to his dalliances. Ava and Frank were known to fight...A LOT.

The movie definitely was "Til' The Clouds Roll By". The item didn't say that they were in the same scenes. It just said the same movie.

The A++ diva was Judy Garland. Vincente Minnelli, her husband at the time, directed the movie. She was good friends with both Frank and Lena.

"That's Entertainment" was a compilation of clips only. It wasn't filmed in the '40s so that wouldn't fit and it said that it was a movie where both of them were in it at the same time, meaning they would have had to cross paths at some point. So if you're on the same stage/lot to film a movie it would naturally annoy you to see someone you hate whether or not you were in the same scene.

The problem with it being Bing Crosby is that there isn't a movie that Lena and Bing both starred in and there isn't much evidence that Lena was friends with his second wife, Kathryn. There is, however, a lot of evidence for the Ava Gardner/Lena Horne friendship and the connections to Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland.

sugarbread maker said...

isn't ava gardner part black as well??

Jeff Macauley said...

This story just doesn't make sense. If female A++ singer wasn't going to let A++ male singer get anywhere at all, what was she doing on "Lover's Lane" in the first place?

It can't be Bing Crosby, because as others stated, he was already a huge star by the late '30s, even though he would go on to even greater super-stardom in the '40s.

Just to change it up I'll say Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore, who shared an early career on local New York radio in the late '30s when they both started out. There have been many, many rumors of Dinah being of African American birth and she was very good friends with Barbara Marx, who was Frank's widow. They were also both in "Till The Clouds Roll By."

No idea whose funeral it would be and they worked together a lot throughout the decades, and Frank's valet states straight out in his memoir that Frank and Dinah had a long-term sexual affair in the '50s, while Dinah was still married to George Montgomery. So, it doesn't really fit but enough things match to make it remotely possible, and I add it just to stir up the old time gossip a bit and throw another name in.

Katie said...

Nope! She's talked about that a lot though

Sunset West said...

Sugarbred, it was rumored, but never proven although Ava did mention in her autobiography she did have some Native American ancestry.

Sunset West said...

Jeff, I asked myself the same thing. Maybe she thought he was driving her home and he took "another turn". Who knows? LOL

I forgot to add about the Dorothy Dandridge speculation...I figured that would not have fit because of the marriage/# of kids mention. Ms. Dandridge's first marriage was not until 1942 when she married Harold Nicholas of The Nicholas Brothers. They only had one child. Since the alleged incident took place in the late 1930s when the singer was married and had two children, then that would've ruled her out. In addition, the only big musicals that Ms. Dandridge starred in were all black productions (i.e. "Carmen Jones", "Porgy and Bess").

Aoife said...

LOVE old time chit-chat!

After reading all the comments Dorothy Dandridge is out. I like the Lena Horne/Frank Sinatra/Ava Gardner guesses.

I also know that when Billie Holiday was dying in a hospital in Harlem (I think it was Knickerbocker Hospital, long since closed) Frankie visited her.

ashanean said...

Yes, I agree
Frank Sinatra was married to Nancy in the 30's.
He starred with both Judy Garland and Lena Horne in the musical Till te Clouds rolls by. In the beginning Frank and Lena were nightclub singers. Lenawas friends with Judy Garland and Ava Gardner who Frank
Ater married. Lena also has wo kids with her first husband. Jdy Garand died about two decades later after the musical.

Maureen said...

No way was Gene Kelly in ZF. He's much later than the 30's. I go with Crosby/Horne and either Fitzgerald or Holliday. Lena was a class act. I saw here in the early 80's and she still had it.

Maureen said...

Agreed.

Sunset West said...

Maureen, sorry to break it to you, but Gene was in "Ziegfield Follies". It came out in 1945.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000037/

AIP said...

Gene was in ZF, but he doesn't really fit for a number of reasons - his fame was later than the 1930s and his second wife wasn't an actress. I just don't think it was Fred either (mainly because it'd break my heart).

That alleged misogynistic rat-bastard Sinatra on the other hand...

Sunset West said...

AIP, agreed on all points.