Monday, February 25, 2019

Today's Blind Items - The Life And Times Of Timmy

It has been almost a dozen years since I first posted this blind item about the craziest Oscar surprise ever. You can read the other hints and parts by clicking on the Timmy label. If you click the link above you can see the original post and the 300+ comments.

I don't remember the first time I met JJ. It just seemed like from the first day I started at my first position he was there. It seems like he has always said he is retired, but at the same time it seems like he always has a piece of every project. JJ is pushing 90 if he isn't there already. He started in the business when he was a kid doing gofer work and his career rise has matched the rise of films through their infancy all the way to the present day. He knows everyone and for those few people he doesn't know, they certainly know him.

I've always told him he needs to write a book about his life and times and let future generations have an insight into his life and what he has seen. I get the feeling he has, although he hasn't ever confirmed it. Maybe he is waiting to publish it after he dies. I don't know.

With what I do now I don't come into contact with JJ much anymore on a professional basis but I always stay in touch on a personal basis. Every other month or so we get together for brunch and I get entertained for a few hours. I'm not sure what JJ gets out of it except for some company and some free food. Somehow I think I'm getting the better part of the deal.

This past Sunday the conversation turned towards an event he had hinted at previously, but had never really finished the story and I took the opportunity this time to get the answers I wanted.

All I will say about these events are they happened within the past 50 years and only about ten people know the whole story.

Timmy was a gay man at a time when gay men were treated miserably, not only in Hollywood but in the rest of the country as well. Timmy's homosexuality was compounded by the fact that he was very slightly built, had very pale features and a skin condition that prevented much hair growth on his body.

What Timmy had going for him was a personality that wouldn't quit and a way of capturing an audience whether one person, five hundred or through film that was unlike anything most people had seen previously.

Timmy grew up in the Northeast in a small town where he really and truly didn't fit in. At some point he knew he wanted to be an actor and began performing in theatres across the country. He would stick in a city long enough to work in some plays and shows and then move on when he heard of another opportunity in a bigger town or for more money somewhere else. Each of these moves pushed him further and further west to his ultimate destination in Hollywood.

When he first arrived in LA, the studio system was still going strong and most performers were tied to a studio for many years. They would often work on several films simultaneously and often share accommodations with other performers of the same level who also worked at the same studio.

Timmy worked often, but nothing more than a few lines here or there and spent a great deal of time in the "chorus" sections of musicals which were still fairly popular. To supplement his income Timmy began performing in local theatre productions. One night the lead actress was unable to perform and there was no understudy. A sold out audience was going to be sent home unless something was done.

Enter Timmy. With the audience none the wiser, Timmy performed the entire two hour show as the lead actress and received a standing ovation. He was brilliant and there was even a review in the paper which talked about this understudy who was even better than the regular actress.

As good as Timmy was, it was only for one night, and he went back to his regular role the next night. Timmy was excited about the possibilities the night before had held though and the response he received was never far from his mind.

After another year working at the studio without getting much further than bit parts, Timmy decided to do something which would put him in the spotlight. When his studio contract ended he basically reversed his original trek to LA and began performing in small town theatres again, but this time as a woman.

Timmy traveled and did the theatre route for almost two years while building up a resume and a background for his new persona. When he finally felt as if he had it down, Timmy returned to Hollywood. This time as a woman.

From his very first screen test as a woman, Timmy was destined to become a star. Timmy was initially given meaty supporting roles and moved into an apartment with two other women who worked at the studio. One of those women was JJ's wife. There was just no way for Timmy to keep his masculinity a secret in such close quarters and so the two women became Timmy's confidantes and helped him whenever possible.

Over the next two years, Timmy worked steadily as a woman and kept getting better and better roles. He was very rarely the lead, but in memorable role he was cast as the lead opposite a very closeted A list at the time actor who also remained single for his entire life. The two began a relationship which was always kept quiet but lasted for many years.

Shortly after Timmy was cast as the lead, he was cast in another role which is the subject of the blind. Timmy was incredible in this role and whether his acting was as a result of his new found love or as a result of just the right part at the right time, Hollywood took notice and so did the critics. During award season, Timmy began winning regularly for his role. I want to make it perfectly clear that none of these organizations knew Timmy was actually a man when they were honoring him with awards as an actress.

This award season was a blessing because it honored Timmy for his work, but at the same time the increased publicity and probes into his background were causing a great deal of stress and Timmy began getting hives and breaking out as the stress of trying to maintain three different persona's. Timmy himself, Timmy the actress, and Timmy the gay man in a loving relationship with a closeted star.

When it came to the very big award, the one with all the television viewers, Timmy won again. There he was, the woman who was really a gay man was being honored for being the Best Supporting Actress/Best Actress of the year. Its up to you to figure out which of the two he won.

After the award season, Timmy thought the hives and his skin would go back to normal, but if anything they became worse. The severe outbreak he had been dealing with had altered his body to the point where it just wouldn't go back to normal.

At that time there was no CGI, and makeup could only do so much. Timmy the award winning actress was having trouble finding work because of his condition and so he saw his career slowly work its way back down the ladder over the course of three or four years.

Timmy considered trying to resume a film career as a man but the skin condition made that impossible because it would have been one hell of a coincidence that two people who looked remarkably alike had the same condition. What he could do though was return to the theatre, and he did so, as a man and worked as a man until his death from AIDS related complications.

Sunday after brunch I went to Blockbuster and I rented the award winning film, and even knowing what I knew, when I watched it Sunday night it was almost impossible to tell. If you watch it carefully there is one giveaway which is a scar. It's not a big scar, but its evident in photos of the male Timmy which you can still find online in old cast photos and in the female version of Timmy as she acts her way to one of the biggest awards in films.

Timmy as an actor and actress was in over 100 films and theatre productions from Topeka to Broadway, but this is about one role and one award.

45 comments:

timebob said...

Enty revealed who it was also.

https://www.crazydaysandnights.net/2007/09/life-and-times-of-timmy-revealed.html

Shimmy-Alice Brady
Timmy-Arthur Blake

Farmgirl said...

This is what hooked me on CDAN all those years ago!

sandybrook said...

The good old days wish I knew about this site then

astra worthington said...

Holy shit they do look like the same person! I remember the blind (now that it’s brought back up) but had never heard of either of them so I never looked at their pictures until now. Daaaaamn!

longtimereader said...

Holy s***! i remember this from back in the day.

Mary Springowski said...

But how did she supposedly give birth to a son then? And was her funeral a closed casket?

Brayson87 said...

Lassie?

Ann said...

This is incredible. Looking at photos of Timmy as both male/female you can tell it's him but he looks fabulous as a female. You rock Timmy! Good for you.

Guesser said...

Did Enty ever reveal the actor "Timmy" had a romance with?

Akbar Johnson said...

No but it's supposedly Cesar Romero who she was in Metropolitan with.

Glitter said...

Twelve years. I've been reading since before Timmy/Shimmy. Great blind.

Notagoodscreenname said...

Whoa

Alexandra Supertramp said...

I’m so confused on how they died in 1936 but Enty says this takes place within the past 50 years, what am I missing?

gauloise said...
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Unknown said...

This ought to make Michael Obama feel better about his charade

gauloise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

What a legendary blind!!

T. W. said...

@Mary Springowski

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, there are many articles and videos about the elite gender inversion, sex changes, surrogacy, etc. Don't forget, by the time the masses get to use technology and medications, the government and the elites are using things we won't have access to for at least a decade.

rosie riveter said...

THIS IS IT ENTY.
This is the type of blind and reason that I came to CDAN in the first place
LOVE IT, thanks enty xo

Viking Song said...

Isn't this the plot of Tootsie? Oh, and men dressing up in female clothes doesn't make them a woman.

Vita said...

Fascinating stuff, but im with Alexandria, that he stresses it all happened within the last 50 years?

Wasnt there something similar and Sandy Davis (supporting Actress for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) Was the answer?

Dont know who her great love was, or if she fits, but time frame is correct...amazing if it's happened twice!!!

Unknown said...

The time line isn't adding up though. Alice Brady died in 1939 from cancer complications 2 years after winning the Oscar. Timmy died from AIDs related complications. HIV/AIDS is a relatively "new" disease and I don't really see it coming into play in the 1930's. There were cases of it in the 19th and 20th century for sure, but what's the likelihood of an actor contracting it from Africa in the 1930's? Did Timmy or his lover ever go to Africa? I know it was a common exotic travel spot but I am trying to make sense of an actor contracting the disease in the 1930's when it was very rare back then and not really well known (symptom-wise) until the 80's or early 90's (when it shifted from GRID to AIDS).

Further, the 30's was primarily the era of Hollywood musicals (well, late 20's and then another resurgence in the 30's and early 40's). If Timmy got his start working in chorus work, that doesn't really work as Alice Brady transitioned from being in the silent era to the "talkies," no?

Vita said...

Ugh, sorry, Sandy DENNIS!!

timebob said...

The other part of this story I love. It was the unconditional love a father had for his daughter. The lengths he would go to so he could give his daughter a career against the sickness she was suffering.

@unknown enty math isn't the greatest either.



Amartel said...

WOW! now THIS is an awesome blind!

Sal T said...

Yep, I remember this one from back in the day. After so much hype and digging though I didn’t think the reveal was all that great. It just turned out that there were a couple of long distance shot fill ins from what I remember, but it was made out to be much more. The search to find the answers was fun though, everybody banded together like detectives to solve Timmy/Shimmy and I used to be so excited to check the site each day to see what was new. Maybe that was why the reveal was disappointing to me, because it signaled the end of such a cool blind (and period in cdan history)

s.s. said...

I don't get it- in Alice Brady's time there was no TV for the Oscars to be broadcast on, and She died from AIDS ?

What am I missing ?

Jon said...

If this is true then Alice "died" but Arthur lived on to get the AIDS.

The part of the timeline I don't get is that Alice was in early silent films, Arthur wasn't even born yet. I understand fudging the ages to throw people off, but they're like 20 years apart.

Teachermom said...

I am reading a biography of Clark Gable right now and in it, it says he and Alice had a steamy affair while in a play together, sharing a room every night. Clark was known as a but if a homophobe, not sure if he would do that if she was a he.

Post Cards From The Edge said...

Other people on the web figured it out. Enty threw in a red herring that Timmy invented the persona. Alice Brady was a real person, a real actress. She had a lot of illnesses but wanted to maintain her career. Her father who was in movies saw Timmy who was in female form and saw the similarities with his daughter and asked if she could pretend to be her and fill in when needed. The father found out he was a man but it was even better because he wouldn't talk. She had some kind of disease where she would brake her bones all the time. Anyway that's how she could have a kid and still die, Timmy went back doing his own thing and died years later.

Post Cards From The Edge said...

Timmy was impersonating shimmy

Post Cards From The Edge said...

So, in a way it was TWO people who one the same academy award, just so happens one was in drag. Oh and his lover was Caesar. The real Alice had a husband and son.

Angela said...

I was actually the guy who found that it was Alice Brady.

The rest of the blind is most likely embellishment. Around 2007-2008, Alice Brady's bios on the web were quite short, and either Wikipedia or IMDb may have shared the "myth" about her Oscar being stolen by some dude who had accepted the trophy on her behalf. Today, you can read that Henry King took the plaque (it wasn't a statuette) and brought it to her, as a historian found newspaper clippings from the days after the ceremony.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterdecherney/2016/02/24/stolen-oscars-history-markets-myths/#694279e71ea6

Sure, it could be that some guy may have been a stand-in or a double for Faye during production of In Old Chicago. Or, most likely, he was told that, when in drag, he looked like Alice Brady. The guy reads about her and finds the urban legend about her Oscar being claimed by some male stranger, long before it was debunked. And he inserts himself into the story to look more interesting.

It definitely beats getting uncredited parts for 11 years.

Jon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nooo...Really? said...

I joined the CDAN group briefly before Timmy/Shimmy and although I was only a lurker then and have lurked ever since I worked diligently on this blind! I too was so excited each day to see what the real researches had gathered. I would like to also mention that they were very kind to me when I would post some far-off input.
I got addicted to the site but never any better at the guessing. :-D
I thought I would add this link of info: https://www.brianniemeier.com/2017/11/stealing-oscar.html

Jon said...

Please...where are these picture? They don't look similar to me at all...plus Arthur appears tall and broad shouldered. Am I looking at the wrong Blake? I find one who died in 1985 and one in 2001. Which is correct?

MLW Disclosure said...

Anyone figure out Garbo was a man yet?

Vita said...

Angela and the rest of the sleuthing team-- great work!

How hasnt THIS been made into a movie??

Kevin Dougherty said...

https://newyorkercartoonswiththewrongcaptions.blogspot.com/2019/02/theres-bonkers-story-making-rounds-that.html

Aoife said...

I've been reading this site for more than 12 years then. Timmy/Shimmy is the grand daddy of blinds on this site.

Memories.

Tee said...

The ignorance. Wtf does Africa have to do with it. Read a book.

Pink_Palace said...

@Farmgirl - ditto! I quit all my others for this one, but there was oneboard I still went to and I lost the name when that computer died. They had an older acteess that used to post. She was a riot!!

Angela said...

@Vita

Because the story is most likely a fabrication. Even if he hadn't made an appearance on the site under his alias by this point, the whole narrative screams "Himmmm". His stories about Old Hollywood always start with him being very nice to some wise ancient producer or retired actress who's very jovial and full of energy, happy that someone from the younger generation remembers them. And the elderly person always tells him, in trust, the jaw-droppingest of all jaw-dropping stories.

Alice Brady had steadily acted since 1914, whether it was in front of a camera in New York (1914-1923) on Broadway (1913-1933) then in Hollywood after 1933. When you just put together the film archives, there's naturally a gap of a decade in her film appearances. But it's clear too that Alice Brady Mk. II couldn't be the fake identity of some transvestite who had realized he had a knack for playing female characters and assumed the name of a half-forgotten film actress. Brady did a lot of stage work on Broadway until she left for Hollywood, and her New York audience would have remembered what she looked and sounded like. She makes a few films there, she wins and Oscar, and then she dies a couple of years later.

Cut to a few years later, when Arthur Blake, who later released an LP of impressions of Eleanor Roosevelt, Peter Lorre and Mae West, is told that he looks like Alice Brady in drag. He sees an opportunity of embellishing his Hollywood years, and he makes up the story that he had actually been "Alice Brady" for a few years and won an Oscar as her, until a skin condition forced him to "kill" her. If the story checks out on a few key aspects, some people will be happy to take it at face value. If he lacked imagination, he could even take it from Tootsie, which was released in 1982.

Blake then tells the story "in confidence" to JJ. JJ then tells the story to "Himmmm" with a lot more embellishments, and finally "Himmmm" tells us the story with even more embellishments.

At least, this story is harmless compared to the stuff that has taken over here for the past three or four years.

LucidDreams said...

Nope, because of the AIDS reference the story is fake, dates dont match

O/S said...

Yes. It’s an awesome blind, and I starting following CDAN just for the Timmy story. I’m obsessed with that period in Hollywood, so I figured I could figure it out. Truly, this blind would’ve been better off unsolved. Some people are calling the blind ‘inoffensive.’ Well, maybe it’s inoffensive if you’re not a huge fan of Alice Brady, or if you don’t know her work at all. In fact, the less you know her work, the more insane the Timmy/Shimmy reveal is. Alice Brady was one of the finest comic actors of all time. Her line delivery, the nuances in her voice, her insane ‘rich crazy lady’ persona were the reason a lot of people went to the movies. Timmy could’ve been Brady’s stand in, sure. But to suggest that this guy is in any way deserving of Alice Brady’s accolades? That truly peeves me, and I wish you’d recant that ‘reveal.’
Most people writing comments now believe that one of our finest actresses was a man! Great going.
People, watch My Man Godfrey, and see if Mrs, Bullock could in in any frame of the film be other than Alice Brady!

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