"A simple rule, but to me it has been a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night." Louis B. Mayer in His Own Words Many of you won't be surprised to learn that just in time for my great-uncle's 130th birthday, he reached out to ensure his own words could be heard, … Continue reading Happy 130th Birthday Louis B. Mayer
Three things you didn't know about Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio boss, Louis B. Mayer: 1. Your money or your life On June 26, 1942, Louis B. Mayer received a rambling three page letter purportedly from six men who wanted him dead, but would accept $250,000 to let him live. The letter began: "MR MAYER, IS YOUR LIFE … Continue reading Three Things You Didn’t Know About Louis B. Mayer
"Backstage at the Shubert Theatre, the stage manager hesitates to pop his head into in the star dressing room. He’s not sure he can take looking at the young woman one more time. That’s not something he’s ever thought about a gorgeous woman before. His motto - You can look at a buffet all you … Continue reading Not Harlow. Mary Dees, the actress who filmed Jean Harlow’s unfinished scenes in Saratoga.
My grandmother, Mitzi Cummings, interviews a very young Judy Garland, who in this photo looks like she may be promoting her first movie, musical short Every Sunday, which included fellow child actor, Deanna Durbin. Date unknown, however the location is most likely an MGM set. Like any starry-eyed teenager, the young singer was ready to … Continue reading Judy Garland – the tragic arc of the child star.
June, 1935: my grandmother, Mitzi in the elegant white hat, with some of Hollywood's hardest working actors at one W.S. Van Dyke's legendary Hollywood parties. There are so many stories in this photo that as I began to research it I was even more convinced that Hollywood's early stars were far more amazing than the … Continue reading W.S. Van Dyke – the trusted director, star maker, party host, and patriot, with one of Hollywood’s saddest endings
The ritual of the cake made it clear there was certainly affection and understanding between them. But had that come with time? Was it a place of comfort after many disappointments and disagreements? I will never know. This photo of my grandmother Mitzi is undeniably stunning. I may be biased, but it ticks every box … Continue reading I thought I heard a whisper…
"It's appropriate that I should have come in on the wings of a blizzard. I've been blowing up a storm ever since." Charlie Bickford This fantastic publicity photo of actor Charles Bickford isn’t dated, but I am fairly sure that it's pre-1935 when he was still contracted to MGM and causing hell for my great … Continue reading Charles Bickford: Acquitted of attempted murder at nine, nearly killed by a lion, and three times Oscar nominee
This is one of the oddest photos in the collection. Clearly, Louis B Mayer is chairing a meeting, but which one? And who is the amazing mustachioed man? The boardroom table, with its incredibly polished surface, mirrors these men of power. In fact, through some freak of lighting, the table reflects them in an even … Continue reading A Room So Powerful…
"It doesn't matter what degree of talent she possesses ... nobody ever starved possessing what she's got." Variety Magazine's review of Jean Harlow in the 1930's Howard Hughes' film Hell's Angels. This is a tough one because the more I stared at this photo and then researched it, the more convinced I became that it … Continue reading Jean “Baby” Harlow. Dead at 26.
"She was driven, passionate and unstoppable. It is uncanny to me how alike she and LB were in sheer determination..." It dawned on me recently as I looked at photos of my grandmother Mitzi and my great-grandmother Ida Mayer Cummings that I was looking at me in a few decades. The resemblances are uncanny in … Continue reading What I Will Look Like in 40 Years