Death comes to the creator of The Three Stooges after a night at the Trocadero.

Exactly what happened after the initial altercation with Albert "Cubby" Broccoli and his cousin Pat DiCicco is not clear, but Healy would later be found at a Hollywood hotel where the hotel doctor sewed up a huge gash over his left eye.

The pro-Hitler maid who nearly killed George Burns’ career

Three years after this photo, their perfect world would come crashing down thanks to two diamond bangles from Paris, a shadowy "Nicaraguan diplomat," and the vengeful, Hitler-loving maid of a Supreme Court judge. Read on, dear friends, for just like you, I had no idea our beloved George Burns got caught up in a smuggling … Continue reading The pro-Hitler maid who nearly killed George Burns’ career

W.S. Van Dyke – the trusted director, star maker, party host, and patriot, with one of Hollywood’s saddest endings

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

Me, the ghost of the future past

Knowing what I know about my family, the good and the bad – thanks to the books, old newspaper articles, the fragments of overheard conversations or stories told to me – I still ache to be in that photo. Oh, how I love this photo and wish for all the tea in China that I … Continue reading Me, the ghost of the future past

Sid Grauman: the hair, the theaters, the chutzpah.

 Anyone who comments about a rare early morning start to play himself in a movie that, "Birds were singing. How long has that been going on?" I could have had a lot of fun with. Of all the early Hollywood elite that I have written about, the one I most wished I could have met … Continue reading Sid Grauman: the hair, the theaters, the chutzpah.

RIP Louis B. Mayer, The Lion of Hollywood

On October 29th, 1957 Louis B. Mayer died from leukemia, a disease which would claim his nephew, Leonard Cummings, the youngest child of my great-grandmother, Ida Mayer Cummings, just eight years later.

I thought I heard a whisper…

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…

Charles Bickford: Acquitted of attempted murder at nine, nearly killed by a lion, and three times Oscar nominee

"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

To bury a son…

"Instead, Leonard took his last breath with no more to give and no more to get." In this photo, joy meets agony... This is a portrait of my great-uncle Leonard "Sonny" M. Cummings who died at just 44 years old in 1965. My oldest son looks exactly like him. Not a little bit like him. … Continue reading To bury a son…