actress

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Maneater: Theda Bara in a series of unconventional portraits. Her publicist claimed it was her lover and that not even the grave could separate them.

Theda Bara 

‘The Vamp’ of the Silent Screen

“A vampire is a good woman with a bad reputation, or rather a good woman who has had possibilities and wasted them”

 — Florenz Ziegfeld

The queen of the vamps was one of America’s most mysterious movie stars — Theda Bara. The magnetic actress, with her steely gaze and jet-black hair, was the prototype for a movie bad girl. She shook convention so dramatically that a critic called her a “flaming comet of the cinema firmament.”

Bara might be the most significant celebrity pioneer whose movies you’ve never seen. She was the movie industry’s first sex symbol; the first femme fatale; the first silent film actress to have a fictional identity invented for her by publicists and sold through a receptive media to a public who was happy to be conned; and she might have been America’s first homegrown goth.

According to the studio biography, Theda Bara (anagram of “Arab Death”) was born in the Sahara to a French artiste and his Egyptian concubine and possessed supernatural powers.

Progressive, liberated women were clearly so frightening one hundred years ago that equating them to undead, bloodthirsty creatures borne of Satan didn’t seem so unusual.

In the late 1910s, women were on the verge of winning the right to equal representation in the voting booth. Women were asserting power in unions, and, in the wake of disasters like the Triangle Factory Fire, those unions were influencing government policy. They were taking control of their destinies, their fortunes, even their sexuality (Margaret Sanger‘s first birth control clinic opened in 1916).

This surging independence came just as the entertainment industry heralded the female form as one of its primary attractions. Ziegfeld’s sassy, flesh-filled Follies — and its many imitators — defined the Broadway stage, mixing music, sex and glamour with a morality-shattering frankness.

But it was the birth of motion pictures that gave the allure of female bodies an unearthly, flickering glow, as nickelodeon shorts became feature-length films, and the first era of the movie siren was born.

Combine the power of liberation with the erotic potential of cinema, and in the late 1910s, you got the vampire (or as we would come to know, the ‘vamp’).

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My heart is as pure as the driven slush – Tallulah Bankhead

Tallulah Dahling

“Hello, Dahling . . . I’ll come and make love to you at five o’clock. If I’m late start without me.”
Her voice, her wit, and her face were captivating.

On why she called everyone dahling she stated that she was terrible with names and once introduced a friend of hers as Martini.  Her name was actually Olive.

Tallulah, with her signature “dah-ling”s and her notorious peccadilloes and her endlessly caricatured baritonal gurgle of a voice—a voice that was steeped as deep in sex as the human voice can go without drowning—would be easy to dismiss as a joke if she hadn’t also been a woman of outsize capacities. As it is, the story of her life reaches beyond gossip and approaches tragedy.
It was Tallulah’s real-life behaviour that really got people’s attention.

Tallulah’s scandalous career began at her seminary when, aged twelve, she fell in love with Sister Ignatius.  As she grew to adulthood she developed her romantic and sexual interests in a way which can really only be called trisexual: she would bed heterosexual men, preferably well hung, women and homosexual men, again preferably well-hung.  She stumbled across this life unprepared but took to it with enthusiasm and a breathtaking lack of concern for the proprieties.  She once said: ‘My father always warned me about men, but he never said anything about women!  And I don’t give a stuff what people say about me so long as they say something!’  She managed to keep them talking for the rest of her life, but her most admirable trick was always to pre-empt the insidious leakage of malicious gossip with reflexive innuendos so frank as to seem hardly believable.  Personal eccentricities, such as the refusal ever to wash her hair in anything other than Energine dry-cleaning fluid, probably helped to create the conditions in which she then felt able to defy more serious conventions in riskier ways.

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On Frank Sinatra: “The poor guy was literally without a job. He said all he could do was play saloons and crappy night clubs. His ego and self-esteem was at its lowest ever. And mine was practically at its peak. So it was hell for him. He was such a proud man — to have a woman pay all his bills was a bitch.” AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Ava Gardner

I wish to live until 150 years old but the day I die, I wish it to be with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whisky in the other

Caution Bad Language

The screen goddess once said: “My vices and scandals are more interesting than anything anyone can make up.”

Ava Gardner knew how to pose for the camera. She’d slit her eyes, throw her head at an angle, and the photographer would somehow catch something about her — not elegance or grace, exactly, but something that was strong, sexual, and almost animal, as if she were zeroing in on you, weighing your merits, and readying to pounce. And for most of the ’40s and ’50s, she was Hollywood’s most alluring femme fatale, an image solidified both on and off the screen.

Once Hollywood’s most irresistible woman—wed to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, and Frank Sinatra—by 1988 Ava Gardner was nearly broke, ravaged by illness, and intent on selling her memoirs. But the man she chose as her ghostwriter, Peter Evans, had his own problems, not least a legal war with Sinatra.

In The first week of January 1988, Ava Gardner asked Peter Evans to ghost her memoirs. Since Evans had never met Ava Gardner, the call, late on a Sunday evening, was clearly a hoax. “Sounds great, Ava,” Evans played along. “Does Frank approve? I don’t want to upset Frank.” There was a small silence, then a brief husky laugh.

“Everybody kisses everybody else in this crummy business all the time. It’s the kissiest business in the world.”

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Taking a business call in the bathtub…”

Joan Rivers Life Lessons…

I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery

Joan Rivers’ humour was not for the faint of heart, or the thin-skinned. The sometimes ruthless comedienne, took no prisoners when it came to put-down comedy; even a breezy stroll down the red carpet had the potential to become a roast when she was around. She was as hard working a performer as Hollywood has seen, and her success — at least in her view — never matched her ambitions. She didn’t necessarily struggle for money, but she needed to work constantly in order to maintain a lavish lifestyle, which included a palace-like apartment in Manhattan.

“I live very well,” she said in the 2010 documentary “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.” “I enjoy my creature comforts, and I know I have to work for it.”

“Nothing has ever come easily for me,” Rivers once said “My whole career has just been hard, hurting, little steps. “

I don’t exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.

– Joan Rivers

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Photo of the Day

John Phillips may easily be called one of the best pop songwriters of the later 20th century. He honed his songwriting and arranging skills with singing groups that gained a modicum of success. But his crowning musical achievement was the work he did with his '60s group the Mamas and the Papas. Photo: MTV

John Phillips may easily be called one of the best pop songwriters of the later 20th century. He honed his songwriting and arranging skills with singing groups that gained a modicum of success. But his crowning musical achievement was the work he did with his ’60s group the Mamas and the Papas. Photo: MTV

Forbidden Fruit

A Lifetime of Debauched and Reckless Behaviour

John Phillips, destructiveness was too extravagant even for Keith Richards, who once kicked Phillips out of his house for being too uncontrollable

Unlike some other musician/addiction profiles, the John Phillips story is not necessarily one with a cheerful ending.

Mackenzie Phillips, his daughter, was 10 years old when her father taught her how to roll a joint. She had her first taste of cocaine at age 11. At 14, she landed a role in the film American Graffiti , and one week after her 18th birthday, she was arrested for the first time.

When she was 10, her dad gave her, her first adult job.

“Dad said, ‘I’m going to give you a project,’ Dad had a job for me! This was exciting. I was in.”

“I got really good at rolling joints. I was the official joint roller for all the adults.”

McKenzie says she was allowed so much freedom as a kid that the only rules her dad gave her were to spend one night a week at home and to always change her clothes before returning in the early morning.

“A lady never wears evening clothes during the day. It’s cheap,” John Phillips, who died in 2001, told her.

He did have one boundary. One day, Mackenzie found a purple pill in her dad’s bedroom.

She instinctively took it. But it turned out not to be just any pill — it was the last of the LSD pills made by the famous drug cook Owsley Stanley, and it was a collector’s item among moneyed celebrity druggies of the time.

“It was as if I’d crashed a normal dad’s Porsche, he said, ‘You took my last hit of Owsley. You’re grounded!’ ”

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Photo Of The Day

Dorothy Stratten.

Dorothy Stratten.

Death of a Playmate

 Dorothy Stratten was the focus of the dreams and ambitions of three men. One killed her.

In 1977, Dorothy Ruth Hoogstraten, 17, was a 5-foot-9 girl in a little red uniform, her blond hair in pigtails, her delicate features and creamy skin as pure as a scoop of French vanilla. Paul Snider spotted her in a Vancouver, Dairy Queen and thought she had something special. Two years later, the waitress, was known to the world as Dorothy Stratten, was the queen of that American kingdom that rested on the border between fantasy, pop culture and pornography.

She was a Playboy centerfold.

A year after that, she was dead.

It is shortly past four in the afternoon and Hugh Hefner glides wordlessly into the library of his Playboy Mansion West. He is wearing pajamas and looking somber in green silk. The incongruous spectacle of a sybarite in mourning. To date, his public profession of grief has been contained in a press release: “The death of Dorothy Stratten comes as a shock to us all. … As Playboy’s Playmate of the Year with a film and a television career of increasing importance, her professional future was a bright one. But equally sad to us is the fact that her loss takes from us all a very special member of the Playboy family.”

That’s all. A dispassionate eulogy from which one might conclude that Miss Stratten died in her sleep of pneumonia. One, certainly, which masked the turmoil her death created within the Organization. During the morning hours after Stratten was found nude in a West Los Angeles apartment, her face blasted away by 12-gauge buckshot, editors scrambled to pull her photos from the upcoming October issue. It could not be done.

The issues were already run. So they pulled her ethereal blond image from the cover of the 1981 Playmate Calendar and promptly scrapped a Christmas promotion featuring her posed in the buff with Hefner. Other playmates, of course, have expired violently. Wilhelmina Rietveld took a massive overdose of barbiturates in 1973. Claudia Jennings known as “Queen of the B-Movies,” was crushed to death last fall in her Volkswagen convertible. Both caused grief and chagrin to the self-serious “family” of playmates whose aura does not admit the possibility of shaving nicks and bladder infections, let alone death.

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Photo Of The Day

Zsa 1

“Dahling”

“I don’t remember anyone’s name. How do you think the ‘Dahling’ thing got started?”

Believe it or not, Zsa Zsa Gabor is still alive. She turned 99 years old, on February 6th. She is still in her home in Bel Air. Her husband, Frederick Prinz van Anhalt, is only 72. This year marks the couple’s 30th wedding anniversary.

Frederick says that Zsa Zsa does have visitors from time to time.

It’s unclear how much Zsa Zsa understands, but at least she’s comfortable and well taken care of. It’s also unclear if she knows about the death of her only child, Francesca Hilton. Francesca fought with Frederick for years. Then she died just over a year ago– January 6, 2015– at age 67.

Zsa Zsa would barely recognize the world around her if she were really with it. All her friends are gone. Her famous sisters, Eva and Magda, are long gone, as their mother, Jolie Gabor.

The Diamonds, Money, Fur coats, the Brown Derby, good manners, they’re all gone, too. Maybe it’s best that she stay in bed.

Anyone who has lived to be almost 100 likely has a few outlandish tales to tell. At least, one hopes they have tales to tell; it’s simply too awful to think of someone living through ten decades without one adventure, one great passion, one scandal worthy of relating over and over again. What’s the point of living a long life, after all, if one can’t look back with some complacency and pleasure at the glorious, memorable mistakes one made along the way?

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Hacking fallout

When unethical so called’ journalists ‘ hack members of the public or work closely with hackers in order to gain such information the human cost is often forgotten.

Nicky Hager-Dirty Politics

Nicky Hager

 

I guess we should be grateful that Nicky Hager was so ‘ honest ‘ about where he obtained his information as at least it spared Cameron and I the grief that this poor couple were put through. The hacking of their phone conversations cost them their relationship and hurt their careers because as the media bit by bit revealed their private information they blamed each other for the leaks, as only the two of them knew the information. Additionally at work no one would trust them as they believed that they were blabbing work related information to the press.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Bob Adelman Andy Warhol at 47th Street Factory poses on notorious Factory red couch with Jackie Kennedy silkscreen. 1965, New York City.

Photo: Bob Adelman
Andy Warhol at 47th Street Factory poses on notorious Factory red couch with Jackie Kennedy silkscreen. 1965, New York City.

The Shot That Shattered The Velvet Underground

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Life Magazine Jayne Mansfield’s Pink Shag Master Bathroom

Photo: Life Magazine
Jayne Mansfield’s Pink Shag Master Bathroom

The Wild World of Jayne Mansfield

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