On June 6, the Hollywood Reporter published excerpts from transcripts of secret recordings of Rock Hudson discussing his homosexuality with his wife, Phyllis Gates. The recordings were made by private eye Fred Otash, who was hired by Phyllis Gates to plant eavesdropping devices in their home at 9151 Warbler Place [map] above the Sunset Strip. According to Hollywood Reporter:
On January 21, 1958, Rock Hudson’s wife confronted him, demanding to know if he was gay and grilling the actor about a Rorschach test he had taken. “You told me you saw thousands of butterflies and also snakes,” she said “[A therapist] told me in my analysis that butterflies mean femininity and snakes represent that [sic] male penis. I’m not condemning you, but it seems that as long as you recognize your problem, you would want to do something about it.” She also complained about “your great speed with me, sexually. Are you that fast with boys?”
“Well, it’s a physical conjunction [sic],” replied Rock, then 32. “Boys don’t fit. So, this is why it lasts longer.”
William Haines interior at Sunnylands
The meeting between Pres. Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping today at the presidential resort, Sunnylands, in Palm Springs has drawn attention to the acclaimed design of the estate, which was originally the winter home of Walter and Lenore Annenberg:
Designed by the prolific Los Angeles architect A. Quincy Jones and the decorator William Haines and finished in 1966, Sunnylands was inspired by Mayan ruins even as it accommodated elements of Midcentury Modernism and the Annenbergs’ own Asian antiquities and lacquered furniture.
On a choice site with views of the Chocolate Mountains, the house in Rancho Mirage has been a center for high-powered entertaining from its earliest days. Guests included Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon — seven current or former presidents have visited Sunnylands in all — along with Queen Elizabeth, Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra.
“Eye for Eye,” released on Dec. 22, 1918, was Alla Nazimova’s fourth film under her contract with Metro. It was based on the play L’Occident, by Henry Kistemaeckers, which had premiered in Paris on Nov. 4, 1913.
American Film Institute synopsis:
Nazimova offered a role in the play to her lifelong friend Edith Luckett, who in 1926 would become the mother of Nancy Reagan.
In 1946 and ’47, when Hollywood madam Brenda Allen ran her call-girl service out of her apartment at Casa Fedora (which is still standing at 861 S. Fedora St. [map]), she advertised in the Players Directory, which is published by AMPAS, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, producers of the Oscar’s. Check out the phone number for her service.
Production photo from location shooting in “The Seven Year Itch,” circa late September 1954
Here’s a production photo from “The Seven Year Itch” that catches the filming of one of the most iconic movie scenes of all time — the shot in which a blast of air from the subway grate lifts Marilyn Monroe’s skirt and makes it billow. The scene was filmed on location, at 586 Lexington Avenue in New York, in late September 1954, and even though it was after midnight by the time cameras rolled, about 5,000 locals were on-hand, watching from the sidelines when director Billy Wilder shouted “action” and an industrial fan installed in the grate raised Marilyn’s skirts, exposing what appeared to be her panties but was in fact a costume piece no more revealing than any 1950s’ bathing suit.
Nonetheless, among the onlookers was Marilyn’s husband of nine months, baseball great Joe DiMaggio — and what DiMaggio saw that night blinded him with a jealous rage. Later, in their hotel room, DiMaggio gave vent to his jealousy. He slapped and hit Marilyn, yelling and screaming at her so loud that guests in neighboring rooms called the front desk. On the set the next day, bruises on Marilyn’s shoulders had to be covered with heavy makeup.
Colonial House, 1416 Havenhurst Drive, West Hollywood
Robby Cress at Dear Old Hollywood has written a concise but comprehensive profile of Colonial House, a 1930 apartment building adjacent to the Sunset Strip that has been home to many stars over the years, but that may be best known as Bette Davis’ final home — she was living there when she died in Paris in 1989.
Colonial House was adjacent to the Garden of Allah Hotel, the former estate of Broadway superstar Alla Nazimova, which reopened under new management the same year that Colonial House was built. The Garden of Allah was the place to stay for the New York intelligentsia when they were slumming in the Movie Colony. Colonial House next door was probably a quieter and certainly more luxuriously appointed option.