In 1918 Theda Bara was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Leading in popularity and box office appeal was Mary Pickford. Charlie Chaplin came second. And not far behind these two giants of the silver screen, Theda Bara.
She was the hottest sex symbol to hit the motion picture screen since, well, since the flickers started flickering. Bara was The Vamp, the sexually insatiable woman, the lethal seductress who sucks the life out of a man, then abandons him, leaving only chaos and destruction in her wake. Theda Bara was the original femme fatale.
This was, of course, a carefully created image.
Ricardo Cortez (1900-1977) was a handsome and talented leading man whose image, in the silent era, was that of a hot-blooded Latin lover.
In truth, his name was Jacob Krantz, the son of a kosher butcher, born and raised in the mean streets of New York’s Lower East Side.
John Wayne’s commitment to Conservative values cemented his support of Israel.
Indeed, there was a time when even Hollywood liberals supported Israel publicly, and through generous charitable contributions. Tragically, classic liberalism is dead, replaced by a postmodern Democrat party—progressivism—that is radically left and infused with the classic Jew-hatred of Marxist-Lenninism.
In Scott Eyman’s compulsively readable biography of John Wayne, we glimpse Wayne’s activism on behalf of the Jewish state.
In 1988, Ava Gardner sat down with British author Peter Evans to write a Hollywood memoir. But Evans quickly discovered that Ava was a hopeless alcoholic who, when drunk, told juicy tinsel town tales. But when Ava sobered up, she ordered Evans not to use any of “the good” material.
Ava knew where all the bodies were buried. But too many of her Hollywood crowd were still alive. Settling scores would not settle anything for Ava. The aging star was in desperate need of money. In the end, Ava abandoned the project. Rumor says that Frank Sinatra paid Ava not to write the book.
Ava died just two years later. Evans went to his grave with his Ava Gardner book unpublished. But his notes have finally seen the light of day as Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations. Ava was a natural storyteller with a great eye for the telling detail. Her rich store of memories could have made for an invaluable piece of Hollywood history. However, what remains of those fragmented sessions is compelling and compulsively readable.