Ginger Rogers is Not Looking at You

Who says tinsel town is a sinkhole of shallow narcissists?

In our never ending attempt to paint an accurate portrait of this thing called Hollywood, Seraphic Secret unveils The Wit and Wisdom of Hollywood, a new feature.

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“When two people love each other, they don’t look at each other, they look in the same direction.”

—Ginger Rogers

via: Old Hollywood

Ginger Rogers, real name: Virginia Katherine McMath, (July 16, 1911 – April 25, 1995) looked in the same direction as five husbands: Jack Pepper (1929–1931) Lew Ayres (1934–1941) Jack Briggs(1943–1949) Jacques Bergerac (1953–1957) and William Marshall (1961–1969). There were no children. Rogers, an only child, was closest to her mother Lela Rogers, a newspaper reporter, screenwriter and producer.

Rogers is best known for the ten musicals in which she starred with Fred Astaire, nine films for RKO and one for MGM.

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But my favorite Ginger Rogers movie is Billy Wilder’s first feature,The Major and the Minor, 1942, a delicious screwball comedy where she plays a tough “scalp massager”—code for escort—masquerading as an innocent teenager in a boy’s military academy. It’s a virtuoso performance that calls for sharp comic timing and an emotional vulnerabilty that is exquisitely expressed through wide eyes and the contours of her body.

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8 Comments

  1. Posted February 21, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    My mother worked for Bennett Serf and Random House Books in the 50′s. She had met Ginger Rogers a number of times through Mr. Serf.
    She always commented on how gracious of a person she was.

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  2. Posted February 19, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    David:
    Personally, I think a marriage of the wisdom of C.S. Lewis and Ginger Rogers makes for a fine, um, dance.

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  3. Posted February 19, 2010 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    C S Lewis begs to disagree with Ginger…he defined “looking in the same direction” as *friendship*, and “looking at each other” as *love*….’course, there’s no reason why they can’t coexist.

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  4. Miranda Rose Smith
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    Dear Robert: Thanks. Shabbat Shalom. When I was 11, I saw Ginger Rogers on Broadway, in Hello Dolly! During the big scene where she dances in the restaurant with the waiters, the shoulder strap on her dress broke. Holding up her shoulder strap, she lead that line of dancing waiters. When Horace Vandergelder entered, she ad libbed “I wish you were a lady’s maid,” and turned her back to him so he could fasten it.

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  5. Robert J. Avrech
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Miranda:
    I should have specified: Billy Wilder’s first film as director.
    He directed one film in France, but we don’t count French production as a real film:-)

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  6. Robert J. Avrech
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Bill:
    I’m happy that you’re able to pick up new information form Seraphic Secret. Ginger Rogers also won the Academy Award for Kitty Foyle, 1940. She was quite an actress

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. Miranda Rose Smith
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Dear Robert: Billy Wilder did quite a few films before THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR.

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  8. Bill Brandt
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I am constantly learning new things on your websitge Robert. Previously I thought of Rogers only as Fred Astair’s dance partner.
    Between you and my friend Larry I am getting a cinematic education.
    We watched the 1934 movie “Death Takes A Holiday”
    I can see why you enjoy so many classic movies.
    The really good ones are timeless.

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