The lives of Hollywood stars are too frequently tragic tales of absent fathers, cruelly ambitious mothers, and madly dysfunctional families.
Mexican-American actress, Lupe Velez (July 18, 1908 – December 13, 1944) “The Mexican Spitfire” was a beautiful, passionate, emotionally fragile woman best known for a series of 1930’s B movies in which she plays a delightfully scatter-brained character who speaks broken English punctuated by rapid fire bursts of Spanish.
In 1924 while shooting a film in New York, actress Patsy Ruth Miller (1904-1995) developed a close friendship with author F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda. Frequently, Fitzgerald and Patsy Ruth would go out for dinner while Zelda remained home pleading fatigue. Patsy Ruth eventually realized that Zelda’s fatigue was acute alcoholism.
Observes Patsy Ruth:
It didn’t seem to me that Scott drank more than most of the men I knew. He seemed intoxicated on words, and sometimes we would sit, our after-dinner coffee growing cold, while Scott tried to make me see some fine point of writing, or understand why an emotion had been ill or well portrayed. But often I had the feeling that he was unsure of himself as a writer, that he was afraid of that one day he’d have nothing left to say, and I also had the impression that Zelda did little to build his confidence, even sometimes, in a perverse way, seemed to enjoy his battle with self-doubt.
Fitzgerald’s agonies of self-doubt are common among writers. The fear of having nothing left to say will, inevitably, be paralyzing. And a non-supportive spouse can act as a fatal poison to a vulnerable writer. Most witnesses observe that Fitzgerald was a heavy drinker as a student in Princeton. There is no doubt that by the time he landed in Hollywood he was a hopeless drunk. It’s a measure of how common was alcoholism in early Hollywood that Patsy Ruth didn’t think Fitzgerald’s intake was all that unusual.
They called her, the American Venus.
She lived in a Hollywood mansion with a staff of servants. Her chauffeur drove a limited edition limousine. But she ended her days in a trailer park in Ventura, California.
The operative word is effortless.
In truth, Chaplin’s style was only achieved through the superlative tailoring of the English Savile Row firm, Anderson & Sheppard.
As the new book, Anderson & Sheppard: A Style is Born, edited by Graydon Carter and Cullen Murphy, makes clear, the venerable British tailors shunned actors and other show-biz types as vulgarians. But soon enough, the vast wealth of Hollywood’s elite broke down the walls of class snobbery and a who’s who of male Hollywood royalty—more apt to pay their bills than the increasingly impoverished British aristocracy—became life-long Anderson & Sheppard clients.
Here are just a few of the Hollywood males who beat a path to No. 30 Savile Row for the painstaking, detailed craftmanship of this exclusive firm.