Friday, May 25, 2012
Come On In, the Water's Fine!
So, to kick off the holiday in style, I give you a variety of celebrities either taking a dip or thinking about it (maybe the water is still too cold!) Ronnie Reagan seems to be having a bit of a time getting his then-wife Jane Wyman into the drink here! This post had originally been geared towards strictly pool ladders (a publicity photo staple for eons), but I ultimately expanded it to include others facets of the locale. I hope you enjoy!
Another star of their era, John Gilbert, is having fun sunning himself by the water. Gilbert, of course, is the silent movie actor (and one-time fiance of Greta Garbo) whose screen career didn't make the transition to sound. Depending on who you believe, he either had a voice that was deemed unsuitable or (more likely) was blackballed by an antagonized Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM, who disliked Gilbert considerably.
Ramon Novarro was another silent movie hero (he played Ben-Hur more than thirty years before the 1959 epic), but he was able to continue working when sound came in, just not to the same degree of success. A conflicted homosexual, he found it hard to play the Hollywood game. He eventually became a useful character actor until 1968 when he was horrifically murdered by two rent boys in search of (nonexistent) money in his house.
This next fellow is probably unknown to all but the most devout classic movie fans. Check out these period swimsuits! Grant Withers was a late-1920s and 1930s movie actor, the star of a few serials and later a busy character actor who figured into a bit of a scandal in 1930.
Twenty-six years old, he ran off to Yuma, Arizona with recent costar Loretta Young (then seventeen!) and the two eloped. He was not a Catholic, which caused her family to become apoplectic. The union was annulled by 1931. Ironically, their second movie together came out just as the marriage was being dissolved. The title of that movie? Too Young to Marry! (You see, Miss Loretta Young, long known for her devout attitude and demeanor, was really quite fast even from the start!)
Withers married at least three more times after that, but, as he aged, he developed agonizing back pain and also gained weight, which didn't help matters. Finally, in 1959 at age fifty-four, he took an overdose of barbiturates and ended his life. These two tragedies behind us, I will try to make the rest of this post less gloom and doom. We're supposed to be having fun!
Speaking of those old one-piece tank swimsuits, check out this shot of movie tough guy James Cagney; a rare shot of him in this sort of scenario.
Richard Greene, shown here, is best known for his starring role on the 1950s British TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood, a job he took out of financial need, but which made him a star. He was in his late thirties then, an earlier, burgeoning film career having been interrupted by WWII. Back in the day, though, he was quite a handsome devil with a strong jaw and piercing eyes.