HOLLYWOOD – Ava Gardner was one of the finest young actresses I ever met who brushed her own teeth.
After the success of Hooray for Henry it seemed the studio felt I should go on to play that same chinless wonder character again and again in whatever movie it was they happened to be shooting at the time. I scraped through the country house murder mystery The Butler Always Rings Thrice with dignity intact, but fell flat on my face in the western Apache Chaps.
I was woefully miscast as the chief of an Indian tribe with dreams of making it on Broadway, and my long suffering squaw was played with characteristic aplomb by the young Ava Gardner. We got on like a house on fire until I accidentally set fire to her house while attempting to demonstrate the correct way to remove the lint from wool. Matters were further complicated when I forgot to mention that I’d got her hairdresser pregnant. Darling Ava was furious, and rightly so.
Word of the tensions on set got back to the studio and I ended up on the receiving end of a rather curt memo from Jack Warner’s secretary’s secretary. I sent a note back saying it wasn’t me, it was Henry Fonda, and that bought me just enough time to make good my escape. The rest of my scenes were cut and I hid in Jimmy Durante’s garage until the heat died down.
It was there in a cardboard box on top of his washing machine that I discovered Janet Leigh, but that’s another story…
(Visited 79 times, 1 visits today)