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On Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Gloria Swanson Saga, Part Two

oh and BTW--great work. Even though I was familiar with most of this, I thought both pieces made for a great read. I really do especially like your thoughts on fashion. And yes, Sunset Boulevard is most definitely one of the best films ever made. Plus there's the whole thing about Erich Von Stroheim, a genius in his own right...

Posted on October 25, 2012 at 12:20 am 0

On Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Gloria Swanson Saga, Part Two

I used to work at the Harry Ransom Center for many years and have seen much of Swanson's material including items like the cigarette holder she used in Sunset Boulevard. I've also met Kenneth Anger, but that's another story for another time. Here, however, is a real stunner.

I researched another archive for an exhibit I curated years ago, the papers of Ross Russell, a Hollywood native who is mostly known in connection with Charlie Parker & the Bebop scene in LA. However, in the 1970s, Ross Russell got a contract to write a biography of Raymond Chandler. Long story short, Russell dug up so much dirt on Chandler (and Hollywood in general, as you'll soon see), that the Chandler estate insisted that the biography not see publication. Anyway, I read through roughly the first 1/4 of the bio (being a bit of a Chandler fan) and came across a story about a washed up silent film star who had her boyfriend, a struggling screenwriter, killed. The police found his body in her pool. The studio she had been on contract with urged the LAPD to hush it up, and the DA ended up pinning the murder on the "pool boy." I forget exactly what her name was, but the star's name was similar to Norma Desmond.

Posted on October 25, 2012 at 12:17 am 1