I made a startling discovery this weekend!
I am growing older, and so are my adored female Hollywood stars, whom I have worshipped lo' these many years. Getting on in years is common to us ordinary folk, but not the beauties of "Tinseltown."
Jennifer Jones was my first boyhood crush. She played a gorgeous hussy, along with Gregory Peck, in Duel in the Sun. (Incidentally, Gregory played a cad. Unusual casting.) She also starred in Ruby and she played a Eurasian beauty in the ethereal Love Is a Many Splendored Thing. She married Robert Walker, then David O. Selznick and, finally, Norton Simon. I followed her career as an intense admirer. I surmised she must be in her 80s today, so I realize, realistically, she must no longer be that beautiful brunette of my teen-age years.
What shook me this weekend was a viewing of the fine film Brideshead Revisited. Not too long go I made a confession to a dear friend. About 15 years ago, I confided to him that I had fallen hard for three blond, sexy British movie queens. Their names, if you must know, are Emma Thompson, Greta Scaachi and Natasha Richardson. Speaking with English accents was definitely part of the allure.
Emma Thompson's role in Brideshead was that of an autocratic matriarch who rules her children with an iron hand. The film covers 20 years before WWII and she ages terribly. Where has my heroine gone? She was so beautiful and sophisticated when playing Shakespeare or Jane Austen in Howard's End, Remains of the Day and Sense and Sensibility. Now she is a mature woman!
Next in Brideshead was the formerly gorgeous Greta Scaachi. Her face and striking blue eyes looked familiar but my beautiful wife, Lorraine, had to tell me that it was Greta. I had seen her in White Mischief, Presumed Innocent and The Player, but nothing recently. The Italian-born Greta plays an Italian woman and she has put on some weight.
Natasha Richardson, another blond, nubile heartthrob of mine, is a daughter of Tony Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave. I don't like her mother's politics but Natasha always seemed to be so warm and cuddly. She played inA Month in the Country, The White Countess in film , and in Anna Christie and Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire on the stage.
Somehow, these blond, intelligent British stars have given me pleasure. I am sorry they have aged along with me!