Wednesday, 30 January 2013

15 Loves That I Love (part 1)

Hello pals and gals! This is a post I've been wanting to do about On-Screen couples for a while, but when my homegirl Nattie, over at In The Mood, did one on her favorite Off-Screen Couples, I decided to break the post down into two parts: One Off-Screen and one On-Screen. One thing you should know right off the bat is that I am not an incurable romantic. I understand that only love is, more often than not, not enough! Stories like the Arnazes, the Sinatras, couldn't go on despite the love that united them. If you read my blog with some level of regularity, you are probably familiar with these stories already, so I won't tell them in detail yet again, but I will share some anecdotes about each couple, that maybe you didn't know before :) Hope you enjoy!
 Off-screen love stories:

'Til not even death do us part

Everything about these two seemed to be taken right out of a novel: The hopeful dreaming teen and the big time star, the glamorous setting in which they met, the indestructible love that followed, the fairy-tale wedding, the sudden death and the lifelong remembrance. Here are some facts:
  • When they started going together, Bogie gave Betty a whistle-shaped gold bracelet, as a token of his affection and a reference to her line "You know how to whistle, don't you?" Bogie's ashes were buried with this bracelet. 
  • Howard Hawks, both jealous of their relationship and worried that their sentiments would impair the making of the movie, invited Bacall to his house one night. When she got there, he yelled that, if she remained involved with Bogart, he would send her to a B studio and that she should not be sacrificing her career for a man to whom she meant nothing. She confronted Bogie, in tears, and he said "You mean the world to me." 
  • At the start of their relationship, they would hide in his boat, her apartment and her car to be together. Their favorite thing to do was drive off into an empty street and stay in one of their cars, holding hands, talking, kissing and laughing together.
  • In moments of separation, they would write each other ardent love letters. Some of Bogie's famous quotes were: "Please, Baby, fence me in, for the world is too big and I don't like it without you.", "You are my last love and I shall love you until the day I die.", "You came into my arms and into my heart and now the only true love I have is yours" and "I will die before I let any harm come to you." All of them, including the last one, were true.
  • Greer Garson was the first person to alert Betty that Bogie might be ill. She said he was coughing too much and that he should see a doctor. Throughout his year-long illness, Betty was rock solid and didn't cry until the night of his death. She went to bed at night and in a few minutes, she was sobbing. "Please don't let anything happen to him! Please don't let him die! Let me go in his place!", she screamed herself to sleep. Two hours later, he was dead, at only 57. 

Clinging tight to the same thing

Spencer Tracy decided in 1932 that getting married to Louise Tracy was wrong and went to live in a separate house. Katharine Hepburn decided in 1933 that getting married at all was wrong and proceeded to an amicable divorce from Ludlow Smith. In 1940, they decided that being together would end a life of wrongs and finally give the two some rights. They dated in secret for 27 years, and lived together for 6 of them. They never married, because Kate was opposed to the idea and Spencer didn't want to go through the hassle of a divorce. Out of respect, Katharine remained silent about their affair until Louise's death in 1983.
  • Kate and Spencer's story resembles a tiny bit a teen flick of the current day: A girl who dates her favorite superstar. Spence was Kate's favorite actor, she had been a fan of his since 1930, and despite being an established, beloved actress herself, she nearly melted when she first saw him in person. (She's one of us, fangirls!)  Kate reports that she had been wanting to meet him since she saw him on The Last Mile, but when she got to know him, that admiration instantly turned to love. "I would've done anything for him."
  • Katharine's father was Dr. Thomas Norval Hepburn and was a specialist in sexually transmitted illnesses. Kathy is said to have asked him for a pill or an injection that she could pass as a vitamin, but that would actually lower Spencer's libido, because Kate was getting too tired from doing it every night. Can you imagine that?
  • Spence was famous for hitting on every single one of his co-stars and he was said to have had an affair with Myrna Loy during the filming of Whipsaw in 1935. When he saw Myrna again, now already dating Kate, he assured her nothing else would happen between them. "I have found the woman I want." Then, he is said to have enthusiastically listed Kate's qualities until he realized Myrna hadn't asked anything and was not looking to rekindle their affair.
  • When Kate and Spence were filming Keeper of the Flame in 1942, she found that her little "fling" with Spencer might just be becoming something stronger and stronger. She was horrified at the thought of falling in love and the implications those new feelings would bring into her life, which made her distracted on set in Spencer's presence. The screenplay writer realized it and confronted her about it. He got an apologetic letter: "For the first time in my life I am humbly - sweetly - desperately in love", she wrote.  
  • Other than those early statements, they were known for rarely expressing their love for each other this enthusiastically in public. So, when the filming of Guess Who's Coming To Dinner was finally completed in 1967, the cast and crew were surprised when he took her by the hand and kissed her in front of everyone. "If you ever have something that comes near what we have," he said, "then you will know love." He died 17 days later, and his public declaration of his affection was interpreted as an effort to say "this is the love of my life and I want you all to know that before it's too late."

His profane angel

They were extras in the same silent film in 1926 and didn't even meet. They starred in the same hit picture in 1932, but they were both married to other people. Fate seemed to want them to be together, since they were always found in the same circles. Their romance finally started to take off at a party in 1936. In 1939, during a break in the production of one of Gable's movies, they went off to marry. An all-around success: Lombard was the love of his life, and the movie was Gone With The Wind

  • Carole cried during the entire wedding ceremony. By the time she had to say "I do", her voice was so shaky she could barely get it out. Her crying made Gable so nervous he gave the minister the wedding ring before he asked for it. 
  • Before they got together, in 1936, Carole and Clark attended the same party. Carole, always the jokester, made a crack he found distasteful. They had a fight about it, but both remained in the party. Later, to make nice, Carole challenged him for a tennis game and they played until it was too dark to see. Gable was so absorbed by Lombard's company, that his date took another ride home and he didn't even notice. 
  • They called each other Ma and Pa. A quote attributed to Lombard is “I don’t give a damn about me. I want to take care of my pappy; give him everything he wants.”.
  • A quote attributed to Gable: “Ma, we’re lucky people." He is said to have said it while they were sitting in their ranch watching the sunset. Gable was very emotional. 
  • Lombard always wanted Gable to join the Air Force. On January 16th of 1942, Gable waited to greet his wife at the airport when he learned that a plane coming from Indiana had crashed into The Potosi Mountain and all occupants, among which his wife, were dead. Gable joined the air force a month later and, when he was honorably discharged, he made arrangements for the naming of the American battleship SS Carole Lombard. (She was arranged to appear in a movie but died before filming started. Joan Crawford, the star that took over, donated her entire salary to the Red Cross, the organization that found Lombard's body.)

Never just a title

They made millions laugh, when they themselves cried. Despite all the bumps along their road, they are still remembered as one of the most (if not THE most) passionate couple who ever set foot in the City of Angels. Their out-of-control type of love drove them crazy and made them want to kill each other sometimes, but they would kill for each other at any given time. Love them or hate them, their relationship had the quality of unforgettability. 

  • They eloped in November of 1940, only hours before Desi was supposed to go on stage on a Broadway show he was playing in. He called his director to justify his tardiness. "I've just been marrying Lucy". Everyone's excitement was so great that the director decided to announce the wedding to the audience and had them walk on the stage holding hands. The thousands of attendees cheered on as the happy couple smiled, numbed with bliss. 
  • They had a huge fight only months after moving into their ranch in Chattsworth and he walked out of the house, convinced his marriage was over. A couple of days later, as Lucy was staring out the window, she saw him walking around, as if debating whether or not to ring the doorbell. She ran outside and fell hopelessly into his arms. 
  • On their first date, he wanted to take her out dancing. He asked her if she knew the rumba. She did, but denied it because she wanted him to teach her all over again. It worked. 
  • When they were about to get divorced, in late 1959, they took a terrible trip to Europe, in a last effort to mend their broken hearts.They had one fight that was so horrible that it ended by her pointing a red fingernail to his face and saying "I wish you were dead!", then immediately bursting into tears. Neither ever forgot it. 
  • Two days after Desi's death, Lucy received a tribute on The Kennedy Center. Anticipating he'd be too sick to go, Desi wrote a letter to be read out loud to Lucy. He stated that "I Love Lucy was never just a title". A 74-year-old Lucy broke down in the audience. 


Their meeting was caught on camera: It was a scene from "Flesh and the Devil" (1926) and he had never seen her before. She was an exotic Swede in America for only a year, still having trouble speaking the language, but already enchanting every American she crossed paths with. He, the most handsome and glamorous star of his day, the one every man wanted to be and every woman wanted to have. In a way they were the most unexpected couple in silent cinema history, but in another way they were more meant to be than all of them combined. 

  • In a scene from "Flesh and the Devil", where she lay on the couch and he sat beside her while they kissed, it's reported that the passion and the reality with which they acted was so great that the director ordered that everyone else left the set and had dinner sent up to them a couple of hours later.
  • Garbo and Gilbert moved in together before they were ever married, when she was only 22. The 1920s society never budged: They were more modern than any other decade in the 20th Century. The couple ended up never marrying.
  • He did ask her to marry him in 1928, but at the last moment she got cold feet and never showed up. He was devastated. Louis B. Mayer, who happened to attend the ceremony, cracked "Why marry the  gal? Why don't you just f*ck her and let her go?" Gilbert, furious, punched him in the face and broke his glasses. That, rumor has it, and not his high-pitched voice, ruined John Gilbert's career. 
  • They used to call each other "Fleka" (Swedish slang for "pretty girl") and "Yacky" (the way she pronounced "Jack"). When she received the news of his untimely death in 1936, she was in the theater, but she proceeded to walk home crying quietly and remain there for the following week.
  • Garbo has led a life of almost seclusion since her retirement in 1941, and her relationships never lasted or became anything nearly as profound as what she had with Gilbert. Some say she had an endless well of feelings in her chest but it was locked inside a door only John had a key to. 

So long,


  1. I love your blog! Very interesting post. Thre are lots of facts I didn't know about these stars! :) x

  2. All of them are lovely, but besides Kate and Spence, Greta and John are my favorite couple. Just saw John in He who gets slaped, shot two years before he met Greta, and his sex-appeal, even in checkered pants, is amazing. Louis B. Mayer sure deserved that punch!

  3. I'm glad you shared all of this, what a lovely post. I loved reading about them all.

  4. Hello! Fantastic blog. Is there proof of that thing that happened on the set of GWCTD? Like who said that happened? And where'd you hear it? :)