Saturday, April 03, 2010

Mae West: Greta Garbo

On one unusual evening, MAE WEST was invited to dinner — — along with Greta Garbo [18 September 1905 — 15 April 1990]. There was plenty of food but, alas, no conversation.
• • According to Hollywood producer William Frye, who wrote about this a decade ago for Vanity Fair [April 2000 issue], this is how the stars did not exactly sparkle and shine that evening.
• • William Frye writes: Greta Garbo and Gayelord Hauser rarely went out in the evening, but one of their infrequent excursions intrigued me: George Cukor invited them to his house for dinner with Mae West and one of her musclemen. The two fabled ladies had never met.
• • I went out to the guesthouse as they were preparing to leave. Garbo was in beige slacks and a beige sweater. “What are you planning to wear tonight?” I asked, knowing perfectly well that she was planning to wear what she had on.
• • “I am going like this,” she said.
• • “Put on your black slacks and sweater,” I said.
• • “Why should I do that?”
• • “Because Miss West is going to be in white. I’ve never been at dinner with her when she hasn’t worn white. Put on your black slacks, black turtleneck, and black patent-leather shoes.”
• • She took my advice, and the simplicity of the black clothes, combined with her wonderful hair, which was just beginning to turn gray, produced a stunning image.
• • I said, “Promise me tomorrow you’ll give me a blow-by-blow account of what happens.” She promised.
• • The next night she arrived as usual for her "Guttysark." We talked about this and that, but Garbo didn’t mention Mae West. Finally, exasperated, I said, “Well, what did you talk about with Miss West?”
• • “Oh,” she said, “I didn’t talk. During dinner, all Miss West discussed was monkeys. Do you know she used to have monkeys? I don’t know anything about monkeys, so I didn’t talk.”
• • “What about after dinner?” I asked. “Surely she didn’t talk about monkeys after dinner, too?”
• • “No. After dinner all she talked about was musclemen. I don’t know anything about musclemen, so I didn’t talk then either. I was home at 10:30, and I didn’t say a word the whole evening.” ...
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Article: "Classic Hollywood: The Garbo Next Door"
• • Byline: William Frye
• • Published in: Vanity Fair Magazine
• • Published on: April 2000 edition

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