Hollywood: The Scold & the Sphinx

Hedda Hopper was the town's genial Scold, Buster Keaton its somber Sphinx; together, they were Hollywood past and present. Keaton's world—the gothic twilight of the silent movie, the pratfall, the Quixote on a treadmill—dimmed when the sound stage dawned. Hopper's world—of glamour, gossip and low jinks among the high-lifes—survived largely because she made it seem exciting even when it was dull. When TV nearly killed the movies, she helped rescue them with exposés and exclusives, chitchat and charm; to 30 million readers, Hedda Hopper was Celluloid City with hats. Last week, when...

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