Cinema: Thorpe v. Astor

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Meanwhile, jittery producers listened to frightening rumors, set afloat by Dr. Thorpe's lawyers, that the Astor diary listed six actors who Miss Astor considered the "greatest lovers" of the cinema industry, feared that millions of dollars worth of pictures now in production might be in jeopardy in a land which insists that its film stars be sexy but not immoral. Hollywood's most worried man was old Sam Goldwyn, in whose Dodsworth Miss Astor is currently cast as the expatriate seductress. Guarding Miss Astor from newshawks, the Goldwyn pressagents explained: "Mary is a trouper, but you never can tell. She might 'blow up' under pressure if we let people see her and then where would we be?"

Though the Press reported that "Diary-burning was now Hollywood's main concern," Miss Astor's colleagues displayed monumental discretion when asked to comment on her case. Said William Powell: "Excuse me!" Jack Oakie: "It's a nice day." Claudette Colbert: "Uh-huh . . . that's bad." Miss Astor's one stanch friend was Ruth Chatterton, also in Dodsworth. Miss Chatterton attended most sessions of the trial, told the Press: "I admire Miss Astor very much for her courage. I am for her all the way."

About the only person who seemed to take the Astor case calmly was Mrs. Kaufman, wife of the playwright, who is fiction editor of Harper's Bazaar. Interviewed in London last week she declared:

"I knew all about this case before it caught the limelight. ... I know Mary Astor well. My husband met her just about this time a year ago. I was in Honolulu and he was working in Hollywood. They had a flirtation. ... I cannot see any terrible harm in that. Is it unusual for a husband to flirt with an actress? We have been married 20 years. We are adults, leading our own lives in adult fashion.

"George is a good husband. I love him very much and he is in love with me. . . . Please do not ask me to discuss Miss Astor. She is a film actress and kept a diary. Very stupid, that. . . ."

*Last week Miss Taylor was discovered at the Westchester County, N. Y. estate of Thomas Franklyn ("Tommy") Manville Jr., asbestos heir, who is separated from his wife but plays public host to a beauteous blonde "secretary" and a beauteous brunette "French teacher," Last week Manville happily gibbered to news hawks: "Miss Taylor is no relation at all, ex cept that I am in love with her. . . . This isn't Utah. I am already married. But if I am ever divorced from my wife. ... I may marry Nancy Carroll." †With Norma Taylor.

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