MOVIES / The Adventures of Robin Hood

The Best Candids Ever II

By popular demand (well, ok, one commenter suggested it, but I want to do it anyway so there), here is Episode II of The Best Candids Ever, and again it’s featuring the amazing Adventures of Robin Hood. This time it’s the Baz and Olivia de Havilland.

It’s a natural pair with the first photo really as again, the personalities and relationships displayed by the subjects could almost be designed to undercut their personas (personae?) in the movie. They might look like Gisbourne and Maid Marian and be dressed like Gisbourne and Maid Marian – but wait a minute — WTF?…

…This Marian is leaning and laughing and clearly flirting her ass off, the shameless hussy. And Gisbourne is obviously enjoying every minute of it. She’s just put her hand up to his face, and he – I’m feeling a little outraged here people – is kissing her palm!

I think what we need to ask is – does Robin know this is going on? Shouldn’t somebody tell him!!!?

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199 thoughts on “The Best Candids Ever II

  1. Basil was quite a flirt! Did you see this one where he’s flirting with Marlene Dietrich? They weren’t appearing in the same film, so what was he doing on the set of her film? What would Ouida say?

  2. I have been a Basil fan for literally ever and have never seen either of these wonderful photos before. Thank you Marcia, I somehow missed it on your candids page.

      • I was scouting the web and finally downloaded the section from his autobiography about his collapse during J.B., and Basil is deliberately vague about what caused it. He was clearly hospitalized and concerned that his family first learned of it via the newspapers! Then, as I was searching the web, I found a site by a Basil enthusiast who suggested that Basil was deliberately unclear about this incident because he was concerned that if it was publicized that he had a heart attack or stroke, he might have trouble getting work. This sounds very likely, since the autobiography was written in 1962, when Basil’s work opportunities were drying up. I feel as if I’m becoming a bit like Sherlock Holmes myself!

        By the way, I am also interested in what Cynthia died of; the romantic in me says of a broken heart, since she was devoted to her father and never married — it sounds as if Basil was the opposite of the father he played in The Heiress. I also wonder whether there was some undisclosed genetic illness; she was adopted.

        • yes,so sad and she died 2 yrs after basil.michael druxmans book said it was an undisclosed illness.but, i had read just what someone else said on this site.she died of complications of anemia.i have a picture from when they adopted her.ouidas holding her and basil is looking at her so adoringly.
          i also read she used to accompany him on his one man shows and look after him.i also read he said one time he was seated and signing autographs.he looked over and saw cynthia was crossing his name off of his stationary and giving out her own autographs.how cute is that,if its true?
          i wonder if she still lived at home before she died?
          i also wondered about what michael druxman said in his book.newspapers reported that the actor left an estate valued between 10 and 20 thousand dollars,with assests divided equally between his wife and son.
          why was not cynthia mentioned?

          • Awww…that’s a cute story! Where did you see the photo? I would love to see it, can the webmaster post it? I think Basil must have been such a loving father and Ouida a loving mother too.

  3. You might want to take a look at the Adventures of Robin Hood home movies on youtube. Baz is standing next to Olivia in at least 2 shots, one with his arm around her. They look very happy. Robert Matzen in is book Errol and Olivia claims that Baz was very attentive and courtly to her, and Errol was jealous. Don’t know if it’s true. Baz was supposed to be the perfect faithful husband, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a charming flirt.

    • I am sure Basil was faithful to Ouida, simply because if not something would have surfaced by now, and he was obviously devoted to her. Has anyone seen the story posted on IMDB by a person who talked with Ouida after Basil’s death? She told such a touching story of his last day. I think they were soulmates.

      • I had to go to IMDB to read that after your post. It’s really lovely, and I can imagine the timbre of his voice as he spoke to her.

        Much other interesting information in those posts. She was a spender, and when he died, he had less than $10,000 in the bank.

      • i agree.every thing i read points to him being faithfull to his wife.i think,for whatever reason,he was a flirt.michael druxman spoke to ouida about the day he died and mentioned it in his book.seems he died hearing some music..so sad in so many ways.but,at least he went at home and did not suffer.i read he saw a dr. the day before.i wondered what for?

          • I’m always shocked to see how he suddenly ages a lot at around the early sixties. Does anyone know if there was a heart attack or any other reason?

            • No, he was supposed to be in good health as far as I know. Carradine said he was skipping about like a 30 yr old on the set of his last movie, but he said to Carradine he thought the altitude was killing him. They were filming in Mexico I believe at around 10,000 feet?

                • “He was hopping and jumping and leaping around like a man of 30. But at the end of the day he was tired – because of the altitude, a mile high there. At dinner one night he said ‘John, I’ll never do this again.’ And I said ‘What do you mean?’ And he said, ‘Work at this altitude.’ That’s what killed him. He was dead three months later.”

                  All the above from John Carradine: The Films by Tom Weaver

                  • I’m an ER physician and my first guess on reading this is – thrombosis due to altitude sickness. Prolonged exposure to high altitude causes the blood to thicken and more easily form clots. He could have formed a clot while he was there which dislodged and traveled to his brain, or heart or even his pulmonary system, resulting in sudden death.

                    I doubt he suffered primary heart disease, he’s not a subject you’d expect to find it in, though he was a smoker. He was never corpulent, and he was physically active, and at his age if he had been suffering significant atherosclerosis it would likely have manifested in symptoms.

                    I think Carradine was likely correct and the altitude killed him.

                    • yep,agree i have a friend who is an er dr.and a classic movie fan .clots do that.any guess is good.i am still curious about the 3 month span before he died.he must of had some specific complaints.he went to a dr.the day before he died.perhaps if we knew what his complaints were there would be a stonger case. i still think the possibility for underlying conditions were there.
                      we do know,from his autobiography,in 1960 he had a near syncopal episode on a stage in ohio.earlier that day he complained of awakening with dizzines and was insecure on his feet.the dizziness recurred at intervals.he felt despondent and ill.he drank a triple whiskey without effect.he went on stage and became more and more unsteady on his legs.he found it difficult to articulate.they took him to a catholic hospital.
                      there was never mentioned the cause.the rumor was he had a stroke.sounds like a possibility or tia.do you think?
                      tho without seeing any hospital records or tests who can say.
                      he also admiited to eating alot of rich foods.i can see thet lipid panel being a little off!

            • I’m just putting this out there so please don’t anyone get offended, but has it ever been suggested he might have had a drug habit? It would explain him getting so thin as he did from time to time and also his money problems. Sorry if it’s inappropriate and don’t mean any disrespect.

              • I doubt very much if he had drug problems. People do age — after all, he was making films well into his 70s! And for a man of his age, for most of his life, he was usually in tip-top condition — he was in his late 40s when making Robin Hood and Mark of Zorro, with those brilliant fencing scenes, and in his 60s during The Court Jester, which had a lot of physical work. As far as being thin, it looks as if that was his natural body type. If you want to see evidence of drug use in an actor, look at Errol Flynn’s TV appearances on What’s Your Line vs. Basil’s in I’ve Got a Secret. Basil is sharp, witty, and on his game; Errol is barely coherent. As for the money angle, it’s well-known and documented that Ouida enjoyed lavish parties and had expensive tastes. I’m sure speaking engagements, TV appearances, and roles in low-budget movies didn’t bring in the same kind of income as being a well-known and well-paid film actor during Hollywood’s Golden Age. Because Basil was not a “contract” player, he was well compensated for his film roles, then; there is even a rumor that one of the reasons Flynn resented him was that Rathbone’s salary for RH was the same as Flynn’s as a Warner contract player!

                Finally, has anyone considered the fact that Basil was a smoker as a factor in his death and aging process? Smoking is an aging habit, and I have to admit there are plenty of photos of Baz with a ciggie in his hand or hanging out of his mouth. Let’s face it, people don’t live forever — 75 is a ripe old age for the 1960s. Look at all the big male stars who kicked the bucket before hitting 60!

                Sorry for ranting a bit about one of my idols!

                • Yes he was always lean, but always fit and strong looking too, but there is a time in the mid-40s when he suddenly looks THIN, underweight and a bit worn and tired. Hasn’t anyone noticed it but me? Check out the difference between the early Holmes movies and the ones filmed in about 1945-6. Then a few years later when he does The Court Jester he looks better again; he’s older but he’s not underweight looking any more.

                  • i see what you mean.in say the mad dr.he is the heaviest i have seen him.1945-46 facial features definately more hawk-like.
                    please donnot take this as basil insult.
                    i have a studio picture from 1960 and he is still that handsome devil.

            • learning alot from this sight.did not know about john carradine.yes,in his last few pictures he looked so frail.his cause of death was listed as a heart attack.this is one of the leading listings on a death certificate when there is no autopsy.i am a nurse and that is why i was questioning his symptoms.
              his wife did not state that he had any complaints that i read of.
              i read he collapsed on stage in ohio sometime in the early 60s?
              the cause was listed as dehydration.right before he went on stage he was not feeling well and drank a large whiskey.
              a little bit of knowledge is dangerous.i could be wrong,but two guesses are an underlying cardiac arrythmia or critical aortic stenosis.the sudden irregular heart beat would cause a passing out if not converted.the severe narrowing of the valve would cause you to suddenly drop over.the high alltitude would make any condition he had worse.
              though a acute heart attack is a possibility.
              sorry to ramble on but,i love a mystery.

              • There is an incident when he collapsed and was hospitalized when he was in Archibald Macleish’s J.B. I don’t know if a cause was ever diagnosed. That was in the last 1950s. Of course, back in the day, they weren’t doing angiograms, angioplasties, C-Reactive blood level tests for heart risk, etc. That incident could have been a mild heart attack or the beginnings of heart disease.

                • yes,it could actually have been an mi.i was wondering about his complaints.what made him go to his dr.?sadly,they did not have stents yet.but i think the first coronary bypass was in 1960 in a new york hospital.
                  he could have had alot of medical problems besides.his smoking was a big risk.he could have even been poisoned.

                  • You mean the collapse in J.B. could have been from food poisoning and dehydration? I know BR writes about the incident in his autobiography, but I was only able to download part of the incident online. I don’t have a hard copy of the book. Maybe our gracious webhost can elucidate, since she’s read his autobiography.

                    I guess because Bogart, Cooper, Gable, Colman, and others of that era passed at or around 60, I don’t really see anything unnatural or mysterious about a man that age, even a relatively “fit” one, having health problems. After all, most people smoked back then and probably ate more meat and drank more hard liquor than most of us do now!

                    • i am sorry.i meant it could have been alot of things.nurses play dr.alot and they shoud not.
                      today to us, in a hospital, 75 isnt that old anymore
                      getting to an er right away can make a difference then and now.

            • you have no idea.i fear going into more details, and providing pictures, would cause me banishment from this wonderful site.
              i will say those tight zorro pants,tall black leather boots and riding crop{sorry,that was a slip}were from his own personal wardrobe.this i can prove.when we met it was 1939.he was wearing them the nite we met and zorro was not made until 1940.

        • But that doesn’t jibe with anything people say about him. Everyone says he was devoted to Ouida and they were married for forty years

          • all joking aside,i have decided to take basils word for it.he rights of her soo sweetly in chapter 5 of his book in and out of character.
            reading the preface of that same book he says:my wife and i have been married for 36 yrs.no 2 strong-minded,healthy ,normal individuals live together that long in a romantic paradise! there have been times when clashes of personality, and human folly have temporarily disrupted our lives.but because we happen to be the public eye,does this entile us-or you -dear reader, to an expose of our weaknesses and problems.
            but, on the flip side he writes in chapter one,titled war,of his attempts and desires to get that young french girl into bed.this was when he was in france during the war.he was married and had a young son at the time.
            he does start out with the story by saying….the urgency of self discipline being somewhat relaxed,one fell into a pattern of mild indulgences.
            later in the story he says :i made violent love to marie without once touching her-while she would sit looking ,smiling with those limpid eyes,and the drumming on the table with her fingers being intermingled with periods of nibbling on something that looked like a salami.
            what do you think of him?
            there is ,in all fairness,more to the stories.i simply cannot give it all here.
            perhaps he was just like us all,only human.

            • Of course, the behavior with Marie and the French girl is that of a young soldier, not a middle-aged married man. Soldiers having affairs in wartime were hardly unusual — especially with the knowledge they were facing death at anytime.

          • She wasn’t famous. She was a struggling actress who also sang in a nightclub to make ends meet. She was 22 in 1939. The daughter reported that they were very much in love. Her mom left Hollywood in 1942 because (1) Basil decided to stay with Ouida, and (2) the acting career wasn’t working out. The mother confessed this affair to her daughter on her deathbed, and made her promise to destroy all letters and photos! So, unfortunately, there is no proof. But, I wonder, what would she have to gain by making this up? (btw, she’s not claiming to be Basil’s daughter. She was born years later.)

        • Do you know her mother’s name? It might be possible to trace her. I suppose it doesn’t matter but I have never thought of Basil as a womanizer.

          • No, don’t know her name. So maybe it’s not true. I don’t know. As to why he didn’t leave his wife, that’s a mystery. It sounds as though Ouida was a controlling b****. Maybe he wanted to avoid scandal. They had the baby then. Perhaps he felt they should stay together for her sake.

    • Perhaps Flynn was jealous of Rathbone’s interest in deHavilland. If Bret is correct and Flynn and Rathbone were sexually involved and at the same tim both men were attracted to de Havilland then there must have been hormones ricocheting off the walls

      • I don’t believe the rumors that either Flynn or Rathbone were homosexual. I do think they were both attracted to Olivia deHavilland. I read somewhere that because she was the only young and attractive female on the set (besides Lili Damita who would drop by to check on errant hubby Flynn), that everyone made quite a fuss over her.

        • No, it’s such a hetero POV. I’d bet my glitter thong and pair of poodles that neither Flynn nor Ratters were FODs

      • I don’t wish to be rude but you are coming off as a tad obsessed with this subject. ;-)

        EDIT by NeveR; this is addressed to CLaude Rains

  4. yes,tx.i checked them. out.also remember seeing a picturre of him flirting with one of costars from confession on a couch. i think you hit it with him being a charming flirt. thats how norma shearer basically described him. i did not know about errol flynn being jealous of him.i read of errol and olivia almost having an affair .so,i think your probably right.

      • I read comments they made about each other after they made The Last of Mrs. Cheyney.I think basically he said if he was not so happily married he could go for her.They just were flirting in my opinion.
        I always wondered why they did not make some other movies together.
        They,irving and Norma,socialized with the Rathbones.She also said Basil helped her out with her speech in the film.I am not sure but,that may have been her first talking picture as well as his.

  5. Does anyone know anything about Cynthia Rathbone, Basil’s adopted daughter? She died so tragically young an I have been unable to find any record of why.

  6. I found her obituary in the New York Times (June 5, 1969). It mentions that she was assistant art director of the Hockaday Advertising Agency and says that she “died yesterday in Roosevelt Hospital of acute anemia”. It is very brief.

    • I am way older than 95 percent of the people on this site and can tell you that Hockaday Associates was a very well-known and respected Ad agency in New York when I was working there. Run by Margaret Hockaday LaFarge – represented some of the biggest names such as Jantzen, Capezio, etc. Maybe someone can find a person who worked with Cynthia at that agency. Just a thought.

  7. FAO Embechtel -

    Where are you based? I work in Brooklyn,

    In re. Rathbone’s potential syncope, if his speech was slurred then that would be consistent with a TIA but, unfortunately, also with many other things, from simple dehydration aggravated by alcohol through undiagnosed diabtetes up to basilar artery stenosis or carotid stenosis. He was a smoker so these last two are all theoretically possible. But just one quite minor episode of syncope isn’t enough to infer serious organic disease. And the length of time between it and the fatal episode also makes it less likely to have been a symptom of major pathology.

    It would be interesting to try and track down any other hints or leads. Someone mentioned a drug habit?

    You’re correct about “heart attack” or similar being generic and implying no investigation was done, which might be expected in a case of sudden death unless predisposing factors were known.

    Come to think of it, has anyone seen his death certificate? “Heart attack” may have been just the version given out to the press, and not necessarily the true story.

    This is pretty interesting. I’m glad I stumbled in here.

  8. live in pa.
    so right.could be so much.big problem too is you do not have the patient to examine.
    i noticed from his films and photos wt.loss 1962-1963.the un diagnosed diabetes could fit that.but,he lived almost 5 years beyond this.
    he continued to work up until the day before he died.
    he continued to travel doing his one man show.
    i found it was ouida who had him go see his dr.the day before he died.he came home looking very tired .the dr.told him there was nothing to be concerned about. i am also quoting his wife:basil was very sad,as a friend of his had died.we were in the living room of our apartment discussing it,when he suddenly said you know ,i am not afraid to die,but i just wish it did not have to be.we talked for a few more minutes and he seemed to cheer up a bit.then,he went into his den,because he wanted to play a record he just purchased.about 5 minutes later,i went into the room to ask him something and he was gone.this is in michael druxmans book’
    you were right it was the obit.that listed the cause was a heart attack.
    she basically says the same thing in a letter to a friend named betty from california.but,she does say,you know he never said he was ill.
    i have never read or heard of him using drugs.he was known to go with nigel bruce drinking sometimes after a radio show.
    i think ,after re-reading this,its possible basils family md could have found something wrong.he may have suggested further tests and basil refused.he went home depressed and told ouida theres nothing to worry about.
    basil has that feeling of impending doom.he goes into that den,and,whatever the cause,that massive mi hits.
    and its goodnight sweet prince.
    see ya.

    • Hi, I don’t want to be brutal about Ouida, but you really can’t believe a word that woman ever said. She basically re-invented herself, changed her name, lied about where she was born. She was an arch manipulator and con artist. I believe she tricked and manipulated Basil for most of their marriage and the only way I’d ever believe anything she said was if I saw it myself or there was documented proof. Neither is true in this case, so go figure.

      No one knows how Basil died. There was no autopsy. Ouida was asked if she wanted one but refused. I think it was a bit too much unvarnished reality for her. She didn’t like reality on many ways. I am pretty sure she invented that story because she wanted to believe it and it sounded good. That was the tenet by which she lived. The “truth” to her was what she wanted herself and others to believe.

      • You talk as if you knew Ouida Rathbone personally. May I ask if you did or if you are just inferring? If the latter you are being a bit strong and incredibly judgmental.

      • Whoa, someone obviously has fantasies of being in her place! C’mon it’s not Ouida Rathbone’s fault she got him and you were born too late ;-)

        Edit by NeveR to remove ad hom (it’s been ever so friendly here thus far, let’s keep it that way :-)

      • Well, I always had the impression Ouida was quite a strong and managing woman and that Basil had beak marks on him most of their marriage! But I have never heard any accusation that she was anything but devoted to him. Se was born in Spain of Russian parentage wasn’t she? That’s as I have always heard it. In what sense can she be accused of reinventing herself? I agree with the moderator that this is uncalled for, especially as the woman is not able to defend herself. Not cricket at all.

        • Her Wiki page:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouida_Bergère

          “She was reportedly born on a railroad train en route to Madrid, Spain and raised in Europe before coming to America as a young girl. [1] In reality, she was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, the daughter of Stephen W. and Ida Branch, both natives of Tennessee. Her father was a merchant who would later work as a railroad timekeeper. By the time of the taking of the 1900 Federal Census she was living with her brother’s family in Searcy as Eunie Branch.”

          I suppose this is was HRD is referring to. ???

          • That being said, let’s look at the context here — theater and Hollywood; in fact, it was even encouraged. Many of those folks could be said to have “reinivented” themselves. Look at Cary Grant! If you watch him in “To Catch a Thief”, who would have thought this was a Cockney kid with a mentally ill mother who was brought up in the slums. Lots of people are married to “controlling” spouses; that doesn’t mean the controlling partner did the other one in! In fact, some of them were actors, for instance, Alan Ladd was married to an older woman who was once an actress, and he died a lot earlier than Basil! This isn’t an Agatha Christie story, after all, unless someone wants to make it one! For a 75-year-old man to have died of a heart attack in 1967 is not exactly an unusual event. Most males were lucky to make it that long in those days. My own thesis — Rathbone had had a TIA or mild cardiac episode in 1960, which he refers to in veiled language in is autobiography, and may have had some exacerbation of his condition due to the level of activity in the film he had finished working on before his death. In fact, could the trip to see Rodion have been delayed because of Basil’s health, not Ouida’s,but they were trying to downplay it because Basil wanted to keep working. As far as the rather romantic narrative Ouida relates regarding his death, is this also an invention? It could be, but it also could be an enhancement of memory narrative, where one tends to embellish or romanticize an important event in one’s life relating to someone one loves; she was a writer of romances and drama, after all.

              • I don’t know if you’ve missed anything, but it seems as if the whole tenor about this discussion of Rathbone’s death and Ouida’s honesty and character seems to be tinged with this air of suspicion, as if there was something hidden and possibly some deception on her part. My own opinion is that he died of a heart attack and possibly he may have had some underlying health issues in the last few years before his death, but I’m just basing my opinion on the “official” sources, such as the biographical and autobiographical materials, and maybe a bit of Holmesian deduction. I didn’t know the Rathbone family, etc. as some of these bloggers apparently do. As to their relationship — who am I to cast aspersions on someone’s character or relationship? Perhaps she was controlling, but lots of people are controlling in relationships at times; that doesn’t mean she didn’t love him deeply, and if he was charming and even a bit flirtatious, what reasonably attractive actor wouldn’t be when surrounded by beautiful co-stars? This is a couple who stayed together almost 40 years, through the good times and the leaner times at the end, and who adopted a child together.

                • I did not mean to imply any kind of foul play. That’s ridiculous. I meant what I said which was that Ouida would have made up a story about his death just as she made up stories about everything. That sentimental end-of-movie bull crap is just the kind of thing she would have served up and got Cynthia to go along with. But let’s not even get started on Cynthia.

                  I can see it upsets you. I won’t go into it any further

                  • It totally doesn’t upset me, I wanna know more.But then I have no sensitivty. How did you know Basil? Was he as nice as you get the impression? Any cool stories? And please get started on Cynthia. She is a huge mystery for Basil fans.

                  • i did not think you were saying his death was due to foul play .i was not suggesting foul play either .my questions were due to my being in the health field.when a patient is brought into a hospital unconscious you question things. i worked in an er.you hope a family member is with them to give you background info etc.
                    i was also not suggesting the need for an autopsy in his case.my point is if there was an autopsy done the exact cause may have been there.i try to keep an open mind.
                    i aso think basil was probably in good hands with his family md,and treated well by that hospital in ohio.
                    i hope you continue blogging here.

      • It’s not uncommon for relatives to oppose an autopsy. They are distressed at the image of the loved one being as they see it mutilated and it can be hard to make them understand why it’s necessary. Since you know the family, have you seen the death certificate?

        • what most likely would have happened in new york in basils case?i mean with him dying at home.would his famliy md come to the house to pronounce him and sign the death cirtificate.does the coroner have to be notified to clear the body also?

          • Normally speaking a case of unexplained or unattended or sudden death would be automatically referred to the coroner’s office. Even if a family md was on the scene post mortem it wouldn’t be considered appropriate for him to sign a certificate unless there were known existing conditions he had been treating, but even then you would expect it to be referred to the coroner. A glimpse of the death certificate would clear a lot of mysteries up.

        • No, I didn’t see the death certificate. Neither did any of his family so far as I know. Obviously there is one and presumably it can be accessed. Why don’t you dig it out.

      • Perhaps there was another reason she re-invented herself? Like something bad happened in her past or whatever? :-/

  9. I did know Ouida slightly, and I knew Basil too a little better. My parents knew them both very well. I could fill a book with what I and they witnessed of her bizarre behavior and multiple deceptions. One example would be telling the press she had engineered a reconciliation between Basil and his son. This was a complete LIE. She had done everything she could to keep Basil from communicating with his son and only reluctantly agreed when he said he would go to the UK alone if she didn’t want to go with him. Before that she had suddenly told everyone that a trip abroad might kill her because she had a weak heart! The weak heart disappeared when Basil said he would go and she could stay at home. She made a full recovery and went with him and not a word was ever heard about the weak heart again. My father tried to talk to Basil about her behavior but he would always make excuses for her. Well, there, you can make of that as you please.

      • i do not have the article or book available to prove what i said.i do recall whatever book it was in had a picture of the 3 of them together.they were leaning over a stone{i think}fence.basil and rodion are holding a little,same looking dog. ouida is standing in the middle.

        p.s. just thought of checking marcia jessens site,basil rathbone — master of stage and screen.yep ,the picture was there.go to the candid section page four.down on the bottom right.
        also recall a picture of rodion sitting with his feet propped up reading a newspaper.he was living with basil and ouida in their home in california at the time.basil helped him get started in the movies.i believe he went by the name of john rodion.
        i know he was with basil,briefly in two films.the tower of london.the very beginning he is beheaded,thru basils doing.
        he was a young recruit in dawn patrol.

        • The photo you are talking about was taken by the publicity photographer during the filming of a movie Basil made in England. This was the time I am talking about when Ouida claimed she had a weak heart, but the weak heart suddenly mended itself when she knew her husband was going to the UK in any case and she was suddenly well enough to go with him. Basil went to see his son whom he hadn’t seen in a number of years and she went along and then told everyone she had fixed up a reunion. It made Basil’s son furious but Basil would only say she means no harm let it be. In truth there wasn’t a reunion as such. Basil had seen his son quite frequently until the time he began living in America, and that was mostly down to Ouida who was American (not Russian or Spanish). Rodion, Basil’s son, lived with them in Hollywood for a year and he used to tell stories of what he witnessed of Ouida’s conduct. I can’t possibly go into it all here. He would say “I think that woman is insane.”

          • thank you.it is hard for me to recall every thing i have read or seen about this lovely man.i have been a good fan for many years.
            i have given away many,many books and articles over the years after i read them.impossibe to keep everything,would not be enough room in the house.
            i also heard stories about basil from my dad but,sadly he is deceased now.

          • Thanks for the clarification — I didn’t realize that the “reconciliation” was in an earlier time frame — the 1930s. Did Basil and Rodion remain in contact throughout his life, until his death? Also, if you know anyone who has married someone who has children from a previous marriage, sometimes those relationships can be a bit contentious!

            • After Rodion married and moved out of Basil’s house he saw less and less of his father. Rodion would try to keep contact but Ouida obviously didn’t like it and made it difficult and when there were grandchildren this was even more.

              I’d like to say that from what I knew Basil was a remarkable man, very warm and funny and full of knowledge and generosity. He was interested in people and people liked him very easily. Just a very good and unusual human being. His wife by contrast is in my memory a cold blank, remote, faintly hostile, impatient to get away and with something about her that just made it impossible for children like us to talk to her. I knew her also very very slightly as an adult, but nothing really changed that impression.

              • Could Ouida have been an introvert, someone who was more comfortable in a “closed circle”? If she was a writer, there could have been that aspect to her personality. Although if she were more introverted, all those Hollywood parties wouldn’t make sense. On the other hand, all those lavish trappings to create event are not the same as a more intimate event, like a family dinner. One can create an “event” without having to really be close to or interact with the people present. Or did she throw the parties for him because they were something he enjoyed? It sounds as if he was really more of a “social animal.”

              • Are you related to Basil by any chance?? It seems really sad if he couldn’t see his grandchildren. Why would Ouida do that though? She obviously adored him so she’d want him to be happy. I mean is it possible it was him who didn’t want to see them? Sorry if that’s a bit harsh :-(

          • I’m afraid I’m partly responsible for perpetuating this lie. I also remember reading about Ouida orchestrating a reunion between Rodion and Basil, so I put it on the Biography page of basilrathbone.net. Since I didn’t know any of them personally, my main sources of information are published books and magazine articles. It never occurred to me that Basil or Ouida would lie to the press. I will correct the Biography page! HRD (and anyone else), if you see information on basilrathbone.net that you know is incorrect, please email me! (gisbourne@basilrathbone.net) I especially value information from the people who knew Basil. We all want the truth, right?

            • As long as it’s validated information… I’m also a college instructor and I’m constantly warning students to be cautious about believing unsubstantiated information, particularly stuff that’s on the web. With the Web, there is so much that is rumor or hearsay.

            • I have definitely read somewhere that Rathbone made the same claim so I don’t think you should blame yourself. I wonder if Rodion kept his children away from Rathbone perhaps because he was aware of his sexual ambiguity?

              • Where is the documentation of Rathbone’s “sexual ambiguity”? I haven’t seen any source material on this, as I have on other actors, such as Olivier.

                  • That’s a relief. I was beginning to feel a bit like the Joan Cusack character at the end of the movie “In and Out”, abandoned at the altar, crying in the middle of a bar, “Is everybody gay?”

                • I’ve already given my sources as being David Bret’s biography of Errol Flynn “Satan’s Angel”. The story that Flynn was sexually involved with Rathbone during the making of Robin Hood was told to Bret by Marlene Dietrich. De Havilland also heavily hinted something of the kind in an interview a few years ago, when she said Flynn would sometimes get very “attached” to older men like Rathbone and seek their approval.

                  • Yes, but you never actually quote it or even offer a page number for reference. If it’s not too graphic why don’t you actually quote what Bret says so we can evaluate the “source” you’re claiming?

                  • You mean David Bret’s scurrilous collection of hearsay and rumors? Many Flynn experts consider it one of the worst biographies. If you want a good bio of Flynn, go to Earl Conrad or Tony Thomas, or more recently Robert Matzen’s two books. Also, couldn’t Errol have been looking for a father figure? He adored his dad, by all accounts. BTW, Matzen’s book states that Flynn and Rathbone were friendly until The Adventures of Robin Hood, when Rathbone was especially attentive to Flynn.

                    • I agree about Bret’s book, but Matzen isn’t exactly reliable either. He basically makes the story of the romance between Olivia and Errol out of whole cloth. Olivia always has denied any relationship. I think Matzen simply wants there to have been one and so says there was.

                    • I think Matzen’s book is well-documented about Flynn and deHavilland’s history and the day-to-day activities related to making films. I think it is well-known that deHavilland and Flynn were attracted to each other, but it’s always been mysterious whether anything “happened” between them. Matzen claims something did, but again, that is more of a surmise than a documented fact. I enjoyed Matzen’s book because it had fabulous photographs and a lot of material about deHavilland’s character and early career. I find her a fascinating person but someone about whose private life not a great deal is known, while so many of Flynn’s antics and foibles were public and even notorioous. Perhaps I find Rathbone interesting for the same reason as deHavilland — not a great deal is known about him, and even his own autobiography is guarded about many aspects of his life.

                    • “Matzen’s book states that Flynn and Rathbone were friendly until The Adventures of Robin Hood, when Rathbone was especially attentive to Flynn.”

                      Good lord this will gladden Claude’s old heart! ;-) I am trusting the name “Flynn” was a slip for “de Havilland”?

                    • Uh-Oh, I meant deHavilland! Now I am in hot water! Apparently, the actors got along during Dawn Patrol, but not so well during Robin Hood. Also, Matzen says Flynn liked to spend a lot of time in the character actors’ trailers drinking. For instance, Alan Hale and Guinn Williams (Dodge City) were drinking buddies — could that be the thing about “older men”? By the way, I followed Matzen’s blog on Errol and Olivia, which is very interesting. He had talked about writing a bio on Basil Rathbone. Who knows, perhaps something is in the works.

                  • I imagine Dietrich having a laugh when Bret left. I watched that documentary of her by Maximilian Schell, who is dumbfounded that Dietrich calls herself an only child when she had a sister one year older. She is such a diva in that film, you never know why she does it, has she lost her memory, is she taking the mickey…
                    But on the subject of men and affection, this: http://artofmanliness.com/2012/07/29/bosom-buddies-a-photo-history-of-male-affection/ went round Twitter some time last week, it is very interesting and cheerful.

              • What sexual ambiguity? To anyone who knew him that is a ludicrous description. Basil was very open minded for his time and very non-judgmental of sexual orientation, but he was definitely heterosexual. His first wife described him as a compulsive womaniser in his youth, and she too was completely open to the possibility of sexual ambiguity. If he’d been gay or bisexual she would have said so amongst family and friends. It’s just that Basil was one of the least sexually ambiguous men you could know. Trust me on this! He adored women sexually and emotionally.

                • Matzen’s book is as much speculation as Bret’s maybe more. It’s a fantasy of many men who admire Flynn that he had a relationship with de Havilland and de Havilland has almost been ford to pretend it’s true. It’s pretty clear there was no relationship. Flynn’s womanizing (and Rathbone’s in early life if HRD is telling the truth) is a classic symptom of suppressed homosexuality. It’s pure homophobia that makes this a controversy

                  • This whole Flynn and De Havilland thing is hype. There’s more evidence de Havilland had an affair with Rathbone than with Flynn, and there’s NO evidence she had an affair with Rathbone. She wasn’t having affairs with either man, they were doing each other.

                  • If compulsive womanizing is a symptom of repressed homosexuality, then 3/4 of Hollywood’s males, as well as numerous other pubic figures, must have been repressed homosexuals. That would mean that Tiger Woods is gay and so is Charlie Sheen.

                    • That’s a reasonable point, but doesn’t invalidate mine. Has anyone here read Bret’s book or just the summaries of it by homophobic commenters?

                • What sexual ambiguity? Excuse me? Have you seen The Mad Doctor? Do you know about Rathbone’s long friendship with Martin Kosleck? Do you know he went to jail for being in a play about homosexuality? Have you even watched Robin Hood or Dawn Patrol? If Rathbone had been a woman everyone would be saying “my God look at the heat, they must have been rutting like weasels off set”, but because it’s two guys everyone pretends they don’t see it.

                  • Has anyone who knew Basil or Flynn made any suggestions of homosexuality between them or separately? I don’t mean that “he said” crap, I mean written, documented suggestions? I don’t think so, but maybe Claude will be able to show some.

                    • see your point,but,something like this i would want a confession from either party involved.even then it would not be absolute proof .dont ya think?
                      i feel i do not have the right to call anyone here a liar, and as far as remmember,i did not.
                      the only thing we can all say for sure is these wonderfull actors,gay or not ,are all dead.

                  • Right, so then do you look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf6GrjzUn8A and conclude that Nigel Bruce was his secret flame? Those smiles! That invasion of personal space! All that touching, totally unwarranted in Conan Doyle’s original! The reason must be the irrespressible sexual tension between these two men surfacing! Opposites attract? Or, conversely, two Brits finding solace in each other’s arms on an American filmset? Argh.

                    • Yeah, but if you look it’s usually Rathbone initiating the physical contact. Watch any Holmes clip and see if he touches the women in it anything like as much as he is touching Watson. He treats the women very offly. He carries Lupino in The Adventures as if she was a sack of coal and dumps her very discourteously on the couch. As Holmes and in most other roles he seems more comfortable with men than with women

                  • yes,claude agree about relationship portrayed in mad dr.,between basil and martin i was not aware of their long friendship . i think,without checking, he was in persuit to algiers.
                    dispite this ,i think his relationship with ellen drew is hot.he seems to be more into it with her .

                    concerning robin hood.do you remmeber them sitting at that table eating in the begiining?claude rains is soo good! i believe- he digs baz for being so taken with maid marian he can barely say hello or speak.baz looks at him with death intentions.
                    i am not seeing anything in dawn patrol but,tension of the war.
                    basil is cracking up over his position.errol and david niven do not understand and resent baz.then they each step into his shoes and get the jest of his problems!
                    i must admit- i am not a professional film student,critic etc.
                    so,please comment on what you see,that i am not.

                • i am simply a fan of basil rathbones .i can offer no proof.i never met him.but,in my humble opinion he is heteorsexual.i heard once about the errol flynn rumor, never anything else.so,i highly doubt it.
                  my interest was always basil, not ouidas, but,after HRDs statements i sought out more on her.
                  i just rceived a book from a friend{who i asked to check this site out},titled joan fontain-no bed of roses.
                  he told me to read the index pages first on ouida.page 117 and118 they are good.she refers to ouida as the self-proclaimed queen of hollywood.she spent money like a hollwood producer on her parties.
                  also greer garson tried to beg off on a party .she was exausted from making mrs.miniver.imperiously ouida replied:YOU WIIL COME.YOU WILL SIT AT THE TABLE THRU THE SOUP COURSE.
                  THEN YOU MAY LEAVE.I HAVE YOUR NAME EMBROIDERED IN PINK SATIN RIBBON ON THE LACE CLOTH AT YOUR PLACE.
                  greer went
                  she also talks of ouidas war relief party being a disaster.this was the fake snow party,a washout and a specticle.taken with a sudden attack of flu ,she stayed home in bed.obviously the war relief would see little revenue .she charged a hundred dollars a plate.the papers extolled hershowmanship.
                  sounds to me,she was trying to be vivien leigh.but,i read{viv} had impecible taste.she was quite the hostess.
                  thanks for reading.

                    • the only equipment i have is a laptop.i would be willing to drive to nearest town ,copy,and fax to you.do you have a fax?
                      other option is:i checked and book is on amazon for 3 bucks.
                      there also is a partial quote of miss fontains on pages 178-179 of hollywood raj she refers to the queen bit.

                • Satan’s Angel’s author clearly misinterprets Flynn and Rathbone.Baz loved when someone gave out to him.They became friends,he and Flynn,both Geminis.Olivia was shown hugging Baz in a home movie of Robin Hood and they did indeed look quite friendly.There is a picture of her looking totally at ease dancing with Baz at some party.I love the picture of her caressing his face and he kissing her palm.I see no sign of improper behavior in the three main characters on screen,tho Flynn had a hard time keeping it in his pants,even embarassing himself en flagrante in front of visiting family from Tasmania in RH.

  10. I want to say I am finding the conversation here very interesting, I never knew there were so many controversies over Basil. I did always wonder though why he married a woman so plain and so much older than himself. Mother fixation?

      • I found her obituary in The Times (“Miss Marion Foreman”, September 11, 1976. She was born in 1887.). “A ready and endearing actress (in her day applauded as Juliet and Ophelia), she was also an expert fencer.”

        • Ah, so we know what those two had in common – acting and fencing! Interesting, the age difference between Basil and Marion is almost the same as between Basil and Ouida. Of course, when he married Marion, he was a very young man, around 22; when he married Ouida, he was 34. A lot can happen to a man, especially one who has been to war, between those two ages! About Ouida’s “plainnesss”, some of the earlier images show her to be rather plump but pretty. Also, I remember seeing a write-up stating she was a redhead, so perhaps black and white photos don’t do her complexion justice. As to Basil’s handsomeness, I think we’re all a bit biased on this site, myself included! Remember Dorothy Parker called him two profiles pasted together! He probably was not considered that handsome compared to other actors of the day.

          • Well, I don’t think it ever makes sense to compare couples by their relative looks because attraction never works that simply, but I also think it’s a little off base to say Baz wasn’t considered handsome compared to other actors of the day. After he left the Shakespeare company he pretty much traded on being a matinee idol and almost every part he got in NYC was playing some kind of romantic lover or seducer. It might have been better for his career if he hadn’t been pretty enough to do that tbh. :-)

            • But on stage, part of the beauty, I’m sure was his speaking voice. In film, there were many actors who were much more physically beautiful. You’re right, though. Even today, there are “mismatched” famous couples – for instance, Hugh Jackman is much more gorgeous than his wife, and they’ve been together many years.

              • I disagree. I think his physical beauty was considerable and often greater than the leading men he was playing villains with (Errol excepted, he was godlike). His body was a hundred times better than Tyrone Powers for example, and don’t get me started on Rathbone compared to Bill Powell, whom I like a lot but was not in Rathbone’s league. Laurence Olivier said Rathbone was one of the most beautiful men he ever saw, Oh heck, I hope that doesn’t start off Claude Rains :-)

                  • I guess I must be basing my opinion on people’s responses when I first developed my crush on Baz at around age 13 — What do you see in that guy compared to …….? By the way, Laurence Olivier in his youth was probably one of the most beautiful men ever — Heathliff, wow! Baz would have made a good Heathcliff, too, as well as a great Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre.

                    Here’s another musing of mine — why didn’t Basil get the part of Dr. Sloper in the film of The Heiress? My own speculation is that because Basil had played parts where Olivia deHavilland was a love interest, the audience might not have accepted him as her father; also, there might have been some sexual chemistry that would have come across between them. Reportedly, Olivia hated Ralph Richardson who was a notorious scene stealer, but the animosity actually helped her in her role in the film.

                    • Teenage girls especially, but everyone to extent see the package not the person. They are presented with a “leading man” who everyone in the film acts to as if handsome and gorgeous and they think “oh he is handsome and gorgeous” even if he is not so much, and another man who is acted to in the film as a villain or not as a romantic role and they think “oh he is not handsome” even if he is much more than the “leading man”. I think this is it with Basil for those who think in this very surface way which is many more than is comfortable. English is not my first language so I am hoping this makes sense!

                  • Hm this is interesting. Rathbone was certainly handsome enough to play leading men and he did play leading men for a while. The assigning of leading man has never been about handsomeness alone though,it also has to do with accessibility or some kind of populism. I think why Rathbone was cast so much as a villain was to do with a certain elitism in his personality that transferred indelibly to his screen persona, a sort of “who cares what YOU think?” which made people feel a bit looked down upon, apart from those of us who possibly shared his feelings and liked the elite feeling.

                    • I don’t get what you mean. basil played leading men in the twenties, thirties and even the forties sometimes. I don’t think he was elitist at all.

                    • Yes, if you’re thinking about Robin Hood, Mark of Zorro, even earlier stuff like the Tale of Two Cities, where he is a nobleman, usually Basil is playing the elite upper class or defender of that class against some sort of rebellion, with the hero being the rebel. He definitely has that patrician appearance and bone structure.

          • Basil is the smart woman’s sex on legs. He’s not just lithe and physical he’s also all about the brain. So after you spend the night with him he can do the crossword with you in the morning ;-)

    • I always wondered that too and he goes on about her in his biography like she was a goddess! It’s sweet in a way but also annoying because hello she wasn’t all that Basil! And like you could have had a lot better.

      • i must admit [after reading all things on this site} my thoughts about basils bio and the relationship has been left with doubts.i wanted,maybe,to believe the stories about them.but,ya never know unless you were around,or lived with them.
        i would like to quote from joan fontains book,pages 241-242.by new years the lease on the park avenue apartment had expired,and the girls and i had moved into the basil rathbone apartment on central park west {i took it to mean she sublet it while the BRs were away in 1955}.then page 242:”i had paid the rent in advance for 6 months,but i had stayed only 3.before leaving i had the windows washed,the floors waxed,the entire apartment thoroughly cleaned.then i phoned the delighted rathbones to say they were welcome to move back in.when i reached california and fordyce,i found waiting for me on my desk a bill from the rathbones for two missing dish towels and a chipped glassed tabletop which had been damaged before i moved in.i paid the bill.”
        i am not totally sure of joan.could this be reliable?this is my first book on anything about her.

        edit by Neve to show up the quotes in italics

        edits reversed by request

        • What is the book called again? Maybe I am showing bias (I do try to stay a bit neutral here!) but I am betting it wasn’t Baz sent her that bill!

          • the book is NO BED OF ROSES. joan fontaine autobiography.
            joan says from the rathbones.who knows! since ouida was in charge ,it could have been just her sending it!
            you are scaring me here! who can prove which one sent the bill!
            all these people are dead!
            perhaps i am taking you the wrong way!perhaps you are taking me the wrong way also.

            • i was aware of her rivalry with her sister , olivia .
              my feeling is: women who are strong willed and aggresive in life,or their jobs are referred to as witches.if this is a man he is admired and praised for the same qualities and also promoted.
              my point is:i was gathering information about everyones thoughts here.taking them into consideration as a possibilty and feeling,wow,this could very well be!
              but, the bottom line is we will never know what we want to know.
              in the end,as a fan.i still will watch and search for their memorbilia and movies.
              i could give a rats ass about ouida.joan does refer to devoted basil in her book.i will not quote the rest because obviously you would not believe me anyway.
              let me ask you this:what would i have to gain?

              • I totally believe you, what does she say about Ouida and Basil, I love the fact they were married for like forty years and were still in love!

              • “I was aware of her rivalry with her sister , olivia .
                my feeling is: women who are strong willed and aggresive in life,or their jobs are referred to as witches.if this is a man he is admired and praised for the same qualities and also promoted.”

                That is so true. We have to beware of condeming women for being like men, women have to fight hard too and they are judged differently and were even more in Joan’s day. Same goes for Ouida too I guess.

                • I guess some of us “take sides” on the whole Joan Olivia rival. I’m afraid I’m biased towards Olivia. Perhaps I shouldn’t have implied the “b” word. Please don’t be offended embechtel!

              • Joan says something directly about Basil in the book? What? I know they made a film, “Frenchman’s Creek” together, and it had this great battle scene at the end between Joan and Baz.

                • I haven’t read “Bed of Roses” but I read somewhere else that Joan Fontaine hated “Frenchman’s Creek”! Yet, I love it, and I think she’s wonderful in it. Basil, too, of course!

                  • It’s considered kind of a trashy film compared to Rebecca or Suspicion, but it is great fun to watch, especially with Basil, who is a nasty guy who gets his comeuppance!

                    • Talking about that film, I was very entertained to find this in Daphne du Maurier’s book about her youth, “Myself When Young”:
                      “…upon an earlier piece of pink blotting-paper there is the drawing of a heart, pierced by an arrow, and the words ‘I love Basil’ scribbled upon it. This, I know very well, refers to the actor Basil Rathbone, who had performed as the hero in the adaptation of Grandpapa’s novel Peter Ibbetson, staged some months before. It was time, I must have told myself, that I too found an idol or ‘crush’ … and Basil Rathbone, dark and handsome, made a fine candidate, especially when he helped us at the hoopla stall … Passion withered when he appeared – I think at a garden party D and M gave at Cannon Hall – wearing a straw boater, and though I tried hard to flog the dying embers … I didn’t succeed. I wonder what I should have said had I known that over twenty years later he would act the part of wicked Lord Rockingham in the film adaptation of one of my own novels, Frenchman’s Creek, and in pursuit of the heroine, Dona, crash down a staircase to his death? Possibly ‘The Alternative’, had it ever been written, might have given him a finer role.”

                  • That “rape” scene in Frenchman’s Creek is very advanced for it s time, sweaty and bloody (and kinda hot), how did they get all that blood past the censor?

                    • I did some reading on that movie, and apparently, the movie had a good deal of problems with the censors — not so much the “rape,” which is thwarted, but that Dona has an extramarital affair that she is not “punished ” for. Also, there is the Restoration era morality, or lack thereof, where the oafish husband “pimps” his attractive wife to his noble friends and colleagues.

                  • I never liked the look of Joan Fontaine as much as Olivia, and she and Collier Young were sleeping together in Collier’s bed while he was still married to Ida Lupino! Ida used to come home to find blond hairs on her pillow. Yea, classy Joan.

                    • I had heard that Joan had many lovers. I can’t understand why — she was married to Brian Aherne, who I thought was pretty gorgeous.

        • i forgot to thank you for correcting my comments. i noticed you did not take the trouble to do that to anyone else.
          i feel so special now.
          i should have not been so sloppy!and also forgot you were a would-be-writer.
          i have a job and sometimes i hurry and am lax.
          i was not thinking that i had to stand on formailty!
          as curt cobain said ,wrote ALL APOLOGIES!

          • Hey wait a minute – I didn’t “correct” your comments I italicized the quotes from the book to make them stand out. I’ll take them away again if you would prefer? But could you try not to be rude please, it only spoils things for other people.

        • I am simillarly blown away by the infomation here. I am guessing it isn’t all verified though. Does anyone know who this HRD chick/guy is? Sorry, don’t mean to speak out of turn, but is it a relative of Basil’s

      • Love isn’t about looks. She probably had a beautiful soul and that was why he fell in love with her and was faithful to her his entire life. I think the story of his last day is really romantic. Every woman wants to be loved like that by a man as lovely as Basil.

  11. I think people are being unbelievably harsh to Ouida who was Basil’s beloved wife! if we are fans of his we have to respect her as much as he did, because that is what he would want . Read this taken from his IMDB page and say that Ouida deserve the cruel things being said that I think are a disgrace

    “–Yes, it is all sadly true, I too knew the Rathbones, since I was a kid in the 1950′s. They had lived at 135 Central Park West, (the Langham Building) and lster,around the corner on West 72nd St. I saw Ouida many times as a teenager, after I got my driver’s license. She confided to me , that Cynthia died after Basil’s passing, and she had suffered a nervous breakdown, and in one letter, stated “I live a very very lonely shut in life, and miss my darling Basil terribly.” I had not seen her for a short time, and when I called to invite her to luncheon with us, (she referred to my girlfriend as “your lovely wife” anytime we were able to dine together. and was so saddened to see that she had passed away.) She commented upon the hip injury at times. From what I understand, Basil left an estate valued at between 10 and 20 thousand dollars, divided equally between Rodion and Ouida. I have a few copies of the estate auction, mainly books, photos of happier times and various papers. Ouida gave me quite a few of their personal photos and such. I miss them both severely, as I spent many summers as neighbors (Dad worked for GM and we usually stayed in NYC during the summer months.) I still, at almost 59 years old get teary eyed when I dwell too much upon them…… God love them all. Rodion died a few years back, and the grand daughters all live in the NY area at last count, one even had a restaurant called Basil and Herb. Thanks for your collective admiration for the Great Man and Grand Lady.
    Greg–”

    edited by NeveR to emphasise the quotation

    • If you mean HRD Then I think he/she was just talking about their own experience, and how do we know different? I think we all know Basil was devoted to his wife and she must have been pretty special to deserve that but it don’t stop people having their own opinions

    • Even though this is an old post, I’d like to THANK Alyssia for bringing Greg’s wonderful story to the blog! (We usually don’t agree on stuff, but when it comes to feeling compassion, love, and empathy for Basil and Ouida, we DO.) I only just came-upon it accidentally, due to my checking-out Seth’s recent comment posted below…thank-you TOO Seth, for your inadvertent “help” in finding this! :)

      I mentioned in a previous comment several weeks ago, how terribly DEVISTATING it must have been for Ouida to bury her husband and daughter SO closely together…for MANY years now, I’ve thought she lived such a LONELY, empty life when they were gone— especially being in her 80′s, and with money running-out. It’s nice to read Greg’s truly caring account of his friendship with Ouida, which agrees with what I felt she was going through…how very SAD it all was. Because of her existing grief over Basil’s loss, she didn’t last many more years after young Cynthia’s passing, which had only COMPOUNDED it. Her hip-injury probably played a part in her death, as well. (My boyfriend’s mom—who was my buddy—ALSO died only months after HER hip-injury at the age of 88, in 2010…it usually causes an already lonely elderly-person’s depression to intensify— especially when they are so used to being alone and independent for a such a LONG time, and they just give-up fighting while they’re still in rehabilitation.) :(

      I’ve prayed each day for the “Little Rathbone Family” (as I like to call them), ever since I first read about their deaths on Marcia’s basilrathbone.net site, in the late 1990s. Hopefully, if I EVER get the chance to go to New York someday, I can visit their graves, and the apartment building where they used to live— to say “goodbye” to the wonderful friends I didn’t get to have. I’ll bet Cynthia died because her illness had FURTHER weakened her and progressed more quickly, after she’d gone through the emotional-stress of losing her dad only 2 years before. (She was her daddy’s girl, and they were SO close…you can see how she just BEAMS when they’re together in photos!) :)

      As I’ve said before in a post a while back, I like to picture them all together (along with Rodion, Basil’s bro Johnny and his sis Bea’ and their parents, too)— young and healthy again, smiling and waving from heaven; letting me know that they’re reunited and all okay now…and that they DON’T want me to be sad for them, anymore. They were a very sweet, loving, and happy family, and still ARE. Boy, they sure had the CUTEST SMILES!! (Especially in that pic of Baz and his siblings as KIDS…awwww…TOO precious!) :)

      • It was totally devastating!! The only thing that kept Ouida going was her strong faith in God and her knowledge she would see her beloved Basil again in the next life. And she knew he was still there with her watching over her and loving her as much as ever.

        • I believe that, too. During WWI, his mom’s and brother’s souls looked-after him and protected him from getting killed— no matter HOW badly he tried to commit “line-of-fire” suicide (when he was SO deeply depressed, and had survivor’s guilt). They KNEW it wasn’t time for him to come “home” yet, and that he had a LOT more to do with his life. When Basil died, he made SURE his wife and daughter were blessed with enough food and money (from friends and relatives and such) to keep them going, when their funds were low. His primary duty was ALWAYS to his family and their needs, in life— why not also in death? And, he probably hung-around when they needed him to “be there”, to comfort them emotionally during that time, as well. It must have been very DIFFICULT for Basil to die so suddenly, not knowing HOW he was going to take care of his family; or even himself— to deal with grieving his OWN loss, and being able to let-go of this world so he could move-on to the next. :(

          I’m kind-of psychic/spiritually-sensitive, and in-touch with whom I call “my dead-pals” in heaven (through dreams, and telepathically, and junk like that)…as well as with people I DON’T know who are in haunted places, and haven’t gone “home” yet. Occasionally, they “let me know” stuff. Today for Basil’s “re-birth-day”, I’ll go on his “Death” blog-page and talk a little about my experiences with him. :)

  12. In my opinion they had a good marriage. They always look happy together. Is it known why they adopted? Could Ouida not have children?

  13. Pingback: NancyNoodle

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