BIOGRAPHY, general biography, Relationships
Comments 81

Madame X and leaving Los Angeles

There’s been a bit of discussion in the comments about BR’s seemingly insane decision to leave Hollywood in 1946. It was, unquestionably, another step in his slow career-suicide. He alienated his dear friend Nigel Bruce, made an enemy of his own agent, the ultra-powerful Lew Wasserman, who, according to one rumor, may never have forgiven him, and turned his back on his best source of income.

But there was another factor that has only recently come to light which does help explain why he took such a crazy step. I mean his allusively referred to relationship with “Madame X” the unnamed woman who was his lover in the 1940s and to whom he wrote the letters recently published on basilrathbone.net.

Madam X left behind a detailed transcript of her personal memories of Basil and it tells a very painful story of their eventual break-up. Here it is…

“…I could see he was…losing his joy, losing hope. But he didn’t give in or whine and he didn’t like anyone to know what pain he was in. Even with people he loved and friends. He always kept his private life very very private. He was so English like that. But I saw what was happening. It…it was so hard to watch what was happening.
trusted. His close very very private. He was happening. It…it

[did you think you should try to do something?]

Oh sure yes, but what? What?… We’d get into arguments…. Oh just pointless debates…Why? Why? WHY? Why did you do this? Why did you just keep passively, passively drifting on, why did you stand by and let her find Cynthia and bring her home when you never wanted a child? And if you hadn’t. If you just hadn’t done that! You’d have some options now. Maybe we could be happy. Look what you’ve done… And it was cruel of me because he knew what he’d done to us…and I…I…. There was nothing to do.

After he died Vincent Price…he…we talked quite a lot. He was… you know, one of the undesirable chums. And he just talked to me about…I wasn’t the only one who got a call like mine asking…“please stay away.” He said, “That woman’s taken over his death now as well as his life.” And I said, “Yes she has, but there’s nothing you can do.” I mean…by then it didn’t matter. Or so I thought. He was gone. I don’t know, maybe it did. Maybe someone should have tried to take him back.

But he…Vincent said to me, “X you should have fought to keep him.” You know back then when we… And I thought, “My God, should I? Should I?” But how? He’d just be pulled in two if someone didn’t let go. And if I’d made some stand…if…I’d driven him to leave her and she’d…you know…done something crazy or…his kid had lost him…it just…it would have destroyed him. And I …I thought it would have been for me not him I was doing that.

So…I didn’t fight to keep him….He was saying all along – after she took back that she was going to divorce him “it has to stop, you have to find someone who’s free to be with you.” …I would have taken things the way they were…better that than no have him in my life…but he wanted to believe I could be ok without him. He didn’t want to think he’d wrecked my life. So…

It was hard…the situation was so hard. Being detailed off by the man you love to find happiness with some random other man. As if…if I don’t find this happiness I’m failing. Didn’t he see what he was asking of me. I said to him “I can’t just transform into some woman who doesn’t care about you just to make it easier.” Oh we’d fight so much then. So much. We were both going slightly mad with the strain. You know there was no future. He felt terrible for keeping me from having a future. I felt terrible for not being able to be happy with some man who wasn’t him, because I knew if I could…I knew it would…at least it would be an end. We’d break it off for a few hours or days, but…it was too hard. It was too hard to do. So you know it was…on again and off again….

And I was watching him just…fall apart. He was so thin. He barely ate. He was living on nicotine and whiskey a lot of days. His nerves were like bowstrings…You’d put your hand on him and you could feel this…this fine tremor all through him, all the time time. And he..he always got migraine headaches… but round then he..they would be really dreadful…. He’d just have to go to bed in the dark. He’d lose his temper explosively, at nothing. He’d excoriate people…friends, colleagues…just rip them up for nothing. Willie told me…he was very worried about him …he told me he just wasn’t recognizable as the same man at work. He hardly talked or joked. And you know he never lost his humor. He’d always be able to joke – blackly – about whatever mess he was in. So this man sitting alone, lost in his own thoughts…it just wasn’t him.

Six, seven years since I’d first met him…oh God, and this shining, wonderful brilliant man was…he was like a different person……It was awful..an awful thing to see. And he was good…he was a good man. He had heart and soul and mind. And…

[you loved him very much]

And respected him and admired him. He was incredibly decent. Incredibly brilliant. I was privileged to know him. Even more privileged to be loved by him.

[how did it end, when finally it did?]

He went east. Put a continent between us. He’d…he’d never wanted to be here in Hollywood, but it was…. The catalyst was us…me. It was desperation, not rationality. He wasn’t rational by then. I mean…he was in debt and walking away from this five-figure weekly pay check because he just couldn’t take any more of anything. I was helping to ruin him. He…he couldn’t go on and he just knew nothing else would end it…. He had no work to go to. But I think he’d rather have been on welfare than stay. People thought he was losing his mind and they were not wrong. He …he used to say Sherlock Holmes was haunting him…and……and…. He’d say he was cursing him. That he was inside his head. He’d pace up and down and up and down the room like a caged animal, ranting about him. He was…. You know he was…at breaking point. When we were at the beach house he’d go walking, just him and my dog, and I’d think “please God let him come back, please God he doesn’t just…you know walk into the sea.” Id try to communicate to [my dog] to watch him and take care of him. Each time he came back I’d be saying “thank you” inwardly and just want to hug him and hold him.

I knew he had to go or go mad. I knew I had to let him go. We said goodbye. And…you know I knew this was it. Not like all the other times. This was it. It was about the hardest thing I ever had to do…you know not to just hold on and cry and say “please don’t go baby.” I actually don’t know how I did it. As soon as he’d gone…I…I didn’t know how I’d done it. And that was it…

[how did his wife feel about it?]

I don’t know. I was 3000 miles away. I don’t really know anything about how he was from the moment he walked out my door for the last time. Ouida was happy to see him put the distance between us I think. But she was a Hollywood person. She liked being a Hollywood wife. And I don’t think she would have liked her endless money supply drying up.[laughs] So I don’t know how that went…”

EDIT Sep 20: Marcia Jessen has published two letters from Rathbone to Madam X. Here is a copy of one so that people are free to examine the handwriting and drawer their own conclusions

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81 Comments

        • the countess says

          Sounds the ‘all clear’. come out. I only brought it up because Alyssia did I just want her to know I may defend her on somethings but NOT on a big lie..If it’s not a lie prove it!

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  1. Hi everyone,
    My first post here. Prompted by Gretchens comment. It’s heartwarming to know that someone would put a site like this together for Basil Rathbone. Wish he could have seen it.
    My comment is going to veer a little from Basil, and will require some patience from all of you.
    I suffer from bipolar disorder. I will explain a little about how it affected me, and you all can draw your own conclusions re: Basil.

    Bipolar has huge variation. This only mine.

    Your life from the age of 1, to death. is a series of highs and lows. Their is no middle. You constantly seek out challanges, they take you to the high. Overcome a challange and you get dropped into a low, so you seek out a new challange. And this goes on and on. Nobody knows, because you are successful and seem to be someone who really is problem solver and can take on anything. This carries on and on until you reach your ultimate challange. You decide this is the ultimate one, because you know your capabilities. You overcome it and get dropped into low of equal in intensity to the high you achieved by overcoming the challange. (all sounds crazy, because it is, this is bipolar disorder) Getting out of this low for me (and some others, depends on the variation of this disorder you have) never happens. And this the dangerous point in this horrid disease. When you find this low as its’s enevitable that you will, if you suffer from this, these are the things in your life that lose value.
    Money. Drive. Ambition.

    So.. I am in no way saying that he suffered from this. Nor am I in any way saying that my interpretation is even remotely correct. I can write this on here, because I used the net to find out what the hell was happening to me. Something Basil Rathbone did not have. Religion, right and wrong, had different interpretation in his lifetime. Wish with all my heart he could have access to info like we have today.
    Playing the role of Sherlock Holmes and reaching the success that he did, was one hell of a challange.

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    • GRETCHEN says

      JT—Thanks for sharing your story!! 🙂

      I’d love to hear more from you in the future. I, too suffer with a form of depression, although not bipolar. My EXTREME empathy is a wonderful gift…but, empathic people are also usually affected by this disorder, and the caring I have for others ends-up causing me to become even MORE depressed—as I think of and relive their pain, and/or miss them TERRIBLY when they die. 😦

      Some people whom you may wish to look-up online who are inspirational to those with bipolar, are the actors Jeremy Brett (who played Sherlock Holmes on the PBS series in the ’80s and ’90s), and Jim Varney (famous as “Ernest” in movies and on TV, as well as the voice of “Slinky Dog” in Disney’s “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2”). These men suffered for most of their lives before getting treatment for bipolar. When they received proper therapy and medication, they felt what it was like to be “normal” for the FIRST time. Both of them died quite young (in only their early 50’s and 60’s), but they lived the remainder of their lives after treatment with such joy and freedom, I still feel happy for them. You can watch interviews and see clips (and full-length shows and films) they did, on YOUTUBE—Jeremy talks about his life with bipolar and how to get help for it, on a great voice-recording for a radio commercial he did in the ’90s.

      Another British actor with bipolar (who did an entire SHOW about it I saw on YOUTUBE), is the comedian Stephan Frye. Some who read this may remember his old series “Frye and Laurie” from the ’80s, which he did with his friend Hugh Laurie (of recent fame on the show “House”, and not-so-recent fame on the series “Blackadder”, with Rowan Atkinson—it’s a super-old ’80s show which is one of my faves…that, and Rowan’s later series, “Mr. Bean”!). Okay……getting a BIT off-subject, now. 🙂

      Other actors who had bipolar, but sadly never received treatment, were Peter Sellers and Jack Cassidy. Both of them died young, too—Peter had lifelong heart-problems and died from a massive heart-attack just shy of his 55th birthday, and Jack died tragically in a fire in his apartment a few months before he would have been 50. Their lives and deaths break my heart when I think of how they suffered with not ONLY depression and addiction, but the way they died—especially Jack’s terrifying death. 😦

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      • Hi Gretchen,
        Yes I also know about all these names. Stephen Fry is also very honest about what is involved in this disease, and trying to bring attention to it. A long way off yet.
        But this blog is about Basil Rathbone, and my view on what happened after the Sherlock series. I think it left him empty and without drive.
        Look at his army career. He strove past his orders. Challenged himself, and succeeded.
        Sherlock made him famous, rich, and successful. What challenge was left? None, so he may have got bitter.
        “Hollywood buried me in Sherlock Holmes”

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        • GRETCHEN says

          Sadly, the reason Basil decided to do the MUCH more dangerous “daytime missions”—and risked his life to go FAR beyond what others might do—wasn’t because he was “challenging” himself, or even being “brave”……he was actually attempting to commit SUICIDE, but fate didn’t have that plan for him, so he survived—to his utter disappointment…and, won a MEDAL for all his trouble. (Not that he thought he DESERVED it.) 😦

          When his little brother John was killed in battle, Basil was angry at him for “letting” it happen—he was also angry at HIMSELF for not being able to prevent it. From then on, he tried REALLY hard to put himself in harm’s-way as much as possible…hoping HE’D be killed, too, so he wouldn’t have to live with the “guilt” and anger anymore.

          He absolutely HATED playing Sherlock Holmes—the character had NO sex-life, very little personality, only ONE “friend” (Watson), and was completely focused on doing nothing but solving PUZZLES with his “genius” brain…this was BORING to Basil. He didn’t mind playing him at FIRST, but when the films kept-on coming (and got more and MORE ridiculous over time, not staying true to the original stories at ALL), he became disillusioned and unhappy. This character was NOTHING like Basil as a person, and he was quite upset when “fans” thought he WAS Holmes. He wanted to be seen in OTHER, more intriguing roles; as characters with deeper personalities and lives. Holmes was too simplistic and dull for his liking…he felt INSULTED when people asked him about these films, or wanted him to sign his autograph AS “Sherlock Holmes”. When an actor becomes typecast—especially as someone he ABHORS, he is terribly discontented. (Jeremy Brett didn’t like the character of Holmes, either, for the SAME basic reasons—he was completely UNLIKE Jeremy, who was funny, sexual, gregarious, and upbeat…rather than brooding, DARK and distant, lost within dreary thoughts of crime and murder).

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          • GRETCHEN says

            Oh, and as for Basil’s “drive” to succeed, that was pretty-much destroyed by his debilitating PTSD after the war. He cared NOTHING about making money or being famous…he just did what he’d always loved and been passionate about—acting. And, happened to become quite well-known and wealthy as a RESULT of that passion for his work. He gave-up “trying” to be ambitious…it was overwhelming enough just to deal with everyday things. Responsibility and being mature was frightening for him, and he could no-longer even be a husband and father to his (first) family—abandoning them. Basil wanted someone to “take care of” him, as though he’d regressed back into a child. Able to live on (and with) VERY little, he would have been content to stay in someone’s basement—as long as he’d had a warm, dry place to sleep, decent food to eat, a place to bathe, and clean clothes to wear…after living in squalor for 2 years in the trenches, he was definitely NOT spoiled, or interested in fame or riches—just the SIMPLE needs and joys in life, and his dearest friends to keep him company. I’m like that, too…no fancy, overpriced stuff for ME—I’m a thrift-store, yard-sale, flea-market, discount-department-store kinda chick.

            Boy, Basil would’ve LOVED me!! 🙂

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            • Hi again Gretchen,
              Thank you so much for giving me a different perspective on who Basil was. A different angle on events is wonderful and I will think about what you have said. Most of all thank you for taking the time out to converse.

              JT

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              • GRETCHEN says

                That’s SWEET, JT! 🙂

                It’s been nice getting to know you as a new member of this fan-site.

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            • the countess says

              Yes but lets be honest Basil could have “checked out” during the war at anytime.All he had to do was ‘go over the top’.”Shoot me I’m history!” Someone from 1 side or other would have been pleased to shoot him.Landmines all over..Realy want to ‘muster out” stomp on one.”Then jump 30feet in the air and scatter yourself all over the battlefeild”.To quote Edmund Blackadder.Why didnt he? Because the man wasn was to dang decent to leave his men to do the clean up.To decent to leave his men without comand.Dint discount his bravery.Because hes modest about it.

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              • GRETCHEN says

                That’s a GREAT thought, Countess!

                Baz was a pretty NOBLE guy, and he wouldn’t want to disgrace his family—OR, let-down his fellow “brothers in battle”. If he was going to die, he’d do it with HONOR.

                I based my above comments upon his letters, and personal statements Basil himself gave……NOT just my own opinion. Just so everyone knows. 🙂

                If you read the last sections of “Basil Rathbone and The Great War” (which you can find at basilrathbone.net on the bottom of his “biography” page), you’ll see his interview for “Photoplay Magazine”—he tells of his disinterest in money, career, ambition and responsibility, after returning home from the war. Also, he recounts the HORRORS of war, in his interview for “Modern Screen Magazine”.

                In a letter to either his first or second wife (not sure where to find it, or if it was possibly written to Ouida when they were still dating), Basil talks about how when he was in the war and he was SURE his death was imminent, he felt happier and more relaxed and at peace than he did at ANY other time in his life (before OR since)……he’d accepted dying, and was no longer afraid. He almost seemed disappointed when it didn’t happen, and he was faced with coming home to all his old responsibilities, again.

                He was definitely frightened of GOING to war, but knew he HAD to go…once there, he did some VERY brave, amazing things.

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  2. Ellen Foley says

    If she was his darling wif,why did she never seem considerate of him.Delusions of grandeur,I think she’s lucky they didn’t share a bedroom,and I wonder if they ever did.She must’ve been in quite a few people’s sights for the decision he made to leave H’weird.He should’ve left her.Wouldn’t be surprised if that pic of him eating a cheese sandwich was one of the times they were apart because of “folly”,as he called it.I’m sure Bugsy Siegel coulda done the deed of wiping the smile off her kisser once and for all if the studios had called him.A top loved star,reduced to only a few quality projects for the remaining 20+ years of his life to keep the peace with a major manipulator/narcissist?I’d rather a divorce and peace,how could what he decided be the lesser evil?I suppose a certain freq disbeliever doesn’t see the pain in his eyes,believing so deeply in the sanctity of that “marriage”? What a crock,my parents had a marriage,they argued all the time,but my father stuck by when other men would walk out after my mother’s devastating car accident.So don’t try to tell me they were so blissfully happy,she made his life hell on Earth,and they had 2 more years of marriage than my parents had.Her looking for sympathy after Baz’s death makes me “chew nails and spit rust” as a former pt’s son said of an interfering witch said who constantly tore his son down in front of this man.I highly doubt he was thrilled with their married life and would do it again as reported right before he died.His heart couldn’t take any more of her b.s.Put your money where your mouth is,calling the rest of us liars about OR and this perfect marriage.You’ve been asked by many here and done nothing to back up your claims.She was a living nightmare,maybe everything hunky dory to her family but look what OR did to Baz’s.She was no lady,fancy hats and trips to hairdresser and all mean nothing,she was no lady!Some time at The Institute Of Living In Hartford,CT may have done her some good.If I can say,Gene Tierney,who I always admired had deep-seated prob,but she eventually got the help she needed there,and mollycoddling OR just deepened her manipulative control.And she humiliated her husband in that pre-contract meeting for THE HEIRESS>Who knows,maybe word got out about it,and cost him the film role that went to Boring Richardson.RANT OVER!

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  3. Ellen Foley says

    I remember reading somewhere that most of his movies from 1950s on,OR wouldn’t go to Calif,but apparently she did for there she was for Terry Kilburn’s tryout,and seems from Gretchen’s perfect perception,Baz grew up after this decision to end affair.I,too know what it’s like being in a relationship where one is being used by an unrequited love,prob depth of his feelings on his lovelife,at home and away,were tapped into for Romeo & Juliet,Capt Blood,Adv Robin Hood,Mark Of Zorro,maybe even Sherlock.His health,use of whiskey as a crutch,questions of his judgment,no wonder he didn’t look his best the last of Sherlock series movies.They must’ve been really painful,esp with migraines.Maybe he left H’wood not just to rebel,but to shut everyone hassling him up til he got a handle on things.Think I understand him better now.He’s not just a War hero,but everyday hero for surviving odds no one else hopefully ever has to endure.At least Errol Flynn’s onscreen rep was,everyone be DANGED,I’ll do what I want,but Baz was the ideal gent.We may not agree with his choice of having affairs,leaving a high paying career and his many fans,but it makes more sense now getting great insight from people who are in a position to offer understanding from experience and just plain caring about others.

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  4. Ellen Foley says

    I wonder if Cyn was expected by OR to take care of her (OR,that is) after Mr Basil Rathbone died,or if she was allowed her own separate life.I really want to thank everyone with perceptions on PTSD,to me,a highly unacknowledged and ridiculed affliction for many.My therapists have blown up at me when I’ve tried discuss this and what it’s done to affect me over the years,”when did it happen?”For their info (Therapists),it doesn’t matter when,it happened,it always affects you,and if you don’t understand that,please refer me to someone who does.Look at how it tore Baz apart,caused a riff w/i his family,alienated affection,poor decisions.Think this affair was his finally recognizing bad marital decision.Don’t think there was ever a honeymoon,as much as he said mid-1930s some point was like 2nd honeymoon.He married a petulant child who was years older,take that “Happily Married”,you’re not tortured if you’re happily married.My parents had disagreements,both Catholic,but I would def say theirs was a happy marriage,and there were extremely tragic times for my mother,just having seen another aniv on 9/18,no reason for celebration,I too saw her accident,as Baz saw John’s WWI death.And that’s no bull either,for Doubting Thomassina.

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    • GRETCHEN says

      It’s nice of you to share something SO personal with us, Ellen. And, I agree that Basil regretted having married Ouida—probably the day after the wedding!! 🙂

      I’m quite PROUD of Basil for taking the painful step of separating from his mistress. It really took GUTS. He was torn between hurting his family and hurting her, which was literally draining his energy and making him SICK. He realized that the ONLY way he could be at peace within himself, was to do what he KNEW was the “right” thing for all parties involved. Being a good and decent man, and a Christian, Basil understood that God would not approve of the affair—it could only bring HARM to he and his family, AND to his lover—because stringing-her-along in a “going-nowhere” relationship would only break her heart, and prevent her from finding someone whom she could have COMPLETELY as her own.

      He genuinely loved others MORE than himself, therefore his decision to move to New York was actually a very SANE one, when you look at what he’d be facing otherwise: a broken marriage, a child who’d be raised without her dad (and who’s mom might even POISON her mind against him for his thoughtless and selfish actions, as a form of vengeance); and, an actress he cared about, being ridiculed publicly (and perhaps having her career threatened) as a result of sleeping-around with him and “breaking-up” his family—NOT to mention his OWN ridicule and possible loss of high-regard from his business associates and close friends, as WELL as the general population—who all saw him as this “great” guy.

      When Basil chose to leave his lover, it took ALL his strength and inner-will to do so, because of his EXTREME physical and emotional connection to her. He must have done a LOT of soul-searching for a number of years before finally proceeding. It was a VERY mature and responsible thing he did, because having an affair is quite an immature and irresponsible act. He became a BETTER person for it, I’m sure…and, he probably FELT better, too—a HEAVY weight of guilt was lifted from him that day. It must have taken a LONG time to “get-over” her—as his body, mind, and heart began to slowly HEAL from the sexual and loving attachment they had enjoyed with this person for quite a while…I KNOW; I’ve been there myself. It can be ADDICTIVE to be around someone that may not be “right” for you at the time because of feelings of love and/or sexual DESIRE, so you keep “going back” to them. In fact, Basil would have likely slept with her AGAIN if he’d made contact with her—even after several YEARS apart—because of the “pull” of their attraction to one-another. That’s why I’m SO proud of him. He did something that was DIFFICULT to do, and that shows me he was able to push himself to make “BIG scary adult decisions” when he REALLY tried…this also means he COULD have left his wife much earlier in their marriage (like in the 1930s), and been with this lady-friend of his instead—if ONLY he’d found the strength back THEN!

      It makes PERFECT sense to me now, as to “why” Basil suddenly moved across the country in the late 1940s, seemingly leaving much of his life (AND many of his friends) behind. The reason Ouida was so “accepting” of the move to New York wasn’t because she’d WANTED to go…I think it’s ’cause he’d probably told her something like: “Either we move to NY and I can get work out there on the stage and begin a new life with you and Cynthia——OR——I’ll be constantly tempted to (and WILL) jump in bed with my mistress because I’m unable to CONTROL myself around her……what’s it gonna BE??” So, she WENT. 🙂

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      • the countess says

        Gretchen I said I’d not coment on the letter.I’m to much like Holmes in that I want /or/ need proof.I’m still not sure it is Basils handwrighting.It does look like it in some ways others not so much. About the lady’s[not sure that is the correct word] letter.I refused to coment on it before, because we only have her word that all of what she said realy happened. I would prefer a smokeing gun. Asumeing that he DID have the affair she claimes,We realy have no proof either way. Take the line about Basil not wanting Cyn.How do we know that?Thats only the word of a lady x. Who sounds a bit childish and a bit of a drama queen her self Acording to everone he was a good father.

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        • the countess says

          Part 2 [the coments box cut me off] Personly I dont give a rats rah rah if he had an affair behind Weedys back.Honstly who would blame him.but the reason I did decide to coment is that Gretchen You have said just what I have been thinking sence the whole lady X thing came up.Jumping into bed with a woman [who may have been alot like Weedy from what I read into the letter] is one thing but the descion to do what is best for all conserened is what he chose to do in the end[in HIS eyes].In efect he chose to do what HE beliver was the correct thing .Why should we blame him and p+ss and moan about oh he gave up a true love to Be with Weedy. Only he himself in his heart knew what

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          • the countess says

            He felt was the right thing to do. And Gretchen said it way better then I ever could have. P.S I disagree with Aylssa on many things but her having a right to an opnion isnt one of them. If the makes me seem to be her defender..You guessed it correctly! As the old saying goes ‘I may not belive in what you say but I will defend your right to say it’.Oh and Alyssa I still want to see that diary. And you can be sure I’ll anlyse that handwrighting too.

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              • the countess says

                Your welcome.I’m so glad you said it.It was HIS desison to make.Perhaps he chose wrong? Perhaps he chose right.But he did what HE felt to be right.For all concerned.

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                  • GRETCHEN says

                    I’d like to mention that “Madame X” also believed it was the RIGHT thing for her to let Basil go (as TOUGH as it was), in order to maintain his happiness, health, and sanity…that took quite a bit of selfless courage on HER part to do, as well. This means she TRULY loved him. If only Ouida had loved him that much…she’d have either treated him like a PRINCE during their marriage, or agreed to release him if they eventually grew-apart with time, so he could be FREE to love again. That’s what REALLY loving someone is all about!

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                    • the countess says

                      Totaly agree with you but saddly it does seam that the only person Weedy ever realy loved was…Weedy. Go on Alyssia defend her..i’m waiting.Honstly you DO have the right to your own oppnion.Still waitin for that diary..no I wont let it drop,I have that tenasicty of a mule and the memory of a elephant.We all want to see it and not some cursive font your trying to pass of as Basil’s hand.

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  5. Hermione says

    Goodness how tragic, but what a beautiful love they must have shared. Is it odd to say I almost envy her?

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    • Alyssia says

      The only love basil shared with any woman ever was with his darling wife Ouida. I have his diary which proves it.

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      • Claude Rains says

        You know Alyssia if this was a courtroom I’d subpoena that wretched diary of yours and require it to appear and give evidence or face imprisonment.

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    • Kendrick says

      I don’t know if I could envy her. I think she seems to be quite a shallow person and Basil was probably more in lust than love

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  6. Lancashire Lass says

    I always noticed how thin and de-energized he seemed in the last years he was in Hollywood. I wondered if he had been ill and kept it quiet because the change is so unmissable. Watch his last Sherlock film. The poor man.

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  7. Margaret G says

    Neve thank you so much for posting this! I have been wondering about this relationship since I read the letters on Marcia’s website. Is it possible to tell us any more about this obviously pivotal relationship without giving away Mme X’s identity?

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    • Hmmm…it’s tricky. I promise I will do my best to present the story as it affected B without crossing any lines. I’ll probably post as much as I can over the next week or so.

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  8. Judy D. says

    All he had to do was walk away and take the consequences and begin a new, loving, sane life. Despite this latest from Madame X, we still don’t know WHY the F he stayed with that monster. As to the inner poor Bazz, we can surmise PTSD and perhaps even a little schizophrenia in later years. All probably treatable or at least controllable today. Now I think I can guess why Cynthia died so young. What a total, total shame in all ways.

    Like

    • Ellen Foley says

      At the risk of someone’s defender attacking your post,you hit the nail on the head summing this woman needing a mental health tune-up Catholic attempting suicide.I remember how a Catholic neighbor’s was hushed up,and her situation was far more belligerent,hubby throwing her out,next B ready to go toe-to-toe aggression.If OR put up with that instead of kid gloves treatment,it would’ve been interesting.

      Like

  9. GRETCHEN says

    POOR little Basil……
    Sweet, darling boy—my PRECIOUS baby—NOOOOOOOO!!! 😦

    I’m crying BIG-TIME, after reading this statement from “Madame X”.

    I hoped and PRAYED that there had been a woman in his life who’d loved him as gently and selflessly as I (and ALL of you) have, and THIS was her…what a WONDERFUL girl! I want SOOO BADLY to go back in time and just HOLD him, comfort him, and NEVER let him go; and so did SHE. His pain literally makes my insides ACHE for him in sorrow. The PTSD from WWI, as well as the HUGE amount of stress his dysfunctional marriage and love-affair brought upon him, BROKE Basil. His irrationality, and possibly even his dementia-like symptoms in later life may have been caused by a mental-breakdown. (I’ve known someone who had one, and they were NEVER the same afterwards—distant, quiet, not talkative or engaging as before—like they were a TOTALLY different person.) His mind was PERMANENTLY altered by these traumatic events during his lifetime, and he suffered silently with his troubles, worries, and fears. Basil was an EXTREMELY sensitive, empathic person—physically, emotionally, AND spiritually—so, these MANY psychological-stressors probably caused irreparable damage to his body, mind, and soul. (I’m sensitive like that, myself.)

    I’ve always felt his buddy Vincent Price had been DEEPLY affected by his friend’s death; it’s nice to hear how much he truly LOVED and was concerned for Basil. HE wanted Baz to stay with this lady, TOO…what a PAL!! 🙂

    Basil knew he HAD to move as FAR-AWAY from this woman as possible, to do what was “right and appropriate” for his marriage to survive—otherwise, he’d want to jump in bed with her whenever she was accessible—due to his INTENSE sexual-attraction to, and feelings of love for, her…as well as her OWN, for him. (I’ve ALSO experienced this type of STRONG chemistry with someone before, and it was VERY difficult for me to leave the person because of it, even though we weren’t compatible as a couple…and HE felt the same way—ooh-la-la—I mean, OHH-NO-NO!) 🙂

    As for her having “made it all up” or not……

    One CANNOT make-up the symptoms she described—his sudden mood-swings, unwillingness to eat, debilitating migraine-headaches, nervousness and tremors, his use of alcohol and cigarettes to ease his emotional discomfort, the noticeable changes in his mannerisms and personality, his possible suicidal-thoughts—THIS is depression! People with PTSD or bipolar-disorder suffer this way. BELIEVE me, I’ve studied this stuff…this dude was MAJORLY-DEPRESSED!!!

    The poor girl had to stand-by and watch her DEAREST BELOVED slowly fall-apart; seeing his once vibrant, vital “glow” turning lackluster…completely POWERLESS, unable to help him——can you even IMAGINE what that must have been like for her?? When a person surrenders themselves sexually to someone whom they already love VERY much, they become BONDED to their mate for life. They want only to PROTECT this loved-one from ALL harm and evil that may befall them—they are ONE BEING with this other living creature—FOREVER. Her above statement is spoken with THAT kind of protective and enduring love for Basil. This is NOT something a person can just “make-up”! It’s something one must LIVE to truly understand, and she has DEFINITELY lived it. I’m sure she NEVER loved another in the same way, and had a VERY difficult life filled with loneliness—the memories of what USED to be—and an empty, broken-heart…then, TERRIBLE grief over the loss of someone special who was once a CLOSE and INTIMATE PART of herself—until her own death finally came, YEARS later.

    How horribly SAD it all is……and, how easily PREVENTABLE it all was!
    That’s the WORST part. 😦

    Like

    • Ellen Foley says

      OR was saying she didn’t favor he-man types,wasn’t she lucky she didn’t marry a bully.Instead,she seemed to be one.

      Like

    • Dear Gretchen, I think you have a remarkable gift of sensitivity and empathy and I am sure you are right in almost all your predictions. I feel convinced that losing each other was the worst thing possible for Basil and for Ms X and I seriously question the wisdom of his decision, though its bravery and decency are without question. I feel sure X had a very sad life and very possibly failed to fulfil her potential as an artist as a direct result of this loss.

      Like

        • Alyssia says

          Thank you. I am afraid there is none so blind as those who will not see. That letter was not written by Basil. His handwriting was completely unlike that sample. How can people not see it?

          Like

          • Please show us a sample of Basil’s handwriting that looks different. The handwriting in all the letters that I’ve seen (that were written by Basil) match the handwriting in this letter. If the handwriting in the diary you claim to have is different, then Basil didn’t write it.

            Like

              • Hold on a minute. To the best of my recollection you have never offered a single piece of hard evidence at all and certainly haven’t “disproved” anything. You were asked repeatedly to produce a scan of some part of this “diary” you claim to own but you always refused. When you eventually did send me what you claimed to be a “scan” it was quite obviously a cursive font and not anyone’s real handwriting. In other words a complete fraud. When challenged I believe you claimed you had never said it was Basil’s handwriting (which actually you had).

                It’s obvious to anyone with sense that you don’t have Rathbone’s diary, and you need to stop pretending you do.

                Like

                • GRETCHEN says

                  YESSSSS!!! 🙂

                  That’s JUST what I was thinking, Neve!

                  Actually, it’s quite possible that this so-called “Alyssia” chick is someone just trying to ruffle a few Baz-fans’ feathers on this blog for some fun and entertainment, at OUR expense…seems a tad SUSPICIOUS, to me! I mean, it would be pretty DUMB for a person who ACTUALLY had Basil’s personal “diary” to constantly BRAG about it, but never SHOW it to anybody—then WHINE defensively when someone calls them on it—and, STILL NOT SHOW IT, but continue to claim they “have” it.

                  Pretty LAME-BRAIN!! 🙂

                  Reminds me of those con-women who pretend to be “pregnant”, and actually fake-out their OWN family and friends with the charade for MONTHS, until it’s time for the baby to be “born”—only to say at the last-minute that they “miscarried”, and there won’t BE any baby, before getting caught in the lie…so they won’t risk embarrassment and shame.

                  People who do this kind-of stuff are either selfishly looking for attention and sympathy, or they enjoy “toying” with others for their own SICK pleasure………buncha weirdos.

                  (Oh…and she’s SO confused, she even got it BACKWARDS—it should be:
                  “WE have already wasted too much time disproving HER claims!”) 🙂

                  Like

          • Ellen Foley says

            My hind foot.It is his writing,no doubt about it,many of us have seen it often enough,incl on contract for SOF film from Universal’s official book on said movie,incl original script.I remember it cuz I bought that book at Univ Studios H’wood store.May no longer have book,but I always remember whatever written on Baz that I’ve ever read.

            Like

        • cinegeek says

          Ha fair enough, but I do wonder how many times Alyssia is going to deny the totally undeniable and I’m afraid it ticks me off.

          Like

          • GRETCHEN says

            As she just said in HER OWN words (unless she denies their hers, that is):

            “There is none so blind as those who will not see.” 😉 *winks with a sardonic grin*

            Like

    • the countess says

      Umm,Alyssia, I have several samples of his handwrighting. I have a collection on Basil that probly pre dates you life here on earth.It does look like his wrighting to an extent. It’s very like it. But …humm. I’m not sure.But as I said before when were were talking about the WWI letters. I’m just not sure. Basil like you and I ,and everybody else, makes certin letters the same way in most cases.Basil also makes conections between words and an oldfashiond small d.[both in evedince here] In the WWI letters I was more convinced by proveable content then by hand wrighting. There isnt realy proveable content here to go on. Even a only 1/2 decent forger can replecate handwrighting if he has a lot of samples to trace from. Do let me repete I’m not a handwrighting xpert.[I just play one on TV.] I am self taught..I deal with trying to read old fashioned hand wrighting alot. Basil has a very oldfashioned hand. It reinds me alot of my Dads handwrighting..Doing genealogy will force you realy quickly to aquire a knolowlage of dif types of handwrighting [if not in spelling in my case]

      Like

    • Hi Hannah – I’m not approving comments that suggest names for X. Everything else is fine, but not that. We’ve done it to death and it’s not helpful. Her name will be made public as soon as it can be.

      Like

  10. Does anyone know who “Madame X” was? A starlet? An established actress? I guess what I’m asking is if she loved him so much, and knew that their relationship was tearing him apart…why didn’t she pick up and leave? Instead of making him commit career suicide? I suppose it was because he was a gentleman, and felt that he was the one who needed to make the sacrifice. But with a wife and child, it was a heck of a sacrifice.

    Like

    • Yes we know who Madam X was. She was an established actress and a fairly major star at her home studio. I’m not sure it was as simple as one of them making the sacrifice tbh. So many things were at play. I think B was genuinely sick of Holmes and going a little nuts. Though it’s possible he wouldn’t have left his lucrative contract at that time if X hadn’t been a factor.

      Like

  11. Ellen Foley says

    I had meant that OR was 50+ at time of “looking for a child”.She should have done volunteer work instead of drawing an innocent child into their lives.

    Like

  12. Roberta says

    That is heartbreaking! So he basically left Hollywood to try and give this X a chance of making a new life? I wish he had talked about it in his memoirs but then she says he was a very private persob

    Like

  13. Ellen Foley says

    Certainly explains a lot.And she’s back,he loved OR til his dying day and no one else.321.Protect Weedy

    Like

    • Ellen Foley says

      I had originally thought Cyn was adopted to make BR seem younger man,not middle-aged.Still can’t see drawing a child or anyone else into their lives,as they should have enjoyed leisure in that time of their lives/marriage.After Miltern died,did she have that much need for companionship to have to have a child?Why did he go along with everything OR wanted is something beyond understanding to me.I savor my freedom after years of taking care of others.My own time of needing help will be soon enough.50+ and raising a girl from infancy.

      Like

      • Well to be fair B was 46 not 50+ but yes, his blind compulsion to let Ouida wreck his life is hard to understand and harder to take

        Like

  14. Alyssia says

    This is completely made up. X is a liar whoever she is. She is some starlet trying to get attention by claiming she had an affair with a star. It’s rubbish.

    Like

    • NotLouellaParsons says

      Can I ask why you say that? I’m a bit upset ay Basil for cheating on his wife like that so I’d be happy if you were right in a way as I always believed the picture of their perfect marriage.

      Like

    • How can you say it’s made up? I just think you’re blinded by a need to believe. It’s obvious that his life was not the way you want it to have been.

      Like

    • For once I actually agree with you, the way the woman says all of this, it just sounds like she’s faking it SO much! I have no doubt Basil did things with her..but most of this is just….too made up to even SOUND real!

      Like

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