BIOGRAPHY, general biography, Relationships
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The Madame X Interview

Interview with “Madame X” the unnamed actress with whom Rathbone was  allegedly closely involved between 1941-46

“…After…Basil died…I got a phone call and it was Cynthia. I hadn’t spoken to that kid since she was two years old. But there she is on the phone, about a day after her father died…”
“…Then I got this job. This great job. An A picture. Great part. I remember telling Mary [her mother, name changed] they wanted me and we were so excited. I was just so glad of the work. And it was a challenge. I remember thinking, oh God, Basil Rathbone, he is a real actor, I am going to be exposed, I am going to have to work hard to come off as anything….”
“…He went away. Just after we first slept together…He called me pretty much every day…And…I think it began then…We’d talk…every day. And that’s not what you do if it’s a casual, just sex thing…”
“He you know…I was desperate to not lose him quite yet, to just hang on for as long as possible. And I was very young and I didn’t see…I didn’t see what…I didn’t think about what the lie meant for him and his marriage. I didn’t think of him in relation to this woman, only in relation to me…”
“You know, one of the first things [Ouida] did was get in touch with David…I think maybe she thought he didn’t know and she was going to…you know…but…she…she…So they had lunch and she said, “Do you know about my husband and your wife?” …”
“She’d nailed her colors you know. She’d taken her stand. She wanted to continue to be mrs Basil Rathbone. She saw it as her right. The only things left he could do were stay or cut loose on his own terms and to hell with her…walk away and leave her to do… whatever it was she would do…”
“I met him…about six, eight years down the line. I was married to Giovanni. He was back in Hollywood briefly. We had a civilized conversation. But you know we had to be…we could have been back in the midst of it in no time. So we weren’t going to be casual chums….”

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Related Articles:

Letters to Madame X


  1. rosebette says

    The letters from Basil to X, a couple of which were posted on this site, indicate that he was really in love with X. I believe that his loyalties were very torn.


  2. Johnson Salinger says

    This series is fascinating! So vivid and dark and beautiful it begs to be dramatized. I was absolutely gripped from start to finish. I am left with the impression that X loved Rathbone more than any other man in her life. But did he love her? I sense he was the less committed of the two and may have been trying to let her down lightly. It would be fascinating to get some of is perspective.


    • Irene Adler says

      I had the same thought. As if X was persuing him. I wonder how much into it he ever was. And I am wondering if the whole suicide story is just so she doesn’t have to admit to herself that Basil in the end loved Ouida and not her. Maybe for him it was just a fling.


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