All posts tagged: Ouida Bergere

Writer and Wife

Today I want to share an article written about Ouida Bergere about a year before she met Basil Rathbone, in 1922. She was married to George Fitzmaurice at that time. Barrett C. Kiesling wrote the article below, which was printed in the St. Petersburg Times, October 22, 1922. Writer and Wife A few years ago a clever woman writer and a rising motion picture director were finding their professional cooperation so complete and perfect–that they decided to make it permanent. Since their marriage the joining of two talents has proven extraordinarily successful, carrying them both to a point among the real leaders of their professions. Such couple then, are Mr. and Mrs. George Fitzmaurice (Ouida Bergere) responsible, respectively for the direction and scenario of George Fitzmaurce productions for Paramount. But here, this is a story primarily about Mrs. Fitzmaurice, a woman who has given the lie to the old tradition that artists should never mate. “For seven years Mr. Fitzmaurice and I have been working together,” says Miss Bergere, as she is professionally known. “And it …

“Fight Your Husband & Win Success!” – 1922

This article first appeared in THE DANVILLE BEE, JULY 20 1922. Ouida Bergere was married to her second (or third) husband, George FitzMaurice. Click on pdf button to download a copy of the original article Well, those who have been following the eventful career of Basil’s second wife, the incomparable Ouida, will probably not be too surprised that this was a concept she stood by. But for the record, we now have it in writing. “Fight your husband and win success” says Ouida. Indeed. Click on the button above to download a pdf of the original article from 1922. She wouldn’t meet Basil for another year and wouldn’t marry him him for another four years, but we can guess her philosophy didn’t change too much over time. ***

Auction Madness…

Slightly less than two years after the reading at the White House, Rathbone contacted the auctioneer/”entrepreneur and graphologist,” Charles Hamilton, with the purpose of selling the three letters Jackie Kennedy had written him. In his book AUCTION MADNESS, Hamilton preserved his recollections of that meeting, and the the press furore that followed the auctioning of the letters…

Letters to Madame X c.1940 – 1963

These are all the letters we currently have that were allegedly written by Rathbone to “Madame X” between c. 1940 and 1963. They’re numbered as they were when received by us. Nos. 13, 15 and 16 are currently missing. We’ve only received one letter in autograph. The rest are typed copies, seemingly quite aged and pretty hard to read. Some are annotated, but not always legibly. Everything in black is original text, my notes are in blue and the annotations are in red. LETTER 1: no date, possibly 1939-40 Dearest X – what an extraordinary amount of enquiry crammed into such a small and charmingly violet note. How do I begin? 1. Tell him Dietrich is an angel – for the first week that you know her. Thereafter all bets are off. Her self-interest is boundless. Her sense of ensemble non-existent. If she can erase you in front of the camera she will. She is legendary for being very accommodating in other ways, but it barely compensates for the sheer flaming hell of working with …

A Closer Look at the 2nd Mrs Rathbone

When you read Basil’s autobiography you get the impression of Ouida, his second wife, as a devoted and selfless woman who rescued him from failure, gave up a brilliant career as a thousand-dollar a week screenwriter to help him become a star, and was instrumental in reuniting him with his estranged son… Is this impressive portrait the true story?….

“Basil Rathbone Eulogizes the American Actress” – 1923

This article first appeared in THE BILLBOARD, November 1923. Just a few weeks later Rathbone would be taken to a party by Clifton Webb, where he would meet unemployed screenwriter “Ouida Bergere” (as she called herself). Click on pdf button to download a copy of the original article Basil Rathbone Eulogizes the American Actress The Billboard, November 24 1923 When our dramatic critic, in his review of “The Swan” defined Mr Basil Rathbone as “the leading man par excellence with the looks, bearing and acting capacity which should go with the genius” we decided that we had a clue worth following in our search for interesting personalities. But getting a seat for a performance of “The Swan” was like getting poor Humpty up a again. It was only due to the cancellation of a third balcony box reservation that we succeeded in viewing that ideal couple, the fair LeGallienne(sic) and the stalwart Rathbone. We gazed so long from our dizzy heights thru the lenses of an opera glass that we became dizzy and were obliged …

X Part VII

Continuing the transcribed interview with Madame X from PART VI [tell me about [NAME REDACTED]] ……[NAME REDACTED] was crazy. But you know insanity is an amazingly good distraction. I was…Basil and I had called it off as we did periodically. And [NAME REDACTED] just made all the moves. And, you know, he was attractive and charming and wondering what this crazy man would do next was…well it filled up time. And he was good company on a good day. Nothing much more to say…the press crawled all over the stupid things he did. It was painted very lurid, really it was just ridiculous. He was tinged with farce. Tattooed with it maybe. In big letter…right here. But…when all that came out [Basil] was mad as hell with me. He was saying “he’s a degenerate, what’s the matter with you.” He was a degenerate. But…I guess I wasn’t being all that rational or together myself by then. It was hard…the situation was so hard. Being detailed off by the man you love to find happiness with …

X Part VI

Continuing the transcribed interview with Madame X from PART V [so during most of the war years, we’re talking 1941-45 your marriage to David was increasingly a front and behind that he was……homosexual] It wasn’t a front exactly. Before he went away to war we…David and I enjoyed what we had in our way… [but he was involved with various men] Yes. But it’s up to him to say anything more about that. [but the various magazine articles we can pull from the time, 1941 until the end of the war, depicting your idyllic life together…] Oh God they’re fiction, but they were always fiction. I mean who the hell would believe those? The rictus smiles, the so-called interviews put together by the studio publicity department. When you were under contract you had to do them. But yes, fiction. [so what was reality?] He had his relationships. I suppose for the first year or so I waited, in my naivety for him to start liking girls and wanting to sleep with me more than…never. [were …

Sunday (well ok Saturday) Pic #11

As a little light relief from the gruelling saga of Madame X, Marcia from basilrathbone.net has suggested I post this pic in case anyone can ID the various people in the photos. It was taken in BR’s house on Los Feliz some time between 1935 when they moved in and 1939 when they made the transition to Bellagio Road. The full size original (very large) can be seen and downloaded HERE, but here are some enlargements of the relevant sections to let you clearly see the various photos. The ones over the desk… And even closer… And the ones on the wall to the left… Some of these people can be identified. Ouida is conspicuous in several pics (to no one’s surprise I imagine; I mean she probably oversaw the placement and content of every object in the room, and wasn’t gonna let it seem like he could live without at least three versions of her fabulous features to gaze upon, right?) Marcia thinks the kid bottom center over the desk is Rodion and I …