All posts tagged: Ouida

Basil and Rodion

In the 1930s, when Basil Rathbone was very much in demand as an actor, few people were aware that he had grown son living in England. Silver Screen magazine published an article informing the public of this “secret son”: Hollywood took another surprise jolt when it learned that the very fine English actor, Basil Rathbone, had a “secret son.” At nineteen, Basil was swept into an impetuous World War marriage, and later, a son was born in London, whom he named Rodion. After his romance crashed, he set forth to win fame as an actor, while the boy remained in London with his mother. Coming to America, Basil remarried, and few knew of this early chapter in his life. There have been a few brief meetings between father and son and last summer it was planned that Rodion should journey to Hollywood for a real visit. Then occurred one of those ironical incidents that frequently punctuate the life of the screen player; before his son arrived, Basil was called to London for an important film …

Rathbone: Handsome Villain

On June 2, 1940, the Milwaukee Journal published an article by Edith Dietz called “Handsome Villain: The Story of an Actor Who Resents Hollywood’s Assembly Line.” Dietz wrote: Basil Rathbone’s sinister looks are confined to the screen. In reality he is handsome in a tanned, sultry way, his face lighted by brilliant hazel eyes and a warm, glowing smile. He is tall, broad shouldered, of an athletic build, but he likes to slouch and relax. He wears his gray and brown sports clothes easily, smartly, effortlessly. At the moment he is enraptured with “Rebecca.” “Perhaps I’m prejudiced,” he admitted, sheepishly. “You see, Daphne du Maurier, who wrote the novel, flattered my vanity when she was a young girl of 14. I was appearing with her father, Gerald du Maurier, in her grandfather’s play, ‘Peter Ibbetson.’ She adored everything her grandfather had written and I was for the run of the play, at least, her hero. She was a lovely young girl and I was just at the age when a bit of worship did me …

Secrets of a Hollywood Hostess

Readers of this blog seem to enjoy reading about Basil’s second wife Ouida, so I am sharing here an article published in Silver Screen, August 1939. The author of the article, Leon Surmelian, seems to have been smitten or besotted by Ouida. His description of her oozes with admiration. I hope you enjoy reading these “Secrets of a Hollywood Hostess”: It is generally admitted that the No. 1 Hollywood hostess is Mrs. Basil Rathbone. This brilliant wife of a brilliant actor has a genius for spectacular and original parties. Whether it’s a formal dinner-dance, a wedding or a garden fete, a party by her is well nigh a work of art by the sheer beauty of its conception and setting. She was a writer on the Paramount scenario staff for seven years and has worked in New York as a scenic designer and interior decorator, and her flair for the dramatic has stood her in good stead as a hostess. She is a little titian-haired woman with high cheekbones, and is vital, electric and straightforward, …

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 …

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 …

X Part I

Note at start of MS: “Transcript of taped interview with [MadameX]. On review I’m unsure of who exactly is conducting the interview or when, or even if it’s the same person throughout. Dating seems to vary. This document is as an edit of a longer version, and focuses on [X]’s love affair with Basil Rathbone 1941-46” START OF TRANSCRIPT… “…After…Basil died. You know, I knew…but. After he died. I got a phone call and it was Cynthia [Basil’s adopted daughter]. 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. And she says “mother doesn’t know I’m calling but I want to ask you not to go to the funeral because Daddy wouldn’t want anything to upset mother and me any more.” Mother doesn’t know, my ass. Ouida was on the extension or I’m Nancy Reagan. She’d basically given this kid a script and pimped her out there to talk to me. The kid says “please don’t disrupt this …