Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 16 February 2015

RIP continued ...

Louis Jourdan (1921-2015), aged 93. These Hollywood veterans certainly get to great ages. Jourdan was Hollywood's resident French heart-throb, after Chevalier and Boyer, and made quite a career with that charming facade and his good looks. His first Hollywood film was Hitchcock's THE PARADINE AFFAIR, and hits included GIGICAN CANTHREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN. He could terrorise too, as he stalks Doris Day in JULIE in 1956 (its the one where she has to land the plane) and he was an effective DRACULA in 1977, and a Bond villain in OCTOPUSSY. His most enduring classic is Ophuls' LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN in 1948. He was also in Minnelli's MADAME BOVARY, with Grace Kelly in THE SWAN, as well as films with Brigitte Bardot, Belinda Lee (my childhood favourite DANGEROUS EXILE, 1957), and as the gigolo in THE VIPs; he also acted on stage in the 1950s, in Gide's THE IMMORALIST playing gay, daring at the time, on Broadway with Geraldine Page.and the young James Dean (who left the production to film EAST OF EDEN). One of his final roles was in that Faye Dunaway trash classic we like, BEVERLY HILLS MADAM. and of course he was also the heel theatre director in our 1959 favourite THE BEST OF EVERYTHING

Lizabeth Scott (1922-2015, aged 92. The husky voice actress (real name: Emma Matzo) was a sensational 1940s femme fatale in films like THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS, DEAD RECKONING with Bogart,, I WALK ALONE, and I particularly relish her 1947 'noir thriller in lurid Technicolor' DESERT FURY (see my full review at Lizabeth Scott label). I first encountered her when I was about 12 in Elvis's LOVING YOU in 1957 (a reunion for her with DESERT FURY's Wendall Corey) where she was a fascinating presence with the young Presley. It was her last screen credit apart from a minor role in a minor thriller PULP in 1972. Its a fascinating life, she understudied Tallulah in THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH on Broadway, Hal B Wallis discovered her at her 21st birthday party held at The Stork Club in New York.

Michael Mason (1947-2015), aged 67, was one of the great gay rights campaigners and a key figure in the London gay publishing world. He was the editor of "Gay News" ( fatally wounded after their 1977 blasphemy court case with Mary Whitehouse).and later edited the free weekly "Capital Gay". At the colourful new venues, Bang and Heaven, young gay men were coming out via disco rather than politics, and the breezy new weekly set out to cover this “scene”. Its a fascinating life and Mason certainly achieved a lot.

Steve Strange (1959-2015), aged 55. Flamboyant nightclub host, leader of 80s group Visage and and a key figure in the New Romantic movement of the early 1980s. when the new electronic sounds replaced punk. In 1979, Strange and Rusty Egan opened Blitz club in Covent Garden. As club kids and scenesters battled to get through the doors, and Boy George acted as “the coat-check girl”, Strange (in leather jodhpurs and long overcoat) stood at the door and judged who would be allowed in. He enjoyed a huge publicity splash by denying admission to Mick Jagger. He appeared in Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes" video, and scored a hit "Fade To Grey" with Visage, it still looks and sounds marvellous now. He later moved to Ibiza to get away from the London drug scene .... and died on holiday in Egypt.

Lesley Gore (1946-2015), aged 68. Lesley Gore was one of those teen singers of the early Sixties, who like Carole King, Brenda Lee or Connie Francis or England's Helen Shapiro, caught the moment perfectly. She was 16 when, in 1963, she rose to the top of the American charts with the song "It’s My Party" – a teenage drama about a girl’s birthday party ending in tears when her boyfriend, Johnny, walks in with another girl. ("You would cry too, if it happened to you"). Not just a one hit wonder, she had several other pop hits ("Judy's Turn To Cry", "You Don't Own Me" which was recorded by Dusty Springfield and others) as her prom queen looks suited the era. In later life she became a successful songwriter, and after coming out as gay, a prominent champion of women’s and LGBT rights, and she leaves a partner of 33 years. She received an Oscar nomination for "Our Here On My Own" one of the songs she composed for the film FAME


  1. Louis and Lizabeth had good long lives but still it's sad to see those connections to Old Hollywood leave us. I wasn't a huge fan of Jourdan, I liked him but never found him a compelling presence on screen but I did enjoy many of his films, Unknown Woman and The V.I.P.S. the most that he had a large contribution too. I love The Best of Everything but he's little more than a cameo there.

    Now Lizabeth Scott is another matter entirely. While she'd never make my top 10 she was a distinctive presence just enough different from Betty Bacall and Veronica Lake to stand out and stake out a persona of her own. She was probably wise to withdraw when she did, noir was going out of vogue and while she might have had her own way about her she wasn't as agile a performer as Bacall who she would have had to compete with for roles. Then their private personal histories would have come into play, Betty Bacall was a tough Hollywood insider who seemed to know everybody and Lizabeth reserved and an outsider by choice, little question who would have come out on top.

  2. Yes, I always say Bacall was the woman who knew everyone, Angela Lansbury merely worked with everyone!
    Lizabeth was the definition of noir slinky lady but perhaps Bacall got there first.

    Jourdan was of course Hollywood's ideal Frenchman, like Rosanno Brazzi was their Italian - but both parlayed that into long careers. Jourdan had a fascinating early life too, evading the Nazis and working in French cinema. One of the few actor to look at home in top hat, tie and tails, as in Gigi and others. He had a long marriage too, unusual in Hollywood, his wife of 68 years died last year.