He’ll be 82 next Tuesday (July 3) and celebrating in La Quinta so we toasted him today in the cooler clime of Beverly Hills at The Grill. He’s a friend from the halcyon days of Hollywood, Farley Granger. I’d followed his career from Goldwyn to — today. It’s all — well, not “all” –in his book, “Include Me Out” written with his partner of 40 years, Robert Calhoun (they are not married) whose career started in Hollywood 41 years ago working with Gordon Davidson in establishing the Mark Taper Forum theater.
Farley recalled Sam Goldwyn was unhappy he was dating Shelley Winters. Goldwyn, who had Farley on a long-term, exclusive pact, told Shelley, “I like you — and if you and Farley get married I’ll give you a very nice present. And if you don’t marry him, I’ll give you a nicer present.”
The on-off, hot-cold relationship continued almost to Shelley’s dying days when he and Calhoun would visit her in the apartment she’d taken in their same building where she barricaded the windows with mattresses to keep out the light.
While Granger writes about his constant battles to break his Goldwyn pact (he had to buy out), he tells me Sam Goldwyn Jr. was very helpful in getting material, photos, etc. for the book. He laughingly asked Farley, “Don’t be too hard on the old man.” We talked about the (brief) romance with Ava Gardner whom he described to me as “the most beautiful of all.”
He recalled seeing her for the first time at a fabled Hollywood New Year’s Eve party. “I was with Shelley and Ava was with Howard Duff at a nearby table. Shelley went off for a moment as did Howard. I looked over at Ava, she gave me back a look. I went over and introduced myself. ‘I know who you are,’ she said. We exchanged another look and I said, ‘Let’s’ get out of here.’ She smiled and we left.”
I asked Granger and Calhoun (he’s 76) if they recalled anyone like today’s Paris Hilton in their Hollywood era. Answer: the “hottest” Hollywood news in those days was Mickey Rooney and/or Judy Garland.
Farley talked warmly of others like Lauren Bacall (a N.Y. neighbor), Shirley Temple who was hospitable to them when they visited Prague where she was U.S. Ambassador, Jane Withers who showed up at Wednesday night’s book signing and screening at the Aero of “Strangers on a Train,” Robert Walker who sadly died too young, Ann Blyth who Goldwyn tried to arrange a date with Farley, Arthur Miller who complimented Granger’s performance in “The Crucible” (he said “That is what I meant,” to Marian Seldes whom the duo recently saw in “Deuces” with Angela Lansbury — Seldes claims Granger “made me a star” and “she genuflects each time she sees me”) and Jimmy Stewart who “was a true gentleman” in the filming of “Rope” and modest in their meetings afterward.
With a full memory book in films and theater — and offstages — Farley said, “I’m now taking a breather.” But he still has an agent. Happy 82nd.
Goldie Hawn , C. Everett Koop and Tommy Lasorda were honored at the Starkey Hearing Foundation’s “So the World May Hear” gala. Goldie established the Goldie Hawn Bright Light Foundation in 2003 to bring “Knowledge, laughter and hope to children so that they may develop the skills which enhance their own joy, creativity and compassion for others.” The event, the “So the World May Hear” gala organized by Tani and Bill Austin, raised a record $4.5 million. The show included Jay Leno, Norm Crosby, Jim Belushi, Glenn Frey, and Kenny Loggins