Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Ann and her pal, Roddy McDowall

Roddy McDowall and Ann became lifelong friends, and dated for a while during the period of time when fan magazines were chasing her every move.  For one, Screenland, Roddy, likely with the help of the publicity department, wrote an article about Ann and how he had come to know her as a guest at one of his Sunday parties.

She was at the house most of the day and I thought was one of the sweetest and nicest people I’d ever met.  I’d say that gentility was the right term to use to describe her.

He goes on to describe, or to attempt to describe, her personality for a readership, but more for the press that had since her coming of age regarded Ann as an enigma.

When you take her to a party, as I have on several occasions, she really can throw you.  To begin with, and not many know this about her, she is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.  She’s a tremendous story-teller and when she gets started on one of dialect stories you laugh so hard you almost fall on your face.  I’ve never ceased to be amazed at how quickly she changes when she’s being the comedienne.

Ann really loves parties—especially if charades is the game of the evening.

She also liked roller coasters.

When they met up for a date in New York City, she took him, with a New Yorker’s savvy and sense of humor, to the Automat for dinner.  

McDowall also notes, as others have:

She simply does not like to talk about herself.

That is perhaps her most unusual characteristic—her reserve.  She’s a great introvert.  It’s as though there was a wall around her.  Maybe you’d call it self-sufficiency, but I really don’t know.  It does seem, however, that she lives a good deal within herself.

Roddy McDowall, among his many accomplishments, was also an excellent photographer who published several volumes of his photographs.  In Double Exposure: Take Four, he includes a portrait photo he took of Ann Blyth.  It’s in black and white, taken in the early 1990s when Ann was in her early sixties and remarkably lovely, and the pose and facial expression—serene, enigmatic, with a touch of humor in her soft eyes—is strikingly similar to the cast head shot of her when she started in Watch on the Rhine in 1941.  The photo is accompanied by a quote from Jane Withers, in part, “She radiates beauty from within in everything she ever does.” 

Despite her reputation for being reserved and enigmatic, in the contemplative setting in the pages of this book, she is clearly supported by the understanding of two loving friends who had known her since they were all teens together in a special place at a special time.

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The audio book for Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now for sale on Audible.com, and on Amazon and iTunes.


Also in paperback and eBook from Amazon.


Also in paperback from CreateSpace, and from my Etsy shop: LynchTwinsPublishing.

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