Dove Tails — Lee’s Hollywood Adventures with Alice White and Ruth Roland

Lee Heidorn and her sister, Doris, have been in Hollywood only a day or two and they have rubbed shoulders with some of their favorite movie stars: Billie Dove, Lina Basquette, and Arthur Lake. In this segment, she has her first “date.”

Lee picks up the story:

Our first “date” was one for tea with Ivan Lebedeff. We met him at the Hollywood Plaza Hotel, where he lives, and went into the lovely Russian Eagle Gardens next door.

Ivan Lebedeff signed this photo to Lee

Ivan ordered service for four, so we had a hunch that Wera Engels [his wife] would join us. Sure ’nuff, we were right. Wera is a beautiful girl and so very charming. We had a grand visit and when we left, it was with a promise that we would see them often. That night, we saw Phillips Holmes on the Boulevard.

Lee, Ivan Lebedeff, and Doris

The next day, Doris and I were Lina Basquette’s guests at a luncheon at the popular Al Levy’s Tavern. While we were enjoying our delicious lunch, we saw several well known people in the  various booths, including Al Rogell, the noted director, Jimmie Starr [columnist], Ena Gregory and Marian Nixon. Jimmie Starr came over to our table and chatted for a while, and on our way out, we stopped by Miss Nixon’s table and we introduced to her and Miss Gregory. Both are very lovely. We all went shopping with Lina then, and when she finished, we went for a short drive, and then home. That afternoon we also visited Jimmie Fidler and met his nice secretary, Luna Homan.

Ruth Roland was our next hostess. She called for us, and then we picked up Ruth and Marion [other friends] and went to Sardi’s for luncheon.

Ruth Roland, the serial queen

Ruth ordered the special buffet luncheon for us, and what a time we had trying to eat all they set before us. Saw Roy D’Arcy and met Larry (Lawrence) Gray. We told Ruth that we had wanted to go into the exclusive shops of I. Magnin and Co., but it looked too elegant for us. So, then and there, Ruth said we’d go right across the street and go in. There we met Ella Hall and the very lovely Lola Lane with whom we chatted for a few minutes.

Lee and Ruth Roland

Leaving Magnin’s, we piled into Ruth’s car and drove to her nice home where we met her charming aunt and where we were shown about her lovely home. Then Ruth took us for a long drive and we saw Pickfair, the Harold Lloyd estate, and the beautiful homes of  Connie Bennett, Fredric March, Anita Stewart, Charlie Chaplin, Ronald Colman, and many others.

The evening was spent with Lina and Teddy Hayes at their home. Millie Wist and Tove Blue, wife of Monte, and several others were there also. We spent a very enjoyable evening.

Lee and Alice White

Our next day was one of the most exciting, for it marked our debut in the movies. Alice White and Johnny Downs had invited Doris, Marion, Ruth, and me to lunch at Paramount Studios with them, where they were working in Coronado. Arriving at the studio, we were directed to the commissary, where Alice and Johnny were waiting for us.

Alice White poses for Lee

The place was crowded, so while we were waiting for a table, Johnny called Tom Brown over and introduced him to us, and he’s very nice. Ida Lupino passed, and Alice introduced her and I thought her very charming. Finally, Johnny secured a table, and while we were waiting to be served, we looked around and saw many famous faces, including those of Ned Sparks, Harold Lloyd, Lynne Overman, Andy Devine, Ernst Lubitsch, Marsha Hunt, Fred MacMurray, and Wesley Ruggles.  Jack Oakie and Victor McLaglen came over and chatted  with us for a few minutes.

Luncheon finished, we walked over to the huge set which this day was transformed into a taxi dance hall. There we saw Andy Devine again, Jack Haley, and a lovely newcomer, Betty Burgess, whom we later met. The set was a crowded one, so Johnny told us to come with him. Guess where he put us? Right on the set, and several times, the camera was trained right on us. So, unless we are faces on the cutting room floor, you’ll see us in Coronado.  

Lee and Doris spent an afternoon at the home of Johnny Downs. Lee and Johnny pretend to be acting a scene. Johnny's mother (in white) is filming; Doris is directing; Mr. Downs is coaching the dialogue.

We saw Johnny, Betty, Alice, Jack, and Andy do several scenes, but one of the funniest you won’t see. That was Alice doing her favorite beach dance with one of the extra men out of sight of the camera. As we left the studio after a very happy afternoon, we saw Mae West and James Timony drive up.

Johnny Downs and his mother

That evening, Ruth, Marion, Doris, and I were the guests of Ruth Roland and Ben Bard at the opening of Rusty Keys, a play produced by Ben, and acted by students of his dramatic school. We met Sada Cowan, authoress of the play, Dorothy Phillips, whose daughter had a part in the play, and Anita Stewart. 

The next installment continues with Lee spending time with Joan Blondell, Thelma Todd, and Jean Harlow.

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One thought on “Dove Tails — Lee’s Hollywood Adventures with Alice White and Ruth Roland

  1. Great Story! I recently purchased the Kindle version of your book Broken Silence It was my first purchase after getting a Kindle Fire as a Gift. I am LOVING the book! I can’t wait for your New Book on Mae Murray.

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