A Visit With Actress Margaret Lindsay

Michael’s Note: Lenore Heidorn was the president of Billie Dove’s fan club in the early 1930s. A Chicago native, she made lots of visits to Hollywood to meet her favorites.  Here is her story about meeting Margaret Lindsay. Enjoy.

By Lenore A Heidorn

The highlight of my recent visit to sunny California was my meeting with the charming Warner Brothers actress, Margaret Lindsay. I had long admired her and had written numerous letters, but had never received any reply, so I was doubtful as to whether anything would come of my letting her know that I would be in Hollywood soon, and that I would like to see her.

Upon  our arrival in Hollywood, our first stop was at the home of Millie Wist, whom I had asked Margaret to contact if she would like to see us. Millie told us that Margaret had called Tove Blue (Monte’s charming wife), a mutual friend, twice to see if we had arrived. To cut short the preliminaries, Millie arranged to have Margaret meet us for cocktails at her home the following Tuesday.

Lenore with Margaret Lindsay (center) and Tove Blue at The Tropics, Beverly Hills, about 1939.

Lenore (right) with Margaret Lindsay (center) and Tove Blue at The Tropics, Beverly Hills, about 1939.

 

The time of our meeting finally arrived. I was quite jittery because I had heard so much about Margaret being high-hat and aloof, but how decidedly untrue this is. I found her to be one of the loveliest, friendliest people I had ever met out there. Over our Cuba Libres, we had a grand visit. I found that she had read my letters, for she constantly referred to many things I told her in them. Margaret was working at the Columbia studios in There’s That Woman Again with Melvyn Douglas and Virginia Bruce, and had recently completed Garden of the Moon with Pat O’Brien and John Payne.

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Knowing that I worked in the long distance office of the telephone company, she asked me if we ever listened in on conversations. I said that we were not supposed to, but occasionally we did. Then she told me of the time she had just been awarded a good role in a picture and had called her mother in Dubuque (Iowa) to tell her the good news. She was surprised when her mother wrote her later and told her that a few minutes after her call, people began calling her to congratulate her! I attributed that to the smallness of the Dubuque office, as I told her we didn’t have time to listen in. We were too busy, besides it being against the rules.

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We visited for almost two hours, and when she left, she asked me where we were staying so she could phone me before we left. We had a long conversation on Saturday, and I was amazed when she told me she had been “scared to death” to meet me. About an hour after I talked with her, Halchester’s delivered my sister and me each a beautiful gardenia corsage with a card reading, “In remembrance of our meeting, Margaret Lindsay.”

So after all my waiting, I found Margaret to be just as I had always imagined her . . .beautiful, cultured, and most of all, friendly and sincere.

 

Dove Tails — Lee’s Final Hollywood Adventures with Sue Carol, Gloria Stuart, and Others

Lee Heidorn’s adventures in Hollywood come to an end, but not before she visits more studios and lunches with her Hollywood favorites.  One of the highlights was visiting actress Sue Carol.

Sue Carol signed this portrait to Lee.

Lee picks up the story from here:

The next day, after visiting Joan Blondell on the set, I gave a luncheon for Billie (Dove) at the Victor Hugo Restaurant and invited some of our honorary members and all of our California members. Besides Billie, Doris and me, there were Lina Basquette, Bodil Rosing, Tove Blue, Millie Wist, Ellen Snyder, Jerry Rogers, Muriel Mosley Benton, and Babe Flogaus. After cocktails, we lunched in the garden court.

After lunch at The Victor Hugo Restaurant. Among those pictured are: Lee (L), Tove Blue (back left), Lina Basquette (center back), and Bodil Rosing (front of Lina).

Luncheon over, we adjourned to Tove’s home for the remainder of the afternoon. We took some snapshots, and then went into the spacious living room where Tove served cocktails.

At Tove Blue's home: (L-R) Al De Vries, Doris Heidorn, Bodil Rosing, and Lee Heidorn.

Billie told us some very interesting and hair-raising experiences she had during active studio days. Doris and Jerry tried out the swimming pool and reported a very refreshing dip. Ellen came back to our apartment with us, and we spent the evening with Johnny Downs and his family. Jack after much coaxing, sang a song from his new picture for us. After cake and ice cream were served, Johnny autographed pictures for all of us, and we went home.

That night, we had the privilege of seeing the Hollywood Hotel Broadcast. Billie had gotten us tickets for it from Harriet Parsons, the famous Louella’s daughter.  John Boles, Gladys Swarthout, and H.B. Warner were the guest stars and it was a grand program with Frances Langford, who looked very stunning in a black velvet suit, and Dick Powell, who is very handsome. He thrilled all the gals. We thought we might be able to talk to John Boles after the broadcast, having met him in Chicago. The crowd around the exit was too great so we gave up that idea. John’s secretary called  me one day and said that if John finished work in The Littlest Rebel before we left, he would like to see us. Later, while walking down Vine Street past the Brown Derby, we saw Johnny Weismuller being mobbed by a bunch of autograph hounds. 

The next day, Gloria Stuart sent her chauffeur for us, and he took us out to the beautiful Fox Westwood Studios, where we were directed to her dressing room.

Lee, Gloria Stuart,and Michael Whalen.

While she finished removing her makeup–she had been making tests for her first picture (Professional Soldier) since the birth of her daughter–we chatted about her club, and its president’s visit to California.  Then, she took us over to the set where they were making costume tests of Constance Collier and Freddie Bartholomew. We then went over to the wardrobe department where she showed us the gown she will wear in the new picture.

Freddie Bartholomew, Victor McLaglen, and Gloria Stuart.

We were amazed at the quality of the materials used–real furs, heavy satin, etc. Leaving there, we went over to the projection room where Gloria was to see her wardrobe, makeup, hair dress, and voice tests.  There, Arthur Sheckman, her very nice husband, joined us. The tests were run off then, and it was engrossing to hear them discuss light and dark makeups, dress accessories, etc. Then, we all went to luncheon in the Cafe De Paree, where the only other celeb we saw was Jack Holt, who was dressed in a Civil War uniform–he is in Shirley Temple’s picture (The Littlest Rebel), too.

Several days later, we spent another afternoon at the Fox Studios in Westwood with Gloria Stuart. I found her knitting in the portable dressing room on the set, waiting for us. She changed into lounging pajamas and then we headed for the Cafe De Paree for lunch. We saw Victor McLaglen, Jack Oakie, Billy Benedict, and Cy Bartlett lunching there. Marshall Duffield, on again, off again husband of Dorothy Lee, stopped by the table and chatted for a few minutes.

Gloria Stuart poses for Lee's camera.

Back to the set after luncheon, Gloria rounded up Freddie Bartholomew, Vic McLaglen, and Michael Whalen. Gloria went to work on the masquerade ball scenes that afternoon.  Watched the still cameraman take some still pictures of Gloria and Michael. Gloria is such a sweet  person and extremely beautiful.

Our next adventure was with Jackie Cooper and his charming mother, Mrs. Bigelow. They called for us in the car and had the first wife of Jackie’s manager with them.

Jackie Cooper

We went to the exclusive  Vendome, where we were joined by Mrs. Norman Taurog, who is Mrs. Bigelow’s sister and the wife of the famous director.

Jackie Cooper and cousin, Patricia Taurog.

The place was jammed with celebrities. In the various booths, we could see Toby Wing (very heavily made up), H.B. Warner, Frank Fay, Harry Richman, Bert Wheeler. George Jessel, B.P. Schulberg, Louella Parsons, Laura Hope Crews, Margaret Sullavan (who looked very lovely), and  Alice Joyce. Later, Patricia, three year old daughter of Mrs. Taurog, was brought in by her nurse. After she had some ice cream, we went outside and took some pictures of her and Jackie and then they drove us home.

The next day, Bing Crosby was our host at the Paramount Studios. After visiting for awhile with his lovely secretary, Gladys Wayne, his swell dad escorted us over to the Anything Goes set, where we saw Bing chatting with that swell personality gal, Ethel Merman. He called Bing over, and introduced him to us, and we were thrilled that Bing remembered us from our letters. Unfortunately, Bing wasn’t doing anything while we were there but we saw them film one of the dance sequences. We chatted with Bing again for a few minutes before we took our leave, and he said he hoped he would see us the next time he was in Chicago. 

Billie (Dove) called for us the next day and took us out to the Swimming Club for luncheon, and we spent the afternoon playing cards and taking pictures. That evening, we attended Ruth Roland’s radio broadcast, which was very enjoyable. She dedicated her request number to us. Ruth drove us home, and we stopped on the way for ice cream cones. 

Late one afternoon, we met Evelyn Venable at Sardis for tea. With her was her friend, Edna Sollee, who is her stand-in and who is a very charming  girl. Evelyn is very pretty and very sweet and is very much like her screen personality. We chatted there for some time. Saw Thelma Todd there and introduced her to the others.

Evelyn Venable (right) and her stand-in, Edna Sollee.

The next day, we met Billie and her mother at the Broadway Hollywood and browsed around the toy department in search of some toys for her young son. We lunched at Al Levy’s Tavern, where the only celebrity we saw was Wallace Ford. We walked with them to where they parked their car and said our final goodbyes, because Billie and Bob were leaving for San Francisco and would not be back until after we left.

The next day, Sue Carol picked us up in her car and took us to the beautiful Ambassador Hotel for luncheon. It had been a long time since we had seen Sue, and we were glad to see her looking so well.

Lee had known Sue Carol since the early 1930s. She took this photo of Fred Waring, Sue Carol, and Nick Stuart (Sue's then husband) in Chicago in 1932.

After luncheon, we went shopping with her, and it was fun to see her modeling dresses, coats and hats. Then she invited us over to her house for a snack, and to see her daughter, Carol Lee, age three. We had been delayed somewhat, for driving down Wilshire Blvd., we went through a red light, and there would be cops around, but good old Susie talked herself out of a ticket.

Sue signed this photo to Lee.

We found Sue’s current boyfriend, Howard Wilson, at her house when we arrived, and Carol Lee is certainly a darling little girl. Then Sue and Howard took us to see Joan Crawford in I Live my Life at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and then drove us home.

Another afternoon we spent at Bodil Rosing’s home and we had an enjoyable  visit with her.  She is such a sweet person and so very interested in her fans and the fan clubs.

Bodil Rosing poses for Lee.

On our last day, we packed, and then at noon, Millie Wist came and we piled all of our luggage into her car and then Lina came by and we all went to Sardi’s for luncheon. We had nearly finished, when Lina jumped up from the table, and told us to wait until she returned. When she came back a few minutes later, she handed Doris and me each a little box. Doris’ contained a sterling silver charm braclet with her name in silver letters hanging from the chain. Mine held two little charms for my bracelet–one a little camera and the other a lucky “touch wood” piece. After we bade Lina au revoir, we went with Millie on a few errands and then stopped at her house for a few minutes. En route to the Beachcombers Club, where we were to meet Alice White for farewell cocktails, we stopped off to say hello and goodbye to Lina’s mother, Mrs. Ernest Belcher.

When we got to the club, Alice hadn’t arrived, so we stood outside and waited for her. When she did come, she was accompanied by a tall man, and we couldn’t figure out who it was, for he wore dark glasses and his nose was bandaged, and he had several day’s growth of beard. When they came up to us, she introduced him as George Givot–you know, the Greek Ambassador. We asked George what had happened to him. First, he said he had told so many stories that he couldn’t remember what had happened, and then he finally confessed that he “had his nose remodeled because he thought Hitler might get mad at him.”

The time passed only too quickly and soon we had to leave and get back to Millie’s, where Monte and Tove Blue and Millie’s husband were waiting to take us to the train. We had a few minutes before we had to leave, so I made a few farewell calls to Ruth Roland and Bodil Rosing. Then we were on our way down to the train. They all tried to make it easy for us by wisecracking all the time, but it was hard saying goodbye, especially to Millie who had been so darned sweet to us during our stay there. Naturally, we were thrilled when people recognized Monte as our escort–he’s so tall and handsome and he towered over everyone else.

We were soon on our way, and waving goodbye to dear old Hollywood and all the people that had been so grand to us. So, publicly, I want to thank all of these swell people who helped make our vacation in Hollywood the marvelous success it was, and especially thanks to Lina, Billie, and Bob for being such perfect friends.

The trip home was rather dull–the only bright spot being when we hit Kansas City. There we met one of our oldest and dearest pen pals and friends.

It was nice coming home to see the family again–they were all at the train to meet us. The only other redeeming feature about coming home was finding my old friend, Ethel Shutta down at the College Inn and to hear her sweet songs coming over the air again.

So, my friends, this is the story of a dream come true, and I hope that some day, each and every one of you will have the opportunity of visiting Hollywood and have the swell and elegant time that we did!

Ever fondly, 

Lenore