The Brown Derby was a chain of restaurants in Los Angeles. The first and most famous of these was shaped like a man’s derby hat. The second Hollywood Brown Derby was opened on Valentine’s Day 1929 at 1628 North Vine Street. Clark Gable is said to have proposed to Carole Lombard there. The episode “LA At Last” of I Love Lucy show was filmed in it. Like its Wilshire Boulevard counterpart, it was the home of hundreds of celebrity caricatures.
Rock Hudson : Early in his career he had surgery on his vocal chords to make his voice deeper, and had his teeth capped. The surgery had the unfortunate side effect of making it impossible for Hudson to learn to sing.
- According to the book, “The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson”, the original plan was to call him “Roc” but someone pointed out the possibility of confusion with the 1940s actress, Rochelle Hudson, so a “k” was added and “Roc” became “Rock”.
Cary Grant : Paramount Pictures named him Cary Grant while he began his film career, because the similarity of the name to Gary Cooper, their biggest male star, (C.G. being an inversion of G.C.) and possibly because Clark Gable had the same initials. Gable and Cooper were born with their last names, however, with Grant having been born Archibald Leach.
- Smoked up to 60 cigarettes a day until 1957, when his third wife Betsy Drake made him give up in order to protect his voice. He quit smoking while filming An Affair to Remember (1957) after visiting a hypnotist. However, she recalled occasionally catching him smoking outside the house, so he probably never stopped completely.
Rita Hayworth : Ava Gardner’s part Maria Vargas in “The Barefoot Contessa” (1954) was based on Rita.
- Fred Astaire, who co-starred with Rita Hayworth in two movies, said in his autobiography that she was his favorite dancing partner, and dancing was, indeed, one of her genuine talents.
Joan Crawford : She was so dedicated to her fans that she always personally responded to her fan mail by typing responses on blue paper and autographing it. A great deal of her spare time and weekends were spent doing this.
- Whenever she stayed in a hotel, no matter how good or reputable it was, she always scrubbed the bathroom herself before using it.
Ava Gardner : By the end of 1950, MGM’s publicity department was sending out
black-and-white photos of Ava Gardner to the tune of three thousand
requests per week, a figure that only Esther Williams bettered.
- Her early education was sketchy; by 1945, she had read two books, the Bible and “Gone with the Wind.” In later life, she more than made up for this lack by continual self-education.
Jean Harlow : On the day Hollywood canine superstar Rin Tin Tin died at age 16, Harlow, who lived across the street from his master, Lee Duncan, went over to cradle the dog’s head in her lap as the famous canine died.
- Everyone on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot called her “The Baby” with the exception of Clark Gable. A very close friend, he always called her “Sis”.
Lucille Ball : Her natural hair color was brown.
- Before her movie career, Lucille was a model at Hattie Carnegie’s in New York. She mainly modeled heavy fur coats, because she was startlingly thin as a young lady.
Vivien Leigh : Scarlett O'Hara might have been played by an actress called ‘April Morn’, a stage name she briefly considered before settling on Vivien Leigh.
- Vivien Leigh’s natural eye color was blue but was color corrected to Scarlett O'Hara’s green in post-production.
Judy Garland : Wore fake teeth for The Wizard of Oz.
- Has a special variety of rose named after her. The petals are yellow (Garland adored yellow roses) and the tips are bright red.