rita gardner

There’s nothing but oceans between us
—  H. H. // A Six Word Story - I love this because depending on your state of mind, the words take on different meanings.

At an unknown date (ca. late 1950s - mid 1960s)  Hedy Lamarr, Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner were invited by Gene Kelly’s wife to her home for what was known as a ‘Tupperware’ party.

Gene Kelly and his first wife, actress Betsy Clair, were popular hosts, and one of the most unusual gatherings in their household took place one evening, shortly after their cook decided she could do with a new sets of pots and pans. She had spotted a pamphlet advertising new utensils for cooking without water.

Gene and Betsy were persuaded to call the sponsor and ask him around to demonstrate the pans. The man said he would be delighted to oblige, but insisted on there being at least a half dozen people present, as he was going to cook a large meal which had to be eaten.

Naturally, he was also hoping to off-load as many pots and pans as he could. So Betsy invited Hedy Lamarr, Nick Conte and his wife Ruth, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth and George Cukor. At eight o'clock their front doorbell rang.

“I opened the door,” Gene said, “and saw it was George Cukor and he’d brought with him Greta Garbo, who was a diet fanatic and was very taken with the whole idea of cooking with steam.

"When everyone arrived, we moved into the kitchen. Garbo sat on the sink. Hedy Lamarr crossed her legs on the sideboard. Ava Gardner propped herself against the refrigerator, and Rita Hayworth squatted in a corner on the floor.”

“Our young demonstrator didn’t have a clue who any of us were, and began by showing us how to cook carrots without water. An hour or so later he completed the meal - which was absolutely tasteless - and said whoever ate the most would get a prize. Nick Conte accepted the challenge and won. His prize was pancake cooked without butter. Garbo thought that hilarious and laughed and laughed, just as she did in 'Ninotchka’ when Melvyn Douglas fell off the chair.

After the demonstration was over, Greta disappeared into the lounge, and returned a half an hour later having bought a complete set of utensils for $87.

This most sophisticated Swedish woman - and probably the most famous film star in the world - was completely won over by the man and took everything he said dead seriously.

We just couldn’t believe it was the same woman who had played 'Camille’ or 'Marie Walewska’. She was so completely naive. In retrospect, it one of the evenings I remember most vividly in all my years in Hollywood: Garbo, Lamarr, Gardner, and Hayworth - four of the world’s most beautiful woman - draped round my kitchen like ordinary hausfraus.

I wish someone had taken a photograph of them.”