Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Bangley’

My ‘somewhat’ encounter with Lauren Bacall

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

CELEBRITY STORIES

My ‘somewhat’ encounter with Lauren Bacall

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By Allan R. Ellenberger

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The recent death of Lauren Bacall brought back a memory of my only time seeing her in person. I call it a ‘somewhat’ encounter because I was a bystander to this event, but I was there—I was a witness. I guess you could say I was part of a three-way meet, but had no direct interaction with the actress myself. This story could be subtitled Bangley & Bacall—and me.

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The year was 1998, and I was at the Bel Air Hotel with my late friend, film historian and bon vivant, Jimmy Bangley. He was the guest of a close friend who made yearly visits to Los Angeles and always rented him a room at the posh, celebrity ridden, hotel. Anyone that knew or remembers Jimmy, knows that he was a huge Barbra Streisand fan—what am I saying, a huge fan? A humongous fan. Anyway, Bacall had recently made a film with Streisand called The Mirror Had Two Faces and was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress award, and won a Golden Globe.

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One day I was visiting Jimmy at the Bel Air, and we walked out to the swimming pool, looking around hoping for a star sighting. We were not disappointed for there, sitting at a table was Lauren Bacall, her hair wet, and she was wearing a white cotton Bel Air robe. She was in the middle of a card game with two kids; we assumed they were her grandchildren.

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Never shy, Jimmy sees her and rushes over, breathless, and before she can flee or make any defensive moves, he blurts out, “Oh Miss Bacall, I just loved you in The Prince of Tides.” Bacall just stared at this flamboyant and obviously confused man standing before her, and then she shot a glance at me. I tried to duck. If it wasn’t for the chatter of a couple dozen people sitting around us, we would have heard the crickets sing. It took a second but Jimmy realized his goof and that he had the wrong Streisand film. “Oh, I’m sorry Miss Bacall, I meant The Mirror…”

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“Yes, I know what you meant,” Bacall said icily, not letting him continue. She returned to her card game without saying anything more, giving us our cue to leave. We walked slowly back to his room and eventually had a good laugh about it. Needless to say, as he recounted the encounter later, Jimmy came up with some of his famous quips at Lauren Bacall’s expense. Thanks for the memory Ms Bacall and say hi to Bogie for me.

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Bette Davis – Queer Icon

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

SCREENINGS

Queer Icon: The Cult of Bette Davis

 

Queer Icon

 

Queer Icon: The Cult of Bette Davis

Date/Time:Thu., July 2, 6:00pm, Thu., July 2, 8:10pm, Thu., July 2, 10:20pm

Price: $15

 

Fasten Your Seatbelts

San Francisco Weekly

By Michael Fox

 

We all have our favorite screen actresses, but none are more steadfast in their affections than gay men. Ask Doris Day, Elizabeth Taylor, or Cher, whose gay fans never wavered (unlike those fickle heteros) after the stars stepped away from the spotlight. But even these goddesses bow before the queen (or queen bitch) of gay esteem, Bette Davis. Her appeal derives from her ambisexuality in combination with such timeless personas as the holy-terror diva, the stalwart solitaire, and the camp heroine. Bay Area filmmaker Mike Black’s new documentary, Queer Icon: The Cult of Bette Davis, considers this fascinating phenomenon through a mix of vintage film clips and fresh interviews with a wealth of mostly local figures, such as impresario Marc Huestis and historian Matthew Kennedy. Actor Matthew Martin, who channels the star of All About Eve and Dark Victory onstage, supplies his unique perspective on the special place she has in gay men’s hearts. More than simply a lovefest, Queer Icon questions whether gays still need a role model like the fabulous Miss D. The film will surely find an enthusiastic audience when it plays the queer capitals of New York and Los Angeles, but tonight’s world premiere is bound to be an only-in-San-Francisco event. It won’t be tedious, darling.

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Barbara LaMarr’s Birthday…

Monday, July 28th, 2008

“The Girl Who Was Too Beautiful”

Barbara LaMarr

TRIBUTE

 

 

 

Today would be the 112th birthday of the silent screen beauty, Barbara LaMarr. To celebrate, I am reprinting a portion of a tribute to the actress written by Jimmy Bangley, who was a huge LaMarr fan and admirer.

 

Celebrated around the world as “The Girl Who Is Too Beautiful,” this goddess of film was much more than a mere screen beauty. Possessing a razor sharp intelligence, a keen sense of humor, and a wise understanding of human nature, Miss LaMarr was also a successful scenarist of the silent screen. Beauty was just one weapon in her arsenal of talents.

  

Child actress at the tender age of seven years, little Reatha Dale Watson (as Barbara was then called) had a tremendous impact on her turn-of-the-century theater audiences as she played in stock companies up and down the West Coast for over six years.

 

Her loving rapport with the audience never faded. She experienced the same jubilation again with an adoring audience as she seductively danced to filled nightclubs, theaters, and vaudeville houses in her next incarnation as a hoofer on the road. Her natural grace would be exploited to its fullest as a screen actress, but as a young dancer of 14 years LaMarr made a truly stunning impression.

 

  

 

 

 

 LaMarr’s Whitley Heights house interior (photo 2)  

 

 

  

Exterior and rear of house (photot 3)

 

(click on images to enlarge)

 

Walking hand in hand with Barbara’s successful career as child actress and dancer was Barbara the writer, beginning with her short stories in newspapers (her foster father, William Watson, was himself a noted newspaper writer and editor). LaMarr branched out as film and theater critic, magazine contributor, and lastly film scenarist. She “doctored” numerous screenplays and wrote (and co-wrote) at least eight movies that we know about today.

 

In 1913 and 1914 LaMarr filmed some quickie westerns in Arizona. She is also said to have filmed dancing shorts in New York City, Chicago, and in Los Angeles, with such diverse partners as Rudolph Valentino and Clifton Webb. None of this film footage can be found today, at least not yet. What we do know is that by 1920 Louis B. Mayer and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. with wife Mary Pickford “discovered” Barbara LaMarr and set her delicate little feet on the path to screen stardom.

 

With her gorgeous, exotic looks, her bright personality, her native intelligence, and her inborn grace of form and movement, Barbara was propelled to stardom. She became filmdom’s most beautiful and celebrated vamp. This icon of the art deco era also became a much appreciated and critically acclaimed actress. She received rave reviews in such box office hits as The Three Musketeers (1921), The Prisoner of Zenda (1922), The Eternal City (1923), Strangers of the Night (1923), Thy Name Is Woman, The Shooting of Dan McGrew, both released in 1924, and pleased international audiences with her beauty and charisma in such fluff as The White Moth, Sandra, and The White Monkey (which, by the way, flopped in the United States).

 

 

Barbara La Marr’s home at 6672 Whitley Terrace, as it looked a few years ago. Jimmy Bangley, doing his LaMarr impersonation, is standing at photo number 3 in the 1920s version above.  

 

Barbara once made this telling statement about her film work, “Each characterization I create chips a little piece from my very soul.” She did, indeed, work very hard. She also played very hard. She lived on her emotions and on the very edge of her nerves.

 

She was generous to a fault and was known in the industry as a “soft touch.” LaMarr could always be counted on to help a friend when he or she was down and out, both emotionally and financially. Friends, relations, directors, producers, and fellow actors realized Barbara had trouble saying no. Many in her circle took advantage of her. She seemed to understand, and placidly accept this facet of her personality.

 

– Gratefully, Jimmy Bangley

February 1999

 

NOTE: Barbara LaMarr’s four bedroom, 2 bath home at 6672 Whitley Terrace was recently sold in February 2008 for $1,250,000.

 

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Jimmy Bangley’s Birthday…

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Happy Birthday

Jimmy Bangley!

 

 

Jimmy Bangley in front of the grave of his idol, Bette Davis 

 

AMERICAN ACTOR, WRITER & FILM HISTORIAN

 

BORN: July 11, 1956, Suffolk, Virginia

DIED: December 8, 2004, West Hollywood, California

 

My friend Jimmy Bangley would be 52 years-old today. Jimmy left us more than three years ago — much too early — and he is still missed. To celebrate here are some snap shots (Jimmy was never without a disposable camera) of Jimmy with a few of his celebrity friends who also cared about him.

 

 With Academy Award nominated actress, Sally Kirkland

 

 

 With Academy Award nominated actress, Linda Blair and friend

 

 With comedian Rip Taylor

 

 

 With actress Marsha Hunt who is holding an article that Jimmy

wrote on her for Classic Images

 

 

 With actor, Esai Morales and friends

 

 With silent-film actress, Anita Page

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Jimmy Bangley Memorial Photos

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Here are some additional photos from the Jimmy Bangley Memorial on

Sunday, March 30, 2008

 

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(The above photos are courtesy of Max Hoffmann and Rock Armstrong)  

 

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Jimmy’s Hollywood Forever Lifestory Tribute Video

 

 

 

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Jimmy Bangley Memorial

Monday, March 31st, 2008

A Tribute to Jimmy Bangley

 

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 Jimmy Bangley (1956-2004) 

 

On December 8, 2004, our friend Jimmy Bangley sadly passed away from our lives. He was returned to his family in Suffolk, Virginia to be interred next to his beloved grandmother. The memorial service the following January was a standing-room-only event. Since then, his friends have made donations to purchase a cenotaph niche at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. A place where we can visit and remember. Yesterday, that dream came true when more than 30 friends gathered at the cemetery’s Cathedral Mausoleum to unveil the decorated niche to his memory.

 

For those who did not know him, Jimmy Bangley was an accomplished actor, writer and film historian. He appeared in numerous plays both here in Los Angeles and his hometown in Virginia. His film credits included roles in the films Rollercoaster (1977), Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel (2000) and the Faye Dunaway short film, The Yellow Bird (2001).  He also appeared in more than 200 television programs representing Hollywood memorabilia and film costumes since the early 1990s. Although his first love was acting, he was also a successful writer. He wrote numerous articles for Collecting magazine, Classic Images and Films of the Golden Age.

 

Over the years Jimmy waited tables, performed stand-up comedy and sold celebrity memorabilia. For a while he worked at the Writers Guild and spoke at the yearly Rudolph Valentino Memorial at Hollywood Forever. He was also working on a biography of the “Too beautiful” silent screen siren, Barbara La Marr, with his close friend Margaret Burk. Jimmy was multi-faceted and had his hands in many pies during his brief life.

 

For more about Jimmy, please click on CONTINUE READING…

 

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