Monday, August 25, 2008

Old Movie Stars Didn’t Have More Class (They Just Didn’t Get Caught)

It seems like every time some poster has a beef with Nicole Kidman or Angelina or any other current leading lady type, they bring up stars from the past as having more “class.” They seem to think these screen stars from the past led exemplary lives compared to these overexposed tarts in films today. Three of the ladies most mentioned as classier-than-thou are Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn.

What are they, nuts? Either these posters have very short memories or can’t read because these three stars never met a married co-star they didn’t like. Monroe blatantly slept her way to the top while Kelly had to do some serious covering-up of her past in order to marry royalty. I love them and their films, but that’s “class?”

These naïve folks who think celeb decadence is a recent phenom need a course in Hollywood History 101. First assignment: read “Hollywood Babylon.” The first one. I found a paperback copy of this when I was in high school in Montgomery, Alabama, and it changed my whole life. Well, at least it inspired me to move to Hollywood and look for a little “decadence” of my own.

The main thing you learn from reading this scholarly tome is that film stars have been drinking, drugging and fucking like minks as long as there have been films. Some of those silent film characters make Lindsay Lohan look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm.

My favorite silent-era sinner is Charlie Chaplin. Yeah, he was a genius and all that but the good stuff involved his taste for San Quentin quail. Charlie was a chicken hawk who never let a starlet’s tender age prevent him from getting into her pants. My current Hollywood crib is a short walk from Charlie’s old studio and was allegedly built by him for the studio’s players. I could so see ole Charlie stashing an underage mistress or two here and sneaking over for a quickie. Back then, he would have gotten away with it because there were no camera phones, no internet and no Perez Hilton.

Can you imagine a mogul trying to pull of something like that today? Two of the neighbors and a half-dozen studio employees would be texting the hot details of the assignation to Perez while a TMZ film crew and a van from Access Hollywood would be parked on the street with cameras.

What if the patrons had camera phones with internet access back in the old days of the Mogambo and Trocadero? Well, they didn’t so a lot of secrets will remain just that – secrets. Marilyn, Audrey and Grace – be glad your pasts died with you. Lindsay, Britney, Miley and Jessica – be very careful. The days when a star had any privacy are long gone.

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