The recent thread about Elizabeth Threatt reminded me of something I’ve long wondered about.
When Kenneth Anger’s book Hollywood Babylon first came out in the 1970s, I recall reading in it a sad story about a promising young actress who appeared in the film These Wilder Years with Jimmy Cagney. The movie concerned unwed teenage mothers. According to Anger, this young woman later became an unwed mother herself and, shunned by Hollywood, ended up as a porn actress in Mexico.
A few years later I bought a copy of Hollywood Babylon. The story wasn’t there. Nor has it appeared in any edition I’ve seen since.
I don’t remember the actress’ name. I had long thought the young woman in question would have been Betty Lou Keim, as she costarred in the film with Cagney. Researching on the Internet, however, I found that she retired from acting after marrying actor Warren Berlinger.
So: was there a story in the early issues of Hollywood Babylon which was later deleted? Was the story not true? Or (and I doubt this) am I actually remembering something from another book?
I don’t know, but I’m not aware of any point in the past century when being an unwed teenage mother had any kind of negative social consequences in Hollywood.
Ah, down-trodden actress Porn from Mexico! Thats the stuff!
I have a copy of Hollywood Babylon (unfortunately not at home at present), which is pretty early. I can’t recall seeing this story in it though.
IAC, it’s highly unlikely that the story’s true, if it ever was in Hollywood Babylon. Ken had a habit of “making things up” if you know what I mean. Maybe Eve will be nice enough to come in here and vent about it.
Why bring her in, when even I can explain it:
Ken is/was an independent filmaker, who seems to have taken out all his negative feelings towards not evolving beyond the “8 viewers in a theater with a leaky roof” level of popularity out on Hollywood, and, in doing so, repeated every bit of gossip he ever heard, no matter how long ago, and regardless of any ability to find confirmation elsewhere.
Prior to the 1960s it would have hurt. Ingrid Bergman, for example, was an incredibly popular actress who suffered majorly due to an unwed pregnancy even though she married the father before giving birth, but it still led to a temporary exile from Hollywood.
slipster, I had a quick look and I couldn’t find that particular story in my copy of Hollywood Babylon either.