Jill's posting about Robert Osbourne's tale of Susan Hayward's and Barbara Stanwyck's meeting reminded me that on March 31 of this year, Osbourne was being honored at a venue called the Bryn Mawr Film Institute in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb, and about a half-mile from where I live.
It so happens that I've been to the Institute, which is a combination movie theater and film teaching venue, many times. But because I knew Robert Osbourne was being honored that Saturday evening, I desperatively wanted to go. So much so that I gave up an invitation to a birthday dinner from friends that night. As it turned out, going to the Osbourne gig would have cost me $500! So much for that plan.I should have accepted the dinner.
However, I have a good friend who volunteers there, who told me she had been asked to "work" the after-presentation party. Whoa! Fabulous. Okay, Meryle, here's what you have to do: get close to Bob. I don't care what you have to do, but get the chance to tell him your good friend's birthday is that same day (true!). Then say that your friend's biggest birthday wish is to know what Robert Osbourne's real opinion is of Susan Hayward.
Being a good friend, Meryle promised me she would do her best. Meanwhile, having given up the birthday dinner, I waited at home breathlessly for word of the enlightening comment Osbourne made about Susan. No call that night. Okay, she probably came home late from the festivities. So next day, Sunday, I phoned her.
Now I know that you know the end of this story. No great revelation because,despite her best efforts, Meryle couldn't get closer than a wave to Bob. He was surrounded by too many people who HAD paid the $500. I was crushed. I gave up a free dinner and had nothing to show for it.
Fortunately, Jill was luckier than I. And even though I had read about Barbara Stanwyck's meeting with Susan in one of the books about Susan, it was nice to know that someone who had actually seen them talking remembered them.
I also read that when Stanwyck had, I believe, a kidney operation and was due to stasrt a TV film, Susan took over, also sending Barbara enough flowers that the hospital couldn't put them all in one room. That film was "Heat of Anger," which, if Susan hadn't become sick with the brain tumor, would probably have become a series with her starring. I read, too, that when Susan died, nobody from Hollywood had sent anything to the funeral except Stanwyck,who sent a large bouquet of flowers that read "from one Brooklyn broad to another."
It's amazing that, with their long careers, they hadn't met before, no matter how shy each one was about approaching the other. How sad. The two Brooklyn "broads" would likely have been good friends for many years.
I wish I had known about your question because I could have talked to Osborne for nothing that night as he "held court" in the theater lobby after the event. Anyone could have walked up to him. A few people were gathered around talking to him, but at the time I didn't think to ask him anything about Susan. Oh well, next time -- and there always is in this town.
Enjoyed your comments.
You have my standing request that any time you have the opportunity to go one-on-one with Osbourne, you may (PLEASE!!!) ask him my question: what did he really think of Susan?
Gloria, you have my promise that I will tackle him the next time I see him. Ha.
What I was curious to know was did he ever mention interviewing Susan? If so, what did he say about her? Of course, at the Academy event he only talked about Stanwyck.
According to Beverly Linet's book on Susan, "Portrait of a Survivor," in Susan's last conversation with Osborne, she said: "When you're dead, you're dead. Nobody is going to remember me when I'm dead. Oh, maybe a few friends will remember me affectionately. Being remembered isn't the most important thing anyhow. It's what you do when you are here that's important." (Well, she certainly didn't realize how many of us would remember her, did she?)
The way that was written in the book, it sounded like either her last interview, or certainly one very close to her last.
Also, at the end of TCM's showing of "Ada" during their Susan Hayward day last August (or maybe August 2005; I'm not sure), Robert Osborne had a devilish smile on his face when he said that nobody was as feisty as Susan Hayward. The man looked to me to have been an admirer, and that's why I was so eager to have my friend ask him his honest opinion of her.
Well, maybe one day you'll have the chance. I hope so.
Gloria, thanks for reminding me of that quote. I remember it well and have always felt badly that she would even think like that. But I forgot who conducted the interview. That certainly would have been a conversation opener with Osborne. I just didn't connect him with that quote. Woe is me.
BTW, he did a great job interviewing Olivia de Havilland when she was honored at the Academy a while back. He seems to have quite a rapport with the ladies of the golden age. I know Olivia seemed to relish talking to him.
I am hoping there will be another chance, so I can do all the Susan fans proud.