Thursday, April 16, 2015

Why Carole Never Had Children

Carole loved children and one of her biggest dreams was to become a mother. When she married Tommy Wallace in 1943 she told reporters that they wanted lots of kids. Sadly Carole was never able to have a child. She suffered from a condition called endometriosis which makes is difficult to become pregnant. Carole became very depressed when she couldn't have a baby. The fact that her sister Dorothy was able to have four healthy children seemed to make Carole even more desperate to be a mother. During her marriage to Horace Schmidlapp she once again tried to get pregnant. When she couldn't they briefly considered adopting a child from Cuba. After Carole died there were rumors that she had been pregnant with Rex Harrison's baby. However her autopsy show that she was not pregnant and that she could never have a child.

 An article about Carole's autopsy

 Here are some quotes from Carole about having children ...

From a 1944 interview: "It is a great disappointment to me that I'm not expecting along with several other of my married friends. Both my husband and I feel that it is time to forget about the superficial things in life. It is the natural, wholesome way of living - having children and establishing a home - that counts. Having a child makes a soldier realize that he has something very real to fight for. With a home and a family waiting for him, he has an incentive to give everything he has. When the war is over, we intend to buy a large ranch in Nevada. Lots of space, several children, simple living is our dream. Although my career is secondary, it will be necessary for me, and a lot of other wives, to help financially until my husband gets back into civilian life."

From a 1946 interview: "We're really eager for that family of three children. I think Horace prefers boys but I'll be satisfied with either boys or girls, although I think an arrangement of two boys and a girl would be nice. I find I'm terribly anxious to start living in a real home of my own and once my children arrive, they and my husband will be the most important things in my life. My motion picture career will be of secondary importance."

Carole with her niece Sharon (Photo courtesy of Tammy Powell)

Carole's Words

On posing in bathing suits: "A bathing suit is a girl's best friend in Hollywood. No girl should consider herself too important for that kind of publicity."

On her goals: "I want to be as good an actress as Bette Davis, and I'd like to be a great singer. But more than that I'd like to be happily married and have some children."

On wealthy husbands: "A man should be wealthy before marriage. It may be his last chance."

On love: "Let me tell you this: Every girl in the world wants to find the right man, someone who is sympathetic and understanding and helpful and strong, someone she can love madly. Actresses are no exception; the glamour and the tinsel, the fame and the money mean very little if there is hurt in the heart."

On being divorced three times: "Why do people attack me for getting three divorces? It's legal; if there's something wrong about it, why don't they attack the laws of the land, and let me alone?"


On love: "The only thing I've found out about love is that I don't know anything about it. I wish somebody would tell me what it's really like. I've made a couple of guesses. But that business about 'women's intuition' just isn't true. Not in my case, anyway."

On her future: "I have no intention of ending my career in a rooming house, with full scrapbooks and an empty stomach."

On her dreams: "My dreams are mad, silly things. I've started reading Freud. Very interesting."

On being labeled "The Ping Girl": "I want a fair chance to prove myself something more than a curvaceous cutie. I want to get out of bathing suits and into something more substantial. Unfortunately the publicity department of my studio does not agree. They have conceived the brilliant idea of selling me to the public as "the ping girl - because she makes you purr". This flash of genius is to be illustrated with a series of pictures out of their files, suggestive of anything but acting talent."

On her 1942 U.S.O. tour: "We had a wonderful time everywhere overseas. But it was hard. For five months we never gave less than five shows a day. It was too cold to sleep nights and there wasn't water enough to take a bath. We bathed and shampooed in cold water - there was no hot. I had to do my own washing. And I ate more sand and fog, than food. I was hairdresser for the gang; at that we didn't look too bad."

On rumors: "Anyone in public life gets used to unkind rumors after a time. Though all of them are very upsetting when they are published and spoken about publicly, particularly by those in the business who are, shall I say, jealous of your success. I have learned to stand up to them by ignoring them and not dignifying them with an answer."

On England: "This is a wonderful country. The people are wonderful, too. They like me for myself."

On writing Four Jills In A Jeep: "The studio gave me two ghost writers but they stunk it all up. I finally decided to talk it to a steno typist. Naturally with some Scotch and soda under my belt. Yes, it was very droll. I'd go out to the kitchen and sneak a drink, and come back again with a lot of new inspirations. I had too many swear words, like Hell, damn and Christ in it. Edwin Seaver, the writer whom I know, went over it and he said , "I think this part stinks", or "that part stinks"...and I cut a lot out. But I sweated it out and wrote it."

On her friends: "I hate to lose any friends because I feel that a little part of me goes with them. The sense of loss is painful. Now I know upon whom I can rely."

On money: "I'm pretty good at saving up to a certain point. When the money bags start getting heavy I have an awful urge to lighten them. But the business manager is curing me of that."

On her close friend Cesar Romero: "I demand a sense of humor in any man in my life. Cesar Romero, for example, has a wonderful sense of humor, plus a wonderful quality of humility. He makes fun of his face. Calls himself "Cowface". He doesn't think he is the great Adonis, as so many actors do."

On going to Hollywood: "I had thought of going across the street to the drugstore for a malted milk, for the purpose of being discovered for movies but decided instead to take the money I'd saved and go to Hollywood. Funny thing - I found Hollywood already had plenty of blondes."

On playing the piano: "Every girl has, in the back of her wish department, some unsatisfied longing held over from childhood. Personally, I always wanted to play the piano. Now that I have a piano and some spare time between pictures, I've been taking lessons. I'm not good, but I'm getting better and I've obtained a lot of satisfaction out of the effort."

On working as a waitress: "Three orders at a time had me nuts. I'd bring in the beef stew and give it to the wrong man and he'd start in on it. By that time I'd realize the error and give grab it away. The man who was supposed to get the beef stew then wouldn't take it. Before I was through the manager would be making me pay for half the orders."

On achieving her goals: "If you want to do something or be someone set your mind to it and never give up - no matter how rough the going becomes. I didn't have a college education, but I learned that there's no obstacle too big which can't be surmounted."

On the possibility of marrying for a third time: "I only hope it's true that the third time is the charm. Because I'm pretty sure I'll marry again. I like the things marriage stands for. I'm just praying I can wait long enough next time to be sure it's love. I don't want to be guessing all my life."

On sex appeal: "I think sex is definitely here to stay so I don't see any necessity for throwing it in people's faces. I don't think a girl has to wear dresses cut down to her tummy to exhibit what is known as feminine allure. She can exhibit it in a high neck dress but subtly. Heaven knows I want people to think I have sex appeal. But I also want to think I have something besides sex appeal."

On entertaining the troops during World War 2: "It's not only a duty, it's a lark. Even if your clothes are wrinkled, your face is chapped to the ears and you're deaf from flying in bombers, it's like home when you come down in the midst of Americans. It's living such as I have never known back here."

On moving to New York City: "We're going to call New York home. My husband's business keeps him in New York most of the time so we decided we could hardly make Hollywood as a permanent home."

On not being allowed to visit soldiers in dangerous areas: "The boys were counting on us to come and perform for them, and we could not go. It broke my heart. Once I sent cables to the commanding officer, asking special permission to make trips to Hollandia and Biak, because I knew the fellows were waiting for us. Permission was refused by headquarters."


On posing for leg art early in her career: "It was the leg art that did the trick. Naughty leg art, if you happen to look at it in that light. You see when the boys needed someone to pose in a skin-tight white bathing suit, go sleigh riding in shorts, or climb a ladder in a skirt they would yell 'Get Landis!' and Landis was willin'. That made everybody happy except, maybe, the goody-goods and the bluenoses and I suspect they took a second peek now and then."

On her first husband Irving Wheeler: "I didn't think anyone knew I'd ever been married. I thought Irving had forgotten our marriage, too. We lived together for three weeks and then had an argument. I've only seen him once since then, and that was when he told me he wanted a divorce."

On marriage: "Ever since I was a very small child, I wanted marriage and children more than I wanted anything else, including a career. Because I wanted marriage and children so badly, I constantly sought for love, I was too eager for it. I read into people things that weren't there, so that the minute a personable fellow, with whom I felt the least 'sympatica' showed me the least persuasive interest, I just went overboard for it."

On attracting men: "If you want to interest men, you have to have the courage to attract them. Most men, I've found, like a girl who's daring enough to get their attention - if she's demure enough to appreciate it after she gets it. As long as it's a man's world, a girl has to be daring to get ahead."

On getting noticed: "The first time I wore a bare midriff gown, Hollywood noticed me. Hollywood didn't discover me, I discovered it."

On gossip: "Don't gossip - particularly about other women. Don't make sarcastic and catty remarks. Kindness is the secret to true femininity."

On fame: "Stardom is merely some talent, a few breaks and a lot of publicity. I have the talent, the publicity will come and so will the breaks. Just give me a couple of years."

On her high school classmates: "I always seemed so much older than the other kids my age - they seemed like tots."

On why movies are important: "Movies are a tremendous power for the good. In wartime they helped stave off countless cases of homesickness, they entertained our men and kept them informed about people and things back home. Ask any veteran how important those nightly movies in the jungle rain were to him and his buddies. I know because I sat
though many myself."

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Carole and Tommy Wallace's Love Story

On January 5, 1943 Carole married Captain Thomas Wallace in London, England. He was a twenty-five year old Air Force pilot from Pasadena. Tommy had been part of the English Royal Air Force's American "Eagle Squadron". She met him on November 13, 1942 when she was entertaining soldiers in England. Carole said "Something hit me right in the heart. I only looked at him for a minute, but I saw his wonderful dimples, his tremendously expressive eyes, his curly hair." He proposed on their first date but she waited several weeks before agreeing to marry him. Tommy couldn't get an engagement ring so he gave her his signet ring. She had wanted to get married on January 1, her 24th birthday, but it was against British law. The wedding was almost canceled when she suffered an appendicitis attack in December 1942. She recovered in time for the ceremony and the doctor who removed her appendix gave her away.  While getting ready at the Savoy hotel Carole said she was "nervous". This was her third marriage and Kay Francis tried to convince her to cancel the wedding. Carole wore a cream colored satin dress designed by Hartnell, a strand of pearls, and orange blossoms in her hair. Her bouquet was made of white carnations and orchids. The ceremony took place at 2:00 PM at the Church of Our Lady Of Assumption on Warrick Street. Tommy was a Presbyterian but he agreed to have a Catholic ceremony. He told reporters "I am probably the luckiest man in the world". Tommy's friend Gus Daymond was his best man and Mitzi Mayfair was the maid of honor. Mitzi had collected ration coupons so Carole could get her dress and shoes.

The ceremony was performed by Father Waterkeyn and Father Harris. Hundreds of fans and photographers waited outside the church to see the bride and groom. Carole said "I want to have a wonderful marriage and children whom I may love and make a fuss over long after the movies are gone." She wrote about their romance in her book Four Jills In A Jeep and the wedding was recreated in the 1944 film. The large wedding cake was actually made of cardboard with a small white cake inside. They had no honeymoon because Carole went to North Africa three days after the wedding to perform for the troops. Tommy was stationed overseas during most of their marriage so they spent very little time together. She wrote to him every day they were apart and kept six photos of him in her bedroom. They finally took a honeymoon trip to New York City in September 1943. Tommy hated her Hollywood lifestyle and wanted her to give up her career to become a housewife. Carole was also very disappointed that they didn't have children. When their marriage started to fall apart she attempted suicide. The couple separated in October 1944 and were divorced the following year. Carole always considered Tommy the great love of her life. In an interview she said "No woman ever loved a man more than I loved Tommy Wallace. And Tommy loved me, too. All my life, above all the rest, I want to remember that." Tommy married his second wife Joanne in 1946. They moved to England and had two sons. He served in the Air Force during the Korean war and later worked for Goodyear. Tragically in 1968 Tommy was killed in an accidental shooting.

* We want to thank Tommy's family for giving us information about his life after Carole *

This is a 1943 newsreel about Carole and Tommy's wedding

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Four Jills In A Jeep

Carole entertained thousands of soldiers during World War 2. In September 1942 she began a five month U.S.O. tour with Kay Francis, Martha Raye, and Mitzi Mayfair. Their group was part of the "Feminine Theatrical Task Force". They went to England, Bermuda, Africa, and Ireland. The group traveled more than 50,000 miles by plane, truck, and jeep. They made 150 personal appearances and performed in 125 shows. Kay introduced the show, Martha told jokes, Mitzi danced, and Carole sang. Her specialty was the song "Strip Polka". The four women became close friends during the tour. Kay was bisexual and developed a crush on Carole. When the girls were in Africa they went through four air raids. They also survived an earthquake and numerous illnesses. Carole had her appendix removed and nearly died from an e. coli infection. She lost fifteen pounds while on the tour. Carole wrote several magazine articles about her experiences during the war.

Carole, Martha, Mitiz, and Kay

In 1943 she was asked to write a book for Random House. The title of the book was Four Jills In A Jeep. She told stories about traveling with the other women and performing for the soldiers. Most of the book is about her romance with her husband Tommy Wallace. Carole had the help of a ghostwriter named Edwin Seaver but she wrote the majority of the book herself. She dedicated it "To the Officers and Enlisted Men Who Made Our Tour So Inspiring". In December 1943 Four Jills In a Jeep was serialized in The Saturday Evening Post. When the book was published in the spring of 1944 it sold well and got rave reviews. Before the book had even come out Fox decided to turn Four Jills In A Jeep into a movie. Filming began on October 18, 1943. The movie was directed by William A. Seiter. Carole, Kay, Martha, and Mitzi agreed to play themselves. They were all excited to see their adventures on the big screen. Carole's onscreen romance with John Harvey was based on her real-life relationship with Tommy.

The "jills" in England

The all-star cast included Phil Silvers, Dick Haymes (his film debut), Betty Grable, Jimmy Dorsey, Carmen Miranda, and Alice Faye. Yvonne Wood designed the costumes for the film. Carole was furious when the censors refused to let the actresses wear sweaters. In one scene she wore her own wedding dress. There are numerous songs including "How Blue The Night" and "You'll Never Know". Most of the songs are sung by Dick Haymes. The highlight of the film is Carole singing her only solo number "Crazy Me". All of the musical numbers were staged by Carole's close friend Don Loper. Before the opening credits there is a prologue that reads "This story is based on the experiences of four of the many performers who take entertainment to America's men in uniform in the theatres of war as well as in the camps at home. Actors who serve in this global entertainment program consider it a privilege to lighten a little the hardships endured by our fighting men and to share, in a measure, their experiences in combat zones.

The producers gratefully acknowledge the work of USO-Camp Shows, Inc., the Hollywood Victory Committee and the Special Service Division of the War Department". Unfortunately Carole and the other actresses had no creative control over the making of Four Jills In A Jeep. The movie ended up being mostly fiction. The plot made their journey seem easy and it completely ignored all of the struggles they went through. Many of the scenes and characters in the movie did not even come from the book. Carole was very unhappy that it turned out to be just a fluffy musical. Four Jills In A Jeep was released on March 17, 1944. The movie was not a hit and a lot of critics panned it. Carole told a friend "I'm afraid the picture hasn't had as good a press as I hoped". Although she had proved she was a talented writer Carole would never write another book. In 1945 she was asked to wrote the forward to Vic Herman's cartoon book Winnie The Wac.

With John Harvey in the movie

Phil Silvers and the cast

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cowboys From Texas

In 1939 Carole starred in the western Cowboys From Texas. She plays June Jones, a rancher's daughter who meets three cowboys known as the "Mesquiteers". The cast includes Robert Livingston, Duncan Renaldo, Charles Middleton, and Betty Compson. You can watch some clips from the movie here ...

 Duncan Renaldo and Carole

Carole and Charles Middleton

Friday, March 20, 2015

Carole In The Tovarich Trailer

In 1937 Carole appeared in the trailer for the comedy Tovarich.  Although she does not have a role in the movie she was under contract at Warner Brothers at the time. Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer starred in Tovarich. You can watch the trailer here ...

A Lady Says Yes

In 1945 Carole made her Broadway debut in the musical A Lady Says Yes. The plot was about a Navy lieutenant who hallucinates during surgery and imagines himself back in 1500's Venice. Carole played a seductress named Ghisella and got to sing several songs including "Without a Caress" and "Don't Wake Them Up Too Soon". She said "I am enjoying it and it is nice to do a play for a change." The show opened on January 10 at the Broadhurst theatre . Reviewers called it a "silly, harmless diversion" but they praised Carole's performance. Unfortunately A Lady Says Yes was not a hit and it closed after 87 performances. During the production Carole had a romantic relationship with her costar Jacqueline Susann. In 1966 Jacqueline wrote the best-selling novel Valley Of The Dolls. The character of Jennifer North was based on Carole.

Jacqueline Susann, Carole, and Christine Ayres

Buddy Morris, Carole, and Sue Ryan

Jacqueline Susann's autograph (from Elizabeth's collection)