Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Arlene Dahl!

I considered the years in Hollywood nothing but an interim. What I always wanted was to be was a musical comedy star.
Arlene Dahl

Happy Birthday, Arlene Dahl!
What is it about August and red heads? In the past week, we have celebrated the birthdays of Lucille Ball and Rhonda Fleming and today is Arlene Dahl's birthday! Someone pointed out to me that it seemed like I had a theme going on. I'm beginning to think he is right. Arlene Dahl is one of my favorite movie STARS and I can't believe I know her personally! She is a TRUE Star!

Arlene has starred in over 30 films, 100 television programs, Had her own series called Arlene Dahl's Beauty Spot for ABC; Arlene Dahl's Lovescope series , 17 plays(8 of them musicals including Applause on Broadway at the Palace theater}

Arlene was President of an international advertising agency, designed a sleepwear line for 100 top stores in America and was extolled in a cover story in Life magazine.

She wrote an internationally syndicated Beauty column for the Chicago Tribune/New York news for 20 years and has written 15 best selling books on beauty and astrology. She is now the President of The Broadway Walk of Stars Foundation to place Stars on the sidewalks of Broadway and Times Square to honor the Stars and Legends who have made Broadway what it is today. Arlene has been busy and much more involved in the arts than any of the biographies give her credit for. Oh yes, she was also one of the first Stars to be given a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

I first saw Arlene Dahl in THREE LITTLE WORDS. Three Little Words (1950) was an example of Hollywood's late-'40s/early-'50s interest in the lives of famous songwriters.

Fred Astaire plays vaudeville dancer Bert Kalmar, whose act with Jessie Brown (Vera-Ellen) runs aground due to his interest in magic acts and a backstage accident. While in rehab, he meets composer Harry Ruby (Red Skelton), and the two discover a knack for writing Tin Pan Alley songs, then Broadway shows, together.
(Harry Ruby, pictured)

There's some mild conflict in their lives as portrayed in film, but mostly the movie is an excuse to pull out a slew of Kalmar & Ruby songs such as "Who's Sorry Now," "My Sunny Tennessee," "Nevertheless," "I Wanna Be Loved by You," and the title tune. Vera-Ellen is an excellent partner for Astaire, and the relatively restrained Skelton puts in a good performance. Also appearing are Arlene Dahl as a musical actress, Gloria De Haven as her own mother, a young Debbie Reynolds as Boop-a-Doop girl Helen Kane, and the real Harry Ruby as a baseball player playing catch with Skelton, the movie Harry Ruby. Three Little Words isn't one of the great MGM musicals of its era, but it's an entertaining picture, especially for fans of Astaire. --Source:(David Horiuchi, Amazon's website)

And now here's MY story about how I have come to know Arlene over the years.
Around October 1994, I was hired to perform by Elaine Chez at a private party at Pegasus (no longer there). In those days, very early in my career as Carol Channing. I was still very shaky in terms of doing my own make-up. Eric Stephen Jacobs, who taught me everything I know about doing my make-up, did my make-up every time I appeared anywhere at that time. So I hired Eric to do my make-up that night. Danny left work early so that we could do this with enough time to then go over to Bryon Sommers
who I had hired to play for me that night. Bryon and I put my set together and then we headed over to Pegasus. When we got there, Elaine met us out front. She was very upset! She said the party had been cancelled at the last minute and she had no way of getting in touch with me. (This was pre-cell phones)She also told me that she would not be able to pay me under the circumstances! Now, picture this. Bryon and I are standing outside of Pegasus on the Upper East Side while Danny is looking for a parking spot. I am standing there dressed as Carol Channing. I had already paid Eric and Bryon for their work to make this evening possible. Danny had left work to escort me around. I asked Elaine to go in and ask the owner if I could perform anyway since I had gone to all this effort.

So I went in and, for the five people present, performed my set. They were a very appreciative audience and I was not at all what they expected on a weeknight in their regular watering hole. After I finished, a very dapper gentleman named Jeffrey Butler came over and offered to buy me a drink. We sat down to talk. He asked where I was from and when I told him I lived in Rockland County, he told me that he had friends in Rockland County! He asked me what town and when I told him "Sparkill, he said, "There's where my friends live. Do you know Marc Rosen and Arlene Dahl?"
I almost fell off my chair! He went on to say that they were very good friends and that Marc and Arlene throw an annual Christmas party and he was going to check with Marc to see if I could perform at it! Although it sounded incredible, I didn't get my hopes up too high. In this business, you get used to disappointment. I figured that that would be the last I would hear from Jeffrey Butler. Imagine my surprise when a few weeks later, I received a phone call from Marc Rosen hiring me to perform at their Christmas Party solely on the recommendation of Jeffrey Butler. He told me that this would be a surprise for Arlene and also went on to tell me that Arlene and Carol were very dear friends.
I met with Forest Perrin in Manhattan. He was playing at the party. We rehearsed our set. What a wonderful man he was. I cherish getting to know him in his final years.

I counted the days till this party. It was a snowy blustery day in Sparkill. The concern was that the party MIGHT be cancelled because of an impending storm, a possible blizzard! Luckily, the party went on as scheduled. Because of the close proximity of our houses, I was able to wait here till Marc called me to tell me it was time to come over. When I arrived at their gorgeous Victorian home. I was met out front by Marc and escorted in. I saw Sally Jesse Raphael and Patrice Munsel and Rex Reed as I walked in. Arlene welcomed me with open arms and I performed my short set. She told me to make myself at home, that I was a welcomed guest. What a gracious generous hostess and host.
I had to leave shortly thereafter. I had a show at 11PM that night. I said my goodbyes and headed into the city with another great memory that I will cherish forever. On a side note, Marc told me that Carol Channing was normally at that annual party but was unable to make it that year. So when I arrived, many of the guests thought it WAS Carol. Marc said his mother commented that she didn't recall "Carol' being that tall! Patrice Munsel thought I had facial work done and wanted to know who my doctor was!

A week or so later, I received a call from Marc that he had suggested me to Cindy Adams to perform at Joey Adams' 80th birthday party coming up in January at Le Cirque!


I was also hired by Arlene to perform at Marc Rosen's 50th Birthday party at the 21 Club. That night I performed as Judy Garland alongside Liliane Montevecchi and Arlene singing I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, which she sang in THREE LITTLE WORDS! I felt like I had come full circle! Shortly after that, I was hired to perform at Cindy Adams' birthday party (again through Marc and Arlene!)
What a fun night that was. It wasn't long after that that Marc called to tell me that Cindy Adams was launching a fragrance called GOSSIP. They were launching this atthe Don Suki Salon. What better place to get Gossip?
The "other" Carol was going to be there in addition to almost every celebrity you can name! Wow, what a night!

I was even asked to appear at The Russian Tea Room when Arlene received an award several years ago! This blog is giving me an opportunity to say THANK YOU for the many gifts Arlene and Marc have given me over the years!

Arlene is also an astrologer and did my charts!

Arlene,
This is my tribute to you! Arlene Carol Dahl (born August 11th)
is an American actress and former MGM contract star, who achieved notability during the 1950s. She is the mother of actor Lorenzo Lamas.

Dahl was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the daughter of Idelle (née Swan) and Rudolph S. Dahl, a Ford motor dealer and executive.

She is of Norwegian descent. After graduating from Washburn High School, she held various jobs, including performing in a local drama group and briefly working as a model for department stores. Dahl's mother was involved in the theatre. As a child she took elocution and dancing lessons and acted in local amateur theatre. She was active in theatrical events at Margaret Fuller Elementary School, Ramsey Junior High School and Washburn Senior High School. Dahl briefly attended the University of Minnesota.

It is an oft repeated myth that Dahl was voted the Rheingold Beer Girl of 1946. (The 1946 Rheingold Girl was Rita Daigle) Other actresses have accumulated the same myth including Tippi Hedren, Hope Lange and Grace Kelly. Dahl began her acting career in 1947. She reached the peak of her popularity and success in the 1950s. Some of her best films include: Reign of Terror (1949), Three Little Words (1950), Woman's World (1954), Slightly Scarlet (1956), and Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959).

Dahl met actor Lex Barker in the early 1950s, and on April 16, 1951, Dahl and Barker wed. A year later she and Barker divorced, and Dahl would go on to marry another matinee idol, Fernando Lamas. Barker went on to marry Lana Turner. In 1958 Dahl and Lamas had their only son, Lorenzo Lamas. Arlene is currently married to Marc Rosen. Shortly after giving birth to Lorenzo, Dahl slowed and eventually ended her career as an actress, although she still appeared in movies and on television occasionally. Dahl would go on to work as a beauty columnist and as a writer.

She also founded her own business, Arlene Dahl Enterprises, which marketed lingerie and cosmetics. She eventually became an astrologer and wrote a syndicated column on the subject.

Biographical details of this blog are from Arlene's Wikipedia page.

I would like to make it clear many of the elements composing this blog are not my own; I do not own any of the images posted on this blog. All other images, characters, trademarks (etc) are owned and copyright of their respective owner(s). Also, I did not create this blog with the intent to breach any copyright, nor do I imply that I own anything beyond my own opinions included within it. When known, I have done my best to provide proper attribution when possible. This blog is solely meant to amuse, interest, and assist,and as such is protected under laws concerning fair use.

Here's to an INCREDIBLE day for ALL!


Now, GO RENT AN ARLENE DAHL FILM!

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Tomorrow's blog will be About Stars Who Give Back. Thank you, David Vernon for this suggestion.


Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS:
http://www.carolchanning.org/foundation.htm


And help us get Carol Channing the 2011 Kennedy Center Honor!
Contact me for details!
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED WEEK!
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

4 comments:

  1. Wonderful. A lovely tribute indeed. And I'm sure there'll be tons more in your upcoming book.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Arlene Dahl is the most painfully beautiful woman that I have ever seen along with Mary Crosby.

    ReplyDelete
  3. My Name is Robert Lucas my sister and Arlene Dahl were very
    close friends Her name is Joy Lucas Unger And Lives in Torrance Ca My sister is 90 and would like to reach Arlene
    Dahl Can you help My Number 954 472 3463

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is a wonderful tribute to a charming and caring woman. I too had the privilege of meeting Arlene Dahl. She did something very special to help us in our fight to save Radio City Music Hall and I will never forget how wonderful she was to us. Thank you Richard for sharing this wonderful story of your relationship with a woman who is as beautiful inside as he is on the outside. Rosie Novellino-Mearns

    ReplyDelete