Featured in Screen Guide magazine in November 1936, here is one of those wacky articles that could only come from the 1930’s–a psychic tells you what will become of Hollywood’s great couples!

wanda hollywood

“The Future of Ten Hollywood Romances as Predicted by Wanda, One of Hollywood’s Most Famous Seers”

The ten blazingest Hollywood romances! How will the end? Marriage? Split up? This story tells.

In presenting this remarkable set of predictions, I have kept in mind that my readers’ interest in the stars is no fleeting thing. You will be amazed as time goes on, to note the accuracy of Wanda’s readings. She has built for herself a tremendous following among the Hollywood famous. I suggest that you keep this article–refer to it in the future and see how right she has been this time. It’ll be fun!

Yes, let’s see just how right this “remarkable” Wanda was, shall we?

Rose Joan Blondell and Richard Ewing Powell (Joan Blondell and Dick Powell)

dick powell joan blondell

There is no if, and or but about this romance. Joan and Dick (if they’re not married by the time you read this) will be married shortly after her divorce from George Barnes becomes final….[Dick] is a charming boy and he and Joan will get along beautifully…She and Dick have many tastes in common and she will always be interested in anything that Dick likes. They will have a child within a year or so after their marriage.

Well, she wasn’t totally wrong here. Joan and Dick were indeed married by the time this magazine hit news stands, tying the knot on September 19, 1936.  They did have a child in 1938, a daughter named Ellen.  Wanda couldn’t predict, I suppose, that in 1944 Dick’s head would be turned by a younger blonde actress, June Allyson, and he would subsequently leave Joan for her.

Arlington Brugh and Ruby Stevens (Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck)

robert taylor barbara stanwyck

For his own good Robert Taylor should not marry for many years. I say this because he is an extremely restless personality. He likes action–lots of it–and hates monotony. He never sits still and never is. He is like a wild horse who hates a halter…He will come under a marriage aspect next year, but if he should marry then it will not last…As far as his “romance” with Barbara Stanwyck is concerned, this is really a glorified friendship. Barbara is very intuitive and psychic; she understands Bob’s spirit perfectly…She will have a proposal of marriage in 1937–and perhaps from Bob, but neither should she marry during that year. It would be what we call an “inevitable marriage”—one which she would have no control.

Her timeline is off, but she’s not completely wrong. Bob and Barbara were married on May 14, 1939, after three years of dating and being called out for “acting like they are married but they aren’t” in the same magazine article that called out Clark and Carole. Bob was indeed not a man who could be tamed, so to speak. After years of him cheating on her, Barbara finally filed for divorce in 1951. He went on to marry actress Ursula Theiss and have two children; Barbara never remarried and missed him the rest of her life.

William Powell and Harlean Carpentier (William Powell and Jean Harlow)

jean harlow william powell

Jean Harlow is two distinct personalities, and she is another person who cannot be restricted. That is why she changed her hair to a brownish shade when she found that its platinum color interfered with her independence. Instead of being its slave she decided to let it be hers…Regardless of what people think, she is very timid and has a strong mother complex. She is also of a restless disposition and enjoys changes. 1937 will prove to be a better year for her than 1936. My advice to her would be to wait a little longer for another marriage.

William Powell was born a genius. He is very proud and disdainful person but loves children and dogs…Bill wants a great deal of love and affection and he wants a wife to be always at his beck and call. That’s why there will be a disturbing element in any marriage he enters into with a busy actress. A woman must role his home as well as his heart.

“1937 will be a better year for her than 1936”?? There is an appalling prediction! Jean Harlow died at the age of 26 in 1937.  Bill and Jean were still together at the time of her death and he was devastated. Married and divorced twice before the Jean romance (his second marriage being to Carole Lombard), Bill eventually married actress Diana “Mousie” Lewis in 1940 and they were married until his death in 1984.

Raymond Guion and Jeanette MacDonald (Gene Raymond and Jeanette MacDonald)

jeanette macdonald gene raymond

Because Jeanette MacDonald is a Gemini and Gemini women usually marry men of a different nationality or religion, I have long been expecting this Jeanette MacDonald-Gene Raymond engagement…The marriage aspects are better for her than for Gene. His best marriage year is really 1938. Still a partnership with Jeanette will turn out happily for him as well as for her so long as he is careful about disagreements and separations…Gene is almost as much wrapped up in music as Jeanette is, and you’ll hear a lot more about him as a composer as time goes on. But my advice to them is to wait awhile, until Gene passes through his present aspects. He had one big love affair last year–he’ll know whom I mean–from which he hasn’t yet recovered.

Jeanette and Gene were indeed married, although sooner than the great Wanda wanted–making it official on June 16, 1937. They remained married until her death in 1965, however revelations from friends and discoveries of personal letters and diaries in the past decade or so have provided clear evidence that this marriage of theirs was a cover-up because Gene was gay and Jeanette was being kept away from her ongoing love affair with Nelson Eddy.

James Stewart and Eleanor Powell

james stewart eleanor powell

This is a nice friendship but has very little marriage possibilities. Eleanor will make a better friend than a marriage partner in this case…I doubt if either of them would learn the lesson of give and take. James Stewart will have two or more marriages.

Again she is kind of right. Jimmy and Eleanor starred in together in Born to Dance that year and were briefly coupled. Eleanor went on to marry actor Glenn Ford in 1943, her only marriage, which ended in divorce in 1959. Wanda is wrong about Jimmy though, he was one of the very few of the golden age of Hollywood’s leading men who held out for the right woman and stayed once he found her. He married Gloria Hatrick in 1949 and they were happily married until her death in 1994.

George Brent and Greta Gustafson (George Brent and Greta Garbo)

george brent greta garbo

It is quite likely that this one will be at an end shortly. George Brent is the burnt child who dreads fire. The memory of his marriage to Ruth Chatterton has never been erased–its happiness and its grief both come back to haunt him…He likes to “putter” and as a matter of fact, he is very fussy and old-maidish. Greta, on the other hand, is just the opposite. An introvert who lives completely in herself. The state of things about her makes very little difference.

I don’t think this relationship was ever anything at all. Greta certainly never seemed ready for marriage–she left a brokenhearted John Gilbert at the altar in the late 1920’s and never married.  George was ultimately married five times. After this article, he married actress Constance Worth in 1937 and they were divorced less than a year later. He also had a short-lived marriage to actress Ann Sheridan. He had two children with his fifth wife, model Janet Michaels.

David Niven and Estelle Merle O’Brien Thompson (David Niven and Merle Oberon)

merle oberon david niven

This romance is destined to follow a rocky path. Like “water” which is their symbol, they are too easily ruffled and changeable with the tide. Their sign is Pisces, which is two fish swimming in opposite directions. David likes to stand on his own two feet and doesn’t like to be bossed. And the compelling Merle Oberon has to be boss! …She is no back-seat driver.

Correct, Wanda. This one didn’t work out. Merle dated Clark before Carole was on the scene and one of the reasons Clark lost interest was apparently Merle’s tendency to be controlling and jealous.  Merle married British producer Alexander Korda in 1939, the first of four husbands. David married a British socialite named Primmie in 1940. She died tragically in an accident in 1946. He then married a Swedish fashion model in 1948 and although it was rather a tumultuous union, they stayed married until his death in 1983.

Cesar Romero and Virginia Briggs (Cesar Romero and Virginia Bruce)

cesar romero virginia bruce

These two are well suited to each other–both are “air” people and therefore could find happiness together. Virginia comes under a very strong marriage vibration after October of this year, and Cesar, too, begins a new cycle in February…Virginia will always attract men who will be constantly telling her how much they admire her, and any man who marries her will have to keep ahead of the others. Even when she is a very old lady there will always be a man waiting for her just around the corner–she can’t help it; hers is just that fatal attraction. But Cesar worships beauty as much as any man and will always respect and revere it. He also senses that she is an adorable mother and he has a strong inclination for a home and family. And if they marry the first of next year there will be a child before October, 1939.

No marriage for these two. Virginia, who was previously married to John Gilbert and had his daughter, married director J. Walter Ruben in 1937. They had one child before his death in 1942. Her third marriage lasted from 1946-1964, ending in divorce. Cesar, who dated Carole Lombard before Clark came on the scene, never married and was rumored to be gay.

And last but not least:

Clark Gable and Jane Peters (Clark Gable and Carole Lombard)

clark gable carole lombard

Clark Gable doesn’t come into another strong marriage vibration until the year 1938, and if he marries then, the only thing I can say to him is that he should keep his suitcase packed. I feel that this warning is necessary because he is individual and independent, and people of his type always marry on impulse. Yet in other respects, and a strange contradiction, he plays life like a game of chess, or like an actor who plays a part and watches himself go by. Few people “get this” about Gable, but it’s true. Another thing about him is that he can’t be bossed. This may have had something to do with the failure of his first two marriages. He is very aggressive and likes to do as he pleases. He will always want much more love and affection than he will give out.

There s little doubt about the fact that Clark Gable and Carole Lombard do get along beautifully, but because she doesn’t come under a strong marriage vibration until 1939 I cannot see a happy immediate marriage. There is, however, always that matter of Gable’s impulsiveness to be reckoned with. Many people point out that Clark and Carole have so much in common–that they both like sports, for example. However, they like them in a different way. Carole likes smart sports–smart tennis on a smart court in a smart pair of shorts. Clark likes backwoods “roughing it” sports. Their ideas are really quite far apart in this connection. Also Clark is content to live in plain, homey surroundings, while Carole’s artistic expression demands something more elaborate and “interior decorated.” She’s really amazingly artistic and when her film career over she can always find a lucrative livelihood as a painter, a landscape gardener, or an interior decorator. Also she is very rhythmic and if she would devote time and study to her voice, she might easily become a successful singer–even an opera singer. She is what we would call extravagant, yet her extravagances are really necessary to her. She hates miserliness in any form and there is nothing stingy about her, nor will she tolerate it in others around her. She has a very real humanitarian outlook and is abnormally patient with everything and everybody. She will put up with things for a long time, but, as is typical of such people, when she finally does get around to putting her foot down, she puts it down irrevocably. Carole is so interested in other people and other things that she neglects herself, and therefore I would advise her to marry someone who would take an interest in her…her health and her welfare–a physician or a surgeon preferably.

Well, well! There are a couple of things wrong about this: Carole did get into Clark’s kind of sport, and she wasn’t the type to scoff at wearing hunting gear and waders and getting dirty.  I don’t think Carole would have made much of an opera singer! Really! If you have seen her film Swing High, Swing Low, you can hear that Carole was not exactly an opera singer! Carole was more extravagant with Clark, but she wasn’t stupid with her money, and I don’t think she minded Clark’s tendency to be a penny pincher too much, as they both pretty much spent their own money as they pleased. I can’t see Carole being some surgeon’s wife…sounds like she’d get bored. I can’t argue that Clark was the type to marry on impulse—he’d done it before then and he’d do it again. Also he did like to do just what he pleased and I would say that him wanting more love and affection than he’d be willing to give out is fairly accurate. And of course, they did get married in 1939–when Carole was having a “strong marriage vibration.”

newlweds

Since Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were married 74 years ago this week, here is a vintage article I found that lists the celebrity couples that were newlyweds in 1939. So let’s see who else would be celebrating 74 years together this year…

 

ronald benita colman

Ronald Colman and Benita Hume

They were included in this article, but apparently they were married in September 1938, so not sure why they were included but…

Benita was Ronald’s second wife. They were married until his death in 1958, and had one daughter, Juliet.

nelson ann eddy

Nelson Eddy and Ann Denitz

Married in January 1939, celebrated singer Nelson and Ann were married until his death in 1967. They had no children.

robert taylor barbara stanwyck

Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck

Taylor and Stanwyck rivaled Clark Gable and Carole Lombard as the top celebrity marriage of 1939. They were divorced in 1952, sadly. He later married actress Ursula Theiss and had two children. Stanwyck had been married once before, to actor Frank Fay, but did not marry a third time.

ida lupino louis hayward

Louis Hayward and Ida Lupino

Director Hayward and famed actress/director Lupino were married in November 1938.It was the first marriage for both. They were divorced in 1945 and both of them went on to marry twice more.

leo gorcey kay marvis

Leo Gorcey and Kay Marvis

“Bowery Boy” Leo was 21 when he and Kay were married in May 1939, his first of five wives. She was 17. They were divorced in 1944 when she left him for Groucho Marx.

tyrone power annabella

Tyrone Power and Annabella

Hearthrob Power and French beauty Annabella were married in April 1939, the first for him, second for her. They were divorced in 1948. He went on to marry twice more, having three children. Annabella did not remarry.

alexander korda merle oberon

Alexander Korda and Merle Oberon

Hungarian director Korda and British actress Oberon were married in June 1939. His second marriage, her first. They were divorced in 1945. He went on to marry once more, her three times.

sigrid gurie

Lawrence Spangard and Sigrid Gurie

“The Norwegian Garbo” Gurie married Dr. Spangard in August 1939. They were divorced in 1948 and she went on to marry once more.

 gene markey hedy lamarr

Gene Markey and Hedy Lamarr

Exotic Lamarr married screenwriter (and ladies man) Markey in March 1939. They adopted a son together and were divorced soon after, in 1941. They had both been married once before, him to actress Joan Bennett.

Lamarr was married four more times, Markey twice more–his third wife was Myrna Loy.

nan grey jackie westrope

Jackie Westrope and Nan Grey

30’s and 40’s actress Grey married jockey Westrope in 1939. They had two daughters and were divorced in 1950. She married once more. I am not too familiar with this couple but their picture is very sweet!

 

Oh and the last one….

clark gable carole lombard

 

Forest Lawn Glendale

Forest Lawn Glendale is gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous! I have heard this before, of course, but this is one of those times where words don’t do it justice. Founded in 1906, the memorial park is famous for its vast collection of sculpture and art, as well as for being one of the first cemeteries to not allow upright headstones, giving the park a smoother look and appeal.

Forest Lawn Glendale

There truly is no other cemetery like it, not that I have ever seen in my life. Of the five we visited, this was the first one (for obvious reasons) and we said later on that we shouldn’t have visited it first since it made all the other cemeteries pale in comparison!

Forest Lawn Glendale

The history here is just incredible. The people who are buried here, were married here, had their funerals here, visited here…

The front gate of Forest Lawn Glendale

The front gates on the day of Jean Harlow's funeral in 1937

It could not have been a more picturesque day when we visited. It was the kind of weather you associate with southern California–72 degrees, sunny, blue skies with few clouds. The only sounds we heard while we walked around the lawn were birds chirping. Separated into sections with names like Vesperland, Graceland (and, the saddest of all, a heart-shaped section called Babyland that was all infant graves), the grounds are pristine and well groomed.

Forest Lawn Glendale

This place is gigantic; over 300 acres and an estimated quarter of a million people are buried on the property. If you ever find yourself here, make sure you know who you are looking for and where; Forest Lawn is not a cemetery where you can just wander around and find celebrities. From the top of the hill by the Great Mausoleum it looked like the rows and rows of graves went on forever.  

Forest Lawn Glendale

Despite signs, we got lost trying to find our way out when we went to leave–it is just that massive. There are more celebrities buried here than in any one place in the world, or so I am told. So please do forgive me if I didn’t visit one of your favorite people that is buried here, as it is we spent nearly four hours roaming around!

We had to give up on finding Carole Lombard’s brother Stuart Peters. The only instruction we had was that he was on Sunrise Slope outside the Great Mausoleum and his plot number. Well, the plots aren’t numbered on the ground at all and after a very long time strolling and reading every tombstone one by one, we had to move on. But Stuart is here….somewhere.

Forest Lawn Glendale

 The one grave that stands out on Sunrise Slope is that of comedian Joe E. Brown.

Joe E Brown

Joe E Brown

Forest Lawn Glendale Joe E. Brown

Jimmy Stewart has a great view on the top of a hill, next to his beloved wife, Gloria (sunflower courtesy of yours truly). I thought her epitaph was really touching. Especially since Jimmy never got over her death and his last words were “I’m going to see Gloria now.”

Jimmy & Gloria Stewart

Jimmy & Gloria Stewart

Forest Lawn Glendale Jimmy Stewart

Forest Lawn Glendale Gloria Stewart

Actress Merle Oberon, who briefly dated Clark right before he started dating Carole, is buried here, tucked away in a quaint little section called the Garden of Rememberance.

Clark Gable & Merle Oberon

Clark Gable and Merle Oberon

Forest Lawn Glendale Garden of Rememberance

Forest Lawn Glendale Merle Oberon

 Not too far from here is the Wee Kirk o’ Heather chapel. Many people have been married here, including Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman. Notably in Clark Gable history, Jean Harlow’s funeral was held here on June 9, 1937.  Clark and Carole attended, as well as many Hollywood luminaries. Clark served as one of the pallbearers.

Clark Gable Carole Lombard

Clark and Carole at Jean's funeral

The chapel on the day of Jean Harlow's funeral

Forest Lawn Glendale Wee Kirk o Heather Chapel

Forest Lawn Glendale Wee Kirk o Heather Chapel

Forest Lawn Glendale Wee Kirk o Heather

Forest Lawn Glendale Wee Kirk o Heather Chapel

Wee Kirk o the Heather

 A short drive to another part of the park…

Clark’s longtime friend Robert Taylor’s cremated remains are here in the Garden of Honor, very inconspicuous in the wall in a section called Columbarium of the Evening Star.

Forest Lawn Glendale Garden of Honor

Forest Lawn Glendale Columbarium of the Evening Star

Taylor was a pallbearer at Clark’s funeral. Taylor’s widow, Ursula Theiss, died last year and is reportedly in there with him, but is currently unmarked.

Clark Gable and Robert Taylor

Clark Gable and Robert Taylor

Forest Lawn Glendale Robert Taylor

 Forest Lawn Glendale Robert Taylor

Forest Lawn Glendale Robert Taylor

Clark’s sassy blonde co-star in Adventure, Joan Blondell, is here as well, with a marker so small you have to really be looking for it.

Clark Gable and Joan Blondell

Clark Gable and Joan Blondell

Forest Lawn Glendale Joan Blondell

Forest Lawn Glendale Joan Blondell

Legendary Spencer Tracy, a friend who co-starred with Clark in Test Pilot and San Francisco, is buried here in his own private garden with a marker that simply says “Tracy.” He was also a pallbearer at Clark’s funeral.

Clark Gable Spencer Tracy

Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy

Forest Lawn Glendale Spencer Tracy

Forest Lawn Glendale Spencer Tracy

Nearby is also the private garden of Walt Disney.

Walt Disney

Walt Disney

Forest Lawn Glendale Walt Disney

Forest Lawn Glendale Walt Disney

Looming just beyond these gardens is the Freedom Mausoleum– the newer, lesser-known, but still beautiful mausoleum.

Forest Lawn Glendale Freedom Mausoleum

Forest Lawn Glendale Freedom Mausoleum

Interred here is Clark’s co-star in San Francisco and a singing legend, Jeanette MacDonald, who shares her spot with her actor husband, Gene Raymond. Gene co-starred with Carole Lombard in Brief Moment and  Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Gene Raymond Jeanette MacDonald

Gene Raymond and Jeanette MacDonald

Forest Lawn Glendale Freedom Mausoleum

Forest Lawn Glendale Nat King Cole Gene Raymond Jeanette MacDonald

Speaking of singing legends, you can see above them is the final resting place of Nat King Cole.

Nearby is the plot for George Burns and Gracie Allen, sweetly marked “Together Again.”

Clark Gable, Gracie Allen and George Burns

Clark Gable, Gracie Allen and George Burns

Forest Lawn Glendale Gracie Allen and George Burns

We struck out on the lawn with Carole’s brother Stuart, but had better luck in the mausoleum finding Carole’s other brother, Frederic:

Carole Lombard and brother Fred Peters

Forest Lawn Glendale Stuart Peters

Coming tomorrow:  The conclusion of my Hollywood blog posts brings the Great Mausoleum–final resting place of Clark and Carole, and also the Church of the Recessional, where both of their funerals were held.

Forest Lawn Glendale

The Great Mausoleum

Merle Oberon, a British/Indian actress probably best known for her portrayal of Cathy in Wuthering Heights (1939), is an interesting person in Gable history. No, they were never paired together onscreen; they did have a brief romance offscreen. But what’s interesting is that Merle, who at first glance is only a flicker on Clark’s romantic radar, was present at many of the defining moments in Clark’s life.

In 1936, Clark had officially been declared “fair game” after moving into the Beverly Wilshire Hotel after separating from Ria, and Merle was one of the first to announce her intentions. She was a relative Hollywood newcomer and her romance with fellow British import David Niven wasn’t getting her on the front pages, so maybe she decided to set her sights a bit higher on the star ladder.

On January 25, Merle was there with David as a witness to see sparks flying between Clark and Carole Lombard at the Mayfair Ball (unlike Norma Shearer, in her infamous red dress, Merle obeyed the white dress code).

David Niven, Merle Oberon, Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg at the Mayfair Ball

 Merle must have decided to make a move before Carole could claim him as her own, for just a week later, on Clark’s thirty-fifth birthday, she showed up at his door dressed to the nines, clutching champagne and two glasses.

On February 7, just a few days after Clark’s birthday, Clark and Merle attended the infamous “Nervous Breakdown Party” for Donald Ogden Smith’s wife who had just been released from a sanitarium. This party is well known to Gable and Lombard fans, as this is the event where the pair fought (after Carole  jokingly arrived on a stretcher in an ambulance and Clark found it in bad taste) and then gingerly made up with a spirited game of tennis. Merle started out watching the pair as they played, but grew bored and asked someone to take her home. Clark didn’t seem to notice.

Clark and Carole playing tennis

Clark’s head was spinning from Carole, no doubt, but she was still playing hard to get. Merle was a willing and eager fill-in. On March 5,  the Academy Awards ceremony was held. Clark was nominated for Best Actor for Mutiny on the Bounty and wasn’t too keen on attending the ceremony, but went more as Merle’s escort–she was also nominated, as Best Actress for The Dark Angel. Neither won, and it’s funny to note that in most of the pictures taken at the ceremony, Merle looks like she’s having a grand time while Clark looks bored to death.

It wasn’t too long after this event that Clark and Carole became a true item. It’s not documented whether Clark ever actually “broke up” with Merle, but she must have known she had been defeated. She quickly moved on to Gary Cooper for a while and in 1939 she married the illustrious British producer Alexander Korda, the first of four husbands.

In 1941, Merle was Clark’s co-star in a radio skit during the star-studded Greek War Relief Benefit. You can hear the skit in its entirety here. It is their only performance together.

Clark and Merle rehearsing for the Greek War Benefit

Merle was later a frequent vistor to the ranch house, as she was close friends with Clark’s fourth wife Sylvia Ashley. She was a guest at Clark’s infamous birthday dinner in 1951, when Sylvia instructed the cook to make chicken and dumplings, one of Clark’s favorite meals. Unfortuantely, the cook made the dish the night before and then left it out all night and it spoiled. When it was served, the smell of the spoiled poultry was so overpowering that the guests started making jokes about food poisoning and laughing. Clark was furious, stomped off and refused to return to the party. The incident proved to be the final straw in his fourth marriage.

I have heard it mentioned that Merle attended Clark’s funeral but I have not been able to confirm that; I have not seen any pictures of her there.

Merle certainly was a lucky audience member to many milestone events in Clark’s life and maybe wasn’t a great romance by any stretch, but an interesting footnote in Gable history.

What’s one of the things these three ladies have in common? All three kissed Clark!

Rosalind Russell, Greer Garson and Merle Oberon, 1960's