Bogey and Bacall were close friends with Niven, and he shares a great deal about their marriage ... one of the most successful in Hollywood. I cracked up at this little vignette: "Charlie and Anne Lederer gave a party for the Shah of Iran. When the incumbent of the Peacock Throne complimented Lauren Bacall by saying 'You were born to dance, Miss Bacall,' she replied with gusto, 'You bet your ass, Shah.'"
|To Have and to Have Not is where the Betty/Bogey chemistry ignited.|
"Probably because of her Puritan outlook, she attacked ferociously those she suspected of any extra-curricular activities. She infuriated Joseph Cotten, and greatly disturbed his wife Lenore, when she printed heavy hints that Joe had been caught by the Malibu Beach Patrol in the back seat of his car astride the teenage Deanna Durbin. Joe Cotten, the epitome of the Southern Gentleman from Virginia, warned Hedda that if she added one more line on the subject he would 'Kick her up the ass.' Sure enough, Hedda went into action again a few days later and the next time Cotten saw Hedda's behind entering a party, he lined up on the target and let her have it."Clark Gable and sublime comedienne Carole Lombard. Both hated phoniness and lived life to the hilt. Like Bacall, Gable lost his soul mate heartbreakingly soon. Niven describes the aftermath of the small plane crash that killed Carole:
Ice-cold and monosyllabic, Clark supervised everything himself, from ordering a hot meal for the exhausted search party on that dreadful night to choosing hymns for the funeral three days later. Then he went to the Rogue River, holed up at his favorite fishing camp, and for three weeks drank himself into a stupor.
M-G-M, with the soaring costs of an unfinished picture very much on their minds, dispatched mealy-mouthed emissaries to enquire as tactfully as possible when their star might be expected to return to work. Clark never saw them, he just roared through the locked door of his cabin, "I'll be back when I'm good and ready—now beat it!"
If you're interested in what life was really like at Hearst's castle San Simeon, why Bogie named his second child after Leslie Howard, and at at whose wedding reception tall, gaunt character actor Mischa Auer appeared from behind the giant cake and danced stark naked, then Niven's the man for you.