Mary Astor’s diaries.
Mary Astor was a gorgeous actress in the Golden Era of Hollywood.
Yet like many of the actors of the time, she was involved in a juicy scandal.
In total she was married four times. The first marriage was to a movie director names Kenneth Hawks. Less than two years later he was killed in an air crash. He was in a plane during the shooting of aerial scenes when two of the aircraft collided.
Understandably she had a nervous breakdown and during her illness was treated by a Doctor Franklyn Thorpe. The following year. she married him. Although they had a daughter a year later, the marriage was not a success.
Mary had, it’s thought, numerous affairs – the most notable being with George Kaufman. He was married and a well-known playwright – and lover. He was known as Public Lover Number One because of the beautiful women – mostly actresses – he had been seen with.
Divorce and diaries
Although she was stunning to look at, one does doubt Mary’s common sense because she recounted her exploits with her lovers in an extensive diary. When her husband divorced her in 1936 he and his lawyers constantly referred to her diary entries.
The diary never appeared in court and at the end of the case it was burned but extracts were published in the newspapers of the day. Mary evidently wrote in lavender ink and one entry read:
I am still in a haze. A nice rosy glow. If I thought this business with George was half-hearted, I was crazy. It’s beautiful, glorious – and I hope it’s my last love.
George was not her last love. He and his wife Beatrice had a curious marriage. They seemed to be ill-suited and both had affairs but he did not leave her for Mary and remained married to her until her death in 1945.
Mary then married Manuel del Campo, a Mexican film editor, almost immediately after her divorce in 1936. He joined the Canadian Air Force shortly afterwards and despite the fact that the couple had a child together, they drifted apart. Their divorce was apparently amicable.
In 1945 she married her fourth and last husband, Thomas Wheelock, a stockbroker. THey separated after five or so years and were later divorced.
Strangely, although the studios had been worried about it, the scandal of the court case and her diary did not have a detrimental effect on her career. She apparently said:
There are five stages in the life of an actor: Who’s Mary Astor? Get me Mary Astor. Get me a Mary Astor type. Get me a young Mary Astor. Who’s Mary Astor?
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