That was pal and faithful reader Kim Wilson’s response to our May 11 blog Barbara Payton — Hollywood ‘Bad Girl’ (the Genuine Article). The story of Payton’s abbreviated life (she never made it to 40) is indeed riveting, and is certainly fodder for movie treatment.
Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, here to introduce some additional information about Payton from — as you’ll quickly see — an authoritative source. (This is the kind of email feedback we treasure.)
Hi Joe and Frank,
I’m Barbara Payton’s biographer and I think it’s important to add a little of what I learned about Barbara while writing her biography.
She had a lot of personal problems, yes; and she was — BY FAR — her own worst enemy, but Barbara had a lot of talents outside of what you mentioned in your column.
She was a gourmet cook, she was very skilled in interior design and in refinishing furniture (yes…really!), and she even owned a business or two after she left acting (or, after it left her) in the late 50s.
I have attempted to cover her life story as comprehensively as possible in the book, ‘Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye: The Barbara Payton Story’ which came out about five years ago.
Whatever information I failed to document will hopefully be covered in the proposed feature-length documentary on her life that is currently in development in Los Angeles.
Thank you for letting me chime in a little with my comments. I just feel I owe it to Barbara to always try to point out her good points if and when I have the chance.
All the best, John O’Dowd
And all the best to you, John, and many thanks for writing in. We take great pleasure in mentioning that your Payton biography was published in 2007 by Bear Manor Media.
From the reviews that we’ve seen, its 470 pages comprise the most authoritative source available about the life and career of this ill-fated actress.
Among the Payton tidbits covered by John is that she was among the actresses tested for the role of Louis Calhern’s mistress in director John Huston’s 1950 classic, The Asphalt Jungle.
Among the others tested were Lola Albright, Joi Lansing, Claudia Barrett and a model by the name of Georgia Holt, the mother of Cher. The part, of course, went to a 23-year-old unknown by the name of Marilyn Monroe.
Probably Payton’s biggest movie was the one cited in the title of John’s book. James Cagney starred opposite her in his own production for Warner Brothers, 1950’s noir drama Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.
Barbara, well received, got a career a boost for a while. Barbara later wrote that learned of the picture’s casting call from “a madam plying her trade in Glendale.”
Thanks to Kim and again, to you, John. Please keep reading us, and keep us abreast of that Barbara Payton documentary. For us, it’ll be a must-see.