When Bob Hope arranged for Hedy Lamarr to co-star with him in 1951’s “My Favorite Spy,” Hedy was fresh off a huge hit, “Samson and Delilah,” but not in the good graces of her bosses at Paramount.

(She had refused for familiar reason$ to do a promotional tour on behalf of the Biblical epic.)

Hello everybody.  Joe Morella and Frank Segers back to discuss another of Hope’s alluring leading ladies.

Hope, like all the other filmgoers of his era had seen Hedy posed with top leading men.


Hope loved being in that company. What Hope hadn’t thought of was Hedy’s real co-star (see below).

But Hedy and Hope were friends.  She’d been on his radio show. She actually had a keen sense of humor off-camera, and liked his brand of comedy. When Hope offered her a role in “My Favorite Spy,” the third of the comedian’s “My Favorite….” trilogy, Hedy jumped at the chance.

Lamarr impressed Hollywood — and Hope — with her strikingly mature beauty. When Hedy came to Hollywood in 1937, she had already been heralded as “the most beautiful girl in the world.” She also became in short order the most glamorous of glamour queens.

According to Stephen Michael Shearer’s biography, “Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr,” she was to be paid $125,000 for 10 weeks work on the picture. Hope’s salary was his then standard per-picture fee of $150,000.  In 1951, that was a lot of money for both.

Hope wound up dominating “My Favorite Spy,” and Hedy was not ecstatic about the result. The picture was a commercial success (earning about $2.6 million int the U.S., as per Shearer) because of Hope’s popularity.

When Hedy saw the final release she was upset. Some of her best comedic moments in the picture were cut.  Hedy never forgave Hope, and he never forgave her for not doing PR before the film’s release.” Said Hedy, “I didn’t think we made that great of a teaming. We didn’t look right together.”

So much for ecstasy. But by 1965 they had apparently forgotten their tiff and Lamarr appeared on one of Hope’s TV specials.

By the way, we’ve referred to “ecstasy” in our headline and in today’s blog.  The word has special signficance in Hedy Lamarr’s career.  Can you tell us why?

Meanwhile, we can promise more on Hedy and “ecstasy” soon on Classic Movie Chat.

 

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