He stood over six feet tall — in the Forties an estimable stature — was blond, blue-eyed and considered “dashing and utterly masculine.”
When Marlene Dietrich complained that the male costars she was assigned lacked in the masculine department, our man Brian Aherne was called in. He and Dietrich sparked onscreen — and off. The result was that Aherne became one of classic Hollywood’s hotter romantic leads.
He had a long career in Hollywood (from the mid-Thirties to the mid-Sixties) preceded by films in England (both silent and talkies) and extensive work trodding the boards on both sides of the pond.
So how much did you know about Brian Aherne. After our Quiz, we hope, a lot more. As usual to review the questions just scroll down to the blog below. Here we go:
1) Answer: c) Marlene Dietrich, Aherne’s costar in her fifth Hollywood movie, 1933’s The Song of Songs. The two clicked onscreen and off, and Aherne’s career got a big boost.
2) Answer: b) False. Fellow Brit George Sanders was Aherne’s closest friend in Hollywood. In 1979, Aherne brought out a book he wrote about the former, who was renowned his dyspeptic manner. The book’s title: A Dreadful Man: A Personal Intimate Book About George Sanders. It was a sympathetic remembrance of his pal.
3) Answer: d) Annette Funicello.
4) Answer: As mentioned, d) Marlene Dietrich.
5) Answer: a) Rosalind Russell. She and Aherne costarred in four movies: Hired Wife, My Sister Eileen, What A Woman and Rosie.
6) Answer: a) True. In her 1978 memoir, No Bed of Roses, Joan Fontaine recalled that while she was a guest at a cocktail party at Aherne’s Hollywood house, she was approached by another guest who told fortunes. You are going to marry your host, Fontaine was told. Sure enough, within a week we were engaged. Within seven weeks we were married.
7) Answer: c) Fontaine, who was the first of Aherne’s two wives. The marriage ran from 1939 to 1945. The second, to Eleanor de Liagre Labrot, was longer, from 1946 to Aherne’s death in 1986.
8) Answer: 1939’s Juarez starring Paul Muni and Bette Davis. Aherne played Emperor Maximillian.
9) Answer: a) True. Joan Fontaine’s entanglement with Howard Hughes, still the handsome, shy millionaire, shadowed her planned wedding to Aherne. Finally, Hughes confronted Fontaine, declared his affections and told her that marrying Aherne would be a huge mistake. As time would tell, Hughes may not have been far off the mark.
10) Answer: b) nearly 35.