Even in profile, she (the woman above) looks gorgeous. She’s Jean Wallace, the beautiful blond second wife of our Quiz subject, Cornel Wilde.
They were married from 1951 through 1982, and the union was professionally productive. They were paired in several pictures, war dramas, film noir titles, and an occasional historical drama. Check them out, for example, in 1963’s Sword of Lancelot with Wilde as the title character and Wallace as Guinevere. One good-looking duo.
They were almost a John Derek-like couple. (Remember? His wife was named Bo.) Wilde was Wallace’s Svengali, directing and controlling her performances in what he believed was challenging movies. And she looked great — one of the cinema’s true Eves, wrote British critic David Thomson.
What is perhaps most interesting today about the actress is her colorful pre-Wildean private life. She married a much older Franchot Tone in 1941. It lasted through most of the Forties. The divorce was nasty. She charged that he had an affair with bombshell Barbara Payton (true!) while he cited her fling with Hollywood mobster Johnny Stompanato (he of Lana Turner fame).
There were suicide attempts, drunken driving charges and Wallace’s loss to Tone of custody of the couple’s two children. After all that, marriage to Wilde must have been a walk in the park.
Ok, on to the answers to our Cornel Wilde Quiz. To review the questions, just scroll down to the blog below. Here we go:
1) Answer: d) Leave Her To Heaven, the 20th Century Fox drama costars Wilde as a writer who is the obsessive love interest of a pretty socialite. As the latter Gene Tierney gives a stunning performance, one that still is frightening to behold. She, not Wilde, steals the show. If you haven’t seen this 1945 outing, do so soonest.
2) Answer: d) Billy Wilder. Wilde worked with Cecil B. DeMille in 1952’s The Greatest Show On Earth; with Allan Dwan in 1954’s Passion; and with Otto Preminger in 1946’s Centennial Summer.
3) Answer: c) Fencing. Wilde almost participated in the 1936 Berlin Olympics as a member of the U.S. Olympic Team.
4) Answer: See above introduction.
5) Answer: a) True. The 29-year-old Wilde was cast in director Raoul Walsh’s High Sierra, a 1941 crime drama starring Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino. It was one of Bogie’s biggest early-career hits. Wilde, who plays one Louis Mendoza, later became close friends with Lupino.