So how much did you know about Linda Darnell?

The Forties star was the erotic heart of film noir, writes critic-scholar Eddie Muller. She was the perfect example of a young woman, pushed by her mother, who was chosen by the priests of her tribe to serve as exalted movie star.

But before Darnell turned 40, her reign as a deity was over. But what a splendid deity it was.

Ok, let’s get to the answers to our Linda Darnell Monday Quiz.  To review the questions, just scroll down to the blog below.  Here we go:

1) Answer:  a) True. Darnell’s movie debut was 1939’s Hotel For Women, a romantic drama directed by Gregory Ratoff, in which Linda give a polished performance. She was all of 16 at the time.

2) Answer:  a) Howard Hughes, who took a fancy to Darnell and asked her to lunch. He arrived at the appointed hour, picked up Darnell in an old Chevrolet, and drove to his private airfield near Hollywood. Warming up on the landing strip was a Constellation, one of the biggest planes then in use. ‘What’s going on?, asked an alarmed Linda. ‘We are going to lunch,’ Hughes answered. Then they boarded the plane, with Hughes taking the controls. Destination — San Francisco. There a car was waiting for them. They were driven to the Fairmont Hotel, which had a spectacular view of the city and the bay. Hughes had taken an entire floor of the hotel.  A small orchestra played, a delicious buffet was laid out, and waiters served them with great solicitude, director Otto Preminger wrote in his memoirs.

3) Answer:  c) All were considered by 20th Century Fox mogul Darryl Zanuck as potentially suitable replacements for Alice Faye, the reigning Fox diva at the time whose career was running out of steam.  Bette Grable emerged as Faye’s successor at the studio.

4) Answer:  a) True.

5) Answer:  d) Howard Hawks.  Darnell did some fine work with directors Otto Preminger and John Ford (1946’s My Darling Clementine opposite Henry Fonda and Victor Mature).

6) Answer:  b) Darnell married her first husband, cinematographer J. Peverell Marley, who was 22 years older than she was.  That age difference plus other things earned Zanuck’s disapproval.

7) Answer:  a) True.

8) Answer:  a) True. While visiting her former secretary in the Chicago suburb of Glenview, a fire burned through the apartment while Darnell was sleeping. She died of burns at Cook County hospital in April 1965. After watching one of her old films…Darnell fell asleep while smoking, writes Muller.

9) Answer: a) True.  Darnell was a bigger star than Marie Windsor and Audrey Totter, and had a more diverse career working with top directors.

10) Answer: a) True.  Darnell married the first of her three husbands, cinematographer J. Peverell Marley in 1943, and divorced him in 1951.


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