We love getting comments from our readers. After all the name of the blog is Classic Movie Chat.
Our previous posts on singer/actor Dick Haymes outlined his transition from big band singer to recording star to film star. Just like his pal, Frank Sinatra.
Haymes had an amazing recording career and often performed with other top singers (that’s him above with Helen Forrest). But when Haymes film career faltered and he got into trouble with the IRS he fled to England.
We heard from reader John Burls who said: You record that Dick Haymes turned to tv and nightclubs when his movie career vanished. There’s an interesting coincidence in your feature with the Sinatra photo above Haymes.
Haymes fled to the UK with a very large US tax debt. He was picked up by the big Bernard Delfont agency, but got a bad reputation for drinking and losing engagements. Got a booking for the big Chequers Nightclub in Sydney, Australia and lasted a week before being drunk onstage and fired.
Went back to the UK, re-married, couldn’t return to the USA because of (his) tax matter, but desperately wanted to and by chance someone in Sinatra’s management, who was in London, found out about it and next thing Haymes was cleared to return to the States, the tax matter cleared up and all expenses for he and family to return were paid.
Mike Sullivan from Bernard Delfont’s (who looked after Haymes) told me that Sinatra paid the Inland Revenue people and all the expenses and arranged for Haymes to be booked in at the Coconut Grove, upon his return.
The Rat Pack and friends filled the opening night and Sinatra had arranged for Les Brown and his Band of Renown and the Modernaires, to do the backing. I know that happened because I have the recording.
Just thought what a coincidence that you have Sinatra’s pic over the Haymes story.
While in Australia and later, I got to know Rich quite well (he hated being called Dick). He was certainly a very hard drinker.
I was also told that Sinatra got his own management team to organize cameo roles for Haymes in many of the then current US tv shows. I caught a couple of them.
We noted that Burls missive provided insight not only into Haymes but also Sinatra, displaying a side of ole blue eyes that is not often recognized.
I can tell you that Dick wrote to Frank and asked for help and the result was a fresh start in the USA.
As regards the drinking…yes Dick did drink however he had a very low threshold for alcohol and I have been told by musicians that worked with him that one strong drink could hit him immediately.
At other times Dick did not drink for long periods but it was always a risk in the background.
Let us remember the happy times the great records and the lovely family that still exists for whom he was their father. Buy a CD of his and you will understand why he was the finest ballad singer of them all.
You make an excellent point Clive. While his films are not memorable, his recordings are, and they can be enjoyed today. And Haymes’ five children and their children can be very proud of him.