A few days ago in a blog about Ava Gardner and her three famous husbands, regular reader and contributor Mike Sheridan asked Joe if he had any recollections of bandleader (and Ava’s second husband) the much married Artie Shaw.

Joe’s answer. PLENTY.

Hello, everybody. Frank Segers and Joe Morella, your classic movie guys here with another installment on an influential American musical figure who also happen to be one of Hollywood’s unsung lotharios .

Joe says,”Where can I begin telling tales about Mr. Shaw? Talented he was as he was a clarinetist and big band leader, he was no Mr. Nice Guy.

My favorite story about him concerns the first time I met him. Ed Epstein and I were writing a biography of Lana Turner.  Shaw was Turner’s first husband. She was an up and coming starlet on the MGM lot and he was at the height of his fame in 1939 when they met.

He confessed that in those old days if the only way to bed a lass was to marry her, that’s just what he did.”

“So,” Shaw told me, “we flew to Yuma and got married.”

“Excuse me, Mr. Shaw,” I said softly. (I was very young and polite back then) “I think you flew to Las Vegas to get married.”

“It was YUMA,” he bellowed. “Are you trying to tell me where I got married??”

“Well sir, I have a copy here of a clipping from an AP story with a picture of you two and it’s datelined Las Vegas.”

“Lemme see that.”  I did, and then he snarled, “What the hell, you can’t expect me to remember where I was every time I got married.”

Shaw was married eight times. Besides Ava and Lana, two other of his wives were also actresses — Doris Dowling (above) and Evelyn Keyes (below). Interestingly, the much wed Shaw was not married at the time of his death in 2004 at the ripe age of 94.


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