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Peter Lawford

As requested in the Frank Sinatra thread, let's discuss the kinky Kennedy in-law.

I know he liked tit torture and voyeurism.

by Anonymousreply 11407/12/2010

Here's the Nancy Reagan story: Widow Lawford recalls, "Peter was watching the news right after Reagan was elected. He went over to the set, laughing and calling Mrs. Reagan a vulgar name. I was shocked and wanted to know what was bothering him. He laughed again and said that when she was single, Nancy Davis was known for giving the best head in Hollywood. Then Peter told of driving to the Phoenix area with Nancy and Bob Walker . Nancy would visit her parents, Dr. and Mrs. Loyal Davis, while Peter and Walker picked up girls at Arizona State University in Tempe, a Phoenix suburb. He claimed that she entertained them orally on those trips, apparently playing with whichever man was not driving at the moment. I have no idea if Peter was telling the truth, though I have to assume he was because Peter was not one to gossip."

by Anonymousreply 106/26/2010

tittie torture? Oooh fill us in.

by Anonymousreply 206/26/2010

Well, those road trips happened when they were all young and pretty then, cuz Robert Walker died in 1951. Bob and Peter were under MGM contract and I think Nancy was, too. That is probably where they met.

by Anonymousreply 306/26/2010

His son says he ended his days whacked out on coke and talking to sqirrels.

by Anonymousreply 406/26/2010

The most interesting (and disturbing) thing I've ever heard about him is that he used to pay hookers to fuck his teenage son in front of him. He'd also do drugs with his kid.

by Anonymousreply 506/26/2010

Everything I've ever read about him makes him out to be a thoroughly unpleasant person. Although a very good-looking one.

by Anonymousreply 606/26/2010

He had an affair with Dorothy Dandridge before he became a Kennedy-in-law and some have speculated that she was the love of his life.

From BOLD DREAMS - The Dorothy Dandridge story:

In the 1950’s, Dorothy Dandridge was one of the few African-American women in this country to travel to Europe to view fashion collections. She dazzled the international jet set and billionaire Greek tycoon; Aristole Onassis couldn’t take his eyes off her. Back in the states, a young British actor was in love with her.

Actor Peter Lawford was married to one of the Kennedy sisters but before the marriage, he only had eyes for Dorothy Dandridge, some say, she was the true love of his life. One evening, they almost went public with their relationship up until the last minute when they decided-it would be a bad career move for both of them. They arrived at a Cole Porter party separately.

When Dorothy walked in, every man in the room (including Richard Burton and William Holden) couldn’t keep their eyes off her. Peter Lawford found her irresistible. Lawford was far more taken with her than she was with him. He even told her, he loved her. At Dandridge’s funeral, Lawford was so devastated by grief; he was unable to deliver the eulogy.

by Anonymousreply 706/26/2010

Who is credited with saying "wish I had a nickle for every Jew she's been under in Hollywood," referring to Nancy Reagan and the studio execs.

by Anonymousreply 806/26/2010

His part in the death of Marilyn Monroe is still subject to conjecture - did he set her up with the Kennedys and try to calm her down when they discarded her, did he see her that last night, did he help clear away any evidence ......

by Anonymousreply 906/26/2010

Here's some things I heard about him:

He was initiated into sex by a nanny when he was still a child.

He gave his son cocaine for his birthday.

He pimped for the Kennedys, fixing them up with actresses and other assorted bimbos and letting him use him home for their trysts.

During sex he liked to get his nipples bitten until they bled.

by Anonymousreply 1006/26/2010

He allowed himself to be used and then spent the rest of his life feeling like the human ashtray he had become.

by Anonymousreply 1106/26/2010

The beauty that was Peter Lawford

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by Anonymousreply 1206/26/2010

My five year old daughter loves him.

We enjoyed his work in Good News, Little Women, Son of Lassie and Password, where she aptly observed "He got old."

by Anonymousreply 1306/26/2010

In 1961 Peter Lawford was a frequent and accomplished guest on the game show PASSWORD, Lawford was the all-time champion at the "lightning round", prompting 10 out of 10 correct guesses in only 16 seconds.

by Anonymousreply 1406/26/2010

r14, the lightning round had five words. But it's true that Peter was the champ. And very personable and hilariously funny on that show.

by Anonymousreply 1506/26/2010

Fun facts about Patricia and Peter Lawford:

- Pat made the sign of the cross each time before she engaged in intercourse with Peter Lawford.

- Pat and Peter killed a bottle of Scotch just hours after she gave birth to her first child and the first male grandchild born to a Kennedy daughter.

- Pat and Peter moved out of the Malibu beach house once owned by Joe Kennedy’s mistress Gloria Swanson, and took their own digs, leaving the house to newborn Christopher and his baby nurse because they couldn't stand the smell of Christopher's stinky diapers.

- Peter said Pat took everything after their divorce, including precious mementos of JFK’s presidency. After Pat relocated to Manhattan just a few blocks away from Jackie’s penthouse on Fifth Avenue, Peter sent a truck packed with five-gallon containers of water and a note that said, “Dear Pat, you forgot to drain the swimming pool.”

- Pat often got drunk on wine in front of her children, who would be confused by her sudden speech incapacity as she drilled them on geography at the dinner table.

- Pat never remarried or fully recovered from her divorce and brothers’ assassinations, settling for the company of gay male friends and dysfunctional drinking buddies.

- Peter Lawford brought a prostitute as his date to RFK’s funeral.

- Hugh Hefner, feeling sorry for Peter, let him stay for free in a small guest cottage on the grounds of Hef’s Playboy Mansion during the 1970s. While visiting Hef with a "female companion" at the height of his Jello Puddin' Pop fame, Bill Cosby described Peter as "pathetic" within earshot of Christopher Lawford.

- In his later years, Peter Lawford could not achieve orgasm without getting his nipples lacerated with razor blades.

by Anonymousreply 1606/26/2010

I'm sorry but all the gossip I ever heard about him was that he was deeply in the closet. Peter was gay. He used to go down to the beach and pick up guys when he was a young man and a very hot commodity with the studio. He had assignations in the middle of the afternoon with lots of young attractive beach bums.

You can tell all the stories you like about Nancy Reagan, or Pat Lawford, etc. But Peter was a closetted gay man and very much a drug addict/alcoholic. If he needed to feel pain to get off, maybe it was because he couldn't get off with women unless he did something he felt was extremely erotic.

He did procure for the Kennedys and for anyone else Joe and Jack wanted him to. IF there was a particular Senator or member of Congress who needed "sweetin'" Peter was always on bimbo duty.

by Anonymousreply 1706/26/2010

I doubt one postion/ sign of the cross Patricia was helping Lawford get off with tit torture.

by Anonymousreply 1806/26/2010

He really was a gorgeous young leading man in post WWII Hollywood and I never understood why MGM didn't take him more seriously and cast him in some of their better dramas instead of those light musicals in which he couldn't really sing or dance.

Wasn't there some crazy story about Peter's mother barging into LB Mayer's office and begging him to help her turn gay Peter straight?

Wait....perhaps I just answered my own question!

by Anonymousreply 1906/26/2010

[quote]"I have no idea if Peter was telling the truth, though I have to assume he was because Peter was not one to gossip."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

OK, I suspect she said this to make the story about Nancy seem true, but Lawford in later years would tell nasty stories about anyone who would listen. A few years ago I saw a 1970s interview with him where he told a story about Judy Garland, saying that she had deliberately slashed her face a ton of times just to frame someone else for it, and he said "that's why she had all those scars." She had one scar on her eyebrow from an accident during "Girl Crazy", but even in later pics I just don't see a scarred-up face. I think he was just telling stories at that point.

by Anonymousreply 2006/26/2010

[quote]Wasn't there some crazy story about Peter's mother barging into LB Mayer's office and begging him to help her turn gay Peter straight?

From Wikipedia:

"Once he signed with MGM, his mother, Lady May, insisted that studio head Louis B. Mayer pay her a salary as her son's personal assistant. Mayer declined. Lady Lawford responded by claiming her son to be "a bummer" and that he needed to be "supervised." When Lawford learned of his mother's actions their relationship was never the same."

by Anonymousreply 2106/26/2010

He posed nude for VIVA magazine before he died. Anyone got the pics?

by Anonymousreply 2206/26/2010

I remember a story told on the Bio channel's special on the Rat Pack. Apparently, by the time he was a teenager, Peter Lawford's parents had lost most of their money, and had moved to Florida, where he had to get a job. He worked at a country club in Palm Beach.

One day, a club members saw him eating lunch with a group of black co-workers and angrily complained to the manager that it looked bad for the club for a white boy to be seen hanging out with "coloreds" and Lawford was quickly reprimended.

The club member was his future father in law, Joseph P. Kennedy.

by Anonymousreply 2306/26/2010

How'd he get his job on "The Doris Day Show"? Wasn't he pretty messed up by that time?

by Anonymousreply 2406/27/2010

Peter was a party boy. He always had an alcohol problem. It eventually morphed into cocaine and prescription drugs. Smoking pot was the least of his problems.

His time as a matinee idol was comparatively short-lived. He thought Joe could help him he married Pat.Butoo many people in H'wood hated Joe and Joe was pretty much over in H'wood.

Peter managed to continue to work in Sinatra movies for a while, but Frank felt betrayed when JFK went to Crosby's house instead of his and he lacerated Peter then froze him out. Peter never made another movie with Sinatra again, and his career slowly and painfully sank into the toilet.

He and Sinatra were never that close to begin with, because Frank thought he was weak and phoney. Frank could be cutting and cruel to Peter, and Peter never stood up to him. He practically peed himself when he realized he'd been appointed the bearer of bad news to Sinatra from JFK's people.

Peter and Marilyn were close but he never had an affair with her. He was a kind of enabler and he was definitely a dangerous friend for her to have because of the drugging and drinking.

by Anonymousreply 2506/27/2010

I first saw him as a kid as Nick Charles on The Thin Man series with Phyllis Kirk as Nora.

And for the real oldies here, wasn't he also in a short-lived sit-com before that called Dear Phoebe as an advice-to-the-lovelorn columnist?

by Anonymousreply 2606/27/2010

I think you're right R26. I'm pretty old myself (60!) The Thin Man series was enjoyable. I liked Dear Phoebe too. If Peter'd dumped the Hollywood crowd and cleaned himself up, he'd have been fine.

by Anonymousreply 2706/27/2010

"He posed nude for VIVA magazine before he died. Anyone got the pics?"

I'm so glad he posed before he died. I truly love to see stiffies but I do have standards.

by Anonymousreply 2806/27/2010

He was gorgeous in his early MGM years, far more attractive and had more screen presence than Sinatra could ever hope for. No wonder Sinatra hated him so much.

by Anonymousreply 2906/27/2010

I read that when his great friend Elizabeth Taylor was in Betty Ford, detoxing, Peter got in touch with the National Enquirer and arranged, for a price, to have Elizabeth come outside so she could be photographed by the paper. Nice.

He is also credited with being the originator of the "Ocean's 11" story. Told it to Frank who then had it re-written by other screenwriters.

Liked using a device known as the Accu-Jac. Something used to enhance jerking off.

by Anonymousreply 3006/27/2010

He seems to have deserved that sleazy reputation but Monroe and Taylor both liked him ... but then he may have been telling them just what they wanted to hear ... and of course he was someone who knew the studio background and all the problems they were having.

by Anonymousreply 3106/27/2010

He really was remarkably handsome, especially in those three movies mentioned in r13.

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by Anonymousreply 3206/27/2010

Lawford was pretty at MGM, but became unrecognizable as he got older...fat and bloated in his 40s (as he was on Password)then rail coked-out thin in the 1970s & 80s.

by Anonymousreply 3306/27/2010

He was such a great friend to Elizabeth that he introduced her to his druggie buddie the used car salesman Henry Winberg or something like that. They were all zoned out on pills and alcohol most of the time. Then Elizabeth decided to get "engaged" to Henry. It was a complete screwed up mess. Peter was trouble.

by Anonymousreply 3406/27/2010

I have a hard time believing he was remotely hetero. More homo leaning bi.

by Anonymousreply 3506/27/2010

Didn't he introduce Elizabeth to the used car salesman because she was fucking his son and wanted her to move along?

by Anonymousreply 3606/27/2010

I think his name was Wynberg and I remember a picture of him with Elizabeth, sitting in the back of a limo, that showed a mighty impressive bulge in his crotchal area.%0D %0D Wasn't Mizz Liz known to be somewhat of a size Cleopatra? Maybe Peter got to feel him up too.

by Anonymousreply 3706/27/2010

Though he was a few years older than Elizabeth, they and Roddy McDowell came to MGM from the UK and were all educated in that silly school that was often featured in MGM's publicity. %0D %0D I can remember formerly beautiful Peter looking pathetically "hipster" in That's Entertainment (1974), introducing a clip of teenage Elizabeth lip-synching her way through a song in A Date With Judy.

by Anonymousreply 3806/27/2010

In the 60's he produced the gay favorite "Billie" Starring Patty Duke...

by Anonymousreply 3906/27/2010

>>> they couldn't stand the smell of Christopher's stinky diapers%0D %0D %0D %0D %0D How ironic. Years and years ago I read an article about how far Lawford had sunk in his last years. It went on to say that he had problems controlling himself and that he always had some shit all over his pants

by Anonymousreply 4006/27/2010

"How'd he get his job on "The Doris Day Show"? Wasn't he pretty messed up by that time?'%0D %0D I remember him on that show. I thought he looked terrible; grey-haired, wrinkled, with huge grey eyebrows. He seemed like he was sleep-walking rather than acting. %0D %0D I never found him attractive. He was always so smarmy. And there was just something about him that seemed off-kilter. I suppose that's because he was very, very fucked up mentally. %0D %0D I never heard gay rumors, but he probably did do it with guys. He seemed like the kind of Hollywood creep who would fuck anything, male or female. %0D %0D He must have been very, very sleazy, because Marilyn Monroe, who would go to bed with just about any man, wouldn't let him fuck her. %0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 4106/27/2010

I think his life would make an interesting bio-pic.%0D %0D Who should play him?

by Anonymousreply 4206/27/2010

He seemed to enjoy the direction the country went in the late 60's. This is what "Mad Men" will look like in a few seasons -

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by Anonymousreply 4306/27/2010

Nice big dick, according to his last wife's bio of him, THE PETER LAWFORD STORY, which also has Nancy Reagan "who gave the best head in Hollywood", servicing men in the backs of cars.

Of all people to fall in love with, Pat Kennedy Lawford found herself smitten with...Roger Edens! That's in the Stanley Donen book, I believe.

Yeah, those big bushy eyebrows Lawford had - have they ever been in style? Would have loved to have seen the act Lawford did with Judy Holliday though.

by Anonymousreply 4406/27/2010

....the act with Judy Holliday? Well, he acted with her in It Should Happen to You, anyway.

by Anonymousreply 4506/27/2010

Well,...he "pinged" my gayday back in the 60s before I even knew that I was gay!%0D %0D ...And I must admit; I rather did enjoy it when Bette Davis "sicced" her dog on him in "Dead Ringer". That was a real treat!

by Anonymousreply 4606/27/2010

I remember reading that he and Van Johnson were "very close friends."

by Anonymousreply 4706/28/2010

Why did Pat marry him?

by Anonymousreply 4806/28/2010

Who was Peter Lawford and what were some of his best films?

by Anonymousreply 4906/28/2010

[quote]Why did Pat marry him?

2 2 = Beard/Merkin

by Anonymousreply 5006/28/2010

His best movie was probably "Good News" with June Allyson when he was 24 years old. He sings, dances, speaks French and is just adorable. He also has a unique speaking voice -- slightly British with a little rasp.

He was very handsome in Son of Lassie (age 22) and he was also good in Little Women (again with June Allyson) when he was 26 and in Easter Parade with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire when he was 25.

In his later period I'd recommend Salt and Pepper with Sammy Davis Jr. He was 45 and his deterioration was under way, but he was still charming and likable.

IMDB has 117 acting credits for him and 66 mostly TV appearances as himself. His pictures are in regular rotation on TCM so you should be able to check him out for yourself.

by Anonymousreply 5106/28/2010

When Pat married him he was considered a catch. Pat was a party girl and a big drinker. I guess the family thought being in H'wood would suit her.

by Anonymousreply 5206/28/2010

I don't think Pat was a lesbian. I think Eunice was- Ethel too.

Like R52 said, Pat was a party girl and was drawn to Hollywood. I think her marriage to Lawford and her subsequent life in California were attempts to find her own identity outside of the Kennedy family.

She was thirty when she married and no doubt was feeling a lot of pressure for being unmarried at a time when women were meant to marry and have babies.

Joe hated Lawford, a Protestant actor, and sent Pat on a trip around the world to get him out of her system. It didn%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%99t work.

by Anonymousreply 5306/28/2010

Lawford was another of the MGM stable who were pretty and popular but whose lives were never the same after the studio system ended and MGM cut them loose. The stars of that era, including Elizabeth Taylor, June Allyson, Judy Garland, Esther Williams and Van Johnson, all had successful careers to varying degrees post MGM. BUT, they all said in interviews over the years that the studio did EVERYTHING for them, including paying their bills, sometimes. They were coddled and controlled. They were never allowed to be fully functioning adults. The studio covered up their excesses and problems. When they were let go, they were set adrift in the vicious world of Hollywood. Many never really achieved that level of fame or success again. Many fell prey to drugs and excess. Lawford was one of those "rudderless" guys who had lots of "glamorous" acquaintances and events happen to him but never ever had the level of MGM fame again. If you look at the trajectory of his life, even though he married a Kennedy and had some more movies, the Rat Pack and so on, his whole life kind of went downhill after MGM.

by Anonymousreply 5406/28/2010

His face was so full and promise and hope in those early MGM years. It must have all been beyond his wildest dreams -- a leading man at MGM at the age of 22. And often in glorious technicolor.

by Anonymousreply 5506/28/2010

Wasn't Lawford rumored to be a sex addict? I read somewhere that he would attach himself to an auto-masturbation machine for hours on end.

Obviously, I don't know if there's any truth to that.

by Anonymousreply 5606/28/2010

Why did Pat marry him? He was gorgeous and fun and wanted to marry her.%0D %0D If he was Elizabeth Taylor's friend, isn't it obvious that he was gay?

by Anonymousreply 5706/28/2010

Who would play him in the movie? If Keanu would get a tan, he could play him.

by Anonymousreply 5806/28/2010

I've only watched Peter Lawford in It Should Happen to You and Ocean's 11, he had a nice, sophisticated and charming quality to him. I knew he was friends with Dorothy Dandridge, but I didn't realize that he was in love with her as someone mentioned earlier.

by Anonymousreply 5906/28/2010

R51 - I'd definitely add "The Picture of Dorian Gray" to that list. Lawford plays the young leading man in love witn Donna Reed, who finally realizes how debauched Gray and his friends are, and discovers the painting in the attic.%0D %0D The irony that Lawford himself was wickedly debauched in later life is not lost on viewers who know his story.

by Anonymousreply 6006/28/2010

Perhaps it's because most of the films he made for MGM were light comedies and musicals, but he struck me as an actor who was never very ambitious, never fought for better roles. %0D %0D And it's surprising that MGM didn't have a bigger musical talent to play the roles Peter did in those classic musicals. Not a Gene Kelly or a Frank Sinatra or even a Howard Keel, just a handsome young guy who could play opposite Judy, June, Jane or Esther who could actually carry a tune and dance a few real steps.%0D %0D But Peter made up for it with his looks, I suppose.

by Anonymousreply 6106/28/2010

[quote] And it's surprising that MGM didn't have a bigger musical talent to play the roles Peter did in those classic musicals. Not a Gene Kelly or a Frank Sinatra or even a Howard Keel, just a handsome young guy who could play opposite Judy, June, Jane or Esther who could actually carry a tune and dance a few real steps.%0D %0D %0D %0D They did - his name was VAN JOHNSON.%0D %0D Both Van and Peter were pushed on teenage girls as "bobbysox idols" during the 40s (because they were both ineligible to serve in WWII - because they were gay), so MGM used Peter as a younger leading man.%0D %0D As soon as Gable, Jimmy Stewart, and others who were better actors who had served came home, Lawford's contract wasn't renewed - started in 1943, ended in 1951 with ROYAL WEDDING. Typical 7-year Metro contract.

by Anonymousreply 6206/28/2010

Liz and PL snorted coke on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland.%0D %0D His widow tried to get him sober and made plans for him to to go the Betty Ford Center.%0D PL was wasted and they poured him into a car for the trip. He asked where they were going and the widow said to Betty Ford. PL said, "Oh, good. I always liked Betty Ford."%0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 6306/28/2010

So r62, why didn't Van make Easter Parade, Good News or Royal Wedding, 3 of MGM's biggest musicals of the early post-WWII years, if he could sing and dance better than Peter? That was my point.%0D %0D As a matter of fact Van, didn't make many musicals at all.

by Anonymousreply 6406/28/2010

Blind item from "Crazy Days and Nights"

Four people involved in this. #1 and #2 were actors who made their fame in films, but both got their only real serious award nomination for television. Any movie lover will know who #2 is. #1, maybe not. #3 was an actress but gave it up when she married #1. Eventually she married #2 as well although the marriage to #2 was as a cover for #2 being gay. The twist to this story involves #4. #4 was an actor who also married into a really wild family. Everyone will know #4. #4 also tended to go both ways as well which must have made it fun when prior to #4's marriage, #1,#2,#3 and #4 used to periodically share one bed.

#1 - Kennan Wynn, #2 - Van Johnson, #3 - Evie Wynn, #4 - Peter Lawford

What a show Van Johnson and Peter Lawford together would have been.

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by Anonymousreply 6506/28/2010

Sorry for the misplaced comma, everyone.

by Anonymousreply 6606/28/2010

I remember from reading his bio years ago that he married the much younger daughter of one of the Laugh In hosts. All his later marriages were train wrecks.

The reason he didn't serve in WW2 was a hand injury from childhood.

by Anonymousreply 6706/28/2010

Dan Rowan's daughter, Mary Rowan, was the 2nd Mrs. Lawford. What happened to his last wife, Pat Seaton? She seemed like a real piece of work. %0D %0D Considering what a sleazy person he was, it is amazing that he never wrote a tell-all about the Kennedys and Marilyn.%0D

by Anonymousreply 6806/28/2010

How much of Pat Seaton's book do you think is true, and how much is over-the-top stories to sell book?

by Anonymousreply 6906/28/2010

You didn't have to exaggerate with Lawford. He was drunk and stoned for years and he new everyone.

by Anonymousreply 7006/28/2010

Was he good fuck? Was he hung? What are his stats?

by Anonymousreply 7106/28/2010

A lot of the stories about Peter Lawford aren't just from Pat Seaton-his long time manager, Milt Ebbins, is the source for a lot of them.

by Anonymousreply 7206/28/2010

Lawford's mother completely screwed him up. Until he was 11, she dressed him as a girl. She also never educated him, and he never went to school, and was self-taught (causing him a great degree of shame).

by Anonymousreply 7306/28/2010

But oh, that speaking voice.

by Anonymousreply 7406/28/2010

Peter Lawford was George Hamilton before there was a George Hamilton.%0D %0D Both men were a couple of swells. They were suave, funny, good-looking and perfected the art of doing nothing...and doing it so well.%0D %0D An admirable quality if I do say so myself.

by Anonymousreply 7506/28/2010

Except that Lawford was a drunk, a drug addict and a desperately unhappy man. Is that what you want from your life, R75?

by Anonymousreply 7606/28/2010

Lawford was close friends with JFK. Hamilton dated LBJ's ugly daughter. A bit of a difference.

by Anonymousreply 7706/28/2010

and this

by Anonymousreply 7806/28/2010

R76. Killjoy.

by Anonymousreply 7906/28/2010

Van Johnson was kept busy in other films during the time he and Peter were at MGM. Peter was under contract and HAD to appear in musicals, much to his frustration. They kept casting him! He was not a singer but could hold a tune well enough. They did that with lots of stars, put non-singers in musicals. They usually dubbed them, though.%0D %0D I think he kept getting put in musicals because he was so handsome and sexy and was a good match for Judy and June and others. He was "serviceable." And musicals were the studio's bread and butter in the late 40's. Van could not be in EVERY movie. It does seem odd, though, that Peter, basically a non-musical performer, is known for a few classic musicals!

by Anonymousreply 8006/28/2010

Sometimes they cast someone who is not a threat to bigger stars. Maybe that's why they used Lawford in musicals. He certainly didn't detract from the main star in the movie! %0D %0D I've always felt as if someone or something kept Van Johnson from really emerging as a first rate leading man. Lawford too. They were always second tier and in Lawford's case, second leads. Couldn't carry a film. Never would be in the Clark Gable category. But always someone reliable for the leading lady to fall for. Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire weren't going to play second fiddle to anyone.

by Anonymousreply 8106/29/2010

Most of MGM's output after WWII was lightweight fluff, even the dramas. I guess it was simply the audience's tastes that were changing combined with LB Mayer's lack of interest. Was it really still the most powerful studio during this period?

by Anonymousreply 8206/29/2010

r82, The Freed Unit's musicals were the biggest moneymaker for MGM in the postwar 1940's. As the 40's waned, though, and Mayer was inched out the door and Dore Schary was ushered IN, the studio began to focus more on gritty realism films and a "new sensibility." Mayer balked at this and wanted to keep films as family pictures with a happy ending. He had ruled the studio with an iron fist, mandating that all movies adhered to his Jewish immigrant's view of America as some sort of "utopian Andy Hardy paradise." That, in fact, is what ALL the Jewish studio heads believed during those earlier Hollywood golden years. They, and the financial backers, (i.e. Loews, Inc. for MGM) had the final say on the film output of the studio and "message" pictures simply were not made. But the world had changed after the war. The "old" way of thinking did not appeal to modern audiences as much. %0D %0D Schary was not as interested in musicals and was more interested in the postwar cynicism and dealing with "issues" that were finding their way into movies. Examples are Gentleman's Agreement and The Snake Pit. Neither was an MGM production, but you get the drift. By the way, L.B. Mayer HATED Sunset Boulevard with a passion, calling Billy Wilder a "goddamn traitor" to the industry because the film put Hollywood in a "bad light." That was how the old man thought. He was considered old fashioned and a relic by the late 1940's and was forced into retirement. He had lost his relevance in a modern world.%0D %0D MGM continued to make golden age musicals through the mid 50's but ONLY because they made the studio money. It is ironic that those films were so good only because Schary wasn't interested and pretty much left the Freed Unit to it's own devices. They had their own "playground" in which to produce.%0D %0D If the studio remained the "most powerful" it was based upon it's profits from musicals. It was the "glossy, glamour" studio known for the visual element of it's films. MGM was never a Paramount or a Warner Brothers with more of a reputation for gritty realism and tackling social issues. It made some but it did not gain momentum as "that" kind of studio.

by Anonymousreply 8306/29/2010

Oh, and Peter Lawford rose to fame as one of the "stand in" leading men around MGM during the war years since he was 4F, like Van Johnson. They were suitable bobby soxer idols. Once the war ended and stars like Clark Gable came back to the studio ("Gable's back and Garson's got him!") people like Peter Lawford got relegated to second tier status. He got roles, yes, but was never in the same league with the studion's top male stars.

by Anonymousreply 8406/29/2010

Why was he 4f?

by Anonymousreply 8506/29/2010

Why did Hollywood make so many war films? World War II was so awful, you would thing the audience would want to see anything BUT a war film.

by Anonymousreply 8606/29/2010

I'm a sucker for a pretty face. I loved both Gerorge Hamilton and Lawford.

by Anonymousreply 8706/29/2010

The young Lawford was cast in musicals, even though he couldn't sing, because he came across as so lightweight. Handsome and very charming, of course, but not enough depth or charisma to appear in grittier material or to carry films on his own. He seemed a part of the never-never-land shown in MGM musicals, not the real world.%0D %0D He was a poor man's David Niven, really, and IMHO he only got got those roles because Niven was off fighting during WWII. When Niven came back, he got all the good roles available to a British man with a light touch.

by Anonymousreply 8806/29/2010

r85, per imdb: As a young child, the young Peter injured his arm by in his own words, "attempt to run through a glass door." Lawford's arm was badly injured. However, doctors could saved it. The injury was so bad, it was slightly deformed and bothered him throughout life. But such was his luck, the injury kept him off the draft for World War II, which became the biggest boon of his acting career.

by Anonymousreply 8906/29/2010

Those who are saying Lawford replaced Gable or even Niven during the war years make no sense. %0D %0D He was too young then for those parts. What roles did he ever do during or even after the war that might have been played by Gable, Niven, James Stewart or whoever? %0D %0D I don't think he was ever a substitute for those older leading men. I'm not sure that even Van was.

by Anonymousreply 9006/29/2010

more gossip

by Anonymousreply 9106/29/2010

Mia @ R42, if they ever made a biopic of his life the perfect casting of him would be his son Christopher Kennedy Lawson. Looks a lot like him

by Anonymousreply 9206/29/2010

r90, Van and Peter did not LITERALLY take the "same" roles that would have been played by Clark Gable and others, dimwit. They just got OTHER roles in pictures that were greenlit for production that were more along the lines of what they could play. No, they were not rugged manly types, either one, although Van was a big guy. The studio was without several major stars during the war, including the mighty mite Mickey Rooney (who NEVER recovered HIS career) and had to make do with who they had. MGM used James Craig for the EXACT same roles that went to Gable. And then there was Sonny Tufts. And Guy Madison. And...

by Anonymousreply 9306/29/2010

Lady Lawford's autobiography is available on Google Books for free. It's hilariously awful.

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by Anonymousreply 9406/29/2010

Thanks R94, I've got to read that.

by Anonymousreply 9506/30/2010

Peter in Good News

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by Anonymousreply 9606/30/2010

He was really good looking.

by Anonymousreply 9706/30/2010

Gosh, that clip reminded me how emotional "joyful" those big MGM Technicolor musical numbers were. Simply infectuous. The interesting part is that there was nine kinds of shit going down in the personal lives of those people at the time. The films were "perfection" and brought such joy to millions (and still can, really) but, boy, they were doing all sorts of dysfunctional and naughty things when the cameras stopped rolling. Judy and her drugs. The racetrack gambling the stars did. The pills the studio doctors were cramming down EVERYONE'S throat. The closeted gay sex going on with Van Johnson and Tom Drake and Roger Edens and Charles Walters and George Cukor and probably even Peter and lord knows WHO else. The cheating and the affairs. The mafia influence, including Lana Turner's lovers and Frank Sinatra's connections. There were lots of unhappy people who were tethered to their seven year contracts, too. They looked at it as involuntary servitude, the price for being a studio star.

by Anonymousreply 9806/30/2010

[quote]"message" pictures simply were not made.%0D %0D That's not strictly true. Message pictures were made in the early 1930s, I guess mostly the pre-code era. You'd get morals films about gangsters, bootlegging, unions, prostitution, even a few films about minorities and their struggle. I don't mean the social-slash-exploitation films like "Tell Your Children," but A list films.%0D %0D It is true, however, that the more adult fare about the evils of Hollywood and alcoholism and drug use didn't show up much in film until the 1950s.

by Anonymousreply 9906/30/2010

A little gossip:%0D %0D Seems like Lana's pincushion boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato, rivaled Frank Sinatra in the huge, uncut cock arena.%0D %0D Judy Garland complained that Frank loved getting head so much that sometimes there would be no penetration. She used to get so horny for some Frank lovin' that she would go to his house, find Frank, unzip his pants, shove her hand inside and haul it out in the hopes of getting some Italian salami for herself.

by Anonymousreply 10006/30/2010

Lady May Lawford "had once informed Louis B. Mayer that she should be placed on his MGM payroll to 'supervise' her 'homosexual' son."

"1960," by David Pietrusza, p. 243.

by Anonymousreply 10106/30/2010

Were Peter and Dominick Dunne lovers in the late 50s/early 60s? Is that mentioned in any of the books? I know they were Malibu neighbors back then. And their kids were about the same ages.

by Anonymousreply 10206/30/2010

Peter Dunne Dominick?

by Anonymousreply 10306/30/2010

Only 6 pages? A thread about Peter Lawford's kinks and fetishes I thought would hit double digits.

by Anonymousreply 10407/06/2010

I guess we'll just have to await the 2094 publication of Roddy McDowell's memoirs to hear the full story.

by Anonymousreply 10507/06/2010

2094? That's so unfair.

by Anonymousreply 10607/06/2010

Recently I watched the Caroll Baker film "Sylvia" in which he plays a wealthy man who hires a private detective to do a background check on his fiancee. He's sort of the villain of the film. At first I thought it was strange casting, but he gives off a sleazy vibe that's very effective.

by Anonymousreply 10707/06/2010

Peter had an undeniably sleazy thing going after he turned 35 or so but when he was a young MGM ingenue he seemed just the opposite..incredibly classy and debonair.

by Anonymousreply 10807/06/2010

Posted on a previous thread. Wow. Just...wow:

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by Anonymousreply 10907/10/2010

R94 Did you notice the customer review%0D %0D %0D %0D Lady Lawford, snob, socialite, and mother of Rat Packer Peter Lawford. Lady L has one genuinely interesting trait, which is that she is entirely disgusted by sex, and hit on the brilliant trick of wiping bloody meat on her nightie so she could pretend to be having her period. %0D %0D %0D %0D oh dear!

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by Anonymousreply 11007/12/2010

"Bitch! The Autobiography of Lady Lawford" was turned into a play:

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by Anonymousreply 11107/12/2010

Dominick Dunne is hated here but I enjoyed "The Way We Lived Then." He writes the following about being invited as a last minute, substitute extra man at elite Hollywood parties: %0D %0D "I realized I was there only because someone had backed out at the last minute and she'd needed a man to sit on a gold chair between two women.%0D %0D ....A year or so earlier I had seen Peter Lawford play this same scene at a party at...Lazar's house...in the Trousdale Estates.%0D %0D ...Peter was a last minute substitute after somebody backed out, and he was reeking of failure and knew it. It wasn't that people didn't treat him nicely, but it was the old Hi-darling-and-run routine: "Don't get stuck talking with the loser."%0D %0D Man, Hollywood is a cruel place that is perpetually stuck in adolescence. I felt sorry for both Dunne and Lawford after reading that.%0D %0D %0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 11207/12/2010

[quote]Both Van and Peter were pushed on teenage girls as "bobbysox idols" during the 40s (because they were both ineligible to serve in WWII - because they were gay), so MGM used Peter as a younger leading man.

Regardless of their indulgence in the homosex, both were 4F due to physical problems. R89 already covered what happened to Lawford. Van Johnson had a motorcycle accident during the filming of "A Guy Named Joe" that left him with a steel plate in his head and some serious scars on his forehead which are visible only in his macho films like "The Caine Mutiny".

by Anonymousreply 11307/12/2010

Thank you all. I had no idea. This is fascinating.

by Anonymousreply 11407/12/2010
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