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Re: Welcome Scott O'Brien for a Q & A on Sylvia Sidney 12-17 & 12-18

Posted: December 18th, 2016, 7:50 pm
by oscotto
Hi Joe - Years after leaving Hollywood behind, Sidney mentioned that her favorite film was Mary Burns, Fugitive. She sang nothing but praises for her director, William K. Howard. “I learned more about picture making, about how a film was put together, from Howard than from almost anyone. He was one of my gods. He was one of the only directors in America at the time that ‘cut’ in the camera. Fritz Lang did it and so did Hitchcock, but I think Bill Howard was brilliant."
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Sylvia had great admiration for Spencer Tracy, and hoped they would re-team after they did Fury (1936). “Spencer Tracy was very special,” she admitted. “He was not only a great actor, but he listened as well. Tracy would say, ‘Acting to me is always reacting!’
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Fury, with Tracy

Least favorite, Bogart.
“I’d known Bogart from way before, when he was a very bad ‘juvenile’ in the theater," she said in 1990. "He was a mean young man, and ended up a rather mean old man. But that was his nature.” She and Bogie had a wild confrontation in the mid-forties. She threw her cocktail glass in his face - blood everywhere.
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With Bogart in When the Wagons Roll at Night
Thanks Joe, that was a fun question to answer.

Re: Welcome Scott O'Brien for a Q & A on Sylvia Sidney 12-17 & 12-18

Posted: December 18th, 2016, 9:26 pm
by moira finnie
The Bogart story is one that I'd never read before reading your book, Scott--and I've tried to read everything published about this compelling icon. I won't reveal it here, but the incident between Sidney and Bogart offers insight into a dark side of the talented if troubled actor. I suspect that Bacall had some very choice words for her husband in private that night.

Did Sylvia Sidney have "a love of her life," or was that role filled by her brilliant, tragic son, Jody?

Also, Scott, before you leave, could you please tell us about your next biographical subject?

Re: Welcome Scott O'Brien for a Q & A on Sylvia Sidney 12-17 & 12-18

Posted: December 18th, 2016, 11:40 pm
by oscotto
moira - Thanks again for the opportunity to share my research on Sylvia. I'll give the "scoop" on the Bogie-Sidney scandal that never made the headlines.

The night of the Bogart-Sidney run-in, Sylvia's almost-third husband, Carleton Alsop, ran outside to fetch her. Bogie was bleeding profusely. When Sylvia went back into the Bogart residence, Lauren Bacall was trying to stop the bleeding as he sat atop the toilet—a gash from his temple to his ear. Bogart grimaced and yelped. Bacall fired back, “Shut up. You deserved it.” While they waited for a doctor to arrive, Bogie looked up at Sylvia and said, “You’re a great kid, Sylvia. Didn’t know you had that kinda fire.”

The love of her life? I think you hit the proverbial nail when you mention Jody. Her bond for him was unconditional. The two really connected. Of the three husbands, Sylvia admitted that Luther Adler was "the best kisser."
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September 1, 1938, newlyweds Sylvia and Luther arrive in New York from London.

For my next subject my publisher and I decided on Herbert Marshall. It's been challenging and fascinating research. Again, so much rumor and hyperbole about Marshall abounds in books that have already been written. Like George Brent, Marshall preferred not to talk much about his past, or his amputation during WWI. Unlike Brent, Marshall was much more of a social animal. I've always admired Marshall's work, his mellifluous voice, and the inner compassion that exuded from his very presence. In the 1980's a female Canadian author commented on his "delicious limp"—as if it were a "turn on." Bart (as his friends called him) would have relished that comment. He had a marvelous sense of humor.

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On the set of Poppy (1936) with Bart's mistress, Gloria Swanson, and W.C. Fields.

Re: Welcome Scott O'Brien for a Q & A on Sylvia Sidney 12-17 & 12-18

Posted: December 19th, 2016, 12:31 am
by clore
moira finnie wrote:I hope Scott can address this one too, clore! Saw this episode of Naked City, "A Hole in the City" for the first time about 2 years ago. Sylvia was remarkable--I wonder how Robert Duvall and the actress liked working together? Have you seen "A Motherless Child" on Route 66 with Sidney? Another great turn by Sylvia.

No Moira, I haven't seen that one. I was watching Route 66 for a while on Me-TV, depending on Mr. Sandman as it was running at 3am and I didn't have a DVR yet. While I liked that the show was done on varying locations, so often if seemed as if each week the plot line was "Tod or Buzz falls for a woman who may have a mental problem."

But as with a few other actors, if I had seen Sylvia Sidney's name listed, I would have tuned in. I stayed up to see an episode with Lon Chaney, Jr and Betty Field, co-stars in OF MICE AND MEN and was disappointed that they didn't share any scenes.

Re: Welcome Scott O'Brien for a Q & A on Sylvia Sidney 12-17 & 12-18

Posted: December 19th, 2016, 12:47 am
by clore
oscotto wrote:Clore - Very interesting details on Raft's career. I'm glad Sylvia had the opportunity to work with him and appreciate what he had to offer.

I did get to see Sidney's episode on Naked City (1961). Ed Asner was also in this. I met Asner earlier this year and asked if he had any recollections about her. He sheepishly admitted that he didn't (they had no scenes together), but readily admitted how much he admired her acting.

Asner would return to the series to play the same character. He was extraditing prisoners Robert Blake and Frank Sutton and gets seriously wounded in the process. He had a scene in the beginning shot at the East Side Airlines Terminal which has bus lines that went to the airports. In that scene as his son was a friend of mine, Larry Bleidner who would go on to become the Lay's Potato Chip kid in a series of spots with Bert Lahr.

Re: Welcome Scott O'Brien for a Q & A on Sylvia Sidney 12-17 & 12-18

Posted: December 24th, 2016, 11:45 am
by Sue Sue Applegate
Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your enthusiasm for Sylvia Sidney! Please come visit from time to time. :D

Re: Welcome Scott O'Brien for a Q & A on Sylvia Sidney 12-17 & 12-18

Posted: January 19th, 2017, 11:52 am
by Hibi
I'm sorry I missed Scott's visit. I used to get e-mail notifications, but that has stopped for some reason. Scott, if you are still around, could you talk about Sylvia's final illness? That was my only disappointment in the book. You really didnt go into that except for saying she was having chemotherapy treatments. How long was her illness?