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Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Posted: January 22nd, 2017, 6:38 pm
by Joseph Egan
During her last days who she thought was her great love

It was obvious to anyone who really knew her that John Barrymore was the great romantic love of her life. She took great pride that such a great man wanted to marry her and she admired the man—even in his decline—enormously and considered him one of the great actors of the period. As I have written she kept all Barrymore’s telegrams and I have copies.

It’s my opinion, besides her children, the person whom she most loved in the world was her first Husband Kenneth Hawks who had really loved her for herself as she was and in whose hands she felt safe and protected. As I’ve written she was completely and utterly devastated by this death and I don’t think ever really recovered as her later marriages demonstrated. It was a profound true love.

Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Posted: January 22nd, 2017, 6:57 pm
by Joseph Egan
Astor the writer

A-Acting was making a living for her. Writing was what she felt she was meant to do Astor wrote that seeing her name on the cover of a book meant for more to her than seeing her name on a theatre marquee. Frankly, when she had to make a choice between the two she turned her back on her 45 year acting career and completely devoted herself to writing. You have to understand that Mary Astor was a very, very intelligent woman. Before she began writing and became reclusive she enjoyed the company of writers and intellectuals. She detested chatter and her conversation was always intelligent and analytical. She was very proud of her writing, at having—in the latter part of her life—achieving a dream she had since childhood. It should also be membered that it was when she wasn’t able to write because of illness that she became difficult because I believe that without her writing she felt lost. I understand this because I would feel the same way. All writers do.

Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Posted: January 22nd, 2017, 7:16 pm
by Sue Sue Applegate
Thank you so much for such poignant comments, Joe. I'm glad to find out that she had fairly good care, and still allowed that independent streak to keep her active as long as it was physically and mentally possible. I appreciate you sharing with us about the great loves in her life.

Thank you so much for your exciting visit here at The Silver Screen Oasis. I'm going to leave our thread open until later this evening in case there are any more questions.

Do you have another project lined up in the foreseeable future that you can give us some clues about? Or is it top secret?

Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Posted: January 22nd, 2017, 7:24 pm
by moira finnie
Thanks very much for hanging out with us this weekend, Joseph. I realize that you are pretty busy due to the well-earned attention being given your book, but could you please tell us if there are future projects along similar lines that you are pursuing?

Thanks again.

Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Posted: January 22nd, 2017, 7:25 pm
by Joseph Egan
The Mogul Meeting

A-This is an absolutely great story. On her last day working on Dodsworth…It was Saturday , August 8th, 1936—at the end of shooting Astor was surprised to be called to Sam Goldwyn’s office. She was even more surprised when she got there and saw standing in that room the heads of every studio and their lawyers. They had all gathered in that room to convince Mary Astor to settle the case. It seems that they had been given a copy of the forged diary with sexual performance scorecards and steamy passages and believing this to be the real diary—and if it went public it would bring down the wrath of the public and Legion of decency as well as the possibility of government intervention and censorship down on Hollywood. It hold be understood that in that room were the e most powerful men in the industry who could make or break a career at the drop of a hat.

So Irving Thalberg—this was about a month before he died—spoke for the group and tried to persuade Astor to settle arguing that if the Diary was made public—thinking the e pornographic forged one was the real diary—it would destroy the industry. Listening to Thalberg Astor thought the whole thing ridiculous; that her diary would bring down the motion picture industry. When she heard that it was pornographic she protested that there was nothing pornographic in what she wrote but wasn’t believed.

So, putting her daughter first and her career and these men’s wishes last, Astor stood up to all of them and told the gathering that she would continue with the trial until she won her daughter back. And with that, left the room. Now, that took guts but Astor didn’t care, she had already pushed all her chips into the pot and was going for broke.

As a side note Goldwyn was asked if he would threaten Astor with enforcement of the morality clause in her loan out contract. Goldwyn’s reply, made famous in Astor’s autobiography was “A woman fighting for her child…this is good.” And that was the end of the mogul meeting.

Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Posted: January 22nd, 2017, 8:04 pm
by Joseph Egan
Re: What surprised me in doing the research

That’s a very good question that set me to thinking. There are a couple of things that surprised me. First and foremost was how many writers got the story wrong because they simply weren’t willing to spend the time necessary to do a little primary research. Then, how one false story is used as source material for another and then that for another until truth is lost and this is done by some very respected publications. Second, how difficult it is to write a book like this and keep your facts straight rather than falsely construe things. This forces me to be hard on myself and almost fanatical about only putting down what I knew for sure and facts make a certainty. One reviewer called this a fact driven book and this is absolutely correct.
Finally, really digging into the Astor life, understanding how difficult this was for Mary Astor and understanding that she did it not for herself but out of absolute love for her daughter. Astor wrote what I is titled “The Baby Diary.” In it she chronicled the development of her baby from birth until she turned Marylyn over to her husband in October 1935 for six months. I’ve tried to get it excerpted in magazines but no one was interested. Nevertheless, I have never read a more beautiful statement of a mother’s love for a child as she watched this little bundle turn into a human being with a personality of its own as well as its own individuality. Read this little volume and you will see for yourself that this mother love for her child was inestimable.

Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Posted: January 22nd, 2017, 8:16 pm
by Joseph Egan
Future Writing

This is the last Movie History I will ever write. In fact the last anything that even resembles a history. I wrote it because of the reasons I have stated above. From now on I am writing either memoirist books or humor novels. I’ve already have five novels written in the humor style of Donald Westlake which I am ready to submit to my publisher as soon as my agent approves. I can assure they were much easier to write then The Purple Diaries and lot more fun. I don’t know if readers will like them but I enjoyed writing them and that what matters. I start another book, a memory piece this week if time will allow.

Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Posted: January 22nd, 2017, 8:28 pm
by Joseph Egan
I missed these questions and so I am answering them now.

Q-As for some of your resources, what did you find helped you in your research?

A-Always go for primary and rely on books or articles if written by the source. And even then check every fact and every date. Never accept material written from memory as fact unless it is thoroughly researched.

Q-Did you find certain archives more helpful than others?

For film related writing the Research Division of the Lincoln Center Library and the research departments of the Museum Of Modern Arts are tops. Also, through the use of interlibrary loan you can have access to every journal, newspaper, publication and book in the world. Make sure you are working with a library that has a good interlibrary loan service. Working through a good college library can’t be topped..

As of late I have found that a great deal of primary material is on the web including all sorts of Hollywood publications that have been indexed which makes searching much less difficult. During the later stages of writing this book I did much of my research and fact checking through the web. This is a resource that is going to get better.

Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Posted: January 22nd, 2017, 8:32 pm
by Sue Sue Applegate
What a meeting that was, Joe. And Mary stood up to them all! And for the sake of her child. It reminds me of some of the battles I had to wage in the protection and upbringing of my son. Thank you so much for sharing that with us.

I look forward to reading your new books, and hope you have enjoyed visiting with us, as much as we have enjoyed your comments, revelations, and struggles bringing The Purple Diaries: Mary Astor and the Most Sensational Hollywood Scandal of the 1930s! to publication.

As a reminder, you can visit Joe Egan and learn more about his latest book online at or and of course the author’s Facebook page:

Thank you for spending such a historically fascinating weekend with us, Joe! Please feel free to stop by and visit anytime.

And we are all looking forward to Mrs. Osborne's documentary about Mary Astor, too! :D

Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Posted: January 22nd, 2017, 8:42 pm
by Joseph Egan
I think I have answered all your questions and as there is no one else on line I am signing off as well. If during the course of the week you should have any other questions you can contact me on my JOSEPH EGAN FACEBOOK PAGE and I will be happy to answer.

Repeating some of what Sue-Sue wrote above:

If you are interested in Mary Astor you can take a look at It's a comprehensive website I put together about Astor.

You can also find out more about the book on the

and if might be interested in reading some of my misc. writing you can take a look at my blog at

Thanks a lot to everyone.