Peter Evans wrote about a woman who had called him to write her story.
“The stroke she’d had a year and a half earlier had partially paralyzed her left side and frozen half her face in a rictus of sadness. It would have been a hard blow to bear for any woman, but for an actress who had once been hailed as “the world’s most beautiful animal,” it was a tragedy. I tried not to stare, but she must have guessed my thoughts. “As if getting old wasn’t tough enough,” she said, with no sense of self-pity at all. “Actors get older, actresses get old. But life doesn’t stop because you’re no longer a beauty, or desirable. You just have to make adjustments.”
She spoke about her life this way, “You can sum up my life in a sentence, honey: She made movies, she made out, and she made a fucking mess of her life. But she never made jam.”
“I think the most vulgar thing about Hollywood is the way it believes its own gossip,” she told me that day. “I know a lot of men fantasize about me; that’s how Hollywood gossip becomes Hollywood history.”
“Is that why you want to write a book?,” I asked warily. “You want to put the record straight?”
“I’m broke, honey. I either write the book or sell the jewels.” I was surprised at the frankness with which she admitted it. “And I’m kinda sentimental about the jewels,” she added.
She spoke about her third marriage.
“Frank and I had been married barely a couple of years. The marriage was obviously unraveling even then. I’m just surprised it lasted as long as it did. It was a bad time for Frank. Poor darling, he was so insecure. He was broke. He didn’t have a job. He was hanging on to his place in Palm Springs by the skin of his teeth. It was the last real asset he had. If he’d lost that, it would have been the end of the line for him. He had made a lot of enemies in his good years, before the bobby-soxers found somebody new to throw their panties at. Nobody wanted to be around him. There were no hangers-on. He didn’t amuse them anymore. He couldn’t lift a check. There was nobody but me. He had burned most of his bridges with the press. There was a catalogue of disasters: His voice had gone. MGM had let him go. His agent had let him go. So had CBS. On top of all that, the poor bastard suffered a hemorrhage of his vocal cords and couldn’t talk, let alone sing, for about six weeks. That’s when I saw through those people. I saw through Hollywood. Naive little country girl that I was, I saw through all the phoniness, all the crap.”
The woman was Ava Gardner. At her peak she was the reigning pin-up model and sex goddess. Frank was Frank Sinatra, the most popular and best-selling singer of his time. He used to attract hordes of screaming, swooning adolescent girls.
There is a lesson here for you.
Are you chasing wealth? Or fame? Or power?
It will go away. One day all of it will disappear. Who will you be then?
Remember Matthew 6-19:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”