MARY ASTOR DIARY EXCERPT
(Handed Out To The Press for Publication
By Attorney Joseph Anderson On August 10, 1936)
At the time of this entry Astor and Thorpe had been married 4 Months.
FEBRUARY 15, 1932
I have just received this book and all of the diary documents. I have never seen an equal. And what a———-it makes Franklyn. Probably one of the most decent, fine human beings I have ever met; and a man straight through—he’s all man and very smart.
I’ve known him intimately now for two years and in spite of all the emotional upsets we have been through my feeling for him has increased a thousand fold. It has taken quite a revolution in myself to rid my thoughts and actions and reflexes from all the bunk that I was brought up with and from the world of hot air that I’ve been surrounded by since I was fourteen.
Franklyn is a great debunker. He has fought to maintain a balance and poise—made a constant effort to see all superficiality. Naturally in his line of work he would have to, otherwise he would believe everything every psychoneurotic female that came into his office told him. Therefore, he carried this clear vision with him into all contacts. He has taught me so much and, with such pain and distress, that he has taken all my petty world of foolish, meaningless bunk and given me a world of reality. Believe me that world is tough and it’s a job to keep facing it with a gesture and substituting an attitude of mind.
He’s shown up my friends. By that I don’t mean he has run then down but he has shown me what worth there is in them and what they actually are and it has given me a clearer insight into them. For instance when Marian [Spitzer] whom I adore first became pregnant, she was shockingly callous about it. She apparently didn’t have one spark of the normal maternal feeling in her. To her it was a “biological experiment.” She was purely selfish and admitted that she only wanted a baby because she thought a woman hadn’t had everything life was supposed to give her until she has one; the same sort of thing as a woman remaining virginal, etc. etc.
Well, Franklyn was disgusted and said so. Told her how she would feel, said “biological experiments is nuts!” Told her that when her baby came she would be just like every other mother and that was half the beauty of it. She claimed that she would feel exactly the same whether the child was hers or not. He discounted the thing with me, showed me the absurdity of her various arguments, told me it was just an attitude— a desire to be different. I was more inclined to be worried and to doubt a little that she would change.
She used to write me in great glee after she went to New York about how worried Harlan [Spitzer’s husband] was that she hadn’t started to get baby garments and couldn’t get a kick out of soft woolly blankets—proof Franklyn aid of an attention seeker—I didn’t know. Marian was pretty intellectual. Well, the baby [Evan Thompson] is five months old now and she sends pictures and l snap shots. The tone of her letters is completely different. The baby is the most wonderful baby in the world. Franklyn was perfectly right, etc.
I could go on into a thousand instances of just such things as that. He has helped get rid of leeches; people that were making me bleed from a million tiny wounds. A man who had been with me for six years and whom I trusted implicitly I found to be a chiseler of pennies and dimes and dollars here and there. He had been for years and recently to the tune of about $40 a month in groceries. A high pressure investment counselor; five grand a year to make out your checks and get a cut out of everything he sold you. It took us two weeks and an order from the sheriff’s office to get my books so that I could have an audit made.
He [Thorpe] has given me a completely different set of values and his disdain of pseudo-intellectuals of which this charming picture business is full, his great reverence for true intellectuality, his deep sentiment stripped of any sentimentality, his interest in people who are interesting because they have done something or thought about something, not because they can talk in high flown phrases—all makes a damned unusual person.
I have a different idea of my work and all the business of making motion pictures. If it were truly an art and if by sweating and worrying and digging one could eventually create something fine and beautiful that would be one thing that would be worth it. But one is constantly hammered down by the oft repeated phrase “What does it mean at the box office.” One’s attempts to do anything good are thwarted by a lot of ignorant fools who put idiotic dialogue into one’s mouth [and] by stories that are an insult to the intelligence and to their constant effort to make one a fool like themselves.
The only thing left to do is to put the best effort into what material there ism collect the do-re-me and not break your heart because the ability you know you have within you cannot rise through the layers of baloney.
Fifteen months later, during May 1933, Mary Astor went to New York for two weeks.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 14, 1934
Well, here it is another new year and I’m doing my usual wondering about what’s going to happen to me. To go back to my May  Entry, I flew East with the Gallagher’s, stayed about two weeks and had a heavenly time. And, I did meet a man; professional, somewhat older and rather well-to-do only his initial is G—George Kaufman—and I fell like a ton of bricks as only I can fall. It was just one of those. I met him the Friday after I arrived at the Algonquin [For lunch].
A friend [Marian Spitzer] had told me to look him up and I had phoned him Monday. He was out of town but he phoned me Friday A.M. and made a luncheon engagement for Saturday with me. The same day I had lunch with Natalie Lewy and in he came—he seemed very nice, talked to us a few minutes, made some remark about the fact that it was lucky we had met so he would know me on the morrow and wouldn’t have to wear a red carnation or something. That evening I had dinner with a young man, I’ve forgotten his name at “Twenty-one” and there he was again.
Saturday he called for me at the Ambassador and we went to the [Park] Casino for lunch and had a gay time. He was such fun. We drove back downtown and sneaked in at the Music Box where his show, “Of Thee I Sing,” was playing, stayed a minute and then went next door (Shubert Theatre) where “Gay Divorcee” was showing and it was very cool and pleasant and “Fred Astaire was dancing so beautifully to such a beautiful number; “Night and Day.” And the theatre was half empty so we stayed and he was looking at me more than at the stage and I like it.
Sunday night we had dinner and saw “International House” at the Paramount and laughed a lot and liked each other even more. Monday I had a preview engagement with Bennet Cerf for dinner but George called me up and said he knew about a tea party [At Kay Swift’s] that might be fun and would I go. I would and did but the tea party wasn’t fun and we left in about 15 minutes.
It was hot so we got a cab and drove around the park a few times and the park was—well, the park and he held my hand and said he’d like to kiss me, but didn’t. Tuesday night we had dinner at “Twenty-One” and on the way back to see “Run Little Chilun” he did kiss me and I don’t think either of us remembered much about what the show was about. Afterwards we had a drink some place and then went to a little flat on 73d street where we could be alone and I was all very thrilling and beautiful.
I didn’t see very much of anything else the rest of the time. We saw every show in town, had grand fun together and went frequently to 73rs St.
I remember one morning about 5:00 AM we had a sandwich at Reubens and it was just getting daylight so we drove through the park in an open cab and the street lights went out and the birds started singing and it was cool and dewy and pretty heavenly. The evening I left, we had dinner at “Twenty-One” and had a bottle of lovely wine. He had a car [with a driver] and drove me to the airport [and] kissed me goodbye.
MONDAY JANUARY 15, 1934
That was six months ago and it’s still good. We write to each other often; about every two weeks; flowers and telegrams for Xmas and New Year’s. Once, when Franklyn was away, he called me long distance and we talked for half an hour. His last letter finished with “think of me my darling. Because I certainly think of you. If it’s lasted this long on both sides it must be something pretty good. Too good to let drop.”
SATURDAY FEBRUARY, 17 1934
George K and Moss Hart arrived in town for a few days before going to Palm Springs to write a play. As George said it seemed a little silly to come all the way to California to find a quiet place to write, but….
Anyway it was a grand weekend and Saturday night Florence and Freddie March gave a dinner for them. Sunday I gave a cocktail party. Tuesday Marian Spitzer gave a grand dinner and Wednesday they left for the Springs.
Monday I went to the Beverly Wilshire and was able to see George for the first time. We went to Vendome for lunch, got slightly inebriated on three drinks. Went to Magnin’s to get a birthday present, to a stationary shop for some typewriter and then back to the hotel. It was raining and lovely. I left about 6 o’clock.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 8, 1934
Finished the picture on Tuesday the 27. Drove down to Palm Springs with Dick and Dorothy Rogers, Friday March 2. It was simply too wonderful. Sat around in the sun all day—lunch in the pool grill with Moss and George and the Rogers. Dinner at the Dunes. A halt in the moonlight without Moss and the Rogers. Ah desert nights!
Came back by plane Tuesday morning and found the baby very sick with flu
SATURDAY MARCH 19, 1934
March 6th the baby very sick with a cold. Scared the hell out of me. Weak and bleary eyed, temperatures and one convulsion. Up and around and full of the devil inside of a week
(Probably March 20, 1934 Regarding Support Suit Filed By Astor’s Parents)
…..a fantastic story and I am keeping a record of the whole thing in the press clippings.
Well, after about three days that died down and I could breathe again. The court action comes up April 5th and it will all break out again I suppose.
SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 1934
I got a wire from George saying they were leaving the following Wednesday and would not be coming back to Hollywood. By the grace of God I got a break. Didn’t have to work Saturday afternoon or Monday. So I caught the plane at 3:45 and had dinner at the Dunes with him Sunday. We had a lot of fun. Harlan Thompson was there (Marion’s Husband) and he took pictures of Moss and George and me on the Kiddy slide and swings.
About 6:50, George called me into the bungalow and read the play to me. I was pretty puffed up being the first to be in on it and terrifically pleased that I was able to make a few good suggestions. It’s very fine, thrilling thing and it’s called “Merrily We Roll Along” and it’s going to make theatrical history.
We all had a very gay dinner at the El Mirador. George took me back to Del T where I was staying and left me a few hours later and the room was white with moonlight.
MARCH 30, 1934
“Merrily we roll along.”
It’s pretty exciting, this business of living and a pretty fair mixture of fun and kicks in the pants.
MAY 6, 1934
Do you hear that soft stirring of drums? Something pretty exciting is going to happen—I feel it in my bones.
Franklyn has been away for a few days on a fishing trip with Clark Gable and I’ve had a chance to do a bit of analyzing.
First of all I’ve some to the conclusion that the reason for my constant restlessness and dissatisfaction with life in general is because I don’t like to be alone. I have to lean on someone. I’m scared to death of independence and the result is that I’m always tying myself up. Imagining myself deeply in love with someone I’ve no right to be tied up with.
If I had the courage to break loose, have a good house cleaning; if I could first bring myself to manage my own life, my money, etc., I’d be a step further toward achieving some sort of happiness. And the one thing that I have never changed my mind about since I was seven years old is that I want to be in the theatre and have never felt that I could do my best work in movies.
I’ve struggled along now for 14 years doing nothing outstanding but learning a lot. It has served its purpose in being a sort of apprenticeship but I think it’ almost over. Even if I were terrifically successful in the movies, I’m sure I wouldn’t be very happy. I don’t like the work. I like to act, to do a fine scene but that is only a tiny percentage of the work. The hours are horribly long, the stages are the most unhygienic place in the world to work in—cold and damp or hot and stuffy and no sunlight ever—the waiting around, the jittery nervous atmosphere. The time between pictures when you get a chance to rest up a little is spent waiting for a call saying that you go to work next week or tomorrow maybe. And so it goes, year after year.
I don’t care a great deal for California and I hate Hollywood. I came out here in 1923 to do one picture and I’ve been here practically ever since but I’ve always had a sense of impermanence. I have a charming home right on a little lake. It’s a beautiful spot and I’m not yet old enough simply to sit and meditate on the beauties of nature. That time will come soon enough. In the meantime there is work to be done.
I met George and it made me feel exactly as if I had been in a foreign country for the past four years and suddenly came home and found someone who spoke English. There was no strain, no feeling of constant adjustment, trying to think and feel and evaluate in another language, another world. The fact that I fell in love with him is quite incidental.
I am sure that I will know George as long as I Iive; that he will always be a grand friend and I know I will always be devoted to him. I doubt that the present sex angle will ever amount to anything. There are times of course, when I feel myself terribly in love with him just being around him.
I think I have mentioned the play he (Kaufman) has just finished, “Merrily We Roll Along.” It is a great play, better than “Dinner At Eight”—better than “Royal Family.” I would give my eyes to be in it to play Althea Royce. It probably won’t happen but it might. And if it does there’s nothing going to stop me. I still build castles in the air. I see myself in New York with the baby and a good nurse. It’s a swell picture but my, from here it looks impossible to attain.
First of all there’s Franklyn with who I am on fairly comfortable terms. We don’t fight anymore, He’s very happy in this home with me and he adores Marylyn. I’d have to bust that up and break his heart. I feel sorry for him because I made him marry me, made him love me. I’m quite fond of him because we’ve been through a great deal together because he is a fine man but we are simply worlds apart—much more than he realizes because I play a kind of game with him. I am not myself with him. There is a little bit of me that’s German and middle class and that’s the part of me that I stretch and expand in order to be on some common ground with him. And, that’s just what it is, common.
Sometimes it’s pretty bad. We don’t think alike, we’re not interested in any of the same things. All we have to talk about is the doings of the day; some patient of his that won’t pay a bill, the servants, the gardener, the baby—her discipline and her cute way—money matters, the trouble with my family [regarding the support suit] and that’s all. He likes to go hunting. I went once and hated it. I like people and he sits around with them like a bump on a log. He doesn’t know anything to talk about to them about except politics.
May 29, 1934
A letter from George today. Such a nice one and a little paragraph that might turn into something important for me.
“Would you still care to be Althea? The situation is this. We haven’t got one but it is hard to sell them on you at this distance. You don’t really look it and the fact that you are not here to act it out makes it very difficult—Oh dear”
Which might mean anything. George holds the world’s championship for understatement and you have to know that to understand him at all—believe me. If he didn’t think I should do Althea he just wouldn’t mention it, that’s all. Needles to say I answered; saying that if it would help matters any I would come East as soon as I completed the picture for RKO that I’m about to go into—about July 15, in other words.
I’m pretty thrilled at the idea and I’m afraid there isn’t anything that would stop me from doing it. It would be an excellent thing for me professionally (although Franklyn doesn’t agree with me, quite naturally.)
AUGUST 11, 1934
Occasional letters and telegrams from George. I’m going east next month or October, even for only a couple of weeks.
Have had no romantic interludes and don’t want them. I can’t see a person out here that I can even force any interest in whatsoever. George has spoiled me for anyone I suppose. I can still get a deep thrill, even with this lapse of time and at distance of three thousand miles out of just thinking about him.
Maybe I’m in love with him and wouldn’t that be funny.
SEPTEMBER 17, 1934
Tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 I leave Grand Central for N.Y., arriving there at 10:55 a.m. Wednesday, staying at the Essex house and am very excited. Got a lot of new clothes. Can’t be bothered to shop when I’m there (It takes too much time). It will be six months since I’ve seen George. What a strange love affair! I can’t say it’s very satisfactory.
He is rehearsing “Merrily’ and I will be there for the opening which is second best. How I would love to have been in it. Oh dear, everything in my life seems to go off half-cocked. Maybe I expect too much. George’s letters always friendly, always unexciting dampen my ardor a bit. At any rate it will be nice to be beaued around to theatres and night spots and possibly try to renew the thrill of that beautiful trip I made a year ago last June [really May 1933]. That’s usually fatal I know, but I’m still fool enough to try.
It’s so hard to be honest, even to one self. And the funny part of it is I know it will never happen. With all the monkey business scrapped off, I love George. I know he doesn’t love me and I positively will not be heartbroken over that fact. But he’s the kind of man I’d go over a cliff for. If he said, I love you, let’s be together, get rid of our ties; I’d do it in a minute.
And the funny part of it is I know it will never happen. I’m fond of Franklyn; would hate hurting him because I know he loves me. And I can’t see myself leaving a man who loves me for one who doesn’t. Instead I shall probably have another baby and be half happy!
OCTOBER 1, 1934
I am still in a haze; a nice rosy glow. If I thought that business with George was half hearted I was crazy. It’s beautiful, glorious and I hope it’s my last love. I can’t top it with anything in my experience or do I want to.
My trip was almost perfect. I got back last night; missed the opening [Merrily We Roll Along] of course. The studio got ants as soon as I got out of reach and had me hurry back to start a picture this morning. They were afraid I wouldn’t make it in time if I took the Sunday plane scheduled to arrive at 7 this morning, So I left at 7 on Saturday afternoon (The opening was Saturday night) and with my usual luck the plane was forced down because of weather and I spent the night in Pittsburgh. Also, the picture doesn’t start till tomorrow. How I hate them.
Of course I did see one of the invitation rehearsals of the show and several other rehearsals and I saw George. Only 10 days but enough for me to remember the rest of my life. We went to 21—our 21—we drove through the park. We heard a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, “Ruddigore.” We dined at the colony, at Roberts. We saw “Life Begins at 8:40,” We saw a movie Sunday night. We went to Reuben’s. We talked and laughed and spent lovely nights at Essex House.
And how I hated to come back home and have to shift back into low gear. There is more to it but it’s too dangerous to put even in this very revealing document. Some day perhaps I’ll be free to put it all down in 20 years from now perhaps.
OCTOBER 7, 1924
I feel a little numb about it all. I know I’m in love with George but I’m afraid of doing anything about it. I know what I want now and it’s the usual thing. I’d like to be with him ‘forever;” marry him and have his children but the step frightens me to death.
It’s all so lovely as it is that I’m afraid that if I did get what I wanted it would eventually turn out as this thing with Franklyn. Nothing could have been more sincere than my love for him [Franklyn] a short while ago and, yet, now that I have everything the way I worked and sweated and strived to get it, it’s so much ashes. How do I know I’d be any happier with George then I am with Franklyn? I don’t know anything. I’m scared, afraid to move forward, miserable at standing still and wanting George so much.
The reviews of “Merrily” are wonderful. It is a definite hit and I’m s trilled and proud of him.
What I want to know is what the hell is it all about. What is going to happen and why and what is life all about? Maybe I’ll be able to figure it out some way. As read these two books [The Diaries] over I am filled with a sense of an almost embarrassing annoyance with myself. How I’ve ever been able to write all those things. I don’t know. Phases leap to my eyes; “love of my life”. “enduring” “sense of something important.” Piffle!
I could write in detail about the last trip and seeing George. About the ecstasy contained in a few beautiful hours but if I did I’d laugh myself sick. I’ve said it all before. I’ve felt it all before. What goes on? Does this happen over and over and over again? If it does, it’s all a lousy trick. Am I going to keep on forever thinking this is it? What the Hell is it and what do I want.
I have a two year contract with Warner’s and he [Kaufman] has work, mountains of it, in New York. Occasionally I hope I can get a couple of weeks off and fly to New York to see him. It would be a breathing spell and what a lovely one! I feel a nice contentment about him, nothing hectic. There is something charmingly casual and yet quite sincere about it all and I feel a deep happiness in just having met someone like that.
DECEMBER 31, 1934
And so the year ends again. There seems to be no more beginnings, just endings. I seem to be getting old at 28.
I’m home alone trying to read but I can’t. I’m just thinking back over the past year and a very empty year it has been. The only real happiness I’ve had has been with George. Everything else is forced—not too bad—just a negative forcing.
Oh dear, I seem to be very low this evening and very inarticulate. All I can do is just put down my thoughts as they come. Kenneth, dead five years now; a sense of loss as always when I think of him. I didn’t appreciate him. I was too young.
Perhaps I’ll be saying that about Franklyn someday; I didn’t appreciate him. Franklyn, who loves me and needs me and leans on me; whom I like to be with sometimes because of a certain warmth and niceness and used-to-ness. Who loves me to death most of the time? Who has no sense of humor whatsoever? Who, while beautifully educated in one line, knows absolutely nothing of what is going on in the world outside his own profession?
George—a piece of mercury—a completely fascinating illusive person who has the power to make me so happy that when I am with him I want to laugh from sheer joy. And yet I’m afraid I could never count on him, depend on him or lean on him. I will think about him and long for him for days—weeks. Finally the feeling will taper off and I will begin to feel ‘sensible’ about it all and I’ll get some silly amusing telegram or a one page letter so packed with charm and humor that I’ll kick myself for ever having been dull enough to get sensible about him.
I talked to him Christmas night and received a telegram the next day saying, “I loved talking to you”
MONDAY JANUARY 15, 1935
I feel the same way about it but I have changed in one way. This last three and half years of grief has taught me a lot; mainly that there is nothing worth all the effort and misery because things have a way of not lasting. I hope I’ve learned never to try to make things happen; to try to ‘remold’ it to the heart’s desire” because by the time it’s remolded it may not be what you want at all. That’s a very rudimentary bit of philosophy but it’s taken me a hell of a while to learn it.
About Franklyn, I may as well be honest about it. I guess I don’t love him anymore. I have stopped hoping that I could change him but he is just the same. He says, “I will not have that child alienated from me. She is as much mine as she is yours. I love her as much as you do. I will not see her raised as another man’s child, anymore than you would like to see her with me and another woman whom I might marry.”
Another thing I must also agree, we will not take her [Marylyn] out of the state of California without the other’s consent. But suppose I would have to live in New York? Suppose I should go into the theatre? Suppose I should want to take her to England, France, Italy, Timbuktu? No can do. She must live in California. I won’t have her dragged all over the world, not even for education. California has good schools.
I was quite a bit inclined to back down.
FEBRUARY 6, 1935
Casa da Manana, La Jolia (On location—raining. no work) Why the hell I keep writing things down in this book, I don’t know. It seems to help me for some reason. I’m such a muddle headed person that I have to tie my thoughts down so that they won’t go skittering off in all directions.
Then to, maybe Marylyn someday would like to know what sort of person her mother was and maybe she will be consoled when she makes mistakes and gets into jams to know that her mother was a champion at making mistakes. I blush a little (a very little) at the idea of her reading some of the stuff in this book. I’ve been and am such a fool.
I am on the edge of another step—divorce—and I find my knees buckling under me in sheer fright. With my sure instinct for picking the wrong time to so things, I have selected the time when George is in town to decide to tell Franklyn I want to quit. The fact that I am in love with George has nothing to do with my reason for wanting a divorce, but of course, Franklyn thinks it is. The real reason is that I don’t love Franklyn any more, that I am unhappy and bored and with him and I don’t think one should live with a person that way.
Matters have been at a standstill until Monday (today is Wednesday). Monday I had two distinct shocks, Marian had me meet her at Magnan’s, where, after shutting ourselves up in a fitting room, she told me that for some time she had been in a very bad position; that certain things had happened so that now she felt free to tell me.
It seems that Franklyn had been to see her just before she went to New York about the first of October . He asked her to talk to George and make him realize that he was breaking up a home and warned him that it was a serious and unfair thing to do. Marian said she simply couldn’t do it. In the first place George would probably tell her to mind her own business and in the second place she thought he was attaching too much importance to the whole thing.
She said she had always felt that Franklyn and I were unsuited to each other, that we would eventually break up anyway. She told him she felt that the thing with George was not important. He eventually accepted her opinion for a while anyway.
I had a dinner engagement with George that night, Marion told me to call her up the next morning after I had seen him. She had seen him on Sunday afternoon and they had quite a talk.
“Let George you if he wants to.”
I called for George at the Beverly Wilshire at 7. He was very pleasant but a little jittery and strained I noticed. In the car on the way to the Trocadero I said:
“M-m-yeah—I’ll tell you all about it.”
We went downstairs to the bar, sat down at a table and ordered drinks.
“Shall I wait for you to have a drink or shall I plunge right in.”
I was pretty mystified and worried and said, “Plunge in, I’m dying of curiosity.”
“I’ve had a visit from your husband.”
I practically went through the floor.
Franklyn called on him at 11 o’clock Sunday morning. They talked for about an hour in which Franklyn stated the reason for his visit, shook hands and parted—all very pleasant. He told George that he knew he could not completely fulfill my life, which I needed other interests but the sacredness of marriage [and] the child was at stake and George must be willing to take his share of the responsibility involved. What he meant by that specifically or what he wanted George to do exactly, George couldn’t find out.
What he expected to gain from the interview is more than I can figure out. He doesn’t know yet that I know about it. It seems to me that probably in all honesty he loves me and wants to keep me at all costs and probably wanted to frighten George into breaking off with me.
I told George that if he wanted to get out he could. His answer was very nice.
“I’ll have no farewell scenes with you, Miss A. I don’t want that.”
George knows that I love him. We kid each other about the fact that ‘I am out to get him.’ In the usual high vein of banter that goes on I once asked him why he had never used the phrase ‘I love you” with me; not even as a prop phrase, caress. He said he was trying to be square with me. Another time he said: “I wish I were madly in love with you, but those things just can’t be arranged. I haven’t been in love for many years and I doubt very much if I can again.” All of which makes me a little sad. I would like to have him love me.
Yesterday Marian and I saw [Attorney] Ralph Blum and I have a pretty good idea where I stand. The two main things are this. There isn’t much doubt that I would get the custody of Marylyn, regardless of any agreement between Franklyn and me. There is also the possibility of Franklyn fighting that by naming George, not that he could get her that way but it could at least get into publicity. That is the one thing that stops me. For George’s sake I would hate to have him dragged into this. If it weren’t for him I’d plunge in tomorrow.’ Marion says I should not consider him, that he is a man, let him protect himself. Since I don’t ask protection for myself, I wouldn’t want him to marry me unless I was sure he wanted to more than anything in the world. It is nothing against him that he doesn’t but at least he has been in the eyes of the world, ‘playing around with a married woman’ and should be ready to ‘take the consequences’, if there are any.
I found it all very difficult—Franklyn going around very wretched and with hurt eyes and shaking hands. Poor man, it’s bad for him, he feels his house toppling. He has often said that there is nothing in the world for him but me, Marylyn and his home. I can’t blame him for fighting for it.
I wonder if I will have the courage to go through with this, or whether I will go on and on, just to take that look out of his eyes.
FEBRUARY 8, 1935 (La Lolla)
Haven’t had anything to do but think about my trouble. Got very drunk Wednesday night and about 4 AM had to call the doctor to give him a sedative.
I have come to some conclusion but not much of a solution. Blum’s advice to me that on my return I should separate from Franklyn immediately, notify may agents to deposit my weekly check to my account at a bank and file for divorce.
There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that Franklyn would put up a fight naming George once he knew that I would ask complete custody of the baby. Blum’s advice also was “let Mr. X (George) protect himself.” I don’t think it would hurt either of us professionally. Personally I wouldn’t mind but George would be very embarrassed. There is his wife, his child—who is old enough to read newspapers—his mother. This is my feeling about it, however. He has been discreet with me. I have been a fool and unfair to him in telling my husband out of a mistaken sense of honesty.
(Note to Marylyn: Never admit anything to anybody. Honesty is NOT the best policy. It gets you into messes and costs you money.)
I could wait a few months. Let Franklyn think he had won by telling him that George and I were through and in six months, a year maybe, he would have no grounds for cross complaint.
I love George and the best I can do is save him from a messy scandal. Maybe I’m being ‘foolishly gallant’ but maybe also, I can do one nice thing in my life.
Being the type of person who can get into a jam and as soon as she is found out will forget about it inside of a week, I think it is a good idea to keep a close record of the present stew. Maybe if I’m a good girl and read it all over once a month I’ll learn to use my head a little and then again maybe I won’t.
Well, I didn’t have sense enough to keep my mouth shut and follow out my plan. Thursday night Franklyn and I went to the Trocadero for dinner. We began to talk about ‘our problem’ and from there on it led into a battle until 3 in the morning (back at home of course). Oh I won’t go into it, it’s too dreary. I want to forget about it and all the nasty things that were said on both sides.
The matter of Franklyn’s going to George came up, completely justified, of course, by him. The matter of his going to Marian—the matter of money—completely justified by him. Didn’t have a leg to stand on; mainly because I can’t talk to him. He will never answer a question directly; hasn’t even heard it and so on. What finally came out was this.
He would let me go but he must have Marylyn for six months; that if I would accede to this he promised on his word of honor not to mention George in any way. If I refused he would fight it and would bring George into it–a beautiful messy scandal.
All right, what would you do? I told him I’d think it over. I did and I hope to God I have made the proper decision. I accepted his terms that I would give up Marylyn to him for six months. This was the only way I could face it. For the next six months or so Marylyn’s development is purely physical—love—diet—exercise—discipline. All of these things Franklyn can give her as well as I. Later on I can move to have the custody changed over to me. It would be very hard for him to dig up an old affair against me.
He was very badly broken up for several days. He used his final weapon with me; “I need you”—with tears; the thing that stopped me two years ago. For the sake of peace and a little respite from all this emotionalism I told him I would do nothing at present.
My main reason for saying that is, quite honestly, I want to be able to see George for the rest if his stay without being all upset [and] looking like hell. I want to have a last few times of completely enjoying myself. Then, when he has left town I can start again. I must go through with this.
I wish I could duck all this and come up again six months from now.
MARCH 20, 1935
A week ago tonight I said goodbye to George for at least another six months. Each time we are together our relationship improves. We do have a grand time together. One night after we came back from dinner, we went to his room and talked till one o’clock. He practically told me the story of his life. Then he read two acts of his new play, “First Lady.” It was such a lovely evening.
This seems to be a little crude, but it is hard to explain without getting sentimental and serious. It is a thoroughly satisfying relationship, no ties, no promises, no vows; nothing holds us together except our own desire and that seems to be the way things should be. Everything else can be broken and it is always a painful process.
The element of time doesn’t seem to affect us—six months two weeks, a year—we pick up just where we left off; exactly as if there had been no separation. We seem to be so good for each other. He is good for my failing ego—makes me feel like I were pretty much of a person—and he says I’ve “loosened him up.” It’s pretty nice.
Anyway, I’m looking for a house in Beverly Hills and as soon as I find one I’m getting out.