IN MEMORY OF JEAN PORTER DMYTRYK (1923-2018)
Jean Porter Dmytryk, a 1940s Hollywood starlet and later the longtime wife of film director Eddie Dmytryk, passed away a few days ago. I knew the Dmytryks well over the years but I was always surprised to see Jean in movies from the 40s when they came on TV--'Abbot and Costello in Hollywood' was the one that turned up most often. It was weird yet strangely delightful to see the woman I knew as a mother to kids I grew up with playing a sexy foil to Lou and Bud. She was in plenty of other stuff too--click here for her IMDB page. I remember her telling me and my father that Lou had a 'thing' for her. I had no idea at that time what kind of a 'thing' she meant.
Eddie and Jean were a quintessential Hollywood couple, having met on the set of a movie Eddie was directing at RKO called 'Till The End Of Time', a kind of B-level 'Best Years Of Our Lives' which features a bemused Robert Mitchum as well. Jean apparently replaced Shirley Temple in the girl ingenue part, due to Temple having eloped with her first husband, actor John Agar. The above clip is Jean dancing with the ridiculous Guy Madison in the requisite 'returning vet hangs out at soda-shop' scene. I recall both Jean and Eddie talking about what an awful dancer he was and how hard it was to get him through the scene. (I also remember Eddie referring to Madison as an 'ex-quisite'--an old period colloquialism for a homosexual, one that I think might be exotic to revive).
Though they were, as I said, a very Hollywood couple, their's was far from a perfect Hollywood story, thanks to the blacklist, the HUAC, Eddie's recanted testimony etc. Still they hung together for a long time--he died in 1999 so they were married for over fifty years. I've written about my own relationship with Eddie before (click here) and apparently, though I have no memory of this, I wrote a post about one of their many houses that I recalled--a lovely place in Bel Air that had once belonged to Carol Lombard (Jean was the original house flipper--it was always hard to tell where they were living, for how long, why they had moved yet again etc.) Click here for the house article. Below I've posted a 'soundie' from the early forties that features Jean called 'Two Pair Of Shoes'. And below that you'll find the trailer of 'A&C in Hollywood'.
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Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 2:07 PM