JACK BENNY MEETS REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS, 1962-STYLE
In the above episode of Jack Benny's TV show--which for some reason has become my highly valued 'it's-four-AM-and-I'm-depressed' antidote--Jack insists on being part of a Beverly Hills charity event to which he's not been invited. The event is being hosted by the wives of Milton Berle, Groucho Marx, Kirk Douglas and Phil Silvers. They all play themselves and they're all real dishes, in a very proper, late-fifties kind of housewife-ish way. Below I've posted thumbnail sketches and ghoulishly included links to their obits. The dead ones, anyway.
Eden Marx was forty years younger than Groucho and has the sleek and mysterious vibe of a foreign-film star of the period--though she was born in Utah which, I guess, actually is pretty foreign. She was Groucho's third wife (and his third divorce) and lived only into her early fifties, sucumbing to cancer in Palm Springs in the early 1980s. Ruth Berle was a mere thirteen years younger than Uncle Miltie and had been a successful public relations person when that male-dominated field was...er, male dominated. Next is Anne Douglas (nee Buydens), a former actress who was a mere three years younger than her husband. Shockingly she is still alive at 99 which makes the combined ages of her and husband 201 years of age. Jesus! (By the way, her real name was Hannalore Marx which means that if Groucho had married her instead of Eden--and if she'd retained her real name--we'd have Hanalore Marx-Marx as a guest star on this show. If that's your idea of a good time.) Last and certainly not least is the come-hither-you-bad-boy-and-let-me-rub-your-bald-head-bonbshell Evelyn Silvers (nee Patrick). How on earth did Sgt. Bilko 'get' her? The answer, I suspect, has something to do with having been the star of Sgt. Bilko. Alas the marriage didn't last--they have five daughters but Silvers chronic gambling addiction and depression undid the union at some point in the late 60s. Evelyn appears to still be with us and below I've posted a chunk of a Bilko episode in which she's the spokesperson doing the Revlon Ad (it's one minute in) for a shade of Lipstick called Snow Peach. Is this how they met? And if so, was there anything truly so inappropriate about the powerful male star chasing the young, inexperienced model? I wonder if Evelyn Silvers and Anne Douglas have seen each other lately...
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Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 2:10 PM