Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hedda Babbler

Our latest Mystery Guest was, indeed, the Lady with the Tutti-Frutti (and every other kind of) Hat, Miss Hedda Hopper. She began as an actress, but her looks were decidedly against her: one fellow actress snidely described Hopper as having the "face of a ferret." Leaving the soundstage for the reporter's desk, Hopper became a household name - perhaps even more of a celebrity than many of the movie stars she praised (and destroyed) in print.

Unlike her arch rival, Louella Parsons, who was deadly serious and a boring old bag for it, Hopper had a healthy sense of humor about her outsized personality, image, and exalted/feared position as one of the Grande Dames of Gossip. She spoofed her persona in The Women (1939), playing reporter "Dolly Dupuyster" while wearing a hat rigged out with insect antennae (get it?); and made a cameo as herself in Sunset Boulevard (1950). She also appeared as herself on an episode of I Love Lucy, with a running gag being her infamous millinery: a huge basket of fruit is mistaken for the roving reporter.

Our darling Toby Worthington was the first to guess correctly; he wins a lifetime membership to the William Hopper Fan Club.


  1. Umm, that chapeau looks as if it is about to take flight!

  2. Thank you TJB, for that lifetime membership.
    Such a bother having to renew it every 40 years.

  3. i may be confused, but i think i read that billy was a sister. if so, do you think he spent afternoons in mom's closet trying on hats?

  4. William Hopper was, indeed, gay. His mom, in true contradictory style, was an ultra-right wing, Red-baiting, homophobe in print, but supportive and loyal to her homosexual friends in private life - and, one assumes, to her son as well.