Tuesday, June 16, 2009
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.