Thursday, February 18, 2010

Birthday Roundup

Handsomer than Franklin Pangborn, younger than Edward Everett Horton, and not quite as abrasive as Paul Lynde, Billy De Wolfe (February 18, 1907 - March 5, 1974) occupied a unique niche in the supporting sissy sorority. He was attractive enough to be believable as the fussy, would-be suitor for the girl, always losing her in the end to the film's hero; but was at his nattily-attired best in period musicals. It was on the set of one such epic, Tea for Two (1950), that he met his lifelong pal Doris Day. De Wolfe moved into theater as film roles became scarcer in the mid-1950's, and was about to take on the role of flamboyant dress designer "Madam Lucy" in the Debbie Reynolds Broadway vehicle Irene (1973) when ill health forced him to bow out. He passed away from lung cancer shortly after. Billy De Wolfe was 67.

We mean no offense to the lady, but we never quite "got" Helen Gurley Brown (February 18, 1922). Despite helping to kick start the sexual revolution by penning Sex and the Single Girl in 1962, Helen always seemed less colorful and a little drab compared to her friend, Jacqueline Susann - who, ironically, was probably a little less progressive in her politics and thinking than Brown. Also, we frankly found the image of the typical "Cosmo girl" (after Cosmopolitan, the breezily vulgar lifestyle glossy that Brown was editor-in-chief from 1965-1997) to be rather vapid. But we give respect where respect is due, and laud Brown for championing sexual freedom and the then-outrageous opinion that women could be both feminine and feminist at the same time. Not bad for a little girl from Little Rock.

Dante DiPaolo (February 18, 1926) is best known, if at all, as Rosemary Clooney's faithful final consort. They met at Paramount in 1953, she as a white hot girl singer-turned-movie star, he as her dance instructor. They fell in love, but ultimately, Rosemary decided to marry intense actor Jose Ferrer, and she and Dante lost contact. Flash forward to 1973; Rosie has survived a divorce, a crippling addiction to pills and alcohol, a harrowing stay in a mental hospital, and the complete rebuilding of her career, while Dante was traveling the world as a dancer. As if in a Paramount picture, they ran into each other at a stop light, and were together for the next 28 years, until Rosie's death in 2002. Looking at the following photos and clip of DiPaolo and Sylvia Lewis from Cha-Cha-Cha Boom! (1958), a quickie musical cashing in on the Latin craze of the Fifties, one can easily see why Rosie wanted Dante to c'mon-a her house.


  1. i didn't know that little eye-tem about sweet!

  2. Good for Rosie and Dante. Everyone deserves happiness!

  3. Poor Sylvia, completely eclipsed by Dante's pantes.
    This dance routine takes gabardine to new heights.

  4. I met Dante at the opening of The Rosemary Clooney Museum in Augusta, KY where they resided part of the time (she was born in nearby Maysville.) This was in 2005 and he was still a fit and attractive man considering he was in his early 80s by then.

  5. I used to feel the same way about HGB - but read her books and you'll change your mind. They're a riot!


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