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29 May 2011

Maria Riva's Blind Items Pt. 2

After I posted two blind items from Maria Riva's Marlene Dietrich biography, a reader named Paul mentioned two more in the comments section.

First, he mentioned a "cavalier." Could someone tell me when this person appears in Dietrich's life? The similarly-named Maurice Chevalier was Dietrich's lover and longtime friend, but I'm certain Paul didn't mean him:

Marlene Dietrich Maurice Chevalier

Additionally, Paul concluded that Edinburgh Festival director Peter Diamand was the person whom Dietrich dubbed "P.D." (hopefully, there wasn't a French joke behind those initials) and described as "that sentimental old Jew I had in Edinburgh," where Dietrich took her cabaret show in August 1965. Diamand passed away in 1998.

Now, for another blind item. Riva recalled that two sycophants entered Dietrich's life before the production of Song of Songs in 1933. Riva characterized them as "homosexual cons" who attended to Dietrich's every need in order to serve their own agenda. Riva also quoted Clifton Webb as saying that they were "Dietrich's private Rosencrantz and Guildenstern." Riva then told one of the most gossipy morsels of her book--the one that always makes me cackle--about Greta Garbo abandoning Mercedes de Acosta for Rouben Mamoulian and catching gonorrhea. Garbo's alleged health problems didn't crack me up; rather, the indiscretion of the nurse who supposedly told Dietrich about another patient's confidential issue hit my funny bone. In Donald Spoto's Dietrich bio, Martin Kosleck and Hans von Twardowski, a gay couple, became part of Dietrich's posse around the filming of The Scarlet Empress. If these two were "the boys" of Riva's bio, Spoto had a better opinion of them, calling them "amusing and talented companions" of Dietrich. Frankly, I know little to nothing about these men as actors, having read in Steven Bach's bio that Kosleck was typecast in Nazi roles and that Twardowski played Empress Elizabeth's lover, Ivan Shuvolov, in The Scarlet Empress. I have, however, seen some fine oil paintings by Kosleck of Dietrich, which are held by the Schwules Museum in Berlin:

Marlene Dietrich by Martin Kosleck, Gay Museum Berlin.

Marlene Dietrich by Martin Kosleck, Gay Museum Berlin.

Who do you think "the boys" were?

To read my guesses about Maria Riva's other blind items, click here

26 comments:

  1. I do like the first painting. Thanks for posting such great stuff Joseph!

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  2. Honestly, the blind items in Riva's book are overwhelming. Every time I skim through Riva's book, I find one, indicative perhaps that many of these people were still alive when Riva's book was first published.

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  3. What funny original game! Maria wisely declined to disclose the names of some of the statements that she made​​.She learned to play with the reader to find out.
    Greetings, friend.

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  4. I agree. She is a natural storyteller, which was also evident in a lengthy interview from 2009.

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  5. I wish that my English was better to understand everything that Maria Riva says in this interesting interview...

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  6. The Cavalier appears in 1947,and had a "corparate position".I have no idea who he is,but was based in New York.One of Marlenes "girls "was an English journalist called Nancy Spain who I have seen mentioned,but not named somewhere in one of the books.Cant remember but died in an accident,maybe a plane crash.Paul

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  7. Thanks, Paul! I'll take a stab at the Cavalier or post what Riva says if the blind item stumps me. I have seen Dietrich's name mentioned in passing as a lover of Nancy Spain, who did indeed die in a plane crash. Apparently, Spain was acquainted with Noel Coward as well, who is an abundant source of Dietrich gossip I have barely tapped. Perhaps Coward mentions the two in his letters, or perhaps Dietrich has mentioned Spain in a letter to Coward.

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  8. The Cavalier from 1947 was Alexander Lieberman, the director of Vogue who wrote a book on MD in 1991.

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  9. A family portrait of Alexander Liberman here :
    http://www.arlindo-correia.com/040905.html

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  10. Thanks for the tip! I have that Liberman book and will look through it. Reading through Riva's passages about the Cavalier, I also saw references to "a famous American actress known not only for her talent" as a love interest of Dietrich's while Dietrich made Stage Fright in London. Also, a reference to "a gorgeous Teutonic blonde who became her German pal." At the moment, I have no idea who the American actress could be, but I'll take a wild guess that the German was Hildegard Knef?

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  11. Cum pot să vă întreb pentru mai multe detalii? mare post trebuie să ştie mai mult ...

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  12. I think, "Cavalier" was Iva "Pat" Patcévitch, a family friend of the Libermans. According to Tatjana Liberman's daughter he was romantically involved with MD. Sauli Miettinen

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  13. I'll have to ask about the Cavalier. I was noting his extensive presence in Maria's book and caught a passage about him leaving his life, which led me to rule out Liberman himself. I'll get to it! I'll also get to writing about the Knight, too.

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  14. I just read an obit for Maria Curcio ex-wife of Peter Diamand which says the divorced as a direct result of his fing with Marlene.Her Wiki entry says the same thing.Paul

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    1. Which obituary was it? I want to add it to Curcio's Wikipedia article because those facts should be linked to references.

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  15. I also just read that Nancy Spain and Ginette Spanier were lovers as well,talk about a sewing circle!
    Also just found www.eabf.org.uk (archive) with a few pics of Marlene with the Beatles and a bitchy comment.I had also forgotten about Brinsworth,I know Bernard Hall ended up in a theatrical home,so it could have been the one on the video shown on the site.On re-reading that about Liberman I ruled him out as well.Paul

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    1. This comment? "Marlene Dietrich made a point of always being in evidence when the photographers were around".

      About Spain and Spanier, I haven't read much about them, but a search of their names together brings up lots of references to their relationship. Now, I'm quite interested in reading A Trouser-wearing Character: The Life and Times of Nancy Spain.

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    2. Maria Curcio obit in The Daily Telegraph,2009 I think.Would'nt have a clue how to tie it to Wiki,will leave that to you.I remember from my childhood seeing Nancy Spain on silly quiz shows etc,she was aggressivley masculine looking,but I read she borrowed dresses from Spanier,somewhere in my collection I have a newspaper/magazine article by Nancy Spain about Marlene and will try and find it.In one of Spanier's books(And now it's sable) there is a gorgeous pic of Marlene and Spanier together,also I found online a nice pic of Marlene and Spanier at one of Spanier's book signing's.I remember reading years ago that Marlene and Spanier had fallen out and were not speaking anymore(possibly the 70's).Both appeared on Desert Island Disc's in the 60's,but forgot to check if Spain had.Peter Diamand also appeared on it in the 60's as well.Paul

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    3. Yes,that comment,I thought it unnecessary on an official website.I believe those pictures were taken by Dezzo Hoffman,I wrote in the 60's and asked for pictures and received two beautiful mounted ones in return.Free!. also wrote to Lord Snowden care of Buckingham Palace for any pics he took of Marlene,and received a beautiful one in return(the famous one with lots of smoke)Free!(Stamped on the back Snowden) At Chris Beetles Gallery in London they are now selling for a lot of money.Saw Snowden on tv recently being interviewed and he really wasn't well at all.I have two pic of Marlene taken arriving at the Bristol Hippodrome in 1965 given to me by the newspaper when they wrote an article about myself and love of Marlene in 1969!A lifetime ago and still undiminished.I can remember exactly what I was doing when I first saw a Mae West film(don't ask)but I was younger when I first set eyes on Marlene,on the Royal Variety Show,and that was me devoted forever,and still all consuming,not obsessive you understand,but now with the computer it's still unending.Do you think Kylie,Gaga,or dare I say the M word will instill the same devotion in the future?I don't know.Paul

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    4. Paul, thanks for sharing your own story! You are one of my favorite visitors because of it. About Nancy Spain, David Bret mentioned in his book her article on Dietrich after Dietrich's November 1959 Theatre de l'Etoile premiere, which reminds me to share a different interview I found on Wikipedia via CBC's digital archives from this time.

      I am critical of Madonna, but that's because her work has disappointed me over the years. The woman simply can't write a proper pop melody anymore! Maybe I would have become disappointed with Dietrich had I been able to follow her when her career was active, too. Anyway, Madonna & Co. already have instilled this devotion in their fans, but I think that the web encourages obsession rather than devotion when it comes to pop divas because one can constantly be connected to the web and therefore constantly connected to the divas. The nature of the web also encourages knee-jerk reactions rather than thoughtful discussion. Let's say a Madonna fan trashes Lady Gaga on YouTube. Well, a Lady Gaga fan will immediately respond with something bitchy and superficial, but is either fan really saying anything at all? With Twitter as another place of diva worship, how can anyone be profound in 140 characters? It's all catty jabs over there.

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  16. Bozon raconte une anecdote à propos de Ginette Spanier.
    Elle avait peur de perdre son poste chez Balmain. Afin de l'aider, Marlene décida de passer commande de plusieurs vêtements chez ce créateur dont elle n'appréciait pas le travail. En fait, la scéance se transforma en cauchemar. Marlene fut très exigente et déséagréable, il paraît que les couturières attachées aux retouches en pleuraient presque...
    Après cet épisode éprouvant, Spanier reçut un colis envoyé d'Angleterre par Marlène, alors en tournée. Elle imagina qu'il s'agissait d'une lettre d'excuses ou d'un petit cadeau pour se faire pardonner... Le paquet contenait la ceinture d'un peignoir qu'elle avait acheté chez Balmain, accompagnée du gentil petit mot suivant :
    — Indigne d'une grande maison. A refaire !
    La pauvre Spanier fondit en larmes...

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    1. Hahahaha! What perfectionism! We miss so many stories and perspectives when we limit ourselves to only English-language Dietrich resources.

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    2. Call me stupid,but it only just occured to me to click the translate button,having used it before on hundreds of sites.Now I have to backtrack and read everything Fabrice has written,never crossed my mind to do that.I really am a big girls blouse! Not made by Balmain.Paul

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    3. Paul, I've wondered about adding some translation button on this blog. Speaking of language and such, you've added a fun new expression to my vocabulary. I don't think I've ever heard "big girl's blouse" before!

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    4. That along with "you big flea's armpit"were the well known catchphrases of Hylda Baker a variety comedienne of the 50's and 60's,she had a TV series called "Nearest and Dearest"which was essential viewing at the time.I watch her on YouTube and still fall about laughing.Paul

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  17. Bozon n'évoque pas de brouille entre les deux femmes, il dit que le contact a été perdu quand Spanier est partie s'installer à Londres.

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