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13 May 2012

Maria Riva's Blind Items Pt. 5

Was it that "Swedish whore" Ingrid Bergman? Naaay!
It's been quite a long time since I wrote an entry in this series, but I notice that readers keep finding this blog by searching "maria riva," so I'll take that as a sign that many of you find Marlene Dietrich's daughter and her book as interesting as I do. For this blind item, I need your help because I only found one mention of the person in Maria Riva's book and am sure I missed previous references. More importantly, you can tell me who the person is because I haven't got a clue!

Maria mentioned that Dietrich's "one-time Swedish Blonde" became the target of Swedish media gossip for her alleged drug abuse. According to Maria, Dietrich mailed out amphetamine care packages to the Swedish Blonde, apparently to ensure her friend's happiness and because the Scandinavian junkie would have got her fix from her roomies, "those two fags."

So who was the Swedish Blonde? She certainly wasn't Ingrid Bergman. Maria extensively quoted Dietrich's jealousy of Bergman, her suspected rival for Yul Brynner's love. Via Maria, we learn that Dietrich called Bergman a "Swedish horse" and "an internationally known whore." Poor Bergman always got crucified for doing publicly what her Hollywood peers were doing privately. Every time I think about the "scandal" between Bergman and Roberto Rossellini, I remember a song I used to play from my mom's record collection, Sophie Tucker's "Mister Segal." Yes, it goes without saying that my mother was a bit of an Auntie Mame!

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

21 comments:

  1. Oh my, I haven't been around here in ages due to busy uni life, and the layout has changed! :)

    I've always wondered who the Swedish blonde was in reference to too, since Maria was rather ambiguous about certain things. I hope somebody would be able to identify her!

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    1. Cara, it's a pleasure to see you back here! I hope your studies are going well. I'm attending library school myself and get busy, too. This semester, however, has been a breeze for me because it's been only web design in one course and group work in another. I suppose I fell back into my Dietrich mania to give my eyes a break from style sheets.;)

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  2. Maybe I can help:
    The mysterious "Swedish Blonde" is most likely ANITA EKBERG. It is often mentioned, that after she became Miss Sweden in 1951, she was introduced to Hollywood by Marlene. Obviously Marlene introduced her to some other things too (you go girls!). Anyway, time and place would clearly fit. Anita Ekberg is still alive, living in seclusion in Rome, that is probably why she is not mentioned by name in Maria Riva's biography (lawsuit anyone?).
    Glad I could help.
    Brought to you by *SwissMiss*

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    1. Maria Riva's crafty nicknames undoubtedly allowed her to circumvent any potential lawsuits, which were indeed a threat. She pointed the finger at James M. Gavin's widow and copyright for curtailing her efforts to publish his love letters to Dietrich. Interestingly, Maria refrained from directly implicating her ungulate assailant, who kicked the bucket in 1981.

      As for Anita Ekberg, I refuse to believe she lived doped up with two degenerate nellies. She's a very happy person.

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    2. Excuse the typo,but I have a broken keyboard,my first instinct when I read the book was Miss Peccy Lee,who had very bad heath problems,also had her portrait drawn by Rene Bouche,and I just read offered Marlene "Is that all there is" in 1969.Many moons back I met a very charmin man at a trade show in the USA who knew Miss Lee,and very kindly asked her to send me a sined photo,which she did and I still have it.I can't see Marlene do that number at all.*uess which letter is broken on my keypad?

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    3. The great Greta Garbo will roll in her grave if you garble her good name--that's my guess.;)

      I see why your instinct pointed you to Peggy Lee, but I'm certain the blonde was Swedish by nationality, not just ethnicity, because the part I read mentions that the woman was tabloid fodder in Sweden. Admittedly, I couldn't find an earlier mention of the Swedish blonde and am surely missing another piece of the puzzle. When will this book finally come out in e-book format?! It'll be much easier to search.

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  3. Still don't have a clue on this at all.I have just found "Newsfilm online" with colour footage of Marlene at Winbledon Theatre in 1973,I was there the night this was filmed and remember seeing it on the news the next day,I can't access the footage(you might)but the thumbnails look great.Take a look Paul

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  4. Paul, I can't see the thumbnail, but I'm sure you're talking about what's described here. Many of these newsreel archives sites are accessible at universities, so you ought to be able go to whatever one is nearby and make use of their subscriptions to these sites. By the way, did you ever get to surreptitiously photograph or film Dietrich when you saw her? And how many times did you see her?

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    1. Joseph,you dissapoint me,I thought you would know exactly what to do,God knows how but I found thumbnails that could be 5 secs or 10 secs or whatever,it does look great,Being a technophobe I never was able to do anything like that,and I was young then,however I have negatives that a friend took.First time I saw Marlene was the midnight show at Drury Lane,I was lurking outside when she arrived with Maria in the afternoon for a rehearsal,and too numb to take a photo,have some tiny contact sheets of her rehearsing.That show was amazing,and still have my ticked stub.I later worked at that theatre on "Gone with the wind" and "No no Nanette".By the way I could only afford a center front ticket which was £5.00,a fortune then when I earned £19.00 a week.To be continued. Paul

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    2. Paul, Joseph;

      Thanks for sharing this wonderful link! Fascinating that Marlene allowed news cameras into the theatre on this occasion. Now I'll HAVE to enrol at a UK university -- to see the footage ;)

      And Paul, thanks for sharing your wonderful stories with us. What did you think of Marlene's performance at Wimbledon Theatre?

      missladiva

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    3. Missladiva, you already deserve a doctorate in Marlene Dietrich Studies. Any university would be lucky to have you there to "study" their Dietrich resources.

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  5. Eureka! Thank goodness I can't bear to be challenged.;) That footage is quite extraordinary--at least from what I see in the "frame grabs." I changed the thumbnail frequency to every 2 seconds and then changed the maximum to all thumbnails, so it's like watching the performance as if it were a flip book.

    Paul, I'm very keen on reading more about your own Dietrich experiences. In fact, it would be extraordinary if someone compiled some kind of an anthology of fans' memories of Dietrich. In his book, I Wish You Love, Eryk Hanut describes seeing Dietrich's cabaret show when he was a child, and I thought it translated beautifully into English. Something about Dietrich's gown glimmering like fish scales (okay, maybe only I find that image aesthetically pleasing). I'll have to read it again after I get home.

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    1. It does look great,but I'm not sure I can just walk in and ask to use their facilities,they might think I am nuts.I remember being disappointed as she wore the sequined dress and coat,not the beaded dress and swansdown.She appeared in the tuxedo as well,which made her look dumpy,and wasn't very flattering.However it was still a magical experience.Saw her at the Queen's many times in 1972,but wasn't there the night she fell.I remember going one night to see her with my friend Kevin Elyot(My night with Reg)There were always crowds outside the stage door,of all ages.I remember seeing Michael Wilding with his wife Margaret Leighton in the audience,both looking very frail,also remember seeing Beryl Reid and Shirley Bassey coming out of the stage door,Marlene certainly drew a crowd and it was electric,the performance at the stage door rivalled that on stage.In Maria's book that is me standing next to Marlene in the white jacket and tinted John Lennon specs. Paul

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    2. You should have every right to use any public research university's library services, especially if you are conducting "research."

      I see you in Maria's book! Dietrich looks better at the stage door than in her stage costumes. Did all those people think Dietrich would cure their scrofula if she touched them?

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    3. Just found another reference in Maria's book "a sexy new Swedish blonde to supper"in 1954,on page 651,so they were friends for some time. Paul

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    4. Thanks, Paul! I go cross-eyed trying to find these references. The pagination of the American edition must be different than the U.K. one because I'm looking at a letter from the profoundly emasculated Rudi on my page 651. Nevertheless, 1954 is a good date of reference for me to pinpoint the earlier Swedish blonde appearance in my book.

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    5. It was London,at the time of Cafe de Paris,I was looking up referencies to Vivien Leigh and came across it by chance.Paul

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  6. No the picture is really Ingrid Bergman in
    "The bells of St.Mary's " with Bing Crosby

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    1. Yes. And what are you attempting to correct?

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  7. My first thought was Britt Ekland, but she would have been too young in 1954. Swedish actress May Britt played Lola-Lola played in the much-criticized remake of The Blue Angel, and gained notoriety for marrying Sammy Davis Jr when interracial marriage was still illegal in some states. Britt is also still alive and well - could it have been her?

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    1. I have never read about any friendship between May Britt & Marlene, nor have I read about May having any substance abuse problems (Sammy, on the other hand!).

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