22 Mar 1953 – Valentinos Lair now Gloria Swansons

Gloria Swanson is living in Falcon’s Lair the old Rudolph Valentino mansion, while she forgets movies and takes up television. Miss Swanson was imported again to Hollywood, but this time to narrate and star in a Crown theater Television Film series for Bing Crosby Productions, and for her brief stay she rented the Valentino home. In “Sunset Boulevard” the film that sparked her movie comeback, she played a one-time movie queen who lived in a fabulous home of the silent film era. Thus I drove up the hill to the Valentino manse in Benedict Canyon to see if real life was imitating the movies. The Italian-style mansion looks like a chateau from the bottom of the hill, but its actually a tidy nine-room place. There isn’t even a swimming poll for Bill Holden to float in. But there’s an empty guest house over the garage like in the movie. Miss Swanson wasn’t wearing dark glasses and a long cigarette holder, but a coat dress billowing with petticoats. “Yes I’d love
to do another beautiful picture, but it would just be compared to Sunset Boulevard she said”. “Three in Bedroom C” was, and its like comparing soufflé to steak. I’ll never do another play either, if its a failure, its a waste of time and if its a success your tied up for a year. In her first TV movie, ‘My Last Duchess’, again she plays a faded movie star, “this is the tenth actress I’ve played she smiled”. I’m like the proverbial butler in the movies. I don’t know why people think of me as portraying actresses. After the TV series, Miss Swanson will return to NY to her dress business which is branching into hats, hosiery, perfume and health bread. She also will write the story of her life from 1920 to 1930, the rise and fall of a legend they said was me. The Gloria Swanson they created is as amusing and startling to me as everyone else she said. But those were exciting days. People had dreams in those days. Now the movies have been regimented. “Nobody
dreams anymore” said the lady of the Valentino house. “The last time I visited this mansion was to attend a séance’ by some mediums who put in a call to Valentino’s ghost. The next tenant, Miss Swanson said is heiress Doris Duke. Miss Duke promises parties not séances.

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