17 Apr 1927 – Why Europe’s High Society Smashes Beauty’s Perfect Romance

An envied position as “Broadway Darling” a fiery romance with a brilliant young musician, contacts with continental diplomatic society and then the disillusionment of old world standards for a new world wife.  These things brought silent film star Consuelo Flowerton, beauty, violinist, artist’s model, back to America from her adopted home in Europe back to more trials and tribulations and the harsh necessity of finding again the place she had surrendered such a light heart only a few months before.  Europe, claim the gossips “high hatted”  pretty Consuelo. Europe failed to take into consideration her remarkable gifts. Europe expected her this American girl accustomed to American modes of living to become continental over night; expected her to ‘learn the language’ and become one of them without preparation or acclimation. When she was unable to meet those foreignstandards he left her husband, the brilliant young orchestra conductor Dirk Foch, already a celebrity abroad as conductor of the Vienna Concert Society, and came back home, determined to resume her lofty position among the reigning beauties of A merican stage and screen.  When Consuelo Flowerton left America she was celebrated beauty, a favourite along Broadway and those tributary rialtos in a half score cities in other parts of the country.  Her name in Electric lights above the box office brought the crowds tumbling in. Money came easy then and fame was her middle name. These she put behind her, never dreaming her romance would come to naught and that sometime the fickle public might again, be asked to applaud her before the footlights.  The plaudits Consuelo Flowerton received in the days before her marriage had not been confined to the auditorium of a theatre. A brilliant art model at a top-notch salary and a Ziegfeld follies girl. But it was the famous Navy Girl poster painted by the celebrated artist, Howard Chandler Christy, which made her face familiar to many thousands. She was on her way to the top to the place she had occupied before she fell in love with Dirk Foch.  But let Consuelo tell of her collapse of her “perfect romance” as the marriage of this brilliant young star and her talented husband had been called.  Let her give the strange reasons for their separation and the heart rending decision of the Dutch Courts, which makes it necessary for her to give up her baby for six months of each year to her husband, who has remained in Europe.  “I met Dirk Foch at a symphony concert he conducted here in New York she explains. “During the concert, I admired his work. I considered him a genius. When the concert was over and I was introduced by a mutual friend it was love at first sight and in two months we were married. Then followed a honeymoon in Java. Dirk’s father was Governor General of the Dutch East Indies and we certainly had a wonderful time.  We had wined, dined and feted in royal style with a future that seemed very rosy”. Then we started for our home in Europe.  The prospect of living in Europe thrilled me beyond words.  We traveled abroad from place to place, entertained and were entertained. Then Dirk obtained a conductor position of the Vienna Concert Society, one of the most celebrated of European musical organizations. It was a rare for so young a conductor to be selected.  It was in Vienna that our marital troubles began.  The principal cause was our lack of a home.  We had to move from place to place. Always we were unsettled and generally broke.  We had a positon to maintain that was out of proportion to Dirk’s income. Because of Dirk’s fathers position, people we associated with naturally assumed we had plenty of money.  In reality we had very little.  In spite of this we had to keep up the pretense, dining at expensive places associating with rich people like Fritz Kreisler the violinist, Maria Jeritz the blonde soprano. They entertained lavishly and we were naturally expected to do the same.  When Winter came it found us high and dry financially. We moved from furnished flat to furnished flat and in desperation I decided to try house-keeping. That was terrible. Never had I done a thing of that kind. I was willing to learn, and certainly tried hard enough but it was impossible.  I might have learned over here, but in Vienna Never.  No woman who hasn’t kept house in Vienna can understand the difficulties had encountered.  “I couldn’t speak German, and it was a disadvantage. It became known among other shopkeepers and others I was an American and when I went shopping they took advantage of my ignorance and vented their spleen against America by charging me double prices and giving me inferior goods.  I would ask for one thing and got another.  My neighbour hampered instead of helping me, and it became unbearable. The apartments were very old and rickety.  It almost seemed as if they’d fall down on us.  We did not ride in the elevators in crowds and we didn’t dare send our trunks up on the elevators. We had to have them carried up. The lifts would have collapsed if we had put that much weight on them.  Furthermore, there was no delivery stem. If I had shopping I had to carry my own packages. When the servant shopped it seemed it cost so much more than it should I couldn’t trust her. Once in carrying packages my fingers were nearly frost bitten, and this condition remained until two months ago.  All of this might seem trivial, but when these little irritations keep piling up they seem monstrous and ultimately sent this marriage on the rocks. My husband was a genius. I cared for him deeply and still do. But he is the type of man, that should never marry or at least, he should married a woman his own age.  He needed a mother to take care of him and I couldn’t do it, because I couldn’t even take care of myself. It was during this time my little daughter Nina was born. My health was delicate and Dirk, I knew was unhappy under the yoke of this marriage. I do not say that he ever was anything but kind and considerable toward me but money problems, household worries got on his nerves and mine. Each year, for the three and a half years we were married, I decided I’d try it out a while longer.  But finally, the strain became too great and divorced in Holland. Immediately after the divorce, I came to New York and tried to get work.  I had decided to give up musical comedy and enter straight drama. After three months of walking from agency to agency, I finally landed a part in The Desperate Pilot. I was very happy, but lasted only one week.  I’m not discouraged though.  I’m going to keep right on trying. I’m happier than I’ve been in years. I feel free for the first time.  I don’t think, I’ll ever marry again. A woman should try marriage once, I think, but if she’s not successful at it, she ought to take up a career”.  She can only be happy when she’s free and independent.  Just how Consuelo Flowerton will carry on with her independence here now that she found the producers guard their doors a bit more closely than in days gone by, what with beauty contest winners and the like lurking behind every pillar and post and her own reputation has been dissipated by the unkind years, time only can tell.  Perhaps she will again turn to the movies for a contract.  She starred in one picture with no less a cinema deity than with the late Rudolph Valentino who was fascinated by her charms.
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