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”Neither, of course, had actually expected or even wanted a permanent reconciliation—Louella and Hedda were wise enough to the ways of Hollywood to know feuds were good business.Louella had been covering the film industry since 1915 (she was, in her boastful words, “the first movie columnist in the world”).Between them, the dueling gossip columnists commanded a readership of roughly 75 million while wielding devastating power over the careers of stars such as Orson Welles, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Grace Kelly, and Ingrid Bergman.
Louella’s grinding work schedule and ceaseless social maneuverings soon alienated Mc Caffrey, but their crumbling marriage was really finished off by Louella’s obsessive affair with a married man, Peter Brady, a prominent New York labor leader—“the real love of her life,” says Dorothy Manners.
” Though Hopper was more sophisticated—“worldly, lovely, beautifully groomed, with a New York actressy polish,” says Kitty Carlisle Hart—Parsons, whom John Barrymore called “that old udder” and who Roddy Mc Dowall says “resembled a sofa,” may actually have been the more complicated of the two characters. In addition to fudging her birth date—she gave it as 1893 rather than 1881—Louella concealed the fact that she was born in Freeport, Illinois, to Jewish parents, the Oettingers.
After graduating from high school in Dixon, Illinois (Ronald Reagan’s hometown), Louella worked as a reporter on a local paper.
When Louella priced herself out of her Essanay job, she went to the Chicago and boldly approached the editor with an unusual proposition.
“All the movie stars of the day had to pass through Chicago on their way from New York to Los Angeles,” explains Dorothy Manners. Louella’s idea was to go down to the train station and interview the stars while they waited.