Lana Turner, Lana, The Lady, The Legend, The Truth
“All those years that my image on the screen was sex goddess—well, that makes me laugh. Sex was never important to me.”
Lana Turner, Lana, The Lady, The Legend, The Truth
"This remarkable stone is called the Krupp diamond because it had been owned by Vera Krupp of the famous munitions family ... When I look into it, the deep Asscher cuts, which are so complete and so ravishing--are like steps that lead into eternity and beyond."
Elizabeth Taylor, My Love Affair with Jewelry
Equally capable of great acts of extravagance and kindness, Elizabeth Taylor was a paradox. Manufactured at the MGM dream factory, she was every inch the Hollywood glamorous Hollywood movie star. Yet she was the least fabricated of them all. In her own inimitable way, Elizabeth Taylor was salt-of-the-earth, or to put it in the vernacular she herself sometimes used: She was a broad.
What Elizabeth Taylor was not, was a pushover. Consider her genius at convincing friends, lovers, husbands, and even new acquaintances to buy her expensive jewelry. The apotheosis was in 1968 when then-husband Richard Burton gave her the infamous Krupp Diamond. He paid $307,000, an outrageous price at the time. It made international headlines. Yet it proved to be a shrewd investment. After Taylor's 2011 death, it sold for nearly $9,000,000.
In 1982, Taylor wore her Krupp Diamond (set in a ring) to a Kensington Palace dinner party. Throughout the evening, Princess Margaret repeatedly snubbed Taylor. The most glaring was when the princess remarked that the Krupp diamond was "the most vulgar thing" she had ever seen. The glamorous movie star permitted the persnickety royal to win that round, but it was not the end of the matter.
When Taylor and Princess Margaret saw each other at party a few weeks later, Taylor laid her trap. Again wearing the Krupp Diamond. she asked Margaret if she would like to try it on. After the princess eagerly slipped on the ring, Taylor inquired, "Doesn’t look so vulgar now, does it?"
A copy of My Love Affair with Jewelry signed by Elizabeth Taylor is currently available via the Nick Harvill Libraries kiosk at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood.
"A beautiful, high-spirited unicorn had entered the garden. The owners of the garden examined her, pondered the various problems raised by her coming, and decided to put a collar around her neck and employ her as a workhorse. She became a workhorse with a difference, for she was still a unicorn."
Robert Payne, The Great Garbo
“The Soviet Union ... recognized private sexual rights of the individual, in 1917. But, in 1934, Stalin’s government had withdrawn this recognition and made all homosexual acts punishable by heavy prison sentences. It had agreed with the Nazis in denouncing homosexuality as a form of treason to the state. The only difference was that the Nazis called it ‘sexual Bolshevism’ and the Communists ‘Fascist perversion.’”
Christopher Isherwood, Christopher and His Kind
“The behaviour of poultry is like human behaviour and it is just as predictable. They fight, they resent newcomers, they hate wind and rain. Some are bold and forage far from home and some hardly bother to go out of doors.”
Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, Counting My Chickens
A copy of Counting My Chickens signed by the Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire is available (and currently on sale) via the Nick Harvill Libraries store.
“The beauty of being able to draw, or paint, from an early age is that you never feel trapped by your immediate circumstances.”
Bill Blass, Bare Blass
"'[W]e went to Marguerite Littman's for lunch to meet Rock Hudson but his plane was delayed and I had to leave to do more interviews. Marguerite invented something great for dessert--chocolate soup! It's orange juice and Grand Marnier and chocolate, hot."
Andy Warhol, The Andy Warhol Diaries, June 21, 1978
Check out the recipe for Marguerite Littman's chocolate soup in Dining with the Famous and the Infamous.
“Duff and I agree we could live in California. It has a radio quality of having the world in this little space. You can tune in and live your day in whatever country, art or grade of intelligence or idiocy you feel inclined for.”
Lady Diana Cooper, Trumpets from the Steep
Image Credit: The Diana Cooper Scrapbook
“I was trained to dress The Individual. In doing the clothes for some twenty-six motion pictures, I learned that the story dictates the fashion. The Kennedy Story was an extremely elegant one and you could not experiment. It was dignity, not novelty, that Mrs. Kennedy wanted.”
Oleg Cassini, The Fashionable Savages
The above photos are taken from Oleg Cassini's A Thousand Days of Magic, a monograph about Oleg Cassini's collaboration with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Check out this copy signed to Kim Basinger at the Nick Harvill Libraries store. It is an interesting association, because Cassini designed dresses worn by Kim Basinger in The Sentinel, in which she portrayed a fictional American first lady.
Image Credit: A Thousand Days of Magic
“Further on cause and effect, I do remember being fascinated by the Kinsey Report on the sexual habits of the American male, in which we learned that one out of every eight American men has had intercourse with animals. At any large party, I couldn’t help glancing around to try and guess which of the men had done it—with whom?”
Jessica Mitford, The Letters of Jessica Mitford