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Carla Laemmle & Martha Hyer, RIP

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Carla Laemmle, niece of Hollywood producer Carl Laemmle, has died at age 104.

Of German Jewish origin, Laemmle in her teens appeared as a ballet dancer in the silent film version of The Phantom of the Opera (1925) and later uttered the first words in “Dracula” (1931), as a bespectacled tourist reciting the text of a guidebook, “Among the rugged peaks that frown down upon the Borgo Pass are found crumbling castles of a bygone age.”

A Ballet Alerter alerted me to the death of Martha Hyer at age 89. RIP.

Ms. Hyer enjoyed her fame and was not shy about flaunting her rising wealth. In 1959, Life magazine ran a multipage photo feature highlighting her luxurious life. It depicted her admiring her Sheffield silver and a Pissarro landscape painting and indulging in a massage, covered by only a towel. She extolled fur coats, solitude and her expansive view of Los Angeles. The accompanying text noted that she had been married briefly and was “now a bachelor girl.” (That marriage was to Ray Stahl, who directed a 1954 film in which she appeared, “The Scarlet Spear.”)

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I read today that Martha Hyer wrote the screenplay for Rooster Cogburn (w/ John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn). Interesting!

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That is interesting. I looked it up and it appears to have been an original screenplay, using Portis characters but not an adaptation. I remember seeing it, or part of it, years ago on TV. I thought it was a bit of a knockoff of The African Queen and Wayne and Hepburn were seriously too old for their parts. Actors usually go in for directing instead of writing - the latter having less prestige as well as being harder to do -- so I'm impressed.

Emma Thompson has also written screenplays.

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Emma Thompson has also written screenplays.

Sense and Sensibility was quite lovely.

But this

"“Among the rugged peaks that frown down upon the Borgo Pass are found crumbling castles of a bygone age.”"

What an opening line!

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