57°F
weather icon Clear

Fame often comes with unwanted side effects

In April 1932, Warner Bros. Pictures and First National Pictures put out a movie titled “It’s Tough to Be Famous” starting Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Mary Brian. Based on the novel “The Goldfish Bowl,” the movie offers excitement and a lesson in what life is like living under a constant spotlight. The movie did well at the box office and it helped both actors improve their careers. The movie also offered lessons that can be applied to today’s culture.

In the movie, Fairbanks Jr. plays a character named Scotty. When Scotty’s submarine is sunk by an excursion boat, he jumps into action and saves the lives of his fellow crew members. Scotty is followed by the local community, which treats him like a saint. Everything Scotty does makes news, including his engagement.

Fairbanks Jr. had an interesting life. He is the only son of actor, producer and co-founder of United Artists, Douglas Fairbanks and Ann Beth Sully. Born in New York, Fairbanks Jr. starred in “The Prisoner of Zenda,” “Little Caesar” and “The Exile.” At the age of 19, Fairbanks Jr. married actress Joan Crawford, who was four years his senior. They started dating during the filming of “Our Modern Maidens.”

While Fairbanks Jr. was the son of Hollywood royalty and made great movies himself, there was a darker side to him. Allegedly, Fairbanks Jr. was involved in a headless sex photo scandal with Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, in London in the 1960s. According to a New York Times’ article, “For years, the two most prominent suspects have been Winston Churchill’s son-in-law, Duncan Sandys, and the American actor and society figure Douglas Fairbanks Jr.”

The duchess supposedly took her secret with her when she died, never revealing exactly who the man in the naked photo (chest down) truly was. However, in 2013, Lady Colin Campbell, Margaret Campbell’s stepdaughter-in-law, told newspapers that the man in the photo was actually Bill Lyons, sales director of Pan American Airlines. Colin Campbell’s claims are taken as fact but have not been proven outside of her own word.

Many Fairbanks Jr. fans still take to internet chat rooms with a cultlike drive to prove that the naked man was indeed the actor. For good or bad, Fairbanks Jr.’s alleged naked photo probably forged the way to today’s selfie and sexting culture, where many are using phones to exchange scandalous photos from the neck down.

Brian wasn’t involved in any scandals, outside of having numerous engagements but only two marriages. Brian worked in silent films, talkies and in 1941 went on to entertain with the U.S.O. and traveled all over Europe, including Italy and North Africa. She died in 2000 of natural causes at the age of 96 in Del Mar, California. Fairbanks Jr. died the same year of heart-related issues. Both had successful careers and earned stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“It’s Tough to Be Famous” was one of movies to be shown at the Boulder Dam Theatre and it is my Throwback Thursday movie recommendation. Between the headless nude photo Fairbanks Jr. was rightly or wrongly tied to, and the subject matter of the film, sometimes the attention we get within social circles and on social media isn’t something we desire or need. In fact, fame doesn’t always translate to embraced brand endorsements, product sales, ratings on a TV show, etc. Sometimes the only popularity fame brings is an onslaught of unwarranted opinions and a lack of privacy.

Tanya Vece is a ghostwriter and independent marketing specialist. She can be reached on Instagram @TanyaLVece.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Park a gem for residents to treasure

Opinions abound about what should be done with the old water filtration plant.

Life’s experiences shape one’s beliefs

Why do we do what we do? And, on the other hand, why don’t we do certain things? Rough questions to answer, but here are some thoughts to chew on.

Economy’s health dictates political climate

Democratic strategist James Carville declared the economy was the utmost political issue almost 30 years ago. His analysis is still correct today.

Hangar lease renewals in city’s best interest

As a 28-year Boulder City resident, 35-year pilot and six-year Airport Advisory Committee member, I feel it is important that Boulder City residents understand what’s going on at our airport with regard to hangars and land leases nearing expiration.

Double the news, double the benefits

There was a commercial played during the Super Bowl on Sunday about pizza delivery from Little Caesars being the next best thing since sliced bread. The announcement put everyone at the Sliced Bread Headquarters into a tizzy and caused a major upset in operations as they tried to find a way to outdo the new delivery service.

What is best not easy question to answer

What does it mean when someone says one solution or another is “the best solution”? It is usually said to suggest that a particular outcome is what everyone should work toward.

Mystery of waterfall solved

If you are like me and, I think, most Boulder citizens, you don’t know much about that golf course on the north side of the highway as you head out to Railroad Pass. If you’re looking closely in the morning, you will see a pretty 418-foot waterfall in the hills and you might also notice that there is a series of clusters of tall palm trees. Since palms are not native to this part of the world you might cleverly deduce that these denote the various greens on the golf course.

People should have say in fate of old water plant

For the last 37 years, one of the most beautiful brick buildings in Boulder City has remained vacant. The walls have been vandalized with satanic graffiti, the windows covered in plywood and the copper wire stripped from the electrical conduit by thieves.

Cynics can learn from Phil

Sunday is Groundhog Day.