Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on August 19, 1934 · Page 68
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 68

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Detroit, Michigan
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Sunday, August 19, 1934
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Page 68
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SUNDAY, AUGUST 19, 1934 He Refused to Eat f I 1 IS rom a Golden Spoon OUGLASS MONTGOMERY staggered into the Vendotne Cafe on Sunset Blvd., -with a black smudge on his chin, blobs of brown grease on hia white polo jacket and trousers and with something closely resembling a black eye. He had invited a few people for tea at the new and smart restaurant. They had been served and were running up his bill for caviar sandwiches by the time he arrived. The maitre de hotel and a flock of waiters gave him hard looks and wondered where he had ac-' quired such a beautiful bun so early in the day. As a matter of fact, Douglass Montgomery is a temperate young man and on this particular afternoon needed a cocktail, but had not had one. " i His motor had suffered carburetor trouble and punctured a tire IS miles from a service station ! His disheveled appearance and a bruised shin, coupled with an unmistakable limp, gave the impression of a wild party, when in reality he had been under the hood and struggling with a refractory tire. " Typically Hollywood," he muttered, as he relapsed with a sigh at the table. "Just another actor gone wrong and who cares?" If anybody in the colony should know all the ins and outs of Hollywood, it is Douglass Montgomery. He was born in Los Angeles, with a gold spoon in his mouth and a diamond set in his milk mug. At least he could have had these things quite easily his father being one of the leading Los Angeles jewelers. Nine seems to figure in his numerology chart. He was born Oct. 29, 1909, at No. 9 Berkeley Square, in Los Angeles. Berkeley Square is one of those exclusive places with a high wall, an avenue of palms, and gardens containing nothing but expensive shrubs. The hoi polloJ may not enter and there is a special alley for delivery trucks. Douglass Montgomery grew up as "Chester Montgomery's boy, who for some strange reason, wants to go on the stage." It is a dangerous thing to know what you want to do when you are a kid and Douglass did. Not only did he know, but he stubbornly refused to follow the beaten tracks of education and travel and marched out on his own. He took the sum that by good rights should have been used to get him a college degree and went to New York, where he earned a lot of money to add to his regular-allowance. , - In the meantime, his father, with big jewelry establishment on his hands and an only son who insisted on going "arty," wondered what he had better do. While he was wondering, Douglass was acting and getting places, to say nothing of obtaining a lot of experience. , He has never cooked over a gas jet, hung his .underwear up to dry in an attic room or suffered any of the privations of the trouper. He often wishes he had. He believes he would be a better actor. . His mother is a musician and it probably from her that he inherits his theatrical ambitions. ( 1 c t$k -. ,fff h tL:x ? J"' X r - Y, '-, ....... ,, , - -J " f f-l that of complete silence. Never give out an interview, never tell what yon are doing, never talk. Become an oyster and let the seas of praise or blame roll over you." Two- newspaper men, who had remained at the table, raised their voices in vociferous disagreement. "You're wrong," said , one of them. "The thing to do is to talk, talk, talk and learn to be such good copy that whenever a motion picture editor wants an interview he will think of Douglass Montgomery." The young actor protested in dismay. "Say," he broke in, "we work like slaves. How can we spend the time to find interesting things to talk about. And what makes good copy anyway love affairs, swimming pools " He got no farther. "Love affairs," we shouted in one breath. "What about yours?" "Well, just at the moment she is neither slim nor tall, dark nor light, well dressed or badly dressed. She is as elusive as Fred Keating' bird cage, but when she materializes more clearly, I hope to marry her and live happily ever aft:r." So we all wrote the name of Lois Moran in our notebooks because he hadn't mentioned her. But his publicity manager, stealing a glance at the notes, leaned over and whispered: "You're wrong. The latest 'she' is a Pasadena society woman." So we inserted an arrow after Lois Moran and in parenthesis, the following note: (Look up Blue Book Pasadena widow, deb or sub-deb in whom D. Montgomery is inter-, ested.) Then we settled back politely, as lie continued: "A bachelor isn't safe in Hollywood. If he doesn't like parties and night spots, he is a dull dog. If he escorts more than one girl a week, he is a flirt If he squires one girl all the time,' they re engaged. When the flirtation . over and the girl has given him the bird, he is a brute. So there you are." ' "Why don't you marry and settle down?" I demanded. "Why don't you?" he countered leaving us both out on a limb, with our tonsils exposed. D, URING the time he was living at 9 Berkeley Square, Douglass Montgomery was going to school, much against his better judgment. He finally graduated from Los Angeles high school and helped with the class play, amidst the good natured jeers of his masculine schoolmates, with whom he played out-of-door games, despite his odd inclination for acting. - He next went to Polytechnic Elementary School in Pasadena. After all, the Pasadena Community Playhouse' was there and it didn't take him long to get a job in it, after school hours. As an indication of Douglass Montgomery s affection and loyalty to this institution, he returns each summer, no matter how busy he is, and does one or two plays for them. It was at the age of 14 and while appearing at this playhouse in "Lady With the Lamp," that Joseph Schildkraut saw the performance and afterward remarked: You have grease paint in your veins; you will never be any good at anything else." Douglass Montgomery came home to appear opposite Margaret Sullavan in Universale "Little Man. What Now?" this spring. The family home is now an estate in the country between Altadena and Pasadena. Montgomery drives back and forth to the studio and declares he never gets used to the terrific distances between points, despite the fact he is a native son. A little man with a big dog. Douglass Montgomery with his prize-winning Irish wolfhound, "Padriac." A; S a native son, he has received praise, criticism and downright insults. He never reads the praise, but the criticisms and insults hurt him and one jibe that particularly irked him had to do with his work in "Little Man, What Now?" The critic wondered how a lad born and bred in the lap of luxury and living on an estate dripping wealth, California flowers and swimming pools, could get under the skin of the "Little Man," trying to battle the world a little man of the white collar class and with middle class problems confronting him. "Does a man have to be a gangster to do a gangster role on the screen; must he live in an embassy to do an ambassador correctly; is it necessary that he starve in order to act a starving man; is it imperative that an actor be a sailor to portray one on the stage?" inquires the "Little Man," who in the opinion of many, including myself, gave one of the outstanding performances of the year as "Johannes Pinneberg." After a little sustaining nourishment, Douglass Montgomery pulled some clippings out of his pocket They razzed the life out of him. He hated it and admitted that he hated these bitter attacks on his work. "I never remember the praise, but when they tear me to bits, I think about it and more or less grieve over it for days. Yet I know it is good for me and that I must harden myself to criticism. Still, the funny thing about it is, I do the best I can. I study the part, read the lines in every conceivable way, try to dress correctly for it, try to climb into the hide of the character and then I miss it, in the eyes of many critics. "There is no half-way good or bad criticism about my work, and never has been. Apparently people either like me very much or dislike me intensely, They think I am a good actor or they think I am the worst in the business, Nevei once have I had a criticism saying that I gave a 'capable performance.' "I shouldn't have minded a few hard knocksrif they had come my way. I've had plenty of them in my professional career, but when I am criticized for not having lived on a $4 a-week basis, that burns me up. v ; "Ti HE trouble with acting is that it is never treated as a profession. " 4 "An actor is always being treated by business men as if he were some sort of freak. And yet we go through a hard training, study and work, keep long, difficult hours and generally make a tremendous effort to be successful." ' The Montgomery dissertation was interrupted by a happy-go-lu-" y group, who came over to the table and greeted everyone familiarly. After the group drifted away Douglass Montgomery continued: "I has mads op my mind thst the sensible course to pursue, ii one is to have a picture career, is Be 'EFORE he was 18, Montgomery went to New York and appeared in the Broadway production of "God Loves Us," by J. P. McEvoy; with Pauline Lord in "Daisies Won't Tell," and with Sylvia Sidney, Jack LaRue, Kay Francis, Chester Morris, Kay Johnson and James Rennie in "Crime." After a year of stock company experience in Baltimore he returned to New York and appeared in an outstanding role of "Women Go On Forever.," with Mary Boland and James Cagney; "Garden of Eden." .with Mirian Hopkins, and in the Theater Guild productions of "Val-pone" and "Faust." He then played with Lunt and Fontaine in "Caprice" and accompanied them later to London., In 1931, he appeared on the screen opposite Joan Crawford in "Paid" and with Marion Davies in "Five and Ten." On the M-G-M lot, he consented to have his name changed to Kent Douglass in order to .prevent confusion with Robert Montgomery, a featured player with that organization. With Mae Clarke he made a sensational hit in "Waterloo Bridge," for which work Universal offered him a flattering contract He turned it down to return to New York and do "Nikki" on the stage with Fay Wray in the leading feminine role. He was then starred in "Fata -Morgana," "Young Woodley" and "The Last Mde." Before doing "Little Man, What Now?" he appeared opposite Katharine Hepburn in "Little Women." He is now to be starred in "The Magnificent Obsession" and is playing a leading role in "Music in the Air." These are the highlights only of his career, which has included soma of the most important characterizations on Broadway, in tiie Theater Guild and on the screen.

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