When monkey business ended a love affair...John Huston Noun 1. John Huston - United States film maker born in the United States but an Irish citizen after 1964 (1906-1987)
Huston , Hollywood's most colourful and unpredictable movie director, was bored. In the summer of 1945, he was 39, just divorced from his second wife Lesley, and looking for love. Most of his friends could be excused for thinking that he'd already found it - for the past year he had been involved with Marietta Fitzgerald, whose lawyer husband was overseas in the army. Marietta's marriage had long been unhappy, and everyone thought she would get a divorce and marry John Huston.
And until a hot summer night in July 1945, John Huston apparently thought so too. But then he met a 25-year-old blonde named Evelyn Keyes Evelyn Keyes (b. November 20 1916, Port Arthur, Texas) is an American actress. Film career
A chorus girl by age 18, Keyes was put under contract by Cecil B. DeMille. and all his good intentions went out of the window...
Evelyn was one of Hollywood's most glamorous stars. She had played Vivien Leigh's sister in Gone With The Wind. On the day they met, at a Hollywood party, Marietta had finally told her husband that she wanted to leave him. He had replied that he would give her a divorce - but only after she had completed a course of psychiatric therapy. Huston recalled: "He was convinced that anyone associating with me must be mad. Perhaps he was right..."
It was a sentiment that Evelyn Keyes was soon to echo ... and with good reason. Huston had been depressed and moody when he arrived at the Hollywood shindig shin·dig
1. A festive party, often with dancing. Also called shindy.
2. See shindy.
[Probably alteration of shindy. but soon he was captivated cap·ti·vate
tr.v. cap·ti·vat·ed, cap·ti·vat·ing, cap·ti·vates
1. To attract and hold by charm, beauty, or excellence. See Synonyms at charm.
2. Archaic To capture. by Evelyn's vivacious charm. She was young, pretty and apparently unattached and later that evening Huston took her to dinner at Romanoff's. Over coffee, Evelyn did something that took the cynical world-weary director's breath away. She leaned towards him over the table and said out of the blue: "John, why don't we get married "
"Hell, Evelyn, we don't even know each other," Huston replied, spilling coffee over the tablecloth. "Do you know a better way for us to get to know each other " asked the practical Miss Keyes," and Huston confessed that he couldn't think of one.
"Right, that's settled," she told him. "We'll do it tonight in Las Vegas Las Vegas (läs vā`gəs), city (1990 pop. 258,295), seat of Clark co., S Nev.; inc. 1911. It is the largest city in Nevada and the center of one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the United States. ." Struggling to collect his thoughts, John Huston rang his best friend, restaurant boss Mike Romanoff, to ask what he thought of the idea. "Have you got anything better to do this evening " Mike asked. If not, go for it."
Huston remembered: "I went back to the table, had another drink and heard myself saying: 'Ok, let's do it.' Mike rushed home to get the wedding ring someone had lost in his swimming pool and meanwhile I was chartering a plane.
"At 4am the following morning Evelyn and I were standing in front of a judge in Las Vegas and were married with two taxi drivers as witnesses. We got back to Hollywood just after sunrise and took separate taxis at the airport. Evelyn went to Columbia, where she was making Johnny O'Clock, and I went to Warner Brothers. "Only then, sitting alone in the cab, did the utter absurdity of what I had done flood over me. Then I thought: 'What the hell Maybe the best thing is to try and make it work. What have I got to lose '"
Huston later admitted that he didn't allow the marriage to change his habits of a lifetime. He still went out on hard-drinking benders with cronies like Humphrey Bogart and Robert Mitchum and sometimes wouldn't come home for days.
Evelyn soon realised it was no good asking her new husband where he had been. He could never remember... Later John Huston admitted: "Evelyn did try to make the marriage work but the odds were stacked against her. For instance she was allergic to most animals and at our ranch I had cats, dogs, monkeys, horses, parakeets parakeets
one of the bird groups known as typical parrots in the family Psittacidae. Small parrots with long tails and include the budgerigar. and goats.
"She just found it impossible to live there. Once when I was away filming she moved all our possessions - apart from the animals - into an apartment in town."
For a while things improved. Then the cast of Huston's latest movie, We Were Strangers, gave him a present on the completion of the picture. It was a chimpanzee chimpanzee, an ape, genus Pan, of the equatorial forests of central and W Africa. The common chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes, lives N of the Congo River. Full-grown animals of this species are up to 5 ft (1. named China. Huston immediately moved it into the family home when Evelyn was away on location.
On her return she found Huston and the chimpanzee sleeping in the marital bed. In vain Huston explained that the creature was pining for its own mother and had adopted him as a substitute. He remembered: "She opened the door, let out a scream and left the apartment. Later she told me that I had to make a choice between China and her. It was not easy but eventually I made the honourable decision. China and I moved back to the ranch!"
In February 1950 the couple were divorced after an acrimonious dispute in which Huston was forced to give Evelyn most of his property and half his art collection.
"Later I met Evelyn at a cocktail party and told her that I thought the art collection should be under one roof. She agreed to flip a coin to see who got the complete collection and she won.
"With gambler's luck like that, maybe I should have stuck with her. After all, that damned chimp couldn't even flip a coin..."
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