My childhood crush: RIP James MacArthur

RIP James MacArthur

Long before I ever sighed for Van Johnson, swooned over Joseph Cotton or dreamed of Douglas Fairbanks Jr., there was James MacArthur.

I was probably five or six years old and my family was watching one of our favorite movies “Swiss Family Robinson” (1960).  Even as a child, I recognized his very attractive looks.  I didn’t really understand when my mom told me that MacArthur was now old when in the movie he looked so young. Did that mean I couldn’t marry him when I grew up?

Right now I am in total shock.  Just an hour ago, I was shopping in TJ Maxx when my mom texted me the bad news: that James MacArthur was dead at 72.  My first childhood crush-and my mother’s childhood crush- was gone!

Admittedly, I haven’t seen many of his films.  My favorites that I have seen are “The Interns” (1962), “Swiss Family Robinson” (1960) and “Spencer’s Mountain” (1963) -though I was jealous of every girl he ended up within the movie.  I will say I tried to watch his first feature film “The Young Stranger” (1957), but was so angered by the stupidity of his parents and other adults in that movie I had to stop. I’ve always wanted to see the Hayley Mills and James MacArthur movie “The Truth About Spring” (1965) but unfortunately, I’ve never been able to find it.

Mother and son, Helen Hayes and James MacArthur

I sometimes forget that James MacArthur is the adopted son of “the first lady of the theater,” Helen Hayes. He was even the god-son of Lillian Gish, talk about one lucky adopted child.

It’s so heartwarming to me to see them in pictures or films together.  In one obituary I read today, he said his favorite episode of  “Hawaii Five-O” was in 1975 when Hayes guest starred as Danno’s Aunt Clara, an old woman on vacation in Hawaii.  In the show Aunt Clara helped the detectives solve the murder (how cute!).

You will be missed, James MacArthur.  I will forever think of you as the young man  in “Swiss Family Robinson.”  Below is my favorite part from the movie. I’ll miss and always have a crush on your, Fritz.

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Hollywood’s prince: RIP Tony Curtis

Tony Curtis 1925-2010

I remember the first time I saw him as a child he was dressed as a woman.

When I was seven-years-old, I remember thinking he was cute as his tooth twinkled in “The Great Race” (1964).

Though Tony Curtis might not be one of my favorite actors, he is one actor that I remember watching in my early days of discovering classic film as a child. I even remember watching him on the “The Flintstones” as Stoney Curtis-that still gives me a good giggle thinking about it.

My favorite films of his are “Houdini” (1953), “Operation Petticoat” (1959), “Some Like It Hot” (1959) and “Sex and the Single Girl” (1964). All but one of those is a comedy. I know I’ve heard Tony Curtis say in the “Turner Classic Movies Private Screenings” with Robert Osborne that he was more interested in being a serious actor (like in “The Sweet Smell of Success”), but I really think he did his best work as a comedian.

Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis in “Houdini” (1953)

Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis had a tumultuous marriage that ended in divorce and they didn’t talk after that. His daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, didn’t have a good relationship with him because she lived with Janet after the divorce and “turned her against him,” according to Curtis in the “Private Screening” interview.

However, though I know Leigh and Curtis ended in divorce, they are one of my favorite Hollywood couples- along with Barbara Stanywck and Robert Taylor, Jennifer Jones and Robert Walker, Dick Powell and June Allyson, etc.  I guess I liked them as a couple because they were both so attractive and cute, and always looked cute and happy in their movies.

I was rather shocked when my mom texted me this morning saying Tony Curtis died. He was one of the last few old Hollywood actors who was active in film festivals and old Hollywood retrospectives. Most recently he was at the Turner Classic Movie Film Festival in Los Angeles in April.

Rest in peace, Mr. Curtis. I will always remember you being hit with pies in “The Great Race” or putting on a great Cary Grant impression in “Some Like it Hot.”  Thank you for helping to keep film history alive.

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