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Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

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Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » January 19th, 2017, 10:49 pm

Joseph Egan, author of The Purple Diaries: Mary Astor And The Most Sensational Hollywood Scandal of the 1930s, is here to visit us this weekend, Saturday, January 21, and Sunday, January 22.

Joseph Egan, an editor and conceptual artist, is also a close personal friend of Marylyn Thorpe Roh, the child at the center of this famous custody battle between Mary Astor, and her husband, Dr. Franklyn Thorpe. Joseph Egan has written for and edited a weekly entertainment newspaper, edited a privately printed anthology and edited several college literary magazines. He has also worked as a free-lance editor, as a professional researcher, worked in motion picture promotion, as a free-lance video editor and has had had several film scripts optioned. In addition, as a conceptual artist he has presented installations in New York City as well as in the Midwest. One installations was displayed at Lincoln Center.

Egan is expert on a wide range of diverse subjects including the motion picture Heaven’s Gate, producer David O. Selznick, inventor, Nikola Tesla and of course, Mary Astor.

Preferring the private life, Egan and his wife live on the side of a mountain in Dutchess County, New York, where their daily visitors are restricted to white tail deer, wild turkeys, chipmunks, rabbits, raccoons and a rather reclusive family of possums.

You can visit him and learn more about his latest book, The Purple Diaries: Mary Astor And The Most Sensational Hollywood Scandal of the 1930s online at http://thepurplediaries.com or TheMaryAstorCollection.com and of course the author’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/josephegan01?ref=ts&fref=ts

Why did Joseph Egan write the book? Read his fascinating response here:

"A number of years ago I put together a massive conceptual installation consisting of a series of paper collage works dealing with the American film Industry from the 20s through the 90s. For the 1930s I chose the Mary Astor Custody Battle. Over the years the Astor material intrigued me. It was basically the story of a woman who, for the sake of her little baby, took on the American media and the Hollywood establishment to do what she believed was best for her child. I soon discovered that every book, and even magazine article, written years after the trial had never gotten the story correctly. What is worse, they often printed rumor as fact.

The idea of writing about the custody battle was sparked when I read the Mary Astor chapter in Kenneth Anger’s hugely successful book, Hollywood Babylon. It was Anger’s intention to scandalize and he succeeded quite well at this. Thus, the piece on Astor was filled with so many falsehoods—often substituting the salacious for the truth—that I felt the record needed to be set straight. This idea languished until I read a short piece on the trial in New York Magazine for which Anger’s book was the principal source. In short, Hollywood Babylon and its many falsehoods had, and would continue to be, source material for any writer wanting to discuss the Mary Astor-Franklyn Thorpe Custody Trial. This provided me with just the motivation I needed to write a book that would finally ‘set the record straight’. The result is an exhaustively researched and compelling courtroom drama."

Many of Mary Astor's films continue to be screened on our favorite channel, TCM. Astor appeared from 1921 to 1964, amassing a screen career with more than 150 credits, and also enjoyed popularity as a writer and novelist. Her films continue to be popular at the TCM Film Festivals.

Egan's book has been featured or reviewed in the following venues:
The Huffington Post
Angle News
The Sun (New York)
Closer magazine
The New York Post
Goodreads
The Library Journal
And many more....

Joseph Egan's Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Egan/e/B0 ... sr=1-2-ent

Please join us in welcoming Joseph Egan to The Silver Screen Oasis!
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Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Postby Mrs. Osborne » January 20th, 2017, 1:09 pm

HI JOE!!!

We're so happy to welcome you to the SSO!

In an odd twist of fate, another Mary Astor book was published ONE MONTH before your wonderful book, The Purple Diaries. Would you tell us in a nutshell what that other Mary Astor book concerns and briefly detail how your book is different from the earlier book.

Best,
Mrs. Osborne

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Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Postby Joseph Egan » January 20th, 2017, 3:08 pm

It's a completely different book. This is excerpted from a post I will post to my blog next week.

"Edward Sorel, the award winning caricaturist has written a satirical look at the 1936 Mary Astor Custody Battle—Mary Astor’s Purple Diary. But, it should be understood that Mr. Sorel has not written a “history.” The book is more in the nature of a “tale tail” that Mr. Sorel cleverly weaved into a screwball comedy plot popular in films of the late 1930s. Consequently, as with all satire, historical accuracy is not an issue because, like his caricatures, Mr. Sorel is aiming for another kind of truth. Over the years the Mary Astor Custody Battle transformed from fact into legend and it is this legend which Mr. Sorel mirrors in his lighthearted and humorous send-up. Peppered throughout its 176 pages are a series of Sorel illustrations; among his very best Hollywood caricatures that capture a surreal, almost impressionist view of the people and events chronicled in his book which stylistically augment and enhance the text."

"My book —The Purple Diaries unlike Sorel’s book, is a “history: and not a send-up.” It is a thoroughly researched and objective view of Astor Custody Battle Filled with photographs and not caricatures it was written to correct the innumerable inaccuracies set down over the last 80 years regarding this story—inaccuracies that have generally been accepted as fact. Consequently, the two books couldn't be more dissimilar. A friend put it this way: “Edward clearly loves Astor in the way that you do as a fan who wants to see her story told in the medium he best knows how to tell it. You, in a work of non-fiction and Edward in an illustrated interpretation of a mythic event. His reads like a wistful memoir, almost dreamlike, and yours feels ‘hot off the presses’, and very now.” Read together the two books provide the complete story—the truth and the myth and legend that blossomed from it."

I hope I have answered your question.

Do you know that you have the same last name as the host of TCM. Paul Osborne.

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Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Postby Joseph Egan » January 20th, 2017, 3:22 pm

Oh yes for the person who asked about Agnes Moorehead, this is what Astor's Daughter had to say.

"Mom did mention her and to me, seemed that she liked her and respected her as a great actress."

And regarding Astor's work on Hush Hush, she worked five days on location and was before the camera for two. I just wanted to correct that.

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Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Postby Joseph Egan » January 20th, 2017, 3:26 pm

Omitted.

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Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Postby Joseph Egan » January 20th, 2017, 3:56 pm

The questions and answers below didn't carry over from the previous thread. I'm reposting them here so I won't have to answer the questions twice.

Question-I haven’t read your book yet, but I was under the impression the original diary was destroyed. Were all the purported excerpts just made up by the press? Did any part of the diary survive in evidence? Looking forward to reading your book!

A- I will have to answer that question in several parts.
1-The original diary which was sealed by the court in 1936 was burned a few months after Marylyn turned 21. It was sealed in case the custody case was re-opened. Thorpe wanted to make sure that he could use it. Astor wanted to make sure that it couldn't be used against her or the friends whose activities were discussed in it. When Marylyn turned 21 Astor and Thorpe had a discussion about what to do with it and both agreed that it should be destroyed which it was and it was done by the court.

2-The only real excerpts were those in the Answers that Thorpe filed in July 1936 to Astor's petition and the Kaufman excerpts his attorney released to the press on August 10, 1936 and were printed in newspapers all over the world. (If you go to the purplediaries.com and click excerpts tap you can read these excerpts.) Everything else printed in the press about scorecards and all that were from a salacious forgery by someone who, according to Mary Astor, was worried that his name might be mentioned in the real diary and so wanted to scare Astor into settling. Over the years bits and pieces of this salacious material were printed in articles and books and it was thought that this came from the real diary which had nothing pornographic in it. One of the reasons why I wrote the book was to clear this up and finally tell the real story.

3-The Diary was never submitted as evidence as one of the two volumes had been taken apart so that Thorpe could make Photostats. Astor's attorney found case law that made it clear that an altered, mutilated or incomplete document could not be used as evidence and in this way prevented it from ever being used in court. Thorpe's attorney in desperation gave the Kaufman excerpts (on my website) to the press and then asked Astor questions on the stand relating to it so that if she lied about anything written in the diary she could be brought up on perjury charges. It was at this point that the judge had had enough and called a halt and demanded that Astor and Thorpe worked out a Custody agreement which they did and he then signed. That took another three days.

Question- Mr. Egan, I am an admirer of Agnes Moorehead and understand that she and Mary Astor enjoyed a personal friendship. I know that the two worked together at least twice, when Miss Moorehead directed Miss Astor in a touring company of Don Juan in Hell in the mid-1950s, and then in the
film Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte although as I recall they did not have any scenes together. SSO member vecchiolarry had told us a while back of AM's friendship with MA. I was wondering if you might have any details of when/how they first met, and of any milestones of their friendship, such as special social occasions, correspondence, and/or shared travel experiences.

A- To tell you the truth I don't know anything about it. I do know about Astor working with A.M. during the early 50s when she was doing plays and live television and of course on Hush Hush. (It should be noted that Astor only did a five day’s work on it when the film was on location and Crawford was still with the project. When DeHavilland replaced Crawford I think Astor did one day's work at the studio) I will ask Astor's daughter about it and get back to you. Marylyn remembers that when she was younger names like Frederic March, Cagney, Gable, Chatterton and others were common names in the house. By the way there is an extensive interview I did with Marylyn on themaryastorcollection.com a site which I put together on Astor. You might want to take a look.

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Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Postby Professional Tourist » January 20th, 2017, 9:26 pm

Professional Tourist wrote:Mr. Egan, I am an admirer of Agnes Moorehead and understand that she and Mary Astor enjoyed a personal friendship. I know that the two worked together at least twice, when Miss Moorehead directed Miss Astor in a touring company of Don Juan in Hell in the mid-1950s, and then in the film Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte although as I recall they did not have any scenes together.

SSO member Vecchiolarry had told us a while back of AM's friendship with MA. I was wondering if you might have any details of when/how they first met, and of any milestones of their friendship, such as special social occasions, correspondence, and/or shared travel experiences.

Thank you.

Joseph Egan wrote:To tell you the truth I don't know anything about it. I do know about Astor working with A.M. during the early 50s when she was doing plays and live television and of course on Hush Hush. (It should be noted that Astor only did a days work on it when the film was on location and Crawford was still with the project. When DeHavilland replaced Crawford I think Astor did one day's work at the studio ) I will ask Astor's daughter about it and get back to you. Marylyn remembers that when she was younger names like Frederic March, Cagney, Gable, Chatterton and others were common names in the house. By the way there is an extensive interview I did with Marylyn on themaryastorcollection.com a site which I put together on Astor. You might want to take a look.

Joseph Egan wrote:Oh yes for the person who asked about Agnes Moorehead, this is what Astor's Daughter had to say.

"Mom did mention her and to me, seemed that she liked her and respected her as a great actress."

And regarding Astor's work on Hush Hush, she worked five days on location and was before the camera for two. I just wanted to correct that.

Thank you so much for passing along my inquiry! 8)

If I recall correctly what Vecchiolarry once posted here, AM and MA were good friends, who took a trip together to Japan.

I'm going to take a look at that interview. Your website is beautiful, a lovely tribute to MA. :)

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Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Postby Joseph Egan » January 20th, 2017, 9:31 pm

Thanks much about the website. I had done so much research and collected so many photographs and documents that I had to do something with it all and that's how the idea for the website came about. Also Marylyn, and other members of Mary Astor's family were generous enough to let me use a great deal of family material.

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Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Postby Joseph Egan » January 20th, 2017, 11:40 pm

I asked Marylyn about the Japan trip (which I never heard about) and this is what she wrote. " Mom never went to Japan with ANYONE - only to Europe - alone. Mom never talked with me about Agnes. They may have been 'working' friends - but not necessarily personal. I never met the lady. "

I hope that helps.

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Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » January 21st, 2017, 11:29 am

Joe, we are so grateful you have joined us this weekend. I was wondering about your personal reflections concerning Mary Astor's alcoholism, and when it escalated. What seemed to be the causes? And how did she ultimately grapple with the disease and its consequences?

Thank you for your wonderful responses thus far!
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Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Postby Professional Tourist » January 21st, 2017, 12:38 pm

Joseph Egan wrote:I asked Marylyn about the Japan trip (which I never heard about) and this is what she wrote. " Mom never went to Japan with ANYONE - only to Europe - alone. Mom never talked with me about Agnes. They may have been 'working' friends - but not necessarily personal. I never met the lady. "

I hope that helps.

Thank you so much for the follow-up, Mr. Egan. I think I confused two separate accounts which Vecchiolarry -- who had been friends with both women -- had posted here. He was the one who took the trip to Japan with MA, not AM, in 1970. He related a separate tale about the two ladies dressing up as geishas together, just for laughs. I understand MA's daughter is not aware of any trip to Japan, but here are those posts in case you'd like to see, from our 'Mary Astor' discussion:

http://silverscreenoasis.com/oasis3/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=536&p=120195#p120195
Vecchioarry wrote:in 1970, Mary and I planned a trip to Japan for the Osaka World Fair. When word got out about this, we became saddled with extra baggage in the form of my mother, who insisted on accompanying us!
We stayed at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo and were visited by Prince Takamatso, who was a great fan of Mary's. He was the Emperor's brother.

We took the bullet train to Osaka and stopped at Mount Fujiama and rang a gigantic prayer bell that takes prayers to the mountain in the form of ripples on the lake in front of it... Great karma!!!!!


http://silverscreenoasis.com/oasis3/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=536&p=57143#p57124
Erika1712 wrote:Does Larry still visit this forum? He kindly answered a couple of my emails and actually referred me to this nice forum. I always remember the story he posted of Agnes Moorehead and Mary Astor dressing up as geishas and laughing together. What a fun picture it is in my mind!


http://silverscreenoasis.com/oasis3/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=536&p=57143#p57143
Vecchiolarry wrote:I still remember that story about our Geisha girlsfrom time to time and have a good smile.
They were certainly giggly & silly and really quite politically incorrect as Japanese.
Shuffling on their platforms, they would hold a fan up to their faces and then say, "Ahh so, Missy Astor-ic, you wantie more tea?" "Oh no so, Missy Headly-more, me havie a big gin; you gettie quick - chop, chop!!"...
And, then they'd giggle and shuffle around more.
It was Oscar winning, if you asked me....

After making "Bachelor in Paradise", I had Agnes & Mary over for drinks and a late supper to my place in Malibu.
Lana Turner & Fred May lived next door and I had them over too. Lana & Agnes had been in the movie.
I said to Fred, "Imagine having these three old movie stars in the same room!!"
"OLD!!", all 3 of them screamed at me at the same time....
I never used that word again in LA ever!!!

I've tried to find the first posting of the geisha story, but it didn't come up in any searches. If I can locate it some time this weekend, I'll link to it here.

Cheers. :)

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Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Postby Joseph Egan » January 21st, 2017, 1:48 pm

Regarding her Alcoholism.

As I wrote in the book she began drinking socially in the late 1920s. By the early 40s she had become a heavy drinker--using it to cope and to ease the pain she often felt because of her lack of a sense of her real self worth. In fact Bogart had commented that the woman could really put it down. Yet Astor was so disciplined she never drank while making a movie and never but never on the set. During the 40s she also had hidden her drinking so her kids didn't know about it until the late forties when she was married to her fourth husband who was also a big drinker. By the mid 1940s when she signed with MGM and the parts became less and less demanding she drank in frustration and began to put on weight and middle age took a heavy toll on her looks. The drinking really got bad after she asked to be released from her MGM contract in 1949 as Astor like many artists and performers used work to cope. Without that work the drinking really became her main coping tool and got so bad that she had to detox. She was also in a menopausal depression which didn't help. During the 1950s she joined AA and for the rest of her life battled with her drinking. Sometimes there were long periods where she wasn't drinking and other times she was. Also, Astor didn't drink while she wrote. And that was an amazing thing about the woman. She was so disciplined about her work that to do it she could control what is essentially a disease. When she was at the Motion Picture Country Home at the end of her life and she could no longer write the dinking became part of her daily routine and was her only means to deal with a troubled childhood and a life--on a personal level--that didn't seen to go the way she would have liked. My own feelings about Alcoholism is that it is a disease that some are more susceptible than others and fortunately it is being seen that way today rather than an example of a weakness of character. I do want to add, that I believe a person should be judged by the best of what they do and with Mary Astor it is her acting and her writing. So, when I think about her the drinking, for me, becomes a peripheral factor.

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Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Postby Mrs. Osborne » January 21st, 2017, 1:57 pm

Hi Joe!

Yes that is right - PAUL Osborne - that delightful host of TCM. :)))

Will you tell us a bit about Mary Astor and her romance with John Barrymore - she was 17 and he was FORTY.....
and also about her first husband Kenneth Hawks.

Mrs. O

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Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Postby Joseph Egan » January 21st, 2017, 2:06 pm

Regarding Japan

In 1970 Mary Astor had several small heart attacks and developed COPD and was so sick that she had to move from Mexico where she was living and writing. She stayed with her son in California until she was well enough to live on her own but close enough for her son and his wife to look in on her to make sure that she was al right. Two years later she move into the Motion Picture Country home. So, I don't think she was traveling to Japan. Also, if there is one thing Marylyn knew about her mother was her traveling. I mean she was her DAUGHTER! If I was researching the subject I would discount the man' recollections and stick with the family. And that's all I have to say about the subject.

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Re: Welcome Joseph Egan for a Q & A on Mary Astor 1-21 & 1-22

Postby Joseph Egan » January 21st, 2017, 2:19 pm

Regarding Astor in Malibu.

Astor bought a house in Malibu in the late 1950s when she was writing My Story and lived there until the late 1960s when she moved to Mexico. She sold the house to Buddy Hackett. It should be understood that during these years Astor had become highly reclusive and saw very few people and when she was writing none. So, I don't know what to say about this man's recollections, really. Again, if I was researching I would double check it against whatever records I could find as in letters, comments from family etc. In doing research I've learned to put into question recollections unless I could find documentary proof. In writing The Purple Diaries I had to correct enumerable fabrications that had been related as fact over the ears and were just people's recollections that were, essentially, made up stories. That's really all I have to say about the subject. If the man has written a book then please give me the title and I will read and check it for its veracity.


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