Cat fight – Hollywood style – or Vickie Lester goes Sicilian

Listen, babies.

It has recently come to my attention that some creative types begrudge other creative types success. I know…hard to believe. I want you to listen to something Ms. Anita Loos said in her seventies:

“What I admire most in life is an expert; any expert. An expert is a complete human being, at the top of his form. I believe I have as great respect for a master piano tuner as I feel for a genius like Duke Ellington.” (Twice Over Lightly, published 1972)

When someone gives you a backhanded compliment, or a barely disguised stink eye, just remember they are a living cliché — a frustrated soul casting aspersions to mask their own inadequacy. We’re all at the same party darlings (hat tip to Heather), don’t engage, don’t feed the trolls, don’t give them any ammunition, have a good time, make sure others have a good time, and seek the company of complete human beings.

I’ll let this photo sequence speak for itself. Hold that! Of course I have commentary. I’m not saying Ms. Loren is inadequate in ANY way. As a matter of fact if it hadn’t been for the photographer’s shutter speed, that micro-expression of hers would never have been seen. Personally, I think she maintained excellent composure considering Ms. Mansfield was falling out of her dress. An evening at Romanoff’s, captured by the photographers of LIFE Magazine…1957.


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  1. January 24, 2014

    Mike was just saying earlier this week… X’s life must be terribly unpleasant if they think they’re actually in some sort of competition with us. Some people just don’t get that we choose to have a good or bad time.

    • January 24, 2014

      I was watching a (horribly directed) documentary (with loathsome re-enactments) on J.D. Salinger last night, and the one fact they couldn’t distort was an encounter Salinger had with his hero, Hemingway, in Paris at the end of WWII — a cub writer approached the author and handed him a manuscript, which Hemingway read and loved. Talent recognizes and encourages other talent, at least in my universe 😉 .

      • January 26, 2014

        Amen baby! You hit it right on the snout!

      • January 26, 2014

        I do a pretty good rendition of “Who Let the Dogs Out?”, too… Maybe I’ll write something about Hollywood excess tomorrow…

      • January 26, 2014

        Well, after all, tomorrow is another day.

      • January 26, 2014

        I’m working on it as we speak 😉 .

  2. January 24, 2014

    While I agree with everything you say in general about judging others Vickie, and while I’ve also absolutely nothing against the lovely Ms Mansfield (unfortunately!) I do think there maybe a very slight “misread” going on here, (Gosh, sorry, is that even a proper word?)
    I don’t believe that Ms Loren is in any way jealous of Ms Mansfield, or feels in any way inadequate, just the opposite. Although I’m afraid you’re absolutely right that she is (rightly or wrongly) judging her.
    You and I, being both generous non-judgmental souls would say “wrongly” of course!
    Notheless, Ms Loren, being a rather classy, sophisticated lady, probably considers I’m afraid Ms Jane’s attire in poor taste, and a rather ill-advised, desperate, vulgar grab for attention. I promise you that she (Loren) does not feel inadequate!
    The mask of polite smiles has sipped as you say a moment to reveal, both wonderment, and a slight disdain. Alas.

    What wonderful pictures you have brought us, yet again. And despite our slight differences, of interpretation, (mere nuances, no more) I adore and dig your commentary too. Oh yes…
    Respects, as always, from Dublin.
    Your blog is always such a treat.

    • January 24, 2014

      Precisely! Well put, most of the photos show the gracious Ms. Loren smiling and affable. The photos weren’t exactly apt for the tale I was spinning, but I thought they were fabulous, hence…
      And you’re right, that dress of Ms. Mansfield’s was in questionable taste, but then that’s how she managed her image, riding that line, and very cleverly too!

      • January 24, 2014

        Absolutely! Agreed, an incredible feat, indeed an art form, all of its own. 🙂

        While I’m pretty sure you (we) are dead right, that Ms Loren disapproves of Ms Mansfield, I also have to confess that, for my own part, I actually know very little about Ms Jayne Mansfield.
        I’ve always thought, or in fact just imagined, that she was a not-so good version of the incomparable (if still criminally underrated) Ms M Munroe. But perhaps i am just making the same mistake, and underrating Ms Mansfield?
        I just found, and watched, that other great post of yours, with that wonderful sequence from The Girl Can’t Help It, with Tom Ewell and Jayne Mansfield and Little Ricard belting out the R&R. Amazing stuff. 🙂

  3. January 24, 2014

    Love the look on Clifton Webb’s face in the middle picture!

    • January 24, 2014

      Do you remember Cheaper by the Dozen?
      Clifton Webb as Frank Gilbreth: No person with inner dignity is ever embarrassed. (except by that dress)

      • January 24, 2014

        The one I remember him best for is Laura. One of my all time favorite movies.

        I don’t think I saw the Cheaper by the Dozen with him in it — Lucy & Henry Fonda I recall

      • January 26, 2014

        One of my all time faves… and the follow up was fun too. “Bells On Their Toes” I have them both in my library.

      • January 26, 2014

        When the Mister’s mother was studying engineering in the late 1940s — Mrs. Galbraith was her heroine — Mom was the first woman to graduate from her program, but she only managed 8 kids 😉 .

      • January 26, 2014

        Oh my goodness ! That is priceless.

    • January 25, 2014

      Oh thank you. I loved this when I was little! And the books.

      • January 25, 2014

        Cheaper by the Dozen and Bells on their Toes. Now I want to read them again.

      • January 25, 2014

        Do it 🙂

  4. January 24, 2014

    DON’T ENGAGE. At the very least, don’t engage if you know you can’t hold your temper. But the other side of that coin is BE SELF-AWARE. And be conscious of others. While I’m all for not letting the bastards get you down, I do think we’re often too ready to dismiss legitimate criticism. Sometimes you get the stink-eye because you deserve it. Heh.
    Oy, Jayne! I always loved these photos. There was a wonderful “remake” of that photo with Anna Nicole Smith in the 90s. The most amusing part of the modern version was that the photo ignored the breasts and made it all about the expressions. Boobs are boobs, but Loren’s disdain and Mansfield’s oblivion are the stuff of legend.

    • January 24, 2014

      Self-aware and conscious of others, perfect. And a great point about constructive criticism, it’s vital. The phrases that frost my cookies are these, “Oh?… YOU got that part?…How did YOU get a book deal?… They’re exhibiting YOUR painting?…” Get me the large mallet! 😉

      Who is the model with Anna Nichole? She looks a tiny bit like Linda Evangelista, but…

      • Heather in Arles
        January 25, 2014

        Ooh, I am right there with you about your frosted cookies, V. (hehehe) When I was still acting, the first question out of any actors mouth was always “Are you working? What are you doing?” I learned that even when I was working to lie and say, “No” because I couldn’t stand the responses after–sometimes disguised often not. And I can tell you from hanging around with my Honey that professional photographers are a MUCH tougher lot. Sigh. Whyohwhyohwhy? But cream rises and I also agree with you that true Talent always helps other Talent. There’s room enough for everyone…

        And nah, that wasn’t Sicilian Ms V. You wanna see Sicilian? Do something unkind to one of my dogs (although I really wouldn’t recommend it)…
        Have a great weekend ma belle,

      • January 25, 2014

        I used to have a pat answer when someone asked me, “What do you do?”… My response was always, “Laundry.” Then I became more diplomatic, but I don’t know that it’s an improvement.

        Hm. Sicilian… Maybe we’ll start an new form of social etiquette, based on a certain Borgia babe ;).

      • January 25, 2014

        Her name is Sky Nellor–but I’m not familiar with her work. There was another remake of this photo in 2002 with Heidi Klum in both roles. I don’t think it’s as successful, though. The Loren part is a bit too campy and, while Klum is always a beauty, she doesn’t quite suit the role of Mansfield’s zaftig blonde bombshell.
        Also, “frost my cookies” made me laugh!

  5. George Kaplan
    January 24, 2014

    I am manfully resisting the urge to make some dubious Groucho Marxish jokes here, I deserve an award. Or not! Bwahahaha. I love the post and this fantastic comment thread. Hey, Vickie, sometimes “questionable taste” is the best taste! Okay, that’s my excuse. 😉
    Good Golly, Sophia is fantastic, I think those images are super.
    And who do we have Ms Elyse and Mme Vickie discussing down here? Clifton Webb, master of supercilious disdain and waspish commentary, also known as the single least convincing pater familias of a dozen offspring I ever did see! 🙂

  6. George Kaplan
    January 24, 2014

    Oh, *chastize me*, everyone likes Mr Belvedere! But as for Cheaper by the Dozen, perhaps their first choice was Liberace! Bwahahaha!

  7. January 24, 2014

    Perhaps Sophia is doing her best to hide the vision of awe and wonder before her! Jayne knows full well Mr Lemon Lips Clifton Webb is not going to take a blind bit of notice of her assets other than to disdain. A great series of shots . . . remember cigarettes at the dinner table, smoking between courses, or instead of eating?!

    • January 25, 2014

      I do remember, and I remember my mother on a diet, cigarettes were always involved. She stopped when she went to a dinner party at a surgeon’s — who showed his guests home movies of lung surgery. Eccentric but effective.

    • January 25, 2014

      The last of the screwball comedies, I just watched it again, and LOVED it. Beyond your many other attributes, I believe you’re psychic!

      • January 25, 2014

        you might well be right 😉


  8. Miss Vivienne to you
    February 25, 2015

    It was a dinner party in Loren’s honor and Mansfield purposely wore that dress to distract paparazzi from the birthday girl to herself. Mansfield confused notoriety with fame, often planning an accidental nip/boob slip for publicity. It got so bad that designers stopped making dresses for her, claiming her “accidents” were bad for business.

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