Monday, March 22, 2021

Old Hollywood Haunts, Pt. 2: Charlie Farrell's Racquet Club in Palm Springs

Charlie Farrell, top center; Ava Gardner, bottom left; on the right, Marilyn Monroe and Spencer Tracy

Many years ago, Charlie Farrell was a movie star. He first gained fame as a leading man in the late 1920s when he was in his late 20s. He'd started out in Hollywood as an extra, appearing momentarily in films like the Lon Chaney classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and Ernst Lubitsch's first Hollywood film, Rosita (1923), starring Mary Pickford. After a minor role in DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1923) his career began to build. In 1927 he was cast opposite Janet Gaynor in 7th Heaven. A smash hit, the movie was nominated for the very first Best Picture Academy Award and brought Oscars to director Frank Borzage, screenwriter Benjamin Glazer and to Janet Gaynor, who won Best Actress for this and two other film performances. Charlie would always joke that he was the only one connected with the movie who wasn't nominated for an Oscar. The two luminous, newly minted young stars were then teamed in 11 more pictures between 1928 and 1934 and, as the most popular couple in movies, were known as "America's Favorite Lovebirds."