Wednesday, May 02, 2012

First crush

My son held up the May issue of Vanity Fair. "I think Julianna Margulies and Sofia Vergara are gorgeous," he said. I agreed.

Of course, I also think Claire Danes and Michelle Dockery are gorgeous. But I look at them like I would look at anything unattainable, nice on the eyes, but no emotional involvement. That wasn't true when I was a kid in love with Anne Jeffreys, who played Marion Kirby on the sitcom, Topper, with her husband, Robert Sterling as George Kirby, and character actor Leo G. Carroll as Cosmo Topper. (Oh yeah, mustn't forget Neil, the St. Bernard.)

But enough of the men and the dog. I was totally loopy for Anne. I would lie in bed and scheme ways to be with her. First of all, magic would make me a man, all grown up. I wondered how old Anne was. Maybe she was 21...? She was actually in her early thirties in the mid-1950s (born in 1923), but 21 sounded old and mature to me when I was a nine-year-old boy. If I had some magic, like how Billy Batson, a boy, shouted "Shazam!" and became Captain Marvel, a man, I could move right in. Of course there was the problem of that pesky husband, Robert Sterling, but maybe she'd divorce him for me, or better yet, he could be a car crash and die. Morbid as that was, I felt it was probably the best course of action. I probably got the idea from the show; George and Marion were ghosts of people killed in a car crash.


Since I was a kid with a kid's short attention span I'm sure the crush didn't last long, maybe a few weeks, a month or so, and I moved on to some other obsession. But I remember it as being the first and only time I ever fell in love with a grown woman who starred on TV or in the movies. I remember thinking a lot of women on TV were cute or pretty, but didn't have crushes on any of them. Only her. To this day I still love the name Anne. Anne Jeffreys had started her career in B-movies, and until she got her hit television show, that was pretty much her career. I didn't know anything about a Hollywood pecking order, "A"-list stars and "B"-listers until much later. If they were on TV or in movies they were privileged, and I lumped them all together. Here's Anne all tied up and at the mercy of Bela Lugosi in Zombies On Broadway. I don't know if this was even a B-movie. Maybe lower.

A few years ago I read that Anne Jeffreys had attained great age by living a very healthy lifestyle. So I was surprised that at one point in her career she advertised cigarettes. Did she smoke? Probably not. Even professional athletes advertised cigarettes. They probably didn't smoke, either. But tobacco money was as good as any in those days, when celebrities endorsed products they didn't use.

Anne Jeffreys is 89 this year.

She looks pretty good for being almost 90, don't you think?

My crush on Anne has long been over, but I haven't forgotten how she was my first and only big television heartthrob.


Kirk said...

Anne Jefferey played Amanda Barrington on General Hospital in the 1980s and '90s.

Is that Lee Marvin above the new header?

DEMiller said...

That's the magic of movies. These people are frozen in time.

Postino said...

Kirk, it's Paul Meurisse from the 1955 movie, Diabolique.'s also why fanboys whose parents weren't even born when Bettie Page was popular are all hyped over pictures of Bettie! Me included.

IlliniJim said...

At the age of 68 and the name Ann Jefferys immediately comes to mind should tell you how much of an impact she had on my youthful heart.

SO beautiful!

But oddly enough, she was my second lady on TV that stole my heart. The first one was Betty White who starred in "Life With Elizabeth".

Both are now 90 years old and for that age, they are both still beautiful.