Tonight at 11pm Turner Classic Movies broadcasts The Oscar (1966)one of the campiest looks at conniving actors, scheming starlets, and all of Tinseltown’s backstabbers. Stephen Boyd is the cad who steps on everyone including his pal Tony Bennett, ex-stripper Jill St. John, good girl the miscast Elke Sommer and other louses as he ascends the Hollywodd ladder rung by rung until he gets a coveted Oscar nomination. Along the way he has a run-in with his female counterpart a vapid, career driven bitch played by the lovely Jean Hale (pictured)a sweet sweet lady in real life. Below are her comments about the movie contained in my book Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Hollywood:

“I originally auditioned for the role of the stripper because the movie star part was already cast. I went in and read for it but told the producers that I wanted the other role. They said, ‘Sorry but it has already been cast.’ I pleaded with them to let me read for it and they finally relented. Before I got home they had called my agent to say the movie star role was mine.”

“I had a ball playing such a nasty character. Before this I always got parts where I had to cry and kiss the guy. It was so nice not to have to do that for this role.”

“Edith Head was an absolutely amazing woman and a creative genius. She had an office about sixty to seventy feet long. At the entrance to it there was a light panel with a great number of switches. At the other end of the room she’d have you stand on this pedestal with mirrors three quarters of the way around it. Three or four of her assistants would then take a piece of fabric and with their hands create all different looks for the evening gowns she was designing for me—from various necklines to all types of skirt styles. They would literally create the dress on you while you were standing there. Edith could see you from every angle in every type of light and would decide your finest look. I remember her telling me that my best look was a scoop neck. She designed three gowns for me and all of them had a variation on that type of neckline.”



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