Friday, 21 November 2014

The Word - Bad Blonde


“I went out with every big male star in town. They wanted my body and I needed their names for success. There was my picture on the front pages of every paper in the country… Today I live in a rat infested apartment with not a bean to my name and I drink too much Rose wine. … Does it all sound depressing to you? Queasy? Well, I’m not ashamed.” 

- from "I Am Not Ashamed" by Barbara Payton.

From one of the great “lost” autobiographies of Hollywood Babylon history, I Am Not Ashamed from 1963.

Yap, when it comes to train wrecks, few hold a candle to the ravishing, and later ravaged, Barbara Payton.

A gorgeous, sexy, pouty-lipped blonde who starred alongside James Cagney in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye and Lloyd Bridges in the classic noir Trapped, her real life was not only stranger, but more dramatic and seamier than any fiction she starred in. 

Affairs with actors to producers to shrinks to pimps; violent, troubled marriages to Tom Neal (star of the seminal sleazy noir Detour who later served time for offing his third wife) and Franchot Tone (whom Neal memorably brawled with); a notorious incident with Lana Turner and Ava Gardner during which an enraged Frank Sinatra walked in  .... shoplifting, prostitution (she was arrested for hooking, in a bar on Sunset Boulevard) and loads of drinking - the gal did it all .. and then some!

Years of hard drinking and hard living ultimately destroyed her both physically and emotionally, leaving her dead from heart and liver failure, in May, 1967. She was only 39.

Barbara Payton in Bad Blonde (1953)

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