‘Leading ladies’ highlight recent Mathontes Club meeting


Vivien Leigh, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn were profiled during the recent meeting of the Mathontes Club held at the Pine Bluff Country Club.

The program, “Leading Ladies,” was in keeping with the club’s yearlong study of “Hollywood.”

Marti Johnson said that Leigh was best known for her Academy Award-winning performance in “Gone With the Wind, which was one of the eight wins of the 14 nominations for the movie. After her triumph in “Gone With the Wind,” she fell during the filming of “Anthony and Cleopatra” and developed health and mental problems. However, she rallied in 1949, successfully appearing on stage in London as Blanche DuBois in “A Street Car Named Desire.”

Leigh subsequently won her second Academy Award in a Street Car Named Desire,” playing opposite Marlon Brandon.

Johnson pointed out pictures on each tables that showed a chronology of Leigh’s movie history.

Sue Merritt gave information about Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jean Mortenson and sometimes Baker. She married for the first time in June of 1942 when she was 16.

Her movies included “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “How to Marry a Millionaire.” It is said that Joe DiMaggio, whom she married in 1954, was indignant over the scene in “The Seven Year Itch,” when her skit is blown up by the air from a subway grating. Their marriage ended soon afterward.

She married playwright Arthur Miller in 1956. The marriage ended in 1961. It is said that she had affairs with both John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy.

She was found dead in August 1962, the result of an apparent suicide; however, some believed she was murdered because she “knew too much.” For 20 years, DiMaggio had a half dozen red roses delivered to her crypt three times a week.

Merritt described Monroe as a childlike woman that men desired but by whom women were not threatened.

Crabb described Hepburn, who was born in 1929 in Brussels, Belgium. Her stage debut was in London as a chorus girl in “High Button Shoes” in 1929. She had trained as a ballerina since childhood, but her teachers thought she was too tall to be a ballet dancer.

She made her first film in 1951, and these included “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Roman Holiday” with Gregory Peck for which she won an Academy Award.

In later years, her acting took a backseat to her work for children. She became an ambassador for UNICEF and in the late 1980s traveled world. She understood hunger because of her experiences as a child. Her work with UNICEF gave her the life the depth she desired. She died Jan. 20, 1993.

During the business session, Claire Campbell was elected into club membership.

Members were seated at tables for eight, each centered with an arrangement featuring a white hydrangea, amaryllis, fern and red sequined sticks and red balls.

At the conclusion of the meeting, a dessert course was served. The hostesses were Susan Railsback, Judy Barrett, Christine McKissack and Rebecca Phillips.