TV Star Parade – Dec.1965

It’s the early evening, the posh living room of a voluptuous Hollywood mansion – the kind in which even ash trays are custom-made to match the rich velour draperies. The girl is draped enticingly on an off-white couch. She is a promising new starlet, a honey-blonde, made up to remind you, you are reminded of Marilyn Monroe. And she is expensive. Everything about her tells you that this is a girl who knows the cost of things and will only have the best. Her earrings are marquise-cut long circles. A caboehon amethyst on a slender gold chain dangles fetchingly just where her dress begins to fall away from her neckline to descend on its daring plunge. Her dress is more than a dress. It’s an experience, really. The amethyst has caught many an interested male eye this evening. So has The Plunge. And the girl seems to know. She leans forward enticingly whenever a Big Producer bends down to light her cigarette. At one point a light is offered by one of the top TV stars who has just separated from his wife. She merely smiles and waves her ivory cigarette holder to mean “thank you.” She leans forward only for producers. She’s lovely. She’s young. She reeks of availability and every man in the room would like to be alone with her. She’s sitting under an original Picasso that no one has bothered to notice. And even the Picasso has been enveloped in the atmosphere of Jungle Gardenia emanating from the white couch.

There is a young man at the party. He didn’t want to come, but was conned into it by a friend who told him the most ‘important people in Hollywood ‘ would be there. He came, but he stands out. He is uncomfortable. He didn’t dress for a party. He is ruggedly handsome, as if he were carved out of a canyon by a sculptor who wanted to make a man look hard as well as handsome. And he never looks at the girl on the white couch. Not even once. He is tall – 6’, and he weighs about 175llbs. His eyes are blue, but in the smoky room they look the colour of gun metal. His hair is blond with the uneven play in shading that comes from having lived a lot in the sun. He moves to the host to say goodnight. An hour, he feels, is enough to give this scene. The Plunge moves with him. For the first time this evening, she is off the couch.

He is halfway across the room before he feels her hand on his arm. Stricken, he stops. She murmurs a few sentences in the breathless way she has been taught by her first studio coach. Her shoulders vibrate as if they are responding to some secret inner tempo. No one can hear what she is saying, but the room is charged with electricity, as if someone had just lit all the crystal candelabra all at once. She is bothering. She desires. She is reaching out. And then, through the silence, the deep resonant drawl of the Kentucky mountain country – “I’m really sorry, ma’am but my roping horse, Red, is under the weather and I should never have left her. I got to go right back home.”

We can’t give you the name of The Plunge. You’ll see her around. But the young man so concerned about his roping horse, Red, is an actor named Lee Majors. You’re going to see him around a lot too. Maybe even more than The Plunge.

There are poets’ poets and actors’ actors. Lee Majors is a mans’ man. He lives alone in a canyon near Calabasas, California with not another house in sight. His rented house has neither plumbing nor electricity. Besides, Red, the roping horse, he lives with two big collies. Over 500 actors were tested for the dynamic role of Heath in ABC-TV’s The Big Valley. When they chose Lee Majors he had never stepped up on a stage or faced a camera before.

Lee Majors, like all really rugged men, even the one or two who came to Hollywood before him, is very interested in girls. But he isn’t likely to meet them at a cocktail party. His needs are actually quite simple. He wants a truly feminine girl who stays in the background and lets her man do the work. If they’re looking for an ice-cream parlor on a drive (and that’s just what they would be looking for!) and she notices one and he doesn’t, she just lets it pass. No matter how hungry she is for the ice-cream. She lets him find the place. And she must be clean. But not beauty-parlor clean. She has to be able to wash her hair in the well and let it dry in the sun. And look good! He wants a girl who is chic in a pair of denims and a white blouse. She would have to camp out and not be afraid of horses and like animals. All animals. Most of all, she would have to be able to be alone with her man and draw pleasure from inhaling the rich night air and the smell of horses and dogs and grass and living things, rather than cigarette smoke in a crowded Hollywood club. She would have to like football. Really like it. And if she has personal ambition – the most important one should be her desire to love and be loved by her man. She must want to live for him.

There are probably quite a few girls like that. Maybe, you know one or two. But they’re hard to find around Hollywood. Lee Majors is discovering that for himself. 

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