Paul Murray's weblog, with news you may have missed and my $0.02 worth on a number of topics.

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Monday, September 05, 2011
On Tom Lehrer's album That Was The Year That Was, this is the beginning of how he introduces his song Alma:
Last December 13th, there appeared in the newspapers the juiciest, spiciest, raciest obituary that has ever been my pleasure to read. It was that of a lady named Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel who had, in her lifetime, managed to acquire as lovers practically all of the top creative men in central Europe. And among these lovers -- who were listed in the obituary, by the way, which was what made it so interesting -- there were three whom she went so far as to marry. 
I was reminded of this yesterday when I stumbled across a short biography of Libby Holman at the Internet Movie database. I had never heard of her before; once I read about her, I struck by the thought that her life could be the subject of a juicy biographical movie -- one that couldn't have been portrayed accurately during her lifetime. (The author felt the same way; his biography begins, "Libby Holman's life was one of early poverty, extraordinary talent, scandal, fabulous wealth and tragedy. She's the stuff books and movies are ripe for.")

In case you're wondering how this all happened: We watched Sunset Boulevard again Saturday night on TCM, and host Robert Osborne mentioned that Montgomery Clift was supposed to play the male lead, ultimately played by William Holden. Osborne observed, and I would agree, that Clift wouldn't have been as good in the part as Holden was. As I frequently do, I looked the movie up at the IMDb to see if they had any more details, and they did. It seems Clift bailed out on the role a mere two weeks before production started, at the urging of his middle-aged actress lover ... Libby Holman. I followed the link to her entry, and it turned out she only made one movie. So I clicked on the link to her bio and -- well, here we are.

You may also be interested in her Wikipedia entry.

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