Friday, May 16, 2014

Charlie, his second wife, Lita, and British novelist Elinor Glyn, October 1925

Both Charlie and Lita describe a story in their memoirs about a roadtrip to Mexico they took with William Randolph Hearst around late 1925 when Lita was pregnant with their second son, Sydney. About twenty people went along for the ride including Elinor Glyn. It was an unpleasant experience because the roads were unpaved and they had to spend the night in a dilapidated Mexican farmhouse.

In My Autobiography, Charlie remembered taking the trip "when my second wife was pregnant. A parade of ten cars followed Hearst and Marion [Davies] over bumpy roads and I was cursing the whole outfit because of it." In Wife Of The Life Of The Party, Lita wrote that Charlie was concerned that the bumpy roads would affect her pregnancy. "A couple of times the terrain was so bumpy Charlie held me in the air so I would not feel the jolting. He was afraid I might miscarry." Both recall how there were not enough beds but that Lita was given one because of her condition (Charlie claims he slept on a couch, but according to Lita, he slept in the bed with her.) Glyn slept on a broken-down couch. Lita remembered that everyone tried to find humor in the situation but Elinor. "She saw nothing funny about anything that removed her from her elegant surroundings." Charlie wrote that Elinor was "dressed as though she were going to the Ritz," wearing a hat, veil, and gloves. "She lay with her hands folded across her chest like a supine figure in a tomb, and slept undisturbed in that one position. I knew for I did not sleep a wink all night. In the morning, from the corner of my eye, I watched her get up as she had lain down, with everything intact, not one hair out of place, her skin white and enameled, as ebullient and spry as if she were walking through the tea room of the Plaza Hotel." Lita recalled that Elinor "had always worn a stiff corset, and it was comical to see her stretched out on the couch with her arms folded over her chest, her white makeup still on, and wearing her hat. 'I won't even take my hat off in this dreadful place,' she said. Charlie and I laughed so hard and so long at Miss Glyn's remark it seemed like it took us forever to fall asleep."


  1. This story only makes me think - oh, he was getting along with Lita for a hot minute.

  2. Thaaaaaaaat is a funny story. I guess Charlie wasn't totally mean to Lita throughout the entire marriage.

  3. Yay! A story where they aren't trying to rip each other's guts out.

    I've recently seen alot of things that make me believe that Charlie wasn't always mean. Charlie Jr. often states in his memoir about his Dad that the only way he could ever make himself feel better about the circumstances of his birth was to remember for a brief moment that his parents loved each other. And Lita said in an interview shortly before her death that things weren't always mad every second. Sometimes he would come home from work and they would have a nice evening together.

  4. Elinor's sister escaped the Titanic with her husband in a lifeboat. April 14, 1912. Lady Duff Gordon was the one who designed naughty lingerie for the rich and nouveau riche movie folk. I saw Rose tell Jack Dawson that outside the dining hall in the film Titanic.

    1. Teehee!. You crack me up with some of your comments!