Friday, February 22, 2019

Smitten by Bud Stamper

HALLE EPHRON: I was a child of the movies. I wanted to BE Velvet Brown. I wanted Holly Golightly to be my best friend. And I lusted after Bud Stamper

We're talking the early nineteen sixties when I was fourteen years old and obsessed with my shortcomings—too tall, too skinny, pimply, smelly, hairy. It was then, in the throes of self-conscious adolescent angst, that I first clapped eyes on Bud. 

My best friend and I took the bus to the Picwood movie theatre in Westwood to see Splendor in the Grass. I left besotted with Warren Beatty’s character, Bud, a sweet, sensitive, sex-starved high-school quarterback who’s madly in love with the virginal, beautiful, popular, passionate, repressed Deanie (Natalie Wood)

He (Bud? Warren?) nailed me with those crinkly eyes, that goofy smile, and an endearing boyish awkwardness. He had the perfect inarticulate stammer and aw-shucks manner about him, a sweetened amalgam of Marlon Brando and James Dean. 

If you’re in my generation, I know you saw the movie. If not, here’s what you missed. It’s set in small-town Kansas in 1928 inthe midst of Prohibition and in the run-up to the stock market crash. Bud’s wealthy father, an oil man who’s all bluster and narcissism, wants Bud to go to Yale and join the family business. Bud wants to go to ag school, become a farmer, and marry Deanie. 

Deanie’s not-so-wealthy parents have aspirations for Deanie, too. Her mother is desperate for her to marry Bud. But her mother’s nightmare is that that her daughter will “go too far” and have to have “one of those operations” and end up shamed for life. 

The screen nearly explodes with unfulfilled lust that drives Bud into the arms of Juanita, the girl boys say “knows what it’s all about.” Desperate Deanie tells Bud she’ll do “whatever you want,” but he can’t bring himself to soil her innocence. Which in turn drives Deanie literally around the bend. She tries to kill herself and ends up in a psychiatric hospital.

Bud soldiers on. Following Daddy’s orders, he goes to Yale but flunks out. He marries a waitress and settles down to be rancher on his father’s land, the only bit of his father’s estate that remains intact after the stock market crash. When Deanie, about to be married, comes looking for him, she meet Angelina, a former waitress who’s his sweet pregnant wife, played by the wonderfully slatternly Zohra Lampert. Deanie asks Bud if he’s happy. He answers, “I don’t ask myself that question very often.”

And they go their separate ways.

It’s all very tragic, a morality tale about the power of sex that left me with a great deal to think about. Would I be Deanie or Juanita or Angelina? There are so many tired sexual stereotypes in this movie, but back then I was seriously unwoke. Almost everything I knew about sex was based on Selena in Peyton Place. And now Deanie in Splendor in the Grass.

I followed Warren Beatty’s career, but by the time Bonnie And Clyde
 came out six years later the bloom was off that rose. According to my movie magazines, my sweet Bud Stamper had been sleeping around. And around. 

It would take a while for me to realize that my ideal partner was not a hunk whom other women lusted after. He was slow but steady, the tortoise not the hare, not clever but smart, loyal…and devoted.

Once upon a time (before you knew better), were you smitten by a rock star? A movie idol? Was it the smile, the eyes, or the abs?

97 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I don’t know that I’d call it smitten, but I loved listening to Richard Burton . . . he could have read the telephone book and I would have listened to every word . . . .

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    1. I was thinking about 'voices' the other day (when Carol Channing died) and which voices were indelibly stamped in my brain. Yes, Richard Burton. Lauren Bacall...

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  3. Hayley Mills and Jodie Foster were the actresses I adored when growing up. Of course, when I discovered Hayley Mills, she was already 40 years old but it was a movie called Summer Magic that she made as a teenager that made my crush happen. Not that it was a great movie or anything but still. As for Jodie, I've been a fan since the first time I saw the movie Candleshoe when I was a kid.

    For musicians I had a crush on it was Doro Pesch, the singer of the metal band Warlock and then a long solo career that is still ongoing. In fact, after seeing her for the first time in concert back in 2017, I'll be seeing her again come this May when she'll be playing a show just 20 minutes from my doorstep.

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    1. Sigh, Hayley Mills - I had a huge crush on her, too. Parent Trap. But really her first movie, Tiger Bay, which my dad took me to see. She plays a little girl who witnesses a murder; her father (John Mills) plays the detective/cop. Those eyes.

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    2. Hallie, I haven't seen that one. Guess I'll have to check into it.

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    3. Hayley Mills was on Midsomer Murders.

      Diana

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  4. I certainly did! I can't remember the earliest ones, maybe Bobby Vee. But then Glen Campbell! And later it was Alan Alda. But my largest fantasies were for Gordon Lightfoot! When I hear one of his songs I know I am not quite over him yet. (What I have learned is best not pay any attention to their personal lives!)

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    1. Oh, I had it bad for alan alda, too, once upon a time. He seems to be one of the few actors who've survived into old age, reputation intact.

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    2. I totally get the Gordon Lightfoot thing.

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    3. Alan Alda is a wonderful actor. I also love his books too. I think his wife wrote children's books.

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  5. George Harrison. 'My' Beatle. They were all cute in their suits and moptop haircuts, but George seemed to be looking at us all with an expression of 'Wow! Will you look at this?!', like he was inviting us in to see the joke--just four lads making music in a crazy world.

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    1. All my friends were nuts about Paul and John. I like to think I was more discerning... ;-)

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    2. Yeah, George was my Beatle too. Paul was just too blatantly, standardly cute for my taste.

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  6. I remember being just devastated by Splendor in the Grass -- the heart break of it all, the "quiet desperation" (though I don't think I yet knew that term) of their adult lives. I found it shattering.

    Crushes? I know I had a few. When I was very, very young, I remember being fascinated by Johnny Cash. I think he personified a "real man" to me. Later, when I was closer to the age of actually acting on any fantasies, I think I went more traditionally "boy band" in my taste but those didn't leave a sufficiently lasting memory to even allow me to dredge up a name.

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    1. It was a defining movie for... women of a certain age.

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  7. For voices, Brando and Cary Grant. Still love Warren Beatty, I have to say. But my particular, unhinged love, was for the late John Heard after I saw him in Chilly Scenes of Winter.

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  8. Jeremy Irons, The French Lieutenant's Woman, though he played a wimpy character.

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  9. I was never much into teen idols. When all my friends were hot for Bobby Sherman, I had a thing for Neil Diamond--dark, brooding, complex chord structures . . . Somewhat later I had a brief thing for geeky anchorman Garrick Utley, and when Star Wars came out I skipped Luke Skywalker all together and went straight for Harrison Ford. In much more recent years I had a mad crush on Harry Pierce, the character Peter Firth played in MI-5/Spooks. I think crushes are useful at any age when you need to form or re-evaluate what you believe about yourself, sex, partnership, and the whole damn thing.

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    1. I am so with you on Garrick Utley! I just burst out laughing!

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    2. I am in complete agreement on the "crushes are useful at any age" philosophy for exactly those reasons!

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    3. So nice to know there's another vote for Garrick Utley out there, Hank. We know how to pick 'em!

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    4. I remember Bobby Sherman married one of his fans?

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  10. The Beatles were my first crush - Paul was my favorite. I had a "shrine" of pictures torn from teen magazines in my room. Then The Monkees - my first concert - Peter Tork (who just died) was my crush.

    As far as actors go, I agree about Warren Beatty and add Paul Newman and Robert Redford! I had a crush on Hayley Mills, too, after our family went to NYC on a vacation. We went to Radio City Music Hall and saw the Rockettes and the movie, The Chalk Garden, on the biggest screen I had ever seen. Hayley Mills, her dad, and Deborah Kerr were in it and it was, unlike the Disney movies, a very serious movie. It had a big effect on me and I never forgot it.

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    1. I remember that movie. VERY serious. Problem child. Mystery. Feels very modern.

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  11. My crush was Paul Newman, with those blue eyes and sexy voice. It was inconvenient that he was married but I wasn't all that choosy. It all started with "The Long Hot Summer."

    "Put those things down Miss Clara, 'cause I'm gonna kiss you."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNdddrIe6dQ

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    1. I went to see Out of Africa the other night, a special re-screening. He was pretty hot as Denys Finch Hatton. Several years after I first saw the film, I ran across of photo of the real Finch Hatton. Sigh. He did not look at all like Robert Redford.

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    2. Paul Newman made the Hudson Hornet seem sexy. That's some powerful mojo.

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  12. Paul Newman, yes. Robert Redford. The two of them in "The Sting" was...amazing.

    But my first true teen crush was Johnny Depp. Those cheekbones.

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    1. Johnny Depp?? An interesting choice. Though I liked John Malkovich so I've got no business being surprised.

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    2. I was a teen in the 80s. Depp came to hate his "21 Jump Street" years, but that was the first time I encountered him and...wow. The eyes. The cheekbones. The angst. Oh, be still my teenage heart.

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  13. Gregory Peck? No question. And did I ever tell you about me and Warren Beatty? I met him when I worked at Rolling Stone. Interviewed him. Honestly truly I gasped when I saw him. The handsomest person I’ve ever seen in my entire life. He 100% flat out propositioned me, no question about it. I mean… I was wearing pink acid wash jeans and a matching pink acid washed Jean jacket.

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    1. I have always been proud to be the ONLY woman (apparently) to have turned him down. The whole thing is an amazing and hilarious story... he has quite the approach.

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    2. I would really like every tiny detail! Were you tempted, just a little?

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    3. Hank, I’m so disappointed. Xox

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  14. I grew up Catholic and spent my teenage years in a very small town. So my movie history is warped. I had a date when I was 15 and we saw “White Christmas”. This was 1962.
    So. I didn’t do Hollywood idols.
    Until I was an adult and got to see the movies. Oh man, Paul Newman.

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  15. I was a movie star freak. Crushed on men and women. Sally Field as Gidget was the epitome of what a teenager should be. I was 10-11 when that series was on. Mod Squad actors were cool. Crushed on Doris Day. Here Come the Brides...loved Robert Brown while everyone else loved the younger brother. I've always gravitated towards the more wholesome actresses and rougher actors I guess. Most recent was my beloved Alan Rickman. Even made a trip to NYC specifically to see him in Seminar!

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    1. So jealous that you got to see Alan Rickman in person! I've several times been tempted to declare ALAN RICKMAN DAY on Jungle Red.

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    2. Oh, do it, Hallie! Sense and Sensibility...he finally gets the girl!

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    3. Oh that'd be so lovely. Yes to Sense and sensibility and Truly, Madly, Deeply and Blow Dry and so many others. I never watched the movie Sweeney Todd but downloaded his song.

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  16. Hi, Hallie! I think I was too smitten by George Harrison to notice any movie stars. But now I HAVE to watch Splendor in the grass.

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  17. I mostly saw movies on TV and particularly liked Burt Lancaster, he seemed so manly to me.
    But my real love was for a second character in TV series The Virginian : Doug McClure. He had a very sweet smile but projected some vulnerability and he was a cowboy. I wanted a horse like his. There were many cowboys in the sixties and some were very sexy.

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    1. OOoh, I forgot about Doug McClure. Yes, cowboys of the 60s. There were several types.

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    2. I used to say he was my uncle. Lol.

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  18. I am guilty of serial crushes. First this one then that one and then o-o-o-look over there! So, John Lennon and James Taylor and yes, Gordon Lightfoot. As for actors I'm pretty much a character actor groupie so my crushes were not front page news in the teen magazines.

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  19. The original STAR WARS came out the day of my 16th birthday, and I was right there with my friends. When twenty-something Mark Hamill came onscreen with his wide cheekbones and his feathered blond hair, I went "Woof." By the time Luke Skywalker had grown into a hero in the third act, I was in love. I was thrilled to death when he got a kiss from Princess Leia (remember, in 1977, we didn't know they were brother and sister. In fact, I'm pretty darn sure George Lucas didn't know it either, because he set up the story as a classic triangle.)

    I went back and back that summer, seeing the movie seven times at the Bayberry Cinema (close enough for me to bike there from my house!)Not just because of Luke Skywalker, but he didn't hurt.

    The best part of my teen crush: Mark Hamill has seemingly grown into a genuinely nice man. He's been married to the same woman for over 40 years, he's funny and gracious, and he has a wickedly witty liberal Twitter feed that I admire. .

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    1. He does seem like a genuinely nice human being who didn't get bitten by Hollywood.

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    2. Hamil has done mostly voice work, post Star Wars. He says he likes being able to work from home and spend time with his family.

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    3. Mark Hamill is a wonderful actor.

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  20. Our crushes are going to reveal what generations we are! :) I'm Gen X so:

    In grade school, in music were Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, Donny Osmond. Later on it was Rick Springfield. (I'm sensing a "pretty boy" pattern here, not necessarily good music). In movies, Timothy Hutton from the movie Taps. TV: Pierce Brosnan from Remington Steele.

    I STILL have crushes. I don't suppose it ever stops ... I hope it won't :) Currently Eric Christian Olson on NCIS Los Angeles. Stephen Amell on Arrow. Books: Joscelin Verreuil in Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart trilogy.

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    1. Pierce Brosnan is among my favorites as James Bond.

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  21. Rock Hudson for the gentle demeanor and soft lovely voice. Diane Baker (Mirage 1964) made my heart stop. I am 17 at the time. My thought ... oh dear.

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  22. My very very first crush, when I was in grade school, was on Richard Chamberlain as Dr. Kildare. And then, the Beatles!!! Oh my. I was a Paul girl, through and through. I'm sure that contributed to my Anglophilia. Mark Hamil as Luke Skywalker, yes. I always went for the cuties. But I still adore Hamil. As Julia says, he grew up to be a very nice man, funny, witty, and smart. Kenneth Branagh. I went to see his Henry V at least three times in the theater, all by myself. Pierce Brosnan. I adored him as Remington Steele. Alan Rickman. That was a serious thing. I was absolutely devastated when he died. Oh, I forgot Dennis Quaid. I had a huge crush on Dennis back in The Big Easy days.

    Serial crushes, yes, there are always one or two. Normal and healthy, I think. A couple of the most recent; Joe Sugg, the 27 year old British YouTuber who was a contestant on the UK's Strictly Come Dancing, and an odd one (or more odd,) the late Richard Griffiths as Henry Crabbe in the British series Pie in the Sky. All fodder for the imagination.

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    1. Two big thumbs up for Richard Chamberlain, and Kenneth Branagh. But then, you know how odd my tastes can be; I also adore Jimmy Dale Gilmore.

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    2. Yes, Richard Chamberlain for me, too. Broke my heart to discover he wasn't into women.

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    3. Oooh yes, yes. Dr. Kildare...Dreamy. My best friend preferred bad boy Ben Casey.

      And let us not forget Little Joe Cartwright.

      Uh, wait... Richard Chamberlain is gay? I never knew. Fortunately, that doesn't matter in the least when it comes to teenage crushes, since we never stood a real life chance anyway. It was all in our dreams.

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  23. Cannot recall my first crush. A fellow from a science fiction television series? Current crushes include Colin Firth, Henry Cavill, among others. Since I love old movies, my crushes include James Stewart, Cary Grant and Gregory Peck.

    Diana

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  24. In college, I dreamed about Henry V. Only because of reading the plays.

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  25. The first crushes I remember I shared with my girlfriends in 5th/6th grades. We adored Nick Adams in The Rebel; I thought it odd than a Southerner could be so nasal! Then we adored Gardiner McKay in Adventures in Paradise. So good looking. My only music crush was Mickey Dolenz. I even wrote him a fan letter. Sean Connery was a longtime crush for all the obvious reasons. I totally agree on Kenneth Brannaugh and Alan Rickman. I got quite irritated when a friend referred to Kenneth as No Lips. Damn. And she said something equally disparaging about Rufus Sewell, another crush. I fell for Bill Pullman when he played The Virginian. Current heartthrobs are Garret Dillahunt as the cowboy on Fear the Walking Dead and Juan Diego Botto as Javier on Good Behavior. The former plays such a sweetheart; when I saw the ads for a new season of FTWD I was hooked. I had to start watching the show to see him. Juan Diego plays such a compelling character: hitman/chef from Argentina. Love him! My sister and I are both crushing on these last two!

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  26. My first crush was Jack Lord as McGarrett in the old Hawaii 5-0. I thought he was the coolest, best looking guy ever. Not sure why! I was maybe 7.

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  27. Reading about Splendor in the Grass brings to mind my love for Natalie Wood and her movies. Even though I was too young to see the early 60s ones at the theater, being born in 1954, I saw them eventually, and oh, how I wanted to be Natalie Wood. I thought Warren Beatty was dreamy, but it was Natalie Wood that was the shining star for me. My favorite movie of hers was Love with the Proper Stranger, with Steve McQueen, who I did fall hard for in that movie.

    When I was in college, The Way We Were came out with Robert Redford, and I was completely besotted with Hubbell and his charm. Following closely were his movies The Great Gatsby and The Sting, in which he was again paired with Paul Newman, and later Out of Africa. Paul Newman deserves special mention, starting with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Paul Newman became more of a crush later, as I began to expand my idea of sexy. Of course, Newman has the very best eyes of any crush ever.

    Then, as I grew older, there was Colin Firth and Kevin Costner. Then I grew even older, and the appeal for just good looks and charm changed to more substantial appreciation of the total person. So, actors like Bill Nighy started making my crush list.

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    1. Bill Nighy's laugh cracks me up every time!

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  28. If any of you Bill Nighy fans haven't seen him in STILL CRAZY, check it out!

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    1. Thanks, Wendall--love Bill Nighy!

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    2. Going to check it out... Thanks, Wendall

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    3. Wendall, as big a fan as I am of Bill Nighy, I haven't nearly watched all his performances. I'll definitely be checking out Still Crazy. I thought he was brilliant in Love Actually, and there is a movie called The Girl in the Cafe, not well-known, that I love. He's a serious guy in The Girl in the Cafe, which also stars Kelly McDonald. And, I loved him in About Time with Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams, a lovely comedic film about time travel.

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  29. For me it was Cornell Wilde. Does anyone else remember him? When, as Fredrick Chopin in "A Song to Remember," that tortured, tubercular soul dripped blood on the piano keys, I thought my heart would break. What a witch George Sand (Merle Oberon, I think) was! But he came back, hale and hearty, as an aerialist in "The Greatest Show on Earth." What a relief!

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  30. Oh, and my current crush is an actor whose name I didn't know until recently: Rufus Sewell. Rufus? Really? But... Lord Melbourne in "Victoria," and then a star turn in Mrs. Maisel. It just doesn't get any better.

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    1. I had to look him up - I loved Mrs. Maisel and there he is. I get it.

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    2. I still have problems with Rufus because he was just so rotten in The Holiday! Lol.

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  31. And for a girl crush, I totally wanted Annette Funicello as my bestie. Didn't everyone?

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    1. My husband had such a thing for her. And I'm eternally grateful, because he's always preferred brunettes.

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  32. So late today, but didn't anyone else crush on Tony Curtis? Omigod, in Some Like it Hot he and Marilyn Monroe both caused me to crush!

    And don't laugh, but I had a longtime crush on Gene Wilder. His eyes and sweet smile melted me, but mostly, he was so darn funny. That is so attractive to me.

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  33. I'm trying to remember my first celeb crush that was a movie star. Mostly, I was a musician's girl - Brian Setzer, Sting, anyone in Duran Duran. Shocker, I know. I think my first real movie star crush was Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, then of course, Keanu Reeves in pretty much anything and now I'm rather fond of Idris Elba. But the musicians will always own my heart.

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  34. Paul from the Beatles, David McCallum in The Man from U.N.C.L.E(and still in NCIS), Harrison Ford in the first Star Wars and Indiana Jones, Mark Hamill in The Return of the Jedi. I liked Eric Braeden when he was Hans Gudegast in The Rat Patrol and still watch him in The Young and the Restless. At least these guys are still alive. Sad that Davy Jones of the Monkees, George Harrison and others have died.

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  35. My first crush (besides Paul McCarney--duh!) was Robert Vaughn in his Napoleon Solo role. Suave, handsome, and--most important--smart. (I always went for the less-sexy-but-smarter characters, like Artemis Gordon in The Wild, Wild, West, and Dr. McCoy in Star Trek. So yes, I guess I'm a nerd.)

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  36. My first real crush was David Cassidy. I remember listening to his voice, watching The Oartridge Family, and collecting Partridge Family bubblegum cards. ��. Later on life I came to really treasure Cary Grant. I also had/have platonic crushes on Marilyn Monroe and my favourite actress of all time, Judi Dench. Very different people, at different times in my life, in different ways.

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  37. There was a show called The Lieutenant and the main character was Lt Rice - I was about 5 years old and I had a crush on him LOL. I also like The Man from Uncle actors and had a crush on both of those stars (Robert Vaughn and David MaCallum), and Star Trek - I think I had a crush on all the main actors at one point or another! Clint Eastwood, Steve MCQueen...plenty of others. By the time I grew up I had a crush on Emilio Estevez and James Spader...OH Patrick Stewart too LOL

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  38. Alan Rickman, with a winery, overlooking Santa Barbara. –Reen

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