August 31st, 2019

carole lombard 06
  • vp19

Zukor, Zanuck, Mayer, Cohn...Trump?

My "holy trinity" of Golden Age actresses -- Carole Lombard, Myrna Loy and Barbara Stanwyck -- recently held court in Hollywood heaven. Here's the transcript:

Lombard: Myrna, Stany, I invited you here because I just came across something that has to be seen, er, read to be believed. It's from the latest issue -- September 2019, to be precise -- of Los Angeles magazine.

Stanwyck: Who's that caricatured on the cover, Carole?
Loy: I'm afraid to say it, but I think I know.
Lombard: Babs, it's your fellow Republican, one Donald J. Trump! And there's a story about him inside (

Stanwyck: Carole, I may be a Republican, but certainly not that kind. I doubt that even Jane Russell, who's about as far right as it comes, would claim him.
Loy: But what's Trump doing in a magazine whose subject is Los Angeles?
Lombard: As the story explains, "You don't generally think of Donald Trump when you think of L.A." But he spent his share of time in Hollywood and then some, as he tried to add entertainment to his so-called brand.
Loy: Sorry for him LA's never had a local equivalent of the New York tabloids. Boy, did they ever play him up (sigh).
Stanwyck: And Hearst's Herald-Examiner -- yeah, I know it never was a tabloid -- passed a few months before I did.
Lombard: Funny your mention of ol' W.R. The Donald briefly had ambitions of being a mogul, not a quasi-mogul like Hearst and his Cosmopolitan production unit. In fact, Trump even mulled attending film school at SC.
Stanwyck: Lord knows, hasn't that school suffered enough lately?
Lombard: In an interview, he said, "I've always thought Louis B. Mayer led the ultimate life, that Flo Ziegfeld led the ultimate life, that men like Darryl Zanuck and Harry Cohn did some creative and wonderful things. The ultimate job for me would have been running MGM in the '30s and '40s -- pre-television."
(There's a pause of several seconds as they let that latest comment sink in, Then Loy starts laughing loudly, followed by Lombard and Stanwyck.)
Loy: Trump would've figured a way to make the MGM money machine, with all those films, all those theaters, go bankrupt.
Stanwyck: The other moguls in town would have eaten him for lunch.
Lombard: And could you imagine Zukor or Jack Warner dressing up like this, for the 2005 Emmys?

Loy: This interview is from--
Lombard: Playboy magazine in 1990. Clark tells me he only read it for the interviews. (softly) Yeah, right. Anyway, it was right after he announced plans to buy the land the Ambassador Hotel was on -- you know, where Joan Crawford and I competed in those dance contests -- and build a skyscraper 125 stories high.
Loy: With whose money?
Stanwyck: None of us lived to see reality-show TV dominate the industry.
Lombard: Thank God! According to the story, Donald tried to parlay such success into genuine Hollywood fame, and the entertainment industry laughed at him.
Loy: As if he ran one of those teacup studios where Carole and I occasionally moonlighted.
Stanwyck: He may have dreamed of being a mogul--
Lombard: But someone in the story said Trump didn't have that killer instinct that characterized Harry Cohn or even mild-mannered Adolph Zukor.
Loy: And then there's Trump the ladies' man.
Lombard: The story says he wanted to emulate Hugh Hefner and his lifestyle, but Hef possessed charm, tact and a courtesy towards women the Donald never had.
Loy: I know he was active in film preservation. Hefner, I mean, not Trump.
Stanwyck: The only films he'd care to preserve would be ones where he hogged the footage.

Loy: Trump is a poor man's Hearst, from his buildings' architecture to his taste in mistresses. Marion had class!
Lombard: Which reminds me...someone once asked Trump about "Citizen Kane." He said it was "really about accumulation, and at the end of the accumulation you see what happens, and it's not necessarily all positive, not positive."
Stanwyck: That's the lesson he got from "Kane"?
Lombard: Heck, Clark got more out of the movie, and he fell asleep through it.

A timeline of assorted Trump highlights (or lowlights?) in Los Angeles can be found at
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