I grew up with John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Lana Turner, Betty Grable, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Elizabeth Taylor. These people came into our home each week in the form of our favorite TV show or movie of the week. My grandmother often spoke of traveling to California to see Matt Dillon. She could never understand that he was a character played by James Arness on her favorite weekly TV show, Gunsmoke.
Dreaming of Hollywood; the Academy Awards, the glitz and the glamor would allow my mother an opportunity to escape her world and travel to the world of Hollywood, taking me and my siblings with her! Lana Turner, Betty Grable, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and of course Elizabeth Taylor; my mother could not get enough of them and her excitement was contagious!
The movies and people that starred in the movies were different when my mother was a young girl; mystery surrounded the movie stars and the places they frequented were places she could only hope to visit. Hollywood and those that ruled Hollywood saw to it that the public only saw the glamorous side of the movie business. Every girl wore her hair like Elizabeth Taylor and dreamt of being discovered like Lana Turner.
Today, the world of Hollywood is very real in my mother's life as she follows my tours leading guests through Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood as a local Tour Guide. She marvels at the places I check into on Facebook when I talk about having a drink at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel where Julia Robert's captured the eye of Richard Gere while filming Pretty Woman or walk the staircase that every movie star passes through during the Academy Awards. As I stand on the stage at the Hollywood Bowl and encourage the guests on my tour bus to pose and take pictures that will give them lasting memories, I often give thanks to my mother for sharing her love of all things Hollywood with me. Not only do my childhood memories of Hollywood make me a great Tour Guide, they have also made me my mother’s favorite Hollywood Star!