Scott's World -- UPI Arts & Entertainment

By VERNON SCOTT, United Press International  |  Nov. 14, 2001 at 5:37 PM
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HOLLYWOOD, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Among Tinseltown's great delusions are "insiders," individuals claiming they know most of the town's secrets.

But only a select few are privy to the contretemps, loves and quirks of movie stars who work and play with them professionally and socially.

Genuine insiders rarely spill the beans on movie stars because it would end their careers.

But retired producer-agent-executive Martin Jurow, who now makes his home in Dallas, reveals scores of amusing, revelatory anecdotes in a new illustrated tell-all memoir titled "Marty Jurow Seein' Stars" (SMU Press) subtitled "A Show Biz Odyssey."

Jurow and writer Philip Wuntch have produced an hilarious, eyebrow-raising series of yarns about the biggest stars in history: Cooper, Gable, Bogart, Brando, Hepburn, Bette Davis and other icons.

Jurow worked with such tyrants as Jack Warner and Hal Wallis and produced "The Great Race" with Jack Lemon and Tony Curtis, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" with Audrey Hepburn, and "Terms of Endearment" with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson.

He recalls in detail a confrontation of a delicate affair involving Shelly Winters, Tony Franciosa and Anna Magnani that rivals the Three Stooges.

Jurow writes that Winters was suspicious (correctly) about Franciosa's late-night rehearsals with Magnani for "Wild Is The Wind."

One night Magnani called him from the Chateau Marmont Hotel asking him to hurry over.

"I was greeted by a scene as stormy as any recorded on film," Jurow recollects.

"Shelley and Anna were circling each other like Roman gladiators ...

"Shelley felt that ... I was the procurer and had arranged for Tony (her husband) to satisfy the sexual needs of my client (Magnani).

"Suddenly I realized that one participant in this affair was nowhere to be seen.

"'Where's Tony?' I asked.

" 'He's in the bathroom,' screamed Shelley, her eyes livid. He's locked the door and he's not coming out. And if you know what's good for your client, you'll put an immediate stop to what's going on or I'll pull Tony from the movie.'"

The situation grew dangerous. Shelley grabbed a kitchen knife and approached Jurow menacingly.

He recalled: "Anna, standing in the kitchen, smashed a half-empty bottle of Paisano in the sink. As Shelley approached me, Anna approached Shelley, thrusting the bottle's jagged edge toward her."

Jurow remembered Anna saying, "You kill Martin, I kill you!"

Shelley had had enough. She put down her knife and said of her new husband, "You can have him. I don't want him."

According to Jurow, Magnani shouted, "I send him back to you! Do you hear. I send him back to you!"

Then unbelievably Magnani added, "Just one more rehearsal. That's all. Just one more rehearsal, then I send him back."

Says Jurow, "The evening that had started as a Gothic horror show had ended in bedroom farce."

Jurow's memoir, in book stores this month, is filled with similar recollections that only an authentic insider would know.

Several include his favorite actress of them all, Katharine Hepburn, and the swaggering, not-so-tough-guy Humphrey Bogart who was scared to death of Bette Davis, as was his blustering boss Jack Warner.

Some of the best anecdotes involve Marlon Brando.

One includes Brando and the passionate Magnani in her first scene with Marlon in "The Fugitive Kind."

Jurow quotes Magnani: "We will make history before the cameras and we will make history at night too."

The first time his stars met was on the set where Jurow attempted unsuccessfully to allay Magnani's aggressive passion for young Brando.

"I soon realized she could contain herself no longer," Jurow writes. "She rushed up to Marlon and exclaimed, 'Oh, Marlon, Marlon! Mi amore! Mi amore!'

"And Marlon replied, 'Oh, Anna, Anna! Mi tante! Mi tante! My aunt! My aunt!'

"At that moment, I realized that all was lost."

His memories include the fun and games involved in producing "The Pink Panther" with director Blake Edwards, David Niven and Robert Wagner.

Both Peter Ustinov (as inspector Clouseau) and Ava Gardner (as his wife) were originally signed to star in the film. But Gardner's arrogance and vile language were too much to bear and when she left so did Ustinov.

Jurow then finagled Peter Sellers into the Clouseau role by confiding the film would be shot in Rome and that Sophia Loren (his great passion) awaited him.

Perhaps the zaniest section in "Marty Jurow Seein' Stars" involves the comedy team of Martin and Lewis.

He opens that chapter with the observation, "In the glorious human landscape of show business, comedians are the most difficult personalities with whom to sit and have a normal conversation."

Yet one of Jurow's favorite performers is Andy Griffith, a man whom he holds in high esteem as a gifted actor/comedian and a stand-up gentleman. Jurow's book is a page-turning landmark by a true insider.

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