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ROMANCE : Love Story

January 04, 1987

'It looks as if Hollywood brides keep the bouquets and throw away the grooms.'

--Groucho Marx

Celebrities have a penchant for marrying one another's exes. Call it musical spouses: Mary Pickford to Douglas Fairbanks Sr.

Douglas Fairbanks Sr. to Lady Sylvia Ashley

Lady Sylvia Ashley to Clark Gable

Clark Gable to Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard to William Powell

Mickey Rooney to Ava Gardner

Ava Gardner to Artie Shaw

Artie Shaw to Lana Turner

Lana Turner to Lex Barker

Lex Barker to Arlene Dahl

Arlene Dahl to Fernando Lamas

Fernando Lamas to Esther Williams

June Allyson to Dick Powell

Dick Powell to Joan Blondell

Joan Blondell to Mike Todd

Mike Todd to Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor to Eddie Fisher

Eddie Fisher to Debbie Reynolds

T Photoplay magazine sent couples scurrying to the altar in 1939 by naming names in a little bombshell titled "Hollywood's Unmarried Husbands and Wives." The article never directly stated that four famous couples cohabited, but the Hays Office was immediately besieged with complaints from decency groups demanding that those sinners marry. Of the four couples--Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck, Gilbert Roland and Constance Bennett and George Raft and Virginia Pine--only Raft and Pine did not eventually make it down the aisle. Photoplay clucked:

"Every afternoon, for the past three years, a little meat market on Larchmont Avenue, near Paramount Studios in Hollywood, has received a telephone call from a woman ordering a choice New York cut steak.

"Sometimes she orders it sent to the Brown Derby, sometimes to an apartment penthouse on Rossmore Street, sometimes to the studio.

"Wherever George Raft happens to be dining.

"The woman who sees that George Raft has his favorite evening meal, no matter where he may be, is Virginia Pine. She is not George's wife, although there's little doubt that she would be if George's long-estranged wife would give him a divorce.

"Carole Lombard is not Clark Gable's wife, either. Still she has remodeled her whole Hollywood life for him. She calls him 'Pappy,' goes hunting with him, copies his hobbies, makes his interests dominate hers.

"Barbara Stanwyck is not Mrs. Robert Taylor. But she and Bob have built ranch homes next to each other. Regularly, once a week, Barbara freezes homemade ice cream for Bob from a recipe his mother gave her.

"Nowhere has domesticity, outside the marital state, reached such a full flower as in Hollywood. Nowhere are there so many famous unmarried husbands and wives."

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