From under my hat
Hedda Hopper was an American gossip columnist and actress. At the height of her influence in the 1940s, her readership was 35 million. A strong supporter of the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings, Hopper named suspected communists and was a major proponent of the Hollywood blacklist.
Review by Gallow Glass
By choosing 1952 as the moment to publish her first book of memoirs, Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper had certainly struck while the iron was hot. Her profile had never been higher than in that emotive time of the Hollywood Blacklist (drawn up by Hedda), her excoriating of Ingrid Bergman for getting pregnant by a married catholic, and her lobbying for Charlie Chaplin’s long exile on grounds of communist sympathies. Having divided America so sharply, she could command a captive readership on both political wings, eager to hear Hedda advocating her cause.
But in this, they will have been disappointed. The memoirs end with Hedda’s sentimental farewell to her mother, who had died in 1941. So although not strictly chronological, the story seems to come to its natural conclusion at that point, with virtually no mention of any of those three controversies. The book is essentially a string of anecdotes of old Hollywood, rather like a poor man’s David Niven, only dating back earlier, to the beginnings of the studio system - complicated further by Hedda’s eternal concealment of her age. But it is known that she married, just once in 1913, to a much older actor called DeWolf Hopper, now quite forgotten, but who had been celebrated as the great voice of the Nineties.
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