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Hedda Hopper Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (16) | Personal Quotes (13) | Salary (2)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 2 May 1885Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of Death 1 February 1966Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (double pneumonia)
Birth NameElda Furry
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Her father was a butcher. In 1913 she met and married matinée idol DeWolf Hopper Sr. and in 1915 they moved to Hollywood, where both began active film careers. He became a star with Triangle Company, she began in vamp parts and turned to supporting roles. After her divorce she appeared in dozens of films, becoming known as "Queen of the Quickies". In 1936 she started a gossipy radio show and two years later commenced a 28-year stint as a newspaper gossip columnist, rival of Louella Parsons. In her last films she mostly played herself, a tribute to her influence in Hollywood. Her son became famous as investigator Paul Drake in the Perry Mason (1957) series.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Spouse (1)

DeWolf Hopper Sr. (8 May 1913 - 30 January 1924) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (16)

She changed her published birthdate from May 2, 1885 to June 2, 1890 in order to conceal her actual age.
Mother of actor William Hopper
Actress turned gossip columnist.
Hedda's husband, DeWolf Hopper Sr., was the one who made Ernest Lawrence Thayer's poem "Casey at the Bat" famous, performing it over 10,000 times.
Comedian Red Skelton once painted a rather cartoonish portrait in oil of Hedda and gave it to her. Her son William Hopper owned the work until his death. Today it is worth about $22,000.
Hedda's political allies/sources in the 1940s and 1950s included such heavyweights in right-wing circles as Sen. Joseph McCarthy, Howard Hughes, Ronald Reagan, J. Edgar Hoover and William Randolph Hearst. She had unlimited sources of "dirt" on the entertainment industry through her relationship with Hoover, the longtime director of the FBI; she tried to have Citizen Kane (1941) pulled from release because of her friendship with Hearst (the film was a thinly disguised biography of Hearst); she aided McCarthy in outing "liberal" actors; she helped jump-start Reagan into politics; and she refused to board a plane unless Hughes personally inspected it.
First worked as a silent film actress for Samuel Goldwyn's film company under dismal conditions in Fort Lee, New Jersey, probably around 1917. The dressing rooms and offices were in an abandoned barn with thin wooden partitions and no ceilings.
She died on the same day as Buster Keaton, her co-star in The Stolen Jools (1931), Speak Easily (1932) and Sunset Blvd. (1950).
Raised in a strict Quaker home in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania.
Ran away from home at the age of 18 and went to New York City where she got a job in the chorus of an opera company.
A dual biography of Hopper and Louella Parsons, "Hedda and Louella," by George EElls was published as a mass market paperback by Warner Books in 1972.
Her gossip column had a rich assortment of attacks on several film stars of the day. In particular, Joan Bennett was Hopper's No. 1 subject of disdain. In response, Bennett mailed Hopper a skunk as a Valentine's Day gift in 1950 with a note that read, "You Stink!".
Filed for divorce from Hopper in New York, July 1923. Granted her interlocutory decree and custody of son, Billy, on January 30, 1924.
Is portrayed by Helen Mirren in Trumbo (2015).
She was of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) descent.

Personal Quotes (13)

[on her acerbic writing style] Nobody's interested in sweetness and light.
[on Hollywood] Our town worships success, the bitch goddess whose smile hides a taste for blood.
[on Hollywood] Two of the cruelest, most primitive punishments our town deals out to those who fall from favor are the empty mailbox and the silent telephone.
I can wear a hat or take it off, but either way it's a conversation piece.
In Hollywood gratitude is Public Enemy Number One.
[on Claudette Colbert] The smartest, canniest, smoothest eighteen-carat lady I've ever seen cross the Hollywood pike. She knows her own mind, knows what's right for her, has a marvelous self-discipline and a deep-rooted Gallic desire to be in shape, efficient and under control. Her career comes before anything, save possibly her marriage.
Joan Crawford wouldn't venture out of her Fifth Avenue apartment to buy an egg unless she is dressed to the teeth.
[on Joan Crawford] Whenever she came to the realization that the men she loved simply didn't come back, she compensated by adopting children.
[on Elvis Presley] Hmmph! I'll get rid of him before he contaminates all the clean-cut youth in our country.
To me, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) is as great as [Abraham Lincoln's] Gettysburg speech.
[on three blacklisted writers winning the 1958 screenplay award for The Defiant Ones (1958)] Since our Academy now makes it legal for Commie writers to receive Oscars, some past winners--who are as bitter about this as I am--tell me they'll return theirs.
[on Lew Ayres' refusal, as a conscientious objector, to fight in World War II] I'm not defending Lew Ayres' convictions. But I am defending his right to his own conscience. It's no part of a brave and free people to brand as a coward a man who dares to disagree with them.
I can remember a day when Hollywood didn't think much about serious things - the time of the mammoth Christmas party, the five-dollar Christmas card, and the exchange of valuables which meant Yuletide in the movie colony. I remember too the first Christmas when someone reminded us what we owed the rest of the world. The time was 1943 and, you guessed it, the someone was Bob Hope.

Salary (2)

Virtuous Wives (1918) $5,000
Sunset Blvd. (1950) $5,000

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