It's sometimes unbelievable how on the outside, someone can look like they have it all - but not. No matter how many times that seems to be the case, one never seems to be able to get used to it.
Gene Tierney was one such person - a beautiful woman from a wealthy family who became a top movie star, had an affair with a future President, married a man who became a top designer, and had two children. It all sounds great, except the marriage was a volatile one, one daughter was born severely retarded and sensory deprived, which Tierney blamed on her own fame. Riddled with guilt, she ultimately had a severe breakdown.
You would never have known it to see this goddess in "Laura," for which she is perhaps best remembered, and "Leave Her to Heaven," in which in my opinion she was at her most beautiful, and as the manipulative, hard Isabel in "The Razor's Edge." Gene Tierney was a dream movie star. But when a WAC quarantined with German measles escaped from her barracks to meet her favorite actress, the result was Tierney's damaged daughter, Daria, and that one action by a fan changed Tierney's life forever. There's even a movie based on it - "The Mirror Cracked." Tierney never forgave herself. At one point, her second daughter came home from school to find the apartment building surrounded by people as her mother stood on a ledge.
As mentioned above, Tierney was able to have another child and find true love in her next marriage. Although wonderful and beautiful in her small part in "Advise and Consent" in the '60s, she found herself too nervous in front of the camera and did less and less until her death from emphysema - the smoking was to lower her high-pitched voice, something the studios recommended.
The stories on "Biography" are usually very interesting and fascinating. They're also often very sad. Angela Lansbury once said when performers are working, they truly do wear a mask. Tierney's was a most beautiful one, hiding a good deal of sorrow.
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