Tuesday 29 January 2013

Mature Attitude

The film star Victor Mature (his real name, improbably enough) was born on this day 100 years ago. Like many of his war-straddling generation - and almost none of today's stars - he never took acting (or himself) very seriously. 'I was never that crazy about acting,' he said, after he'd more or less given it up. 'I had a compulsion to earn money, not to act. So I worked as an actor until I could afford to retire. I wanted to quit while I could still enjoy life... I like to loaf. Everyone told me I would go crazy or die if I quit working. Yeah? Well what a lovely way to die.' In fact he enjoyed a full 20 years of loafing after his last film.
Many years ago I had the strange experience of watching Mature in Samson and Delilah, opposite Hedy Lamarr, in a cinema in Split (Spoleto), with Serbo-Croat subtitles. This was the film about which Groucho Marx famously uttered words to the effect that he couldn't take an interest in a movie where the leading man's bosom was larger than the leading lady's. Harsh, but not far short of the truth...
You have to warm to a man who, when refused membership of an up-market country club on the grounds that he was an actor, protested 'I'm not an actor - and I've got 64 films to prove it!' They don't make them like that any more.


  1. This was the same anti-semetic Country Club that told Groucho he couldn't use the pool, and he asked "Since my daughter is only half-jewish, could she go in up to her knees?"

  2. Ho ho - good old Groucho!
    My favourite is when some pushy type sent him their now book to read and he reported back 'I laughed from the moment I picked it up to the moment I put it down. One day I'll read it.'

  3. Samson and Delilah famous for it's use of cork Corinthian columns, no actor was hurt during the collapse of this building.

    Did bounce oddly though, the columns, not the actors, Hedy famously bounced somewhat in her first movie, unconstrained by clothes she couldn't do otherwise.

  4. Hedi. What a girl.

    She was no mere actress either, but was busy designing inertial guidance systems for torpedoes during the war and jountly holds the patent for the litle bit of kit in your mobile that allows it to know where it is.

    Not a bad looker either; pneumatic or not pneumatic.

  5. Hedi was one sharp lady. Victor Mature, I love him. I grew up in Louisville Ky, USA where he was born and raised. He is also buried there. I put flowers on his grave every now and then.

  6. Thanks Nige for a delicious bit of "mature" news. I throughly enjoyed the read. ~ D