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Archive for ‘Joan Diener’

Joan Diener, I Hardly Knew Ye

By , 5 June, 2009, 2 Comments

In the July 31, 1950 issue of Quick magazine, on page 67 in the “Quick Predicts” section, a brief prediction about Joan Diener accompanied by this small photo:

Joan Diener

Joan Diener

The quick prediction reads:

Young Star:

Joan Diener (r.), only 20, will step from TV to Hollywood, where MGM, RKO and Sam Goldwyn have been paging her. She’s had dramatic roles on most networks, recently scored as a night-club singer.

I wasn’t familiar with Diener at all; which makes sense because she was known primarily for her the theatrical performances (Kismet & Man of La Mancha) and we all know how I do try to avoid theatre performances.

However, somethings just don’t add up.

Like the fact that IMDB lists very few TV appearances by the singer/actress — and none of them before 1956 — six years after this blurb in Quick.

In her obit (Diener died in May, 2006), The Independent says:

Diener’s career was given a boost when, while playing a small role in Wolcott Gibbs’s comedy Season in the Sun (1950), she was spotted by a photographer for Life magazine, who placed photographs of her there, emphasising her décolletage. She later described the offers that followed as for the Jayne Mansfield-type part, and really that’s so foreign to me. I don’t do it well. If I’d had to work, I’d have taken them. But since I was married and wanted a family, I could afford to wait.

But that’s not entirely true (and The New York Times didn’t have it right either); Diener captured the Life cover on September 20, 1948, after she made her Broadway début in the revue Small Wonder (1948). (How bold of Quick to “predict” Diener a “young star” when she’d already made the cover of Life two years earlier!)

Diener On Cover Of Life September 20, 1948

Diener On Cover Of Life September 20, 1948

As for Diener’s offers for “the Jayne Mansfield-type part,” this certainly fits not only the tone of the 1950 clipping but after seeing the other photos published in the 1948 issue of Life, who can blame them for making such offers?

Hayes Gordon & Joan Diener, Life 1948

Hayes Gordon & Joan Diener, Life 1948

That three-and-a-half-octave range operatic trained singer made one heck of a sweater girl! (Must be the lungs lol)

Despite all the positive press & obvious Hollywood promotion, Diener didn’t make any films — she didn’t even get “her” roles in Kismet & Man of La Mancha when they were filmed. (Dolores Gray was in Kismet, and Sophia Loren was in Man of La Mancha.) So it’s no real wonder I didn’t know her…

But I sort of did.

Once I read this at Divas – The Site, I said to myself, “Oh, she was the one!”

Diener was famously thrown into a pool by Fernando Lamas during a 1953 dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel, after throwing her arms around him, crying, “You look divine!”– in the middle of a huge feud between Lamas and his then-lover Lana Turner!

But then again, since neither Divas — The Site nor I can show you that old story… Maybe we’re wrong.

In 1953, Diener was getting married (to Albert Marre, who was her husband until her death). Not that it precludes a woman from hugging another man… In any case, Lamas probably threw many a woman into a pool (among other things). Jerk. But whether or not it was Joan Diener is another thing altogether.

So the one thing I thought I kinda knew about Joan Diener is probably nothing at all.