‘Sundown Boulevard’ star Nancy Olson Livingston remembers ‘daring script,’ assembly Marilyn Monroe and Walt Disney

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‘Sunset Boulevard’ star Nancy Olson Livingston recalls 'daring script,' meeting Marilyn Monroe and Walt Disney

2022-11-26 18:30:52

Nancy Olson Livingston was nonetheless a scholar at UCLA when she was solid in a movie that may make her a Hollywood star.

The Milwaukee native had simply turned 22 when “Sundown Boulevard” premiered in 1950. The film, which starred Gloria Swanson and William Holden, earned 11 Oscar nominations, together with “Greatest Actress in a Supporting Function” for Olson Livingston. She performed an bold script reader who falls in love with a stored man.

The 94-year-old, who’s the final survivor of “Sundown Boulevard,” is reflecting on her decades-long profession in a brand new memoir revealed on Nov. 22 titled “A Entrance Row Seat: An Intimate Take a look at Broadway, Hollywood, and the Age of Glamour.” Olson Livingston stated she was compelled to inform her kids the story of her life.

Nancy Olson Livingston has written a brand new memoir titled “A Entrance Row Seat: An Intimate Take a look at Broadway, Hollywood, and the Age of Glamour”.
(College Press of Kentucky)

“It was necessary for me to inform my kids about my background, my childhood, their fathers, our lives collectively and my expertise in making movement photos at a time when being a film star was totally completely different than it’s at this time,” Olson Livingston instructed Fox Information Digital. “I stored writing all these tales, my experiences, after which I’d put it down for a number of years. Then I’d choose it up and do it yet again. However I needed my kids to know what to anticipate from life and perceive what I skilled. It took without end, however I lastly completed it.”

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Nancy Olson Livingston was a student at UCLA when she made her first film, 1949's "Canadian Pacific".

Nancy Olson Livingston was a scholar at UCLA when she made her first movie, 1949’s “Canadian Pacific”.
(College Press of Kentucky)

“Sundown Boulevard” was Olson Livingston’s second movie. Her first was 1949’s “Canadian Pacific.”

“Director and co-writer Billy Wilder would cease me continuously on the lot on the best way to the commissary,” Olson Livingston recalled. “Once I had a time off, I’d simply discover and go to the sound levels the place they have been capturing… I used to be fascinated with how this complete factor labored. He requested me about UCLA. He requested me about rising up in Wisconsin and what it was like being a physician’s daughter.”

American actors William Holden (1918 - 1981) as Joe Gillis and Nancy Olson (later Livingston) as Betty Schaefer in "Sunset Boulevard", directed by Billy Wilder, 1950. 

American actors William Holden (1918 – 1981) as Joe Gillis and Nancy Olson (later Livingston) as Betty Schaefer in “Sundown Boulevard”, directed by Billy Wilder, 1950. 
(Picture by Silver Display Assortment/Getty Pictures)

“And once I was solid, which shocked me by the best way… it occurred to me that he needed me to be me,” she continued. “In reality, when [costume designer] Edith Head was placing collectively a wardrobe for me, Billy didn’t like several of it. He stated, ‘I appreciated what Nancy wore when she visited us final week.’ And I wore all my very own garments. I didn’t have an amazing wardrobe. I used to be from Wisconsin. I used to be so busy going to highschool that I didn’t have time to buy! I didn’t know the place to buy.”

Olson Livingston admitted she by no means heard of Swanson, a former star of the ‘20s who was in her ‘50s on the time. She needed to ask her mom who she was. Within the movie, Swanson performed Norma Desmond, a light display siren of the silent movie period. As for Holden, he and the younger starlet shortly bonded.

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Nancy Olson Livingston received her first Oscar nomination for "Sunset Boulevard".

Nancy Olson Livingston obtained her first Oscar nomination for “Sundown Boulevard”.
(Picture by John Springer Assortment/Corbis through Getty Pictures)

“Invoice and I turned the brand new couple on the display,” she defined. “We did 4 movies collectively. We turned such good associates… Invoice had difficulties in his life when he made ‘Sundown.’ His marriage was not glued collectively actually. It was falling aside. And he was consuming an excessive amount of at the moment. However he performed it very effectively into his position of Joe Gillis, a determined man. As we turned lovers on the display, we used to hug and kiss on a regular basis. He was a beautiful hugger and kisser. Each time we noticed one another by means of the years, we might simply fall into one another’s arms.”

Nancy Olson Livingston and William Holden embracing each other on "Sunset Boulevard". Olson Livingston said the pair became "lovers on the screen" and good friends in real life.

Nancy Olson Livingston and William Holden embracing one another on “Sundown Boulevard”. Olson Livingston stated the pair turned “lovers on the display” and good associates in actual life.
(Picture by LMPC through Getty Pictures)

“At some point… I used to be on the airport,” she shared. “Invoice occurred to be there too, down the corridor. He noticed me and yelled, ‘Nancy!’ I yelled again, ‘Invoice!’ We hadn’t seen one another in a few years… We simply rushed to one another. We hugged and kissed and have been simply so genuinely glad to see one another. A person walked by and tapped us on the shoulder. He stated, ‘I’ve to inform you, that is higher than watching an outdated film!’”

“I’ll keep in mind Invoice with deep, deep affection, without end,” Olson Livingston added.

Through the years, Olson Livingston encountered many fellow stars of Hollywood’s golden period. Some left unforgettable first impressions, which she detailed in her e book. When requested what it was like assembly Marilyn Monroe, Olson Livingston replied, “weird.”

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Actress Marilyn Monroe, left, is surrounded by photographers and journalists as she is interviewed by Phyllis Battelle, right. Nancy Olson Livingston described her first meeting with the blonde bombshell as "bizarre."

Actress Marilyn Monroe, left, is surrounded by photographers and journalists as she is interviewed by Phyllis Battelle, proper. Nancy Olson Livingston described her first assembly with the blonde bombshell as “weird.”
(Getty Pictures)

“She got here from a really sad childhood,” she defined about Hollywood’s most well-known intercourse image. “Her survival relied on her personal being. It relied on being a film star. And she or he allowed them to make her excessive in her sexuality, in her magnificence, in her the whole lot. I met her a number of occasions [in] these years. She was [always] clinging to a person and searching up at them… and [she] would communicate to them as if she have been somewhat woman, and he was her daddy.”

There was additionally Frank Sinatra, whose profession was revived with the assistance of husband no. 2 Alan W. Livingston. The longtime Capitol Data govt, who handed away in 2009 at age 91, created the character Bozo the Clown and later signed The Beatles.

It was 1953 and Sinatra was a former teen idol who had turn into a has-been. Livingston took an opportunity on “ol’ blue eyes.” It led to among the singer’s most beloved songs together with “Younger at Coronary heart” and “I’ve Bought the World on a String,” amongst others.

Hollywood singer, Frank Sinatra, is seen here looking quizzically into a press camera shortly after a conference with the Rome press where he denied reports that he had been booed and called off the stage of a Naples theater. The incident supposedly occurred when Sinatra's wife, actress Ava Gardner, billed to appear with him, failed to keep the engagement. According to press reports, the disappointed fans protested violently and walked out on the Sinatra performance. Nancy Olson Livingston said her husband, Alan W. Livingston, took a chance on the singer.

Hollywood singer, Frank Sinatra, is seen right here wanting quizzically right into a press digicam shortly after a convention with the Rome press the place he denied reviews that he had been booed and known as off the stage of a Naples theater. The incident supposedly occurred when Sinatra’s spouse, actress Ava Gardner, billed to seem with him, did not preserve the engagement. In response to press reviews, the disenchanted followers protested violently and walked out on the Sinatra efficiency. Nancy Olson Livingston stated her husband, Alan W. Livingston, took an opportunity on the singer.
(Getty Pictures)

“Frank was one of the gifted singers and interpreters of the music than anybody within the twentieth century,” stated Olson Livingston. “And my husband knew it… [But] I can’t inform you how a lot the general public and the [music] enterprise felt that his profession was gone.”

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When Olson Livingston’s husband met Sinatra, he prompt pairing him with arranger Nelson Riddle. A defiant Sinatra replied, “I solely work with Axel Stordahl.” A affected person Livingston stated, “OK, let’s put out a couple of singles and see what occurs.” It didn’t resonate with audiences, however then the music “Younger at Coronary heart” landed on Livingston’s desk.

Nancy Olson Livingston was married twice; first to lyricist Alan Jay Lerner from 1950 until 1957. Then she said "I do" once more to music executive Alan W. Livingston from 1962 until his death in 2009. Olson Livingston joked to Fox News Digital that she never had to change her monogram.

Nancy Olson Livingston was married twice; first to lyricist Alan Jay Lerner from 1950 till 1957. Then she stated “I do” as soon as extra to music govt Alan W. Livingston from 1962 till his dying in 2009. Olson Livingston joked to Fox Information Digital that she by no means needed to change her monogram.
(Getty Pictures)

“He acknowledged it instantly as Frank’s music,” stated Olson Livingston. “He waited till Axel Stordahl was in New York… then known as Nelson Riddle and stated, ‘Are you out there to rearrange this for Frank?’ He stated, ‘I used to be.’ And he acquired the studio on a Sunday afternoon. He known as Frank… And instructed him… ‘Each singer goes to need to do that music. We’ve gotta get it out first.’ Frank stated, ‘OK, simply this as soon as.’ They put it out. And naturally, it simply utterly took over the entire document scene for 3 months… That modified Frank’s route and [his] profession.”

President Kennedy, 35th President of the United States. Nancy Olson Livingston alleged that a young Kennedy was aggressive towards her. They later became friends.

President Kennedy, thirty fifth President of the USA. Nancy Olson Livingston alleged {that a} younger Kennedy was aggressive in direction of her. They later turned associates.
(Picture by © CORBIS/Corbis through Getty Pictures)

There was additionally future U.S. President Kennedy, whom she claimed gave her “a suffocating embrace.”

“I discovered him to be a really fascinating determine, however very aggressive with girls,” she alleged. “He was definitely thinking about being aggressive with me… I made it very clear that we had simply met and that [nothing] was doable. We turned associates finally… My first husband and I have been invited to his wedding ceremony. We noticed Jack and Jackie on and off on a regular basis.”

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Olson Livingston’s final movie was 1955’s “Battle Cry” earlier than she immersed herself in a brand new position – motherhood. Nonetheless, it was Walt Disney who introduced her again to Hollywood for 1960’s “Pollyanna,” which starred Hayley Mills.

Nancy Olson Livingson said it was Walt Disney who convinced her to make films again.

Nancy Olson Livingson stated it was Walt Disney who satisfied her to make movies once more.
(College Press of Kentucky)

“I used to be in Mallorca ready to select up my kids who have been visiting their father and their new stepmother,” she defined. “They stated, ‘Walt Disney is on the cellphone.’ I assumed, ‘Actually? That’s ridiculous.’ However that was Walt Disney… pleasant… He stated, ‘We now have nothing, however stars… we wish you.’… I by no means requested how a lot the wage was. I simply thought it will be an fascinating expertise that may be completely different from the rest I’d ever skilled earlier than. And it was. I walked on the lot of Disney… and it was like I used to be strolling on the streets of a small city. Everyone knew one another. Everyone knew one another’s names. Everyone known as Mr. Disney Walt… It was enjoyable making the movie, and so they have been all gifted performers. It turned an enormous hit.”

Nancy Olson Livingston, left, and Hayley Mills in a scene from "Pollyanna", circa 1960. Olson Livingston described Walt Disney as "warm and friendly" toward his cast and crew.

Nancy Olson Livingston, left, and Hayley Mills in a scene from “Pollyanna”, circa 1960. Olson Livingston described Walt Disney as “heat and pleasant” towards his solid and crew.
(Picture by LMPC through Getty Pictures)

“The next summer season, [director] David Swift stated, ‘Nancy, we’re gonna do a movie known as ‘The Absent-Minded Professor’ with Fred MacMurray,” stated Olson Livingston. “It’s maybe the funniest, wittiest movie that you’ll ever see. You can be in laughter from starting to finish… Fred MacMurray was too outdated for me. He was 22 years older. However we each grew up in Wisconsin… we didn’t discuss politics, however we talked concerning the Midwest and what the distinction was. We had a beautiful relationship.”

Olson Livingston paused earlier than she chuckled to herself.

“It’s been fairly the life,” she stated.

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