The diary my mother never wrote is from what I read in the FBI surveillance reports, newspaper articles and what my father told me. My mother’s emotion’s and thoughts erupt from years of research, intuition and imagination. When I was eleven she gave me a diary. I’ve been writing ever since. I wanted my daughter or son to understand who I was, in case I died young like her. Instead I became dedicated to writing not childbearing.
I think every mother should keep a diary for her children.
Manhattan, December 1944
I am dancing at the Copacabana Night club for the next few weeks. This tiny smoky club is filled with many interesting people. It’s different from any modeling job.
I’m tired after working all day and night, and then taking the train back home to West Orange. Some of the girls are staying at the Barbizon Hotel, so I may also if it’s not too expensive.
Last night, a group of men were seated in the front row. I didn’t know who they were, but this one stared at me all through the show. He sent a bouquet of long-stemmed roses backstage and asked me to meet him for a drink.
When I declined, he was very insistent, and so persuasive I gave in. Later on, I found out he was seated with Frank Costello, the gangster. His name is Allen, and he asked me to dine with him the following night. I hesitated again, and I’m not sure why. He made me laugh and entertained everyone at the table.
A talent agent from Hollywood came to the Copa to see all of us dance. Mum is so excited she is already telling everyone in town, I hate when she does this.
Allen called and I agreed to dine with him. We went to El Morocco. He knows so many people. He says he’s in the film business, but there’s talk amongst the girls that he’s a gangster.
I’m going to Hollywood for an audition. Swifty Lazar, the one that came to the Copa to see our show, said MGM is signing musical actors. They liked my photos. Allen lives in Hollywood, and is handling all the details. He’s become very interested in my career. It’s all so sudden. There isn’t time to think.
I spent a week in Hollywood. Allen drove me all over the city, took me to Santa Monica to see the ocean, to the nightclubs on Sunset Boulevard, and Beverly Hills.
It’s like a dream. I love the city, and MGM has offered me a contract. Again, Allen is helping me make decisions and understand the film business. I don’t know what he does, but he carries a lot of cash. He gets very disturbed when I question him. I met his friend Benjamin Siegel. They are both so handsome and get anything they want.
We are moving out to California next month. Allen found an apartment in Beverly Hills for us, near where sister Pat can go to High School. She’s so excited. One of the models told me Ben Siegel is a gangster. I wish Allen would open up to me more.
When we moved, our new apartment was on a beautiful street. The apartment is smaller than home, and Mum misses her garden, but she seems happy. She found a Church she likes. She is going to learn to drive.
I have already learned to drive and am saving for a car. Allen knows someone who sells cars, and said he can get me a very good deal. Sometimes, I don’t hear from him for a week, and then he shows up on the studio set with presents.
Allen, Ben and George Raft were arrested for bookmaking. George called and said it wasn’t like the papers wrote, and that Allen would call me when he could.
I’m not to discuss this with anyone. I hid the paper from Mum.
George took me out to dinner. He wants me to be in a movie with him called Nocturne. He’s very fond of Allen and said not to believe what I read in the papers.
Next week we begin filming “Ziegfeld Follies.” Fred Astaire is magnificent to watch. Life is spinning. There is no time to read, or even think. Everyone in Hollywood wants to be a star. I still daydream of going to college one day.
I am in love with Allen. There is no turning back. He is Jewish, and his family lives in Winnipeg, Canada. He won’t talk of them, but said he loved his mother.
I wonder so often about his life, but I cannot ask questions. Maybe one day he’ll trust me more. He’s suspicious of everyone. He said he’s going to marry me when his life settles down.