Alice Eyland

AliceEyland2

Another model who wanted to make it as an actress, Alice Eyland fared as most of them did – too much publicity and not enough roles. Today she is better known as somebody who scored a Life magazine cover than an actress.

EARLY LIFE:

Alice Eyland was born on December 3, 1917 in Springfield, Masschusets. The family moved to New York when she was in her early teens.

She attended the prestigious private school, Washington Irving School, in New York  City. She studied arts and dramatics before embarking on a career as an advertising model. She signed with the John Powers agency and did various modeling assignments, including a minor one for Camel cigarettes.

Alice scored it big when he became the Chesterfield girl in 1938. When your face beckons men all around America to change their brand of cigarettes, you easily get spotted by Hollywood, and just six months later Alice was on her way to Tinsel Town to sign a contract with MGM.

CAREER:

Alice signed a contract with MGM, and was supposed to appear in Ninotcha and play opposite MGM’s biggest box office draw, Greta Garbo, a great honor for any new comer. For one reason or another, this did not happen – too bad, as this firts class movie could have been the things Alice needed to climb the stairs to success.

Alice lost her MGM contract after just six months, left Hollywood, returned, and signed with Universal International in 1940. They changed her name to Jean Carol. A new studio and a new name ultimately did her no favors – she, again, made no movies, and was dropped, again, after six months.

AliceEyland2Alice came to Hollywood for the third time in 1943, and finally got her share of the cake – signing with MGM and joining their standard musical roster. Two Girls and a Sailor (two girls being June Allyson and Gloria DeHaven and the sailor being Van Johnson) is a light musical with a paper thin story – does that sound familiar? One of the tons of saccharine musicals made by MGM in the 1940s, anyone looking for great music, high productions values, easy-on-the-eyes actors (basically a non complex film that does not tax the brain too much) should look that way.

Meet the People, a WW2 propaganda musical, was not the usual fare one encounters at MGM, the studio that made lavish musicals like clockwork – shot in back and white and without the usual stars, it instead had Lucille Ball and Dick Powell. Either of the leads are young and fresh as the ones in Alice’s previous movie – Powell looks especially drained, like he was forced to play the role – but the movie manages to do it’s homework and end up as a decent piece of movie work.

Bathing Beauty was one of Esther William’s swimming movies. While they took the breath away from viewers with the meticulously made sets, handsome “chorus girls” and Esther’s daredevil stunts, the plots were moronic and nobody really acts in them.   

George White’s Scandals, RKO‘s nod to the musicals of the 1930s, is one of the few comedic musicals made. While MGM always had a comedian in the cast to animate things they were, in a nutshell, love stories with handsome youths playing the leads. Not so with this movie. The leads are played by not-so-good-looking-or-young funnymen and funnywomen, whose charm and great comic timing carry the movie. Joan Davis and Jack Haley take the mantle here, but even they can’t save the movie from a tepid story and low quality music.

That was all Frances gave to Hollywood, and, indeed, all it gave to her.

PRIVATE LIFE:

Alice was godsend to the Hollywood press when she first came to California in 1938. She was beautiful, she was a famous model and she was well liked by the boys. Her photos were flaunted around newspapers with an impressive frequency. Yet, the same press that glorified her could sometimes be just as mean. A columnist taunted her how busy she was, she had no time to learn how to drive her new car. Considering Alice made no movies, you see what he’s aiming at. They also made derogatory remarks about what a novelty she was when she tried for a career in Hollywood for the second time in 1941, despite the fact that she had been in Hollywood two years prior for more than a year (and I repeat again, made no movies).

AliceEyland3Alice truly became the part of Hollywood lore during a seemingly casual night out with one of her many beaus, Romanian born director/lothario Jean Negulesco in 1940. The main actors of the show: Paulette Goddard and Anatole Litvak.

Taken from this fabulous site:

The same year they met, 1940, Paulette and Litvak caused a scandal in the Hollywood restaurant and nightclub Ciro’s. There are several accounts as to what may have happened including one alleging that upon losing one of her earrings, Paulette met Litvak under the table where they remained for a long time and began making rather convincing groans.  In a puritanical America, the tabloid press ran wild with the story distorting and embellishing into a sensational tale. Many complaints by the families of American soldiers were sent to the Department of State in Washington, D.C., which took the matter seriously, summoning witnesses such as the director Jean Negulesco. Anatole Litvak had a nervous breakdown.  Paulette, however, was able to hush-up the affair by asking one her friends, US Ambassador to the Soviet Union,William A. Harriman to intervene

As I already noted, Alice was with Jean Negulesco that fateful night. The stores she could tell about it afterwards! This scandal has been seriously blow out of proportions (IMHO), but it served to cement Goddard as the sex goddess of Tinsel Town.

Alice married noted commercial photographer, Arthur O’Neill, in the early 1940s. She was his fifth wife – two of his previous four wives were top notch New York models: Frances Donelon and Betty Wyman. O’Neill took photos of hundreds of models, and knew a beauty when he saw one – even back in 1938, before their marriage, he spoke highly of Alice and her face and figure to the press.

Alice EylandO’Neill and Alice divorced in 1948, and right away she married another lensman, Maurice Dallett. Dallett was an expert in sepia portraits, and, among others, photographed members of the famous American school of art, New Hope School.

Alice falls off the radar from then on, and I have no idea what happened to her. She could have divorces Dallett, or perhaps she was widowed.  In all probability she moved to California at some point.

There is an Alice E. Dallett who died on August 26, 2004, in San Francisco, California. All her vitals match Alice’s – name, surname, she was born in 1917 and her social number was made in New York.

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