“I’ve got a secret!”: Little-known “facts” about the stars from Modern Screen, November 1954

This post is a part of TMP’s Historical Context series, in which I share excerpts from my collection of vintage publications.

Nov. 1954 Modern Screen cover (Scanned by Lindsey for TMP - Don't steal me!)
Nov. 1954 Modern Screen cover (Scanned by Lindsey for TMP – Don’t steal me!)

Modern Screen’s November 1954 issue includes a feature titled “I’ve got a secret!” which claims to share the things you never knew about your favorite stars. Today I’ve decided to share these supposed facts with you!

Linda Darnell would have been a nervous wreck if not for the music she kept playing nearly 24/7. She would keep her radio on whenever possible because she found it relaxing.

Jan Sterling did not fear going make-up free on camera, because her husband had seen her “at her worst” and loved her regardless. She was sure the audience would accept her flaws as well.

Donna Reed took a dishwashing job to pay her way through college, only to realize that the job didn’t pay enough to cover her tuition. She later became one of Hollywood’s most well-paid stars.

Marilyn Monroe liked to subtly change her hair color before each film.

Anne Baxter started wearing toe rings after having to wear them in costume for Ten Commandments. She knew everyone found them silly, but she liked them and special-ordered extras that she could keep after filming.

Virginia Mayo never dated during high school and was so shy that her classmates mistakenly considered her to be a snob.

Mary Murphy loved to talk about any topic under the sun, with favorites ranging from philosophy to baseball. She had a wide range of interests and was always more than willing to share them with others.

Jean Simmons only liked to wear the extremes: a lavish evening gown or jeans and a casual shirt. No in-between casual dresses for her!

Mitzi Gaynor attributed her sophistication to the fact that she was never afraid to be herself.

June Allyson organized a very special club for people who found her obnoxious or considered her a “professional sweetheart.” Included in the club were Dick Powell and Jimmy Stewart. Despite creating this club, she insisted that she was not bothered by any criticism of herself or her films.

Linda and Jan's photos appear on the first page of the article. (Scanned by Lindsey for TMP - Don't steal me!)
Linda and Jan’s photos appear on the first page of the article. (Scanned by Lindsey for TMP – Don’t steal me!)

This article in some ways reminded me of the “Stars — they’re just like us!” features that are seen in today’s tabloids. I can certainly relate to Linda Darnell (to a lesser degree – I turn to music often when I’m anxious or in a bad mood, but I don’t keep it playing constantly) and Virginia Mayo. I also, like Donna Reed, worked as a dishwasher during my freshman year of college! None of the information is scandalous, and most of it just seeks to give us a peek into their true personalities or habits.

Of course, not all of these “facts” are so relatable — I haven’t jumpstarted a “Lindsey is the Most Obnoxious Blogger Ever” club (…yet) — and the reliability of the magazine’s sources is questionable in cases where the actress is not directly quoted. (Allyson was actually married to Dick Powell at the time of this issue’s release, so it’s likely that her “haters club” comment was a joke that was exaggerated by the magazine.) Regardless of their factuality, I’m sure fans who bought this issue in 1954 were delighted to discover “secrets” about their favorite stars.

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