Letter: Stamps: may the best woman win

Sir: Re "Is Margot Fonteyn a better woman than Vivien Leigh", 7 August). Perhaps the more important question is how one woman appears on all our stamps, when nobody has voted for her.

Obituary:Claudette Colbert

The epitome of chic sophistication, Claudette Colbert was as unique among Hollywood heroines as Dietrich or Garbo.

OBITUARY:Greer Garson

Greer Garson was one generation's idea of a great screen actress. It's a view hard to sustain but, in the 1940s, the noble emoting of Garson or Joan Crawford was thought superior to the more subtle truths of, say, Ann Sothern or Judy Garland. Unlike Crawford, Garson did reveal a lively sense of humour and she could be captivating on occasion. The key to her career was that she was in the right place at the right time. If she was lucky, then so was MGM.

Inside every great person is a rotten novel

Last week I heard the word "Napoleonic" being used to mean mediocre and small-scale. Now, not much about Napoleon was mingy, but in this case it was, as far as I could make out, used absolutely correctly.

Ruthless streak of busman's daughter

AS SHE relaxes tomorrow in Beaufort Castle, one of Scotland's great stately homes, Ann Gloag can reflect that in just 15 years she has become one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in British history. The joint boss of Stagecoach (with her brother Brian Souter) is a former nurse who grew up in a council house in Perth.

'Predatory' firm's tactics kill off rivals

CHRISTIAN WOLMAR

When Bette Davis met Joan Crawford

After a year in Hollywood playing teary-eyed ingenues in dull movies, Bette Davis is ready to throw in the Kleenex and head back to Broadway. Her bags are packed when Warner Bros surprises her with a contract and transforms her into a platinum blonde. Film exhibitors take note and in 1932 vote her a "Star of Tomorrow". At the awards banquet the diminutive Davis steps up to the radio microphones and is about to gush her thanks over the airwaves when loud shrieks are heard, followed by the glittering entrance of Joan Crawford and her husband, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr. The radio crew and photographers zoom to the divine couple, leaving Davis stranded, forgotten - and fuming.

Theatre: Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club Contact Theatre, Manchester

Marti is happy to be addressed as "love", even "doll", but never "lad". "It takes years to get this camp," he says, and he's not about to go back. Born into scallywaghood 33 years ago, the apprenticeship has been long and assiduous, from the memorising of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford movies, through the leaving of Liverpool, to polymorphous encounters in darkened gay clubs. It is an identity he has had to assemble from hand- me-down stereotypes and his own, hard-knock wits. It provides him with a carapace thick enough to muffle his heartbeat, but it is useless to prevent the internal bleeding.

Ginger Rogers dies, aged 83

Ginger Rogers, who achieved dance and screen immortality through her partnership with Fred Astaire, died yesterday at her home in California, aged 83.

Edinburgh Festival / Day 2: Side View: Miles Kington at the Fringe press show

I'M JUST old enough to remember the Soho of the late 1950s, when girls of the night jostled each other to attract your attention, and offer you 'a bit of fun, dearie'. I'd never met anything like it since, till Sunday, when I got into the Edinburgh Fringe Press Show. The idea is that the person from each Fringe company is allowed to attend, to talk to the press and media people. The sole representative from our group, Antidote Theatre, was actress Becky, appearing in a gripping drama called Answering Spirits at the Pleasance, but the company said to me: 'You're a journalist, of sorts] Get a Press pass] Go in there and tell people about your show] Don't come back till we're famous]'

Obituary: Robert Hutton

Robert Bruce Winne (Robert Hutton), actor, producer, director, screenwriter: born Kingston, New York 11 June 1920; married (one son, one daughter); died Kingston, New York 7 August 1994.

Obituary: Cameron Mitchell

Cameron Mizell (Cameron Mitchell), actor: born Dallastown, Pennsylvania 4 November 1918; twice married; died Los Angeles 6 July 1994.

Obituary: Barry Sullivan

Patrick Barry (Barry Sullivan), actor: born New York City 29 August 1912; married three times (one son, two daughters); died Los Angeles 6 June 1994.

Garbo lines sold

Nine letters written by Greta Garbo were sold for pounds 7,188 at Christie's, London.

BOOK REVIEW / Drudges in nice dresses: A woman's view: How Hollywood Spoke to Women 1930-1960 by Jeanine Basinger: Chatto, pounds 14.99

HOW Hollywood spoke to women in its heyday, according to American film historian Jeanine Basinger, is through a muddled discourse which covertly subverted conventional female roles while appearing to reinforce them. This is a beguiling but ultimately unprovable proposition, for virtually every Hollywood movie that Basinger discusses is open to several contradictory interpretations.
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