Fay Spain Profile

Fay Spain
Fay Spain
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(Lona Fay Spain)
6 October 32 is born in Phoenix, Arizona, to R. C. Spain and Arminta Frances Cochran
? graduates from high school in White Salmon, Washington
? lives alone and supports herself from the age of 14
? wins a scholarship to University of Washington at age 16
c. 49 at the end of her freshman year, she heads for New York at age 16
marries actor-screenwriter John Falvo in New York at age 16. He's about 21.
? lives in an $8-a-week room on the West Side and works in a tie shop, where one of Walter Winchell's legmen meets her and is impressed enough to mention her in a column.
May 51 Winchell tells: "If that gal selling you neckwear in the Cardinal Shop on Broadway and 45th looks familiar, you're right. She's Fay Spain, teevy's new ingénue click, who still takes a turn with the cravats when things get dull in video..."
? as a result of the column she gets a call from Columbia Pictures but no contract because she isn't "pretty enough for Hollywood"
? two months later, she gets a job with a stock company, the Stanley Woolf Players, in the Catskill Mountains, which gives her an Equity card and a springboard into acting
c. 54 her son, Jock, is born
faking her age, she's not yet 17, she works as a change-girl at the Nevada Club in Reno. When the manager is murdered by the Mob, she takes her son and leaves.
? her marriage breaks up in divorce, but she and her ex-husband are on amiable terms. Falvo will later marry TV actress Nancy Hadley and die at age 61 in 1990 in Los Angeles.
? to support her son she starts a modeling career
? is discovered for the movies by Sam Goldwyn, who spots her in a TV commercial for a reducing vibrator called Relaxacizor
End October 55 she and 14 other actresses are chosen as "WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1956" by a group of veteran actors and actresses, including Ginger Rogers. The other Baby Stars are Ina Poindexter, 23, Covington, Tennessee; Barbara Huffman, 21, Tucson, Arizona; Violet Rensing, 24, Berlin, Germany; Dawn Richard, 18, Los Angles, California; Donna Cook, 18, Los Angeles, California; Norma Nillson, 18, Los Angeles, California; Phyllis Applegate, 22, Los Angeles, California; Del-Fin Thursday, 20, Honolulu, Hawaii; Jolene Brand, 21, Baldwin Park, California; Roxanne Arlen, 21, Detroit, Michigan; Lita Milan, 21, Brooklyn, New York; Jewell Lain, 24, Indianapolis, Indiana; Doreen Stevens, 21, Atlantic City, New Jersey; and Barbara Marks, 22, San Diego, California.
Early 56 Goldwyn casts her opposite Charlton Heston in Shark Fighters, to be shot in Florida, but when Heston drops the role, Victor Mature comes in and she's out. Her part goes to Karen Steele.
Summer 56 attends acting classes with friends Lita Milan and Dawn Richard. Dawn puts her in contact with her own agent, who sends her up for a lead on a television "Matinee Theatre" program.
November 56 is heralded a Warner Brothers discovery, having completed more than a dozen television productions for Albert McCleery's "Matinee Theatre"
February 57 meets actress Norma Crane, who is under consideration for a part in God's Little Acre. Norma tells her to audition for the part of Darlin' Jill.
? after testing Vikki Dougan and Mamie Van Doren, she gets the part of Darlin' Jill in God’s Little Acre
April 57 columnist Erskine Johnson tells that Olympic champ-turned-actor Bob Mathias loved it up with her in a test for Batjac's China Doll
September 57 is on the cover of Jackie Gleason's album Music for the Love Hours
Christmas 57 with disk jockey Johnny Grant, Lita Milan, and Valerie Allen, she's off on a USO tour of Europe and becomes crazy about Rome
58 her son attends nursery school in Hollywood at age 4
February 58 is noted at Ye Little Club with Bud Pennell, ex-husband of Pam Gallagher
May 58 while being presented the key to her hometown in Washington, she slips and falls flat on her face
July 58 columnist Earl Wilson expects her to "head for Europe to visit her boyfriend, an Italian musician..."
Summer 58 visits Spain with her friend Valerie Allen
August 58 the press tells she turned down a part at MGM "because two astrologers told her she's about to go on a long, long trip..."
Early January 59 collapses at her own holiday party for 125 people. "She has an early date at the Cedars of Lebanon to have the tonsils yanked." She and John Altoon, "idol of the beatniks," are expected to wed in January.
28 January 59 she and Altoon obtain their marriage license
30 January 59 marries painter and illustrator John Altoon at the Hollywood Unitarian Church in Los Angeles. He's 33; she's 26. It's his first and her second marriage.
March 59 flies to Cuba to meet Fidel Castro. Failing to do so, she goes to the Dominican Republic to meet her friend Lita Milan but misses her because she is out cruising.
says "I was pretty wild as a teenager. I threw away two years of my life as a beachnik - just sitting on the beach at Hermosa (a few miles from Hollywood) and drinking beer."
April 59 columnist Harrison Carroll tells: "Exhausted after her New York stay to ballyhoo Al Capone, Fay Spain was ordered to bed for a week. When she and her bridegroom, John Altoon, arrived at their new home here, they found the water heater had exploded, flooding two rooms and short-cutting lights."
June 59 Winchell tells that she "apparently posed for that picture on page 46 of Nugget before she clicked in Hollywood. Tst, tst, tst..."
Late August 59 her husband suffers an auto accident on the way down from San Francisco. Returning from an art exhibition, he swerves his pickup truck to avoid hitting a stalled car near Los Banos. The pickup goes off the road and flips over into a ditch. In addition to the truck, his paintings, valued at nearly $18,000, are destroyed. He will have his painting arm in a cast for six weeks. His accident so unnerves her that she reports half a day late for her "Adventures in Paradise" TV segment at 20th Century-Fox.
Mid-October 59 columnist Mike Connolly tells that she "separated from her spouse of ten months, John Altoon, on her birthday and celebrated both events by babysitting with her babysitter's baby..."
Late October 59 she and Altoon separate
Winchell tells that she and "Altoon, (he hopes for a reconciliation) might make it - but she appears to be enjoying Eric Fleming's babytalk..."
says about her dates with Fleming: "You really can't call it dating. Eric and I became friends when we were on location for a 'Rawhide' TV segment. I've had dinner with him a couple of times since my separation, but it's just a friendly thing."
Mid-November 59 she and Altoon reconcile. Columnist Harrison Carroll reports: "Altoon, whose friends feared he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, is home from the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital and feeling much better. Fay is turning down a request to go on a USO tour to Japan so the two will not miss spending Christmas together."
Early March 60 is expected to go to Cuba after her March 19 premiere of The Private Lives of Adam and Eve
Late March 60 Carroll knows that when she "went to the hospital in New York to see her estranged husband, artist John Altoon, she was told he had been discharged the day before and was straying with a friend. She never did contact him. Fay hadn't expected to fly to New York so soon. She got a hurry call from director Joshua Logan. And it was Clifford Odets who drove her to the airport..."
April 60 her estranged husband, Altoon, is reported "much better after his recent nervous breakdown. He's working as a commercial artist in New York. And Fay did see him there, after all."
End May 60 reported breaking up with Altoon, she is seen dining with him at the Steak Point
August 60 she and Altoon try to work out their marriage problems
10 February 61 she and Altoon separate
June 61 columnist Earl Wilson tells that she, "divorcing Altoon, will settle in Italy..."
July 61 she and her agent call producer Albert Zugsmith "about a role in one of his movies..."
December 61 will divorce Altoon in Juarez, Mexico, after she finishes filming Black Gold in January
Mid-January 62 is reported back from six months of filming in Europe and Africa. She "left Hollywood last year for a scheduled eight weeks of filming in Rome on Hercules Conquers Atlantis, but remained abroad until a few days ago."
January 62 Winchell expects her to file "for the long rumored divorce any day. But not to wed Prince Antonio Seguirini of Rome's what-do-they-do-for-a-living set..."
10 January 62 files for divorce from Altoon in Los Angeles Superior Court charging mental cruelty. She just returned from Europe where she was since their separation. She is not asking for monthly support. He's 35; she's 29.
February 62 Winchell reports she will file for divorce on March 1
1 March 62 is granted a divorce from Altoon in Los Angeles after she testified that when her husband got emotional, he fled to a psychiatrist's couch and left her with the bill. Altoon is directed to pay $2,000 in unpaid psychiatric bills. Altoon will die at age 44 in 1969.
July 63 Winchell reports her "romantic life has taken on a Bob Oliver twist..."
October 63 producer Albert Zugsmith files a $12,750,000 suit in Los Angeles against her and ten others for allegedly libeling, slandering and harassing him during the making of one of his films in the Philippine Islands last January. The action names her and actor George Nader as defendants along with nine others described as newspaper columnists for Philippine newspapers and motion picture personnel. Among the allegations are charges that she and Nader conspired with other defendants and "maliciously" made statements resulting in various derogatory articles appearing in Manila newspapers. Zugsmith, who was directing the film The Great Space Adventure, starring her and Nader, claims he was accused of owing large sums to Philippine creditors and trying to leave the islands without paying. He says also that he was described as "the ugly American." Zugsmith charges that he was falsely accused of shouting at his cast and at Filipinos working on the set and using "bad words."
64 she and Robert Vaughn are reported steady dating
March 64 tells about her sad experience with a foreign movie recently filmed in Brazil. Her salary was to be in five figures, but she was able to collect only $47. She had to pay her own hotel expenses and wound up buying a plane ticket home. "The film is still uncompleted because no one can find the producer."
8 August 65 marries hair stylist Imo Ughini in Las Vegas, Nevada
11 May 68 marries Philip Fulmer Westbrook, Jr., renown Los Angeles attorney, in Los Angeles. He's 48; she's 35.
February 74 is signed to play the wife of a syndicate boss in The Godfather, Part II, currently filmed in the Caribbean
November 74 NBC has to re-edit her "Flowers of Evil" due to gay protests about the scenes involving her, Laraine Stephens and Lynn Loring
May 75 is reported having "a husband, a home, a son, four stepchildren and a great sense of humor"
8 May 83 as Fay Spain Westbrook, she dies at age 50 in Los Angeles, California, from cancer. Surviving are her husband, Philip F. Westbrook, and a son. Westbrook will die at age 70 in 1990 in Los Angeles.
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Recommended Books:
Brian's Drive-In Theater: Fay Spain