Anita Colby Profile

Anita Colby
Anita Colby
Photo of Anita Colby
Photo gallery
(Anita Counihan)
5 August 14 is born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Washington Herald cartoonist Bud Counihan, the creator of Betty Boop
c. 16 her sister, Francine, is born
goes to New York from Washington, D.C.
? while riding in an elevator in the Chrysler building, she runs into Harry Conover, who is modeling for John Powers. He asks her to go into modeling, so she does.
? is nicknamed The Face by Quentin Reynolds. Later she will say: "not because I was a great beauty, but because I didn't have a brain cell."
35 goes to California
? her agent Walter Kane becomes her frequent escort
November 36 she and Kane are expected to announce their engagement
37 is on the cover of 32 magazines in one month, making $1,500 a week
January 37 Alfred G. Vanderbilt is noted escorting her daily to the races
February 37 columnist Louella Parsons writes: "Anita Colby traveling to the altar with Walter Kane, well-known agent, in about six weeks, when Anita's mama arrives here to give her blessings..."
April 37 Kane escorts her to the Trocadero to hear Peggy Fears
June 37 columnist Walter Winchell notes her at the Trocadero "illuminating the entire room with her contagious face..."
? Hollywood isn't exactly what she wants, so she returns to New York to resume her career
January 38 Walter Winchell writes: "William Hawks, the Hollywood agent, is here pressing his courtship with Anita Colby..."
Louella Parsons adds: "Hollywood is sorry that the June Ruben-Bill Hawks romance has cooled and Bill's attentions are new directed toward the very beautiful Errol Flynn..."
June 38 Winchell knows that "Vernon Duke is trying to get himself finger-printed by admiring G-man Clyde Tolson's most baffling case, Anita Colby..."
March 39 Winchell tells: "Anita Colby, the most photo'd face and Claudia Morgan's ex-husband, have applied to the church for permission to merge..."
December 39 the International Building of the Rockefeller Center presents "The House of Outside Color," an exhibition of dream exteriors that six socially prominent people would prefer. Anita's choice: "roof of red-orange, flesh-pink clapboard walls, dubonnet shutters, and a big red orange door. (Miss Colby lives in an apartment.)"
40 stops modeling after three years in New York
April 40 she and Cedric Gibbons are a surprising duet at Perino's Sky Room
March 40 Winchell heralds: "Anita Colby, Life's front cover this issue, and her mag exec fiancé have cancelled their merger plans..."
December 40 Winchell hints: "Anita Colby will become a bride in about three months after a certain New Yorker's divorce is arranged in the South..."
June 41 Winchell tells "Anita Colby says it might be any day now..."
September 41 columnist Dorothy Kilgallen writes: "Anita Colby is recuperating after an appendectomy in Polyclinic..."
January 42 is hailed New York's highest paid model
April 43 becomes a press agent for the movie Cover Girl: "Anita Colby, the most front-cover of all the mag models, will escort 15 of the loveliest in a special car to the coast on April 29th. They will be seen in the pic Cover Girl, which will cost $1,500,000 to film... These models will live under one roof in Hollywood, and all will keep house, do the laundry, cook, etc... Because of the servant shortage there... La Colby, thrilled over her assignment, says: 'It's the first time I've been hired for my brains..."
May 43 is noted stepping out with Richard Nugent, New York actor
June 43 Dorothy Kilgallen reports her dating Richard Nugent
January 44 Kilgallen writes: "The lad who's showering jewelry on beauteous Anita Colby is Frank Ryan, wealthy young Washingtonian..."
Louella Parsons asks: "who gave Anita Colby that ruby and diamond ring? She knows, but won't tell..."
June 44 Winchell reports: "The reason that Jean Negulesco looks so beautiful is his right arm decoration, Anita Colby, star Powers model..."
July 44 Winchell heralds: "Anita Colby, the darling of the Stork, Morocco and Colony set (who made the Powers girls famous), is now feminine director of the Selznick Studios..."
Louella Parsons knows: "Anita Colby leaves Saturday with Jennifer Jones for the third wedding anniversary New York premiere of Since You Went Away. Friday is Anita's birthday and Mrs. Richard Smart is giving her a dinner..."
August 44 Parsons reports her in Hollywood just back from New York saying "the Duke of Windsor appeared at the Southampton Beach Club wearing yellow slacks, green ascot and green shoes and the funny thing was the hostess, Mrs. Mayo, had the identical costume..."
Dorothy Kilgallen reports: "Anita Colby and her one-time heart, scribe Dwight Whitney, met at the Copa opening and started swooning again..."
October 44 will pen a non-fiction book for Random House. "The topic: her experiences as The Face..."
February 45 is reported entertaining 30 people at her home "and George Abbott proved to be the high spot of the evening doing a rhumba..."
2 March 45 while on location for Duel in the Sun, she is hospitalized at Tucson Medical Center with a mild case of pneumonia
Late March 45 is back from Tucson after her battle with pneumonia. "She did a Madame Pompadour and received a chosen few visitors in bed..."
April 45 Winchell thinks she stays blonde because "Clark Gable likes it that way..."
September 45 is noted at Charlie Morrison's bistro with her boss, David Selznick
October 45 Dorothy Kilgallen reports that "Clark Gable's fun making with Anita Colby has been sidetracked by Dolly O'Brien's arrival in Celluloid City. So poor Anita has nobody to take her to parties but Jimmy Stewart!..."
her escort at Elsa Maxwell's party is James Stewart
attends a private dinner with Noel Busch that’s given at Romanoff's by Bob Orr
Clark Gable spends his first evening back in town with her and the Howard Hawks at Slapsy Maxie's
November 45 columnist Sheila Graham reports from a grand Selznick premier at the Carthay Circle Theater: "Someone with a sense of humor placed Clark Gable and Dolly O'Brien immediately in front of Anita Colby and Jimmy Stewart at the local premier of Spellbound..."
Dorothy Kilgallen notes her acting very swooney with Jimmy Stewart
January 46 Paul MacNamara, Selznick's chief publicity man is reported sending her, Florence Pritchett, Inga Arvad, and Laura Wells on a nationwide publicity tour for Duel in the Sun. They will visit newspaper editors in 130 cities.
Harry Conover names her "the most beautiful woman in America"
February 46 Louella Parsons knows: "Jimmie Stewart flew to New York, and the attraction was Anita Colby..."
is sick in New Orleans but "still pitching for Duel in the Sun"
May 46 is reported preferring Skitch Henderson, "Sinatra's accompanist and pal, from the B-29s..."
August 46 takes Louis Jourdan, Selznick's new French star, and his wife to Bob Hope's house and then on to Frank Sinatra's the other night "and the Jourdans seemed to have a wonderful time"
November 46 is at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital for a going-over
Louella Parsons notes her and Clark Gable having dinner for two
December 46 Louella Parsons asks: "What's in a name? Skitch Henderson prefers Anita. Today he lunched with Anita Ellis, the song bird at the Brown Derby, and most of the time he's with Anita Colby..."
January 47 Winchell asks: "How true can the buzz be that Anita Colby will wed Mervyn LeRoy in April?..."
February 47 columnist Bob Thomas writes: "Anita Colby visited Clark Gable on the set, but his real heart is Virginia Grey..."
June 47 Dorothy Kilgallen tells: "Natalie Thompson is being groomed quietly to replace Anita Colby as right-hand girl to David Selznick, She's on salary now, having nosed out Gloria Swanson for the coveted job."
July 47 Louella Parsons reports that Anita and "her ever devoted admirer from the East, was a guest at the Toyan Bay opening over the Fourth. There are those who believe that this gent will one day win out with the popular Miss Colby.."
columnist Jack Lait heralds: "Skitch Henderson, Pennsy Hotel podiumph, loves Anita Colby..."
November 47 columnist Edith Gwynn tells: "The long-time romance of Anita Colby and Maestro Skitch Henderson is suddenly ice-cold. Which will no doubt cause Frank Ryan who wants to buy her the world, pitch even harder. He's been trying for years..."
February 48 the press reports her leaving on a six-week tour to interest editors in The Emperor Waltz. "That shouldn't be difficult for Anita"
March 48 is among the guests of Jennifer Jones' birthday celebration in New York. She, Jennifer, Leland Hayward, Slim Hawks, John McLain, and David Selznik have dinner at the Colony, and then the entire party goes up to the Bronx for the bicycle races.
April 48 Edith Gwynn writes: "Colby's back - and Gable's got her! Saw Clark and Anita at le Papillon - and they went to Anne Baxter and John Hodiak's party together next night. Betcha he'll have most of her dates while she's in town. Couldn't happen to two dreamier people!"
17 June 48 dines at Ciro's with Clark Gable
June 48 attends a gay cocktail party with Clark Gable honoring Jimmy McHugh's 25-years in song business Gable
Dorothy Kilgallen reveals: "Dolly O'Brien's intimates hear she and Clark Gable had a long distance spat (over his attentions to Anita Colby) before Dolly sailed for Europe..."
July 48 columnist Hedda Hopper tells: "Anita Colby and her sister, Francine, have plans to go to Europe. Anita has a five-week vacation due her. She has had reservations twice before to go abroad but never made it. Once the war intruded and the second time a good job that she couldn't turn down came up. 'If anything happens now,' days Anita, 'I'll just have to spend the vacation with my family in Southampton.'"
Billy Wilder gives himself a welcome party at Mocambo with Clark Gable, Anita Colby and the Louis Jourdans among the "welcomers"
Early August 48 columnist Dorothy Manners tells: "Anita Colby at Ciro's with Jimmy Stewart seems to be getting almost as steady as Anita Colby with Clark Gable..."
Hedda Hopper reports: "Anita Colby will meet the Pope and Clark Gable in Europe..."
Late August 48 Dorothy Kilgallen reports: "Anita Colby, so frequently linked with Clark Gable, may surprise her famous beau and the reading public by marrying Frank Ryan in Europe, with her sister, Francine Counihan, as matron of honor. Ryan, wealthy and eligible, has been Anita's most persistent suitor for several years, and it was more than coincidence that he went over on the same liner as the two beautiful sisters..."
there are rumors she had a rendezvous arranged with an Italian nobleman before she sailed across
7 September 48 arrives in Southampton, England, aboard the Queen Elizabeth
September 48 Frank Ryan is reported having given her a gorgeous pair of diamond earrings. "Anita and sister Francine are being followed all over Europe by Ryan. They hope for an audience with the Pope before coming home."
Late September 48 she and her sister return on the Queen Elizabeth. Immediately afterwards, Millie Considine takes them to a party Captain Ford gives in Rita Hayworth's honor.
29 September 48 resigns as assistant to Henry Ginsberg, head of Paramount Studio
30 September 48 announces in Hollywood that she’ll quit as movie executive and to go into import-export business. She says her business, Colby, Inc., will operate in Los Angeles and New York and is backed by New York financiers.
October 48 Clark Gable returns from New York and takes her out for a "quiet dinner"
November 48 columnist Erskine Johnson announces: "Anita Colby, ‘The Face,’ is on her way in Italy to marry a very wealthy man whose name she will not reveal. The reason fore Anita's secrecy, I'm told, is that she heard that Arline Judge would be on the same boat..."
June 49 Louella Parsons writes that Anita didn't wait for the Jennifer Jones-David Selznick wedding. "She is back in New York. She was met by Lou Alter, the composer, who has been in love with her for a long time..."
Dorothy Kilgallen adds: "Anita Colby and Lou Alter have a look that would seem orange-blossomy if Anita weren't such a confirmed bachelor girl..."
August 49 she and Frank Ryan are reported together again "this time at Southampton..."
December 49 Dorothy Kilgallen knows: "Wall Streeter Frank Ryan, once linked with Anita Colby, is currently concentrating on the former Mrs. Neal Vanderbilt, Jr...."
February 50 columnist Earl Wilson considers her and Lou Alter "a daily double"
columnist Leonard Lyons reports that she and her sister "went to England aboard the Cunard liner on which Winston Churchill was returning home..."
May 50 goes to London "to write and do publicity..."
December 50 is mentioned in the New York Dress Institute's annual poll of the 10 Best Dressed Women of the Year even though not making it among the first 10
January 51 she and Jerry Gordon of Wall Street are reported "Meeting Each Other More Than Half Way..."
April 51 columnist Earl Wilson knows: "Egyptian cotton tycoon Roger Aghion and Anita Colby are on the edge of the ledge..."
May 51 is reported having "another Egyptian escort, importer Jelardin
July 51 says: "Clark and I are awfully good friends. But there's no romance. I have no heart interest now."
September 51 Winchell knows: "The Lido set is betting Anita Colby (one of America's loveliest ads in Yurrop) will blend with wealthy Egyptian Roger Aghion after his abrogation. They're inseparable..."
22 September 51 arrives in New York from Paris
52 supports General Eisenhower in his presidential campaign
8 December 52 is among six women presented with awards for "distinguished achievement in their chosen fields of endeavor" by the Fashion Division of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York
13 December 52 attends the Knickerbocker Ball held at the Waldorf Astoria
November 53 is seen at the Carlyle with British director Carol Reed
January 54 visits "her good friends" Edgar J. Hoover and Clyde Tolson at the FBI Building in Washington, D.C.
February 56 is reported inseparable with Jerry Gordon in Nassau
October 56 her former suitor, Frank Ryan, is reported having "caught up with Ava Gardner in Spain..."
April 57 Walter Winchell tells that she's now president of Women's News Service
June 58 will spend the summer making a celebrity-studded tour of Europe. "Her itinerary includes houseguesting with Princess Grace of Monaco and painting with Marc Chagall..."
January 60 becomes member of the rotating panel of the prestigious American Institute of Approval, Inc.
August 60 Walter Winchell writes: "Anita Colby, the gorgeous, and Wall Street's Jerry Gordon, are so moony it's time they name the day. Come now, kids, I'm getting nervous..."
Walter Winchell asks: "What's with Anita Colby (who's recuperating on the Coast) and Arthur O'Connell?..."
October 60 is among the guests at Helen Hayes' luncheon honoring Pat Nixon "who wants to be first lady of the land" in New York
March 61 is among the guests of a Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumnae sponsored fashion show at the Longshore Country Club, Westport
19 June 61 attends the Women’s National Press Club VIP-studded dinner for a presidential takeoff with Mrs. John F. Kennedy
November 61 Hedda Hopper notes her at the supper party given by Mr. and Mrs. David Musk, the real estate tycoon
February 62 Walter Winchell reports: "Anita Colby and Gerald Gordon (who splituated months ago) resumed..."
May 62 Hedda Hopper expects her to marry Gordon, "her New York advertising man," in June or July
December 62 Dorothy Kilgallen reports: "The most animated conversationalists at the Boite of the St. Regis the other lunch time were Anita Colby and Serge Obolensky. Eaves droppers couldn't discover the topic of their conversation, but they were dying to, because the pair seemed to be having such a wonderful time..."
is reported planning her own TV series about the modeling business
January 63 is named one of 1962's best dressed fashion personalities
27 July 63 attends the Dior fashion show at the Maison Dior in Paris
65 resides in New York
March 65 is noted at the big race in Santa Anita accompanied by Bob Hope and his wife Dolores
April 65 is seen at Carol Channing’s annual bash for Jack Benny and George Burns at the Rainbow Grill in New York
May 66 is seen at Jilly's with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Van Johnson
1 February 66 is seen dancing the frug with Emilio Pucci, Italian designer, at a party given in his honor in Acapulco, Mexico
November 67 attends the Happiest Millionaire supper at Philharmonic Hall, where she's seen dancing wildly with Harry Evans. Peter Duchin plays the piano
October 68 in a deep pink Oscar de la Renta, she dances with Serge Obolensky at a celebrity midnight champagne supper held in the Americana Hotel Ballroom
July 69 is among the guests at the celebrity opening of the roof garden of the St. Regis
10 August 70 announces she will marry Palen Flagler, vice-president J. P. Stevens & Co. in September at the retirement home of her father in Madrid, Spain. Flagler, a graduate of Colgate University, joined Stevens in 1952 as advertising manager, and in 1958 was named director of advertising and public relations.
October 70 is expected to attend the star-studded Nine O'Clock's Winter Ball gala held at the Plaza on December 1
30 December 70 marries Isaac Palen Flagler, Jr., in the garden of Madeleine Gilpatrick's Park Avenue town house in New York City. He's 58, she's 56. Afterwards, she and Palen fly to Madrid to spend New Year's Eve with her father, who recently went blind in one eye. Columnist Suzy reports: "After that, it will be Paris and London and parties and friends and all the rest of it."
April 71 as Anita Colby Flagler, she's reported being a devout Catholic wife of a rich and successful businessman. The Flaglers divide their time between Manhattan and a 50-acre fieldstone estate in Stockton, New Jersey. "Her clothes are always by Givenchy and Gus Tassell. One week she's with the Bob Hopes in Beverly Hills. The next she's off to Adele Astair's estate in Lismore, Ireland - near Killnarney."
March 76 she and Flagler are among the guests of Mrs. Dennison Slater's birthday party thrown by Mrs. Donald Decoursey Harrington of Arizona and Texas, widow of a multimillionaire oilman and industrialist
May 78 she and Flagler are reported entertaining stage actress Ruth Zuckermann at their farm in New Jersey
March 84 becomes the widow of Flagler, who dies at age 72 in Oyster Bay, New York
27 March 92 dies at age 77 in Oyster Bay, New York
The Charleston Gazette, Oakland Tribune, Parade, The Morning Herald, Mansfield News-Journal, The San Antonio Light, The Modesto Bee, The Times and Daily News Leader, The Brownsville Herald, Waterloo Daily Courier, The Ogden Standard-Examiner, The Fresno Bee, Syracuse Herald-Journal, The Port Arthur News, The Lowell Sun, The Charleston Daily Mail, Nevada State Journal, The Era, Kingsport News, The Evening Observer, The Morning Herald, Middletown Times Herald, Zanesville Signal, Pottstown Mercury, The Post-Standard, Portland Press Herald, Long Beach Press-Telegram, The La Crosse Tribune, Chronicle-Telegram, The Cedar Rapids Gazette, The Derrick, The Coshocton Tribune, The Bridgeport Telegram, The Lima News, Burlington Daily Times-News, Family Weekly, Winona Daily News, Pacific Stars & Stripes,,
Recommended Books: