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Faith Domergue Profile

Faith Domergue
Faith Domergue
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(Faith M. Domergue)
16 June 24 is born in New Orleans, Louisiana, of Irish-English descent and Creole heritage. When she is six weeks old, she is adopted by her foster parents Leo S. and Adabelle Domergue, nee Wemett, who will never tell her she’s not their own.
c. 27 at age two, she goes to California with her parents
? is placed under contract with the Bliss Hayden Theatre at the Delmar Club, Santa Monica
41 starts acting at age 16 while at high school in Santa Monica
? is discovered by an agent and sent to the Zeppo Marx Agency
c. 41 is spotted by a Warner Brothers talent scout, who gives her a contract and changes her name to Faith Dawn
Memorial Day 41 meets billionaire Howard Hughes during an industry cruise on his Southern Cross. Afterwards he drives her home. She’s 15; he’s 36.
June 41 columnist Dorothy Kilgallen reports that Howard Hughes is so “up in the air” about Faith Dorn, the Warner starlet – “he’s even teaching her to fly”
August 41 is reported to be the ex-heartbeat of Hughes and now Eddie Norris’ big moment. Norris is the ex of actress Ann Sheridan.
September 41 she, Arthur Kennedy, Lucia Carroll, and Peter Whitney get new Warner contracts
October 41 Hughes invites her to Palm Springs, and her parents approve. They have cold chicken and champagne while cruising the Salton Sea.
19 October 41 Hughes presents her with a diamond engagement ring after a gala at the Palm Springs Racquet Club and asks her to keep it secret. Faith tells the good news to her drama teacher and to columnist Louella Parsons, who eventually tells her readers.
October 41 Howard purchases her contract from Jack Warner for $50,000 and her representation pact from the Zeppo Marx Agency
Hughes moves her parents to a new house, at his expense. She has daily acting classes at Romaine and has to spend her nights with Hughes, listening to classical music at Muirfield.
November 41 spends a weekend with Hughes in sunny Phoenix, Arizona
the press reports her and her mother in Tucson as guests of Howard Hughes. “Hollywood’s scenting a possible romance. Hughes has long been regarded as the movie colony’s most eligible bachelor.”
December 41 claims that she’s engaged to Hughes, but that they won’t be married for a while
Christmas 41 spends the holidays with Hughes, who organizes his companies for the war. The FBI starts to monitor his activities.
31 December 41 New Year’s Eve collapses when Hughes takes her not to the Mocambo, but to a small Italian dive
42 is rumored to be engaged to Hughes
when she learns that Hughes is seeing Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, and Rita Hayworth in between, she walks out on him. He tries to save their relationship by leaving Muirfield and leasing a 16-room estate at 619 Sorbonne Road in Bel Air.
April 42 columnist Dorothy Kilgallen reports that Faith’s romance with Hughes has frost on it
June 42 consoles her injured feeling with Errol Flynn, which is “Grade A consolation"
August 42 while with Hughes at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, he’s awarded with the $18 million grant by the War Production Board to design the largest aircraft ever, the Hughes-Kaiser 1, a.k.a. the Spruce Goose
January 43 is still with Hughes, who falls for 21-year-old actress Ava Gardner and proposes to her on the spot. When Ava hits and wounds Hughes during an argument, he tells Faith the injuries were from a car accident.
? on the night Hughes drives Ava home in his Cadillac after dinner at the Coconut Grove, Faith sneaks out of Muirfield, follows them in her red roadster, and confronts them
Spring 43 notes Hughes’ psyche deteriorating
May 43 Kilgallen knows Faith is “sizzling over Hughes’ infatuation with the ex-Mrs. Rooney”
January 45 is signed by Hunt Stromberg for a two-picture deal and will have one of the featured roles in Young Widow
April 45 is seen dining with Errol Flynn, John Perona and a group of people at Romanoff’s
August 45 after a four-year build-up, her name is changed from Faith Dorn to Faith Domergue, her real name, for her debut in Young Widow
September 45 she and Jack March are in step
28 January 46 marries Ernst Heinrich "Teddy" Stauffer at the San Diego county courthouse. Swiss-born bandleader Stauffer’s co-owner of an Acapulco, Mexico, nightclub. He’s 36; she’s 21. The marriage will last only six months.
Late 40s Vendetta makes her hate motion pictures. She suffers a miscarriage during production
March 47 columnist Louella Parsons writes that Faith is given a build-up by Hughes “such as no other actress in the world has been given by this amazing young man, with the exception of Jane Russell. Faith, who is known to all her friends as Faith Dorn, has been seeing François Villiers, Jean-Pierre Aumont’s brother.”
April 47 all plans for a divorce are called off and “if her husband Ted Stauffer, would return to Hollywood, he could have her back in a minute. Faith told me so herself,” columnist Harrison Carroll writes. “‘Ted was angry when I sent him the papers in Acapulco,’ she told me. I don’t blame him. I’m sorry now. I don’t want a divorce anymore.’ Pending a reconciliation with Stauffer, she’s too young and pretty a girl not to receive attention from other men. I’ve seen her a lot recently with Jack Heaton, handsome and wealthy visitor from New Haven.”
files a divorce suit against Stauffer
October 47 she and Stauffer agree on a property settlement
8 October 47 secretly weds Hugo Geronimo Fregonese in Juarez, Mexico, a few hours after divorcing Stauffer there. He's 39; she's 23. Stauffer will marry actress Hedy Lamarr in 1951.
November 47 announces that she will go to Las Vegas to divorce Stauffer. Upon the divorce she will marry Hugo Fregonese.
7 November 47 discloses that she obtained a Juarez, Mexico, divorce from Stauffer, but will establish residence shortly in Nevada to ask an American decree
December 47 dines at King’s restaurant with Hugo Fregonese. She can’t go to Las Vegas because she might be needed for more scenes on Howard Hughes’ marathon movie, Vendetta.
Late December 47 is off to Las Vegas for six weeks to divorce Stauffer. She then plans to wed Hugo Fregonese. “But, according to the desert grapevine, she and Fregonese already are married - thanks to a Mexican divorce - and the Nevada decree will be just a legal formality.”
January 48 discloses she and Fregonese secretly wed on October 8, in Mexico. They will redo it with a second ceremony north of the border.
1 January 49 her daughter, Diana Maria, is born in Buenos Aires
February 50 packs for a quick round trip to Buenos Aires and leaves her two pet dachshunds behind in Hollywood
50 returns from South America for Howard Hughes' Where Danger Lives. David Selznik considers putting her under contract.
August 50 acquired lots of fans in South America while she and her hubby Hugo Fregonese were living there
November 50 resides with her husband, her daughter, a Sheppard dog named Apache Warrior, and a Siamese cat named Mish Mish in the upper half of a duplex in West Los Angeles. Her parents live below
Late 50 tired, angry, and pregnant, she refuses to attend the New York openings of Vendetta and Where Danger Lives. Hughes phones her good-bye.
January 51 will be in RKO’s upcoming Blackbeard and the Pirate, surrounded by Robert Mitchum, Victor Mature, and Jack Buetel
22 August 51 her son, John Anthony, is born in Los Angeles. Actor James Mason is his godfather. John Anthony Fregonese will become a famous land use planner and reside in Portland, Oregon.
April 52 follows her husband to London, England, where he’s directing Decameron Nights. Their two children join them for several months of shooting in Spain and Britain.
8 September 52 arrives at Idlewild Airport, New York, from London
October 52 her husband flies in from Europe to visit her at the Sioux Uprising location in Portland, Oregon
December 52 is up for a role in Blowing Wild at Warners, and producer Milton Sperling okays her. But when her name is suggested to Fregonese, he says: “No, Faith is a good actress - but this role isn’t right for her and vice versa.”
May 53 is seen out with Fregonese
18 July 53 she and Fregonese arrive in New York from Madrid
July 53 she and Fregonese sell their Beverly Hills mansion and move to Mexico
December 53 will go to Spain to star in A Matter of Life and Death for Panoramic Productions with Susan Hayward and Van Heflin
54 misses out landing the leading role in The Egyptian, which goes to Jean Simmons
March 54 Universal-International says she will have love scenes with a creature from another world in the upcoming This Island Earth. “The guy’s half human and half insect. This will be no novelty, through, to a lot of U.S. women who say they they’ve been married to insects for years.”
? brings her husband and two children, John and Diana, often to the set of This Island Earth
May 54 there’s a wobble in her marriage with Fregonese. Pals advise them to work out their differences.
July 54 is pictured lunching at the fashionable Ritz Hotel in Madrid, Spain
August 54 columnist Dorothy Manners tells: “If Faith Domergue and Hugo Fregonese aren’t kissed and made up, they certainly gave a wonderful imitation of a reconciliation at Holiday House...”
8 November 54 she and Fregonese separate
11 November 54 files suit for separate maintenance from Fregonese, after seven years of marriage. She alleges mental cruelty and asks $600 monthly support for their two children and reasonable support for herself.
Early 55 while filming Cult of the Cobra, where she replaces Mari Blanchard, her marriage to Fregonese starts to break up. During the middle of the filming, Fregonese returns from Europe, and they are divorced.
February 55 columnist Erskine Johnson tells: “There’s no business like the star denial business: A couple of months ago Faith Domergue hotly denied my report that she and Hugo Fregonese were headed for the divorce court. Now it’s officially.,..”
will be among the guests at Conrad Hilton’s opening of the Istanbul Hilton on May 10 in Istanbul. Other stars to grace the event are Gary Cooper, Merle Oberon, and Van Heflin.
9 March 55 arrives in New York from Rome, Italy
April 55 is reported staying in Hollywood while her estranged husband is in Europe for a stay of three or four years
May 55 is back from the Good Samaritan hospital where she underwent plastic surgery on her eye lids - the third operation of this kind
columnist Cholly Knickerbocker writes: “Look for cinema cutie, Faith Domergue, to give Europe the quick brush off and make tracks for New York where exploitation of her new film for Universal-International, This Island Earth, will get under way this month...”
June 55 leaves for Europe and spends two and a half years in Rome and London. It is in Italy that she sees the completed This Island Earth with her children.
November 55 Louella Parsons tells: “Although Faith Domergue and Hugo Fregonese are currently living apart after their second separation, Faith writes that she has not given up the ghost yet as far as her marriage is concerned...”
c. 56 is a single mother with children to support while doing several films in England
October 56 is signed for a film “to be made in Italy"
November 57 won’t accompany Fregonese to India where he will film Harry Black
December 57 finishes a starring role in TV’s "No Beat for Four Months" after a two-year absence from the screen
26 December 57 is off to London to meet Fregonese, who was in India to complete Harry Black with Stewart Granger. When he returns to India after the holidays, she goes back to California.
February 58 she and Fregonese separate
Late April 58 her attorney declares her marriage to Fregonese over and announces that she will sue for separate maintenance. Fregonese verifies the separation. Their two kids will stay with her.
24 June 58 wins an uncontested divorce from Fregonese in Santa Monica Superior Court. She says he had no interest in establishing a home, saying Fregonese “wants to stay in Europe and be a free agent.” The court orders him to pay $900 monthly support for their children, Diana, 9, and John, 6.
October 58 Johnny Machio flies her, Kim Novak, Maureen O’Hara, Terry Moore, and three beauty contest winners down to the International Film Festival in Mexico City, held from October 10 until 23
July 59 in New York, she’s inseparable from Sinclair Robinson, the attorney
December 59 lunches at the Universal-International commissary with old friend, Sy Bartlett. She says she bought a house in Beverly Hills and will make her home in California. She and Fregonese reconciled briefly in Spain, but she decided she doesn’t want to live in Europe.
April 60 is noted dining at Paul’s Steak House with Jacques Jailo, Nicole Maurey’s estranged husband
3 December 60 wins a divorce from Fregonese after thirteen years of marriage. She wins custody of their two children, 11-year-old Diana and 9-year-old John, and $900 monthly alimony and support.
61 meets her future husband, Paolo Cossa
November 63 columnist Louis Sobol reports: “Former film star Faith Domergue and Paolo Cossa of Rome are headed for the altar. Faith, after a year in Italy and Paris, is currently in New York - and Paolo flew in to keep her company...”
22 November 63 is filming a "Bonanza" episode when President Kennedy is assassinated
February 64 Hedda Hopper knows: “Faith Domergue came west to see her children and do ‘Bonanza,’ but she’ll be off to Rome again to see handsome Paolo Cossa. Faith says she’s as close to marrying him as she has been anyone. Her 14-year-old daughter, here attending Immaculate Heart College, returns to Italy with her...”
May 65 columnist Harrison Carroll writes: “Supposedly their romance was finished, but Faith Domergue’s admirer, Paolo Cossa, flew in from Rome and has been completely monopolizing Faith’s time. ‘I’m not going with anybody but him,’ Faith admits to me, ‘but I’m not getting married. I’ve been married too often - three times if you count twice to Hugo Fregonese. I’m tired of listening to those vows and then of having things go wrong. Paolo swears he won’t leave here unless I go back to Rome with him. But I’m not marrying him. Anyway, not unless he is very patient.’”
October 65 columnist Harrison Carroll tells that the breakup of her romance with Cossa doesn’t cramp her style. “She was at Theodor’s with Rick Strauss and she dined at Matteo’s with actor Fernando Roca. She and Roca were introduced by Jacques Bergerac...”
December 65 Sobol returns to her: “Former film star Faith Domergue is houseguesting with Liz Schafft - and admitting her chief romantic interest these days is Paolo Cossa, former Italian director...”
April 66 is seen at the Bistro with Florence Marly. At the next table there’s her ex, Teddy Stauffer with his estranged wife Pat Morgan and their daughter. Harrison Carroll reports: “Friendly conversation between the two parties. Faith was at the Villa Nova the other night with Max Marks but she tells me she is flying back to New York for a reunion with boyfriend Paolo Cossa. ‘If we make up one more time,’ she concedes, ‘I may marry him.’”
May 66 is seen with Paolo Cossa, a local restaurateur, at Hawaii Kai
June 66 is expected to marry Cossa early next month
11 July 66 marries Italian assistant director Paolo P. Cossa, a "very deboinare Roman," in Monterey, California. He's 37; she's 39.
October 66 Harrison Carroll reveals: “Refusing to admit defeat, actress Faith Domergue confirms that she and husband Paolo Cossa are battling but won’t concede that they will split. The question came up when Faith showed up alone at Jim Hills’s birthday party for Rex Harrison. ‘It’s true,’ Faith tells me, ‘Paolo and I had an argument, I go out alone. He goes out alone. But I am leaving for Nashville for about two weeks to do the picture Track of Thunder. Paolo will stay here and look after the children. When I get back, we’ll have to talk. We’ll see then what is going to happen.’ Friends are hoping tat they patch it up. Faith and Paolo have been going together off and on for years. Everybody hoped that the marriage would give them lasting happiness...”
? follows Cossa to Rome, Italy
68 films her first Italian movie, L'Amore Breve, in Trieste and at Cinecitta Studios, where she has some semi-nude scenes with Joan Collins
70 films The Gamblers in Yugoslavia
November 70 she and her ex, Fregonese, return from Europe to help their 19-year-old son John, who’s attending Loyola University in Los Angeles, and who wrote them that “he was in trouble, smoking marijuana and feeling himself slip into a mental state of confusion”
71 films the Italian production Una Sull' Altra at San Francisco's San Quentin prison
72 publishes My Life with Howard Hughes
her husband opens the Bulgari office in Switzerland
23 January 76 her foster father dies at age 73 in Los Angeles
? she and Cossa part their time between Geneva, Switzerland, and Marbella, Spain
4 March 89 her foster mother dies at age 90 in Los Angeles
November 92 becomes the widow of Cossa, who dies at age 62 in Switzerland
? moves to Santa Barbara and lives there with daughter Diana until her death
4 April 99 as Faith M. Cossa, she dies at age 74 from cancer in Santa Barbara, California
? is cremated
Sources:
Dana Fregonese, Howard Hughes: The Untold Story by Peter Harry Brown and Pat H. Broeske, Screen Sirens Scream! by Paul Parla and Charles P. Mitchell, Westerns Women by Boyd Magers and Michael G. Fitzgerald, Scream Queens by Calvin Thomas Beck, Screenland, The New York Times, Waterloo Sunday Courier, Waterloo Daily Courier, Nevada State Journal, Syracuse Herald-Journal, Reno Evening Gazette, Pottstown Mercury, The Era, Humboldt Standard, The Monessen Daily Independent, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Redlands Daily Facts, The Lima News, Mansfield News-Journal, The Port Arthur News, The Helena Independent, The Daily Courier, The Lowell Sun, Middletown Times Herald, Gazette and Bulletin, The Zanesville Signal, Valley Morning Star, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Dixon Evening Telegraph, Albuquerque Journal, The Portsmouth Herald, Pacific Stars & Stripes, Austin Daily Herald, The San Antonio Light, The Morning Herald, The Independent Record, The Daily Gleaner, The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Naugatuck News, Kokomo Morning Times, Silver Screen, www.Ancestry.com
Recommended Books:
Screen Sirens Scream! by Paul Parla and Charles P. Mitchell
Howard Hughes: The Untold Story by Peter Harry Brown and Pat H. Broeske
Westerns Women by Boyd Magers and Michael G. Fitzgerald
Links:
Filmography
The Faith Domergue Tribute Page at the Spooky Tom's Nightmare Mansion Site
JSR Pages: Faith Domergue
Brian's Drive-In Theater: Faith Domergue
Faith Domergue at Babys on Fire