BEAUTIFUL PATRICIA MORISON

Meet the glamours Patricia Morison (born March 19, 1915) is an American stage and film actress, and a mezzo-soprano singer. She made her feature film debut in 1939 after several years on the stage. She was well-known as a beauty with large eyes and extremely long, dark hair. During this period of her career, she was often cast as the femme fatale or  the "other woman". It was only when she returned to the Broadway stage that she achieved her greatest success as the lead in the original production of Cole Porter's - Kiss Me Kate

A few months ago I was visiting a friend for an upcoming event she will be charing for Robinson's Gardens. While touring the grounds I met Juan Bastos, a portrait artist (a rare find) from Venezuela, now living in Los Angeles. After chatting with Juan for awhile, he told me about all of these incredible women he has painted who are over 60 years old... still out and about in the world, and living life to its fullest. He said "you must meet Patricia Morison", she is one hundred years old, I know you will adore her" Well, of course I said yes, that would be amazing, I don't know anyone who is 100 years old, (and about to turn 101 on March 19th) I would be honored. Less then a month later, Juan and I paid Patricia Morison a visit. 

I can't tell you how excited I was to meet Patricia, I had to bring her a little gift, every girl loves flowers, no matter how old you are. I was truly excited to meet her...I felt like a young kid on my way to meet Patricia.

Patricia's birth name is Eileen Patricia August Fraser Morison, and Hollywood had nicknamed her - The Fire and Ice Girl. She was known to be lovely and exotic, and for her long hair. On a few occasions she was asked to cut her long locks, but she refused. Patricia studied at the Art Students League and proceeded to take acting classes at the Neighborhood Playhouse, while also studying dance with the renowned Martha Graham. She earned a steady check as a dress shop designer while studying acting. At twenty one years old Patricia made the move to Hollywood.

Still today Patricia enjoys looking through the fashion magazines, mostly Vogue and Vanity fair. She will be watching the Oscars but claims, it's not quiet as exciting and glamorous as it once was. Patricia attended several Oscars, one of her favorites was The Wizard of Oz.

Dressed to Kill - 1946- Sherlock Holmes sets out to discover why a trio of murderous villains, including a dangerously attractive female, are desperate to obtain three unassuming and inexpensive little music boxes. 

Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Patricia Morison - Her Dressed to Kill co-stars.

Patricia and Yul Brynner in The King and I on Broadway. She was very fond of Yul. in the beginning of rehearsals she knocked on his dressing room door... he said "come in."  There he was sitting naked...he said that he needed to stay in character. She replied "alright, that's fine with me" and that was the beginning of their friendship. There was no love affair during the production, Yul was dating Marlena Detrich at the time of their Broadway run. 

Patricia was very close to her family, her parents, who she claims were both quiet feisty, were born in the west of Ireland. Her mother worked for the British Intelligence after WW1, and was the first women to speak in the House of Commons- her father was fighting in France. After her parents made their way to New York, Patricia was born in 1915. She wanted to be an artist and devoted herself to painting. She ended up winning a scholarship that would take her to Paris, but she decided to stay in NYC and follow her love for the stage.

Look at this beauty... Are Husbands Necessary? - 1942 

 Patricia with Ray Milland from Untamed in 1940 - He was Patricia's favorite cinema actor.

Patricia with Ray Milland from Untamed in 1940 - He was Patricia's favorite cinema actor.

 Kiss Me Kate 1948- Opened first in Philadelphia 

Kiss Me Kate 1948- Opened first in Philadelphia 

Kiss Me Kate was Cole Porter's first show he wrote in which the music and lyrics were firmly connected to the script, and it prove to be his biggest hit and the only one of his shows to run for more that 1,000 performances on Broadway. In 1949 it won the first Tony Award presented for Best Musical. No one thought it would make it, and it received rave reviews. Only after the show opened, Hollywood took notice that Patricia was an incredible singer. Patricia lost her brother to a fatal auto accident while performing on stage in Kiss Me Kate. Production offered her days off, but she declined. She knew she could morn in the evening after the shows, she felt for the people who would be out of a job in that time if she were to take time off.

Patricia with Cole Porter -  Accompanied by her agent, she was asked to come to Cole Porters home in Brentwood one evening, after hearing her sing, he knew she was exactly what the show needed.

 Patricia with Johnny Weismuller in Tarzan and the Huntress - 1947

Patricia with Johnny Weismuller in Tarzan and the Huntress - 1947

"Johnny was beautiful to watch, whether just standing or swimming. I didn't socialize with him much, he was busy with a new love affair." 

Patricia being honored in New York at 100 years old.

Out on the town with Patricia. Being honored at Pasadena Playhouse for her 100th Birthday.  Q&A with Patricia. 

Me: What were you most know for in Hollywood?

Patricia: My long hair, blue eyes, and I was the femme fatale. I was also a great singer, but I wasn't known for that

Me: Did the studios ever ask you to cut your hair?

Patricia: Oh yes, on many occasions

Me: What is one of your favorite Hollywood stories?

Patricia: Oh..there are so many, but Louis B. Mayer had a Hollywood Crush on me. One evening I attended a dinner and movie at his home. He invited me back to a room and showed me a large box of beautiful jewelry, he said "you know...I own all of those." I said, "that's wonderful, they're lovely."  On another occasion my mother was in town and Mr. Mayer invited us both to a private lunch. He told my mother, "you know...I am very healthy, and the box of jewels I showed Patricia could all be hers... If she will be mine. I declined, and on another occasion, he walked me to my car after a party, and as I was getting in he said, " I'll give you all of Metro"

Me: You weren't interested in marrying Louis B Mayer or Metro? (they ended up being very good friends)

Patricia: Oh honey, no... I wanted neither of the two. He would often show up at my performances for Kiss Me Kate and sit in the balcony, but he would never come say hello.

Me: I know you didn't marry, but did you have a favorite leading man you dated?

Patricia: Yes... Sterling Hayden, he was so handsome and manly, and Preston Foster was such a gentleman 

Me: Did you have an actress you admired?

Patricia: Yes...Greta Garbo, and at one point I moved back to NYC, and I rented her apartment, and I was thrilled to meet her.

Me: Do you watch any television programs today?

Patricia: Yes, I love the TNT network, sometimes I will wake up at 3am and turn on the old classics.

Me: Did you only sing on stage?

Patricia: Yes, never in films, but I sang at the Hollywood Bowl several times.

Me: Do you have any advice for young actresses today? 

Patricia: If you love the theater then study the classics, live in New York or London and do it because you absolutely love it. 

Me: Do you have a favorite perfume and a favorite flower?

Patricia: Yes, I love Arpege Perfume and Roses are so beautiful.

Me: You and I have something in common, we both entertained for the U.S.O.

Patricia: Really? How old are you?

Me: 54, and If I am as fortunate as you Patricia, I'll be sitting on my couch at 100 years ohealthy and graceful as you. 

Patricia: Oh honey, don't tell anyone how old you are!  (we both have a good chuckle)   I'm a very fortunate woman, and I've done what I wanted with my life and worked with some wonderful people along the way.

Me: You know what, I've been very fortunate too Patricia, I've had a great life.

I will always remember this time spent with Patricia. Throughout our two hours she would say, "I'm just so fortunate. I'm pretty sure this has been her mantra for many years. Patricia is beautiful... her eyes are so crystal clear, they are almost see-through. She was so kind, witty, and had a perfect speaking voice. We looked through her scrap books, as she told stories of her days in Hollywood. It was truly the closest I will ever come to truly feeling the history of that era. The day I met Juan was my lucky day. I've always envisioned myself living to be 100 and healthy, smiling and sharing stories of my own fortunate path with loved ones. Being with Patricia was like looking into a crystal ball...if there was such a thing. Patricia gave me the vision of what it looks and feels like to be fortunate and full of gratitude, and Juan presented me with that opportunity. You never know when and why people come into our lives. Our job is to say "Yes". When we stay open we can begin to live in the joy of the unknown. And even become fortunate like Patricia.

I hope you have the chance to know or meet someone who is much older than you. Take the time to listen and laugh with them, be silent with them and hold their hand. They will cherish their time with you, but it will be your gift forever.

Dear Juan - Thank you so much for your generous heart and your time.  You are a kind soul, and I am so happy we met.

        *Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.                                                                                                                            Jeanne Moreau