19A. PROVOC & CHALNG W ARCERI POWER Issue 2014

 

 

The Girl Least Likely: Greer Garson

 

 

 

Greer Garson wrote to me on February 26, 1987, suggesting the above title for her biography.  There were so many obstacles.  So much hope deferred.  But it would be worth writing even for a limited readership, as it is a story of success despite disappointments and handicaps.

 

And that should encourage others to hold onto their dreams.

 

The Press Club of San Francisco was to honor Greer at a luncheon on May 7, 1986.  The seven-time Academy Award nominee’s films include Goodbye Mr. Chips, Madame Curie, and Mrs. Miniver (winning this time).  During the FDR years she was Queen at the New York’s Radio City Music Hall box office.  Winston Churchill said Mrs. Miniver is propaganda worth 100 battleships.  And my favorite is Random Harvest.

 

David “Scotty” Morris was Co-Chairman and MC at the Press Club event.  I was invited to attend representing PBS.  Sitting near Miss Garson I was thoroughly enchanted with her, yet detected a sadness behind the smile and within the blue green eyes.  Somehow, we connected.  She cut her talk short, telling the assembly she was anxious to get back to her ailing husband.  When she said goodbye to me, she handed me a note with her address.

 

From my questions and knowing of my scheduled library lectures, “Great Books Into Great Films Starring Greer Garson”, it was a gracious offer to call on her.

 

In 1949 she married E.E. “Buddy” Fogelson, an oil developer and industrialist.  The Fogelson’s had homes in Dallas and L.A. and a ranch outside Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Meanwhile we corresponded.

 

As her husband’s illness, Parkinson’s disease, had progressed, she wrote: “We are living with hospital equipment and RNs around the clock…a revolving door”.  Buddy painfully battled Parkinson’s for years until his death in 1987.  For the last six years of his life he was confined to a hospital and Greer moved into an adjoining room.

 

During this time, she suffered her first heart attack.  Then on April 8, 1988 I received a note from Greer in which she praised her beloved Buddy.  “His wonderful life touched so many with his dignity, grace and courage including the long years of the battle against Parkinson’s.”  In their 40 years of marriage, he was everything in the world to her.

 

Greer Garson died in Dallas at age 92, epitomizing a noble, wise and courageous wife

on film and in real life.  In her will she donated millions to hospitals, medical schools,

the performing arts, and other philanthropies.  Not bad for The Girl Least Likely.

 

We never did get to write her book.  With her passing, it was a sad goodbye to motion picture’s romantic age of Hollywood.

 

 





One Response to “THE PROVOCATIVE & CHALLENGING WORLD OF ARCERI – The Girl Least Likely: Greer Garson”

  1. Sandra Grabman | 03.01.14 at 3:23 PM said…

    What a wonderful tribute-article to a great actress and fine lady!

 

 


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