Hedda Hopper

Actress Joan Bennett once sent Hedda Hopper a "$435 valentine.  The $35 went for a skunk which carried a note, 'Won't you be my valentine? Nobody else will.  I stink and so do you.' " That is just an example of the type of relationships that she had with the stars of the day.

 

Blair County native Hopper was born Elda Furry on May 2, 1885 in Hollidaysburg.  Her family moved to Altoona when she was three.  According to Linda Barnes, a distant cousin of Hopper's, she says that Hopper also had ties to the Curryville/Woodbury area near the Blair and Bedford County line, when she was growing up.

Elda Furry ran off to New York to work on Broadway as a chorus girl.  Needless to say, this venture did not go well.  Florenz Ziegfeld, actually called the aspiring starlet a "clumsy cow". After a few years, she joined the theater company of matinee idol DeWolf Hopper, whom she would later marry.

 

Eventually, she auditioned for and landed the lead role in the play The Country Boy for a road tour that lasted for thirty-five weeks through forty-eight states.

 

In 1913, she became the fifth wife of DeWolf hopper, whose previous wives' names were Ella, Ida, Edna and Nella.  She would often get upset when her husband would refer to her by the wrong name.  So, Elds paid a numerologist ten dollars to tell her what name she should use, and the answer was "Hedda".

She began acting in silent films in 1915, beginning with The Battle of Hearts.  Subsequently, she appeared in more than 120 movies over the following twenty-three years.

In 1937, she was offered the role of a lifetime and one that she would be quite comfortabl;e with, that of a gossip columnist . "Hedda hopper's Hollywood" debuted in the Los Angeles Times on February 14, 1938.

 

Mater** Material for this article was obtained through the following sources:

1. Wikipedia article on Hedda Hopper

2 Phone interview with Linda Barnes

 

**Photo provided by Linda Barnes

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