Love took a lacing in movie star circles this year (1950), with divorces outnumbering weddings almost 3 to 1.
Betty Hutton bounced into court, divorced Ted Briskin, dated a gang of local swains, and then decided she’d rather be Mrs. Briskin again. They struggled along… until she announced she’d been right the first time and got ready to file for another divorce.
Biggest surprise of the year was Barbara Stanwyck’s announcement that she was divorcing Robert Taylor after 11 years of what everybody thought was perfect bliss. Their pals said the marriage fizzled because Barbara got fed up with being a telephone wife.
Nancy Sinatra made headlines when she won a legal seperation from Frankie-boy, plus one-third of his $1,000,000 earnings. She said Frankie wouldn’t come home nights and was rude. She didn’t mention Ave Gardner, whose romance with the bow-tied crooner had been making round-the-world gossip for months. The day Nancy won her freedom, Frankie held hands with Ava in a New York night club.
Bette Davis dumped husband No. 3, William Grant Sherry, in Mexico. Actor Gary Merrill did the same thing to his wife. Then Bette and Gary said “I do” before a Mexican judge. A week later, Bette’s ex-mate ankled down the aisle with the nurse who used to take care of the Sherry’s 3-year-old daughter.
Martha Vickers announced she couldn’t get along any more with Mickey Rooney and hired a lawyer making it the third divorce in a row for Rooney. But he indicated divorce plans were being dropped so their baby’s Christmas wouldn’t be spoiled.
Evelyn Keyes divorced director John Huston.
Kirk Douglas’ wife (Diana Dill) set him free.
Jackie Coogan’s wife became his third “ex”.
Wanda Hendrix, the tiny actress who married the nation’s most decorated soldier sobbed real tears on the stand when she said she and Audie Murphey couldn’t make a go of it.
Ann Dvorak and dancer Igor Dega
The Louis Haywards
The Robert Montgomerys
Janet Blair and Lou Busch
Groucho Marx and Kay Gorcey
Joan Blondell and Mike Todd
Myrna Loy and producer Gene Elliott Roosevelt
As the end of the year rolled around, the “battling Hiltons” were headed for the divorce courts. Luscious “Liz” Taylor and Nicky Hilton Jr., after seven months of wedded misery, promised each other freedom for Christmas presents.
Other couples who split up… Jack Carson’s wife waited four years, decided he wasn’t coming back home after all, and told it to a judge… Benay Venuta and Armand Deutsch… Arline Judge – out of pictures but not out of husband material – divorced her sixth and was rumored to have her eye on No. 7.
Source: 1950 a Bad Year for Love Divorces Exceed Weddings, Spokane Daily Chronicle, Dec 19 1950, Page 82