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Dorothy Jordan (1906-1988)

  1. Fay Wray, King Kong, 1932.    After Jean Harlow refused, Jordan and were seen, before Wray became the beauty with the beast. Well, she was so handy… already shooting The Most Dangerous Game on another RKO soundstage for the same producer, Merian C Cooper. He wed Jodan the following year - up until his 1973 death.
  2. Ginger Rogers, Flying Down To Rio, 1933.       It could have been Fred ’n’ Dotty... Fred ’n’ Ginger’s first happened because Jordan was on her (year-long) honeymoon with her boss - RKO production chief, King Kong producer and amazing Hollywood pioneer Merian C Cooper. So Fred and Ginger danced The Carioca. And two superstars were born. As Cooper achieved the double-whammy of making King Kong… and King Astaire! (RKO “may eventually do things with this lad,” said Variety!). Fred told his agent: “I don't mind making another picture with [Rogers], but as for this team idea, it’s out! I’ve just managed to live down one partnership [with his sister Adele] and I don't want to be bothered with any more.” Hah! They made nine more scintillating musicals.
  3. Jean Parker, Two Alone, 1933.       But which two… ? Jordan and Douglass Montgomery turned into Parker and Tom Brown when Jordan fell ill during the Sonora location. RKO then loaned MGM’s Parker (Beth in Little Women; Montgomery was Laurie), to re-shoot all the scenes of the troubled orphan Mazie scenes, complete the film and collect top billing.
  4. Katharine Hepburn, Spitfire, 1934.     Hepburn was the new Queen of RKO  after Little Women.  And  her agent (and on-off lover) Leland Hayward made her accept this stinker. When she complained about the script and dullard, sexless co-stars Robert Young and Ralph Bellamy, the exec producer Merian C Cooper (of King Kong fame)  calmly admitted he had warned Jordan off the role.   “In other words,” yelled Kate, “ the script is not suitable for your little whore but it’s  OK for me to go out there and make an ass of myself.”  Her role of Trigger was a  hillbilly witch – “going  on 18.” her age,, while Kate was speeding past  26… .and when stretching out on the hefty branch of a tree on the RKO poster, she resembled a redheaded Tarzan.Cooper and Jordan later wed - for 40 years.

  5. Vivien Leigh, Gone With The Wind, 1938.
  6. Olivia De Havilland, Gone With The Wind, 1938.

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