skip navigation
Overview for Hedda Hopper
Hedda Hopper

Hedda Hopper



TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here


TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (1)

Recent DVDs

The Last of... Norma Shearer, Basil Rathbone, Hedda Hopper. Mrs. Fay Cheyney, a beautiful young... more info $16.95was $19.99 Buy Now

Forbidden... Audacious, controversial and shockingly frank, Forbidden Hollywood: Volume Six... more info $39.96was $47.99 Buy Now

Forbidden... Loose women. Unscrupulous heels. Adulterous husbands. Unfaithful wives. Pre-Code... more info $39.96was $47.99 Buy Now

The Scarlet... It takes a spy to catch a spy in this rousing Revolutionary War adventure... more info $17.56was $21.99 Buy Now

The Robert... Raise a cinematic champagne glass to debonair leading man Robert Montgomery, one... more info $36.95was $47.99 Buy Now

The Easiest... Beautiful young Laura Murdock chooses the easiest way out of the slums: become... more info $15.95was $17.99 Buy Now

Also Known As: Elda Furry,Mrs. De Wolf Hopper Died: February 1, 1966
Born: June 2, 1890 Cause of Death: pneumonia
Birth Place: Hollidayburg, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: Cast ... actor gossip columnist


ral and income tax in particular, Hopper gladly took a $5,000 deduction for the purchase of designer hats as a business expense.

Not entirely abandoning her acting career, Hopper made sporadic film appearances, playing a thinly-veiled version of herself in George Cukorâ¿¿s "The Women" (1939) and character roles in James P. Hoganâ¿¿s "Queen of the Mob" (1940) and Cecil B. DeMilleâ¿¿s "Reap the Wild Wind" (1942). She cameoed as herself in Harold Schusterâ¿¿s "Breakfast in Hollywood" (1946), Henry Levinâ¿¿s "The Corpse Came C.O.D." (1947), and Billy Wilderâ¿¿s "Sunset Blvd." (1950) and hosted a series of featurettes for Paramount titled "Hedda Hopperâ¿¿s Hollywood" as an extension of her column. With the popularity of television, Hopper extended her domain to the small screen, turning up in episodes of "I Love Lucy" (CBS, 1951-57), "The Colgate Comedy Hour" (NBC, 1950-55), "The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show" (NBC, 1956-1961) and "The Beverly Hillbillies" (CBS, 1962-1971). Having begun his own film career in 1935, Hopperâ¿¿s son William attained his own level of celebrity as Natalie Woodâ¿¿s father in "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955) and among the cast of the long-running CBS courtroom drama "Perry Mason" (1957-1966).

Hopper published two sets of memoirs, in 1952 and 1963. At age 79, she contributed a cameo appearance to the Jerry Lewis farce "The Patsy" (1964), but her final years found her in declining health. Hopper never lived to see her final film appearance, in Russell Rouse⿿s acidic Hollywood exposé "The Oscar" (1966), released a month after her death from pneumonia on Feb. 1, 1966. In 1972, author George Eells published the dual biography Hedda and Louella , source of the 1985 CBS telefilm "Malice and Wonderland" starring Jane Alexander as Hedda Hopper and frequent gossip target Elizabeth Taylor as Louella Parsons. Having established Hollywood gossip as a model for big business and a component of mid-century American life, Hopper paved the way for such professional scandal-mongers as Rex Reed, Rona Barrett and Liz Smith, while anticipating the 21st century dominance of such internet scandal sheets as TMZ, Gawker, and Radar Online.

By Richard Harland Smitherformance by noted actress Ethel Barrymore. Deciding she wanted to be an actress, less out of a genuine desire to perform than to simply wear elegant costumes, Hopper bought her first hat, a bright green straw bonnet trimmed with red velvet geraniums. Without her parentsâ¿¿ permission, she joined a Pittsburgh theatrical troupe. In 1908, at the age of 23, she ran away to New York City with the aim of becoming a Ziegfeld Girl.

Though Hopper was blessed with a peaches-and-cream complexion and excellent legs, her talents as a singer and dancer were held in lesser regard on Broadway. Turned down for employment by Florenz Ziegfeld himself, she turned to work as an understudy. She made her Broadway debut as Elda Curry in R.H. Burnsideâ¿¿s staging of the musical "The Pied Piper," starring DeWolf Hopper. She appeared again opposite Hopper in Daniel V. Arthurâ¿¿s "A Matinee Idol," which ran for over a year between April 1910 and May 1911. Joining Hopperâ¿¿s theatrical company, she became his fifth wife. Because her husbandâ¿¿s previous spouses had been named Ida, Ella, Edna and Nella, she opted to drop the stage name Elda Curry in favor of Hedda Hopper, by which she billed herself for a role in Clare Kummerâ¿¿s comedy "Be Calm, Camilla" and three later Broadway appearances. In 1915, Hopper gave birth to a son, William DeWolf Hopper, Jr. Later that year, the family traveled to Hollywood, where Hopper, Sr., was under contract to D. W. Griffith, Thomas Ince, and Mack Sennettâ¿¿s Triangle Company.

While still calling herself Elda Furry, Hopper made her film debut as the star of Oscar Apfel⿿s sea drama "The Battle of Hearts" (1916), produced by the Fox Film Corporation. She would be so-billed, or alternatively listed as Elda Millar, until her appearance in the Goldwyn Company⿿s "Nearly Married" (1917), an adaptation of the Broadway comedy by Edgar Selwyn (for whom Hopper had performed in New York). For a supporting role in "Virtuous Wives" (1918), produced by Louis B. Mayer for First National, she was billed as Mrs. DeWolf Hopper, a credit she would retain for "The Inner Chamber" (1921), "Conceit" (1921), and "What⿿s Wrong with the Women?" (1922). In 1922, Hopper divorced her husband, opting to raise their son alone while she continued with her career. She played the duplicitous Madge Larrabee to John Barrymore⿿s "Sherlock Holmes" (1922), having transitioned by this point from ingénues to character roles. Hopper⿿s patrician beauty often found her playing affluent or titled women, such as the lofty Mrs. Leiter in "The Snob" (1924) with John Gilbert and Norma Shearer; Lady Wildering in "Déclassé" (1925) with Corinne Griffith; and the artistically-inclined Countess de Fragni in "Fools of Fashion" (1926) with Mae Busch.

Surviving Hollywoodâ¿¿s changeover from silents to talking pictures, Hopper played yet another woman of means in "Holiday" (1930), an adaptation of the Philip Barry play starring Mary Astor and Edward Everett Horton, and appeared alongside Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, Edward G. Robinson, Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck and other stars in the charity short "The Stolen Jools" (1931). Rent-paying work in low-budget productions such as "Murder Will Out" (1930), "One Frightened Night" (1925), and "The Dark Hour" (1936) earned Hopper the nickname Queen of the Quickies, but she was cast in a number of prestige pictures as well, including "Alice Adams" (1935) at RKO, opposite Katharine Hepburn and Fred McMurray. Hopper played society ladies in "Draculaâ¿¿s Daughter" (1936) and "Topper" (1937). In "Tarzanâ¿¿s Revenge" (1938), she sneezed her way through the role of the hypochondriacal mother Eleanor Holm, jungle consort of Glenn Morrisâ¿¿ vine-swinging King of the Apes.

In 1936, Hopper had found a sideline as a fashion commentator for a Los Angeles radio station. The following year, she was hired by the Esquire Feature Syndicate to be their Hollywood correspondent. Her column, "Hedda Hopperâ¿¿s Hollywood," debuted in The Los Angeles Times in 1938 and was swiftly syndicated all over the country. A CBS radio program followed in 1939. Hopper relished her new-found notoriety as a purveyor of Tinseltown tidbits. Never seen in public without an elaborate hat, she held court at such posh nightclubs as Ciroâ¿¿s and the Trocadero, where she collected rumors about troubled productions and misbehaving movie stars. Her rumor-mongering tinged with cruelty, Hopper wound up on the bad side of such industry A-listers as Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, and Joseph Cotten. Yet for as many stars who hated Hopper, more courted her favor in a bid to stay out of range. So damaging was the prospect of ruination via a Hopper exclusive that the columnist nicknamed her Beverly Hills mansion "the House that Fear Built."

Though she never remarried, Hopper weathered a longtime association with rival gossip columnist Louella Parsons. Though the pair had initially gotten on well, the friendship turned acrimonious as both women jockeyed for the title of Queen of Hollywood. Hopper was not above using her platform as a vehicle for settling old grudges, bashing Louis B. Mayer (allegedly because he had stunted her stardom at MGM when she refused a go on his casting couch) and Charlie Chaplin, whose left-wing politics and libertine lifestyle offended Hopperâ¿¿s Puritan propriety. Having fled her small town home for Hollywood and raised her child alone, Hooper nonetheless beat the drum for traditional American values. An anti-union Republican, she was disdainful of Democratic President Franklin D. Rooseveltâ¿¿s New Deal and counted among her inside sources newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, red-baiting Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, and FBI frontman J. Edgar Hoover. Though she railed against big government in gene


summer ( 2006-11-09 )

Source: Vanity Fair's Hollywood

She was born in Hollydaysburg, PA on 1885. Married De Wolf Hopper and had a son, De Wolf Hopper Jr. (William Hopper) on 1915. She became a Hollywood gossip columnist in the 1930's. She became Louella Parson's rival in the field of gossip.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute