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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2004, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Veronica Lake's Reputed Remains Resurface

(Hel, was Lakey all hair or could she act?)

Veronica Lake's Reputed Remains Resurface

NEW YORK - With her peek-a-boo blond hairdo and sultry looks, Veronica Lake was the "it-girl" of the 1940s silver screen. When she died penniless three decades later, her ashes sat anonymously in a funeral home for nearly three years before they were scattered off the Florida coast. Or were they?



Far from the Hollywood hills and many miles north of Miami, Lake's reputed remains have resurfaced in a Catskills antique store. The quirky little shop plans a homage to the late star on Saturday, with a look-alike contest, "Peek-A-Boo" cookies — and a spoonful of the actress' purported ashes taking center stage.

While questions about the ashes' authenticity hang over the event like Lake's signature hairstyle, the boutique's owner is convinced they are the real thing.

"It's a strange little footnote to a fascinating legacy," said Laura Levine, owner of Homer and Langley's Mystery Spot in Phoenicia, N.Y. "I'm a huge fan of Veronica Lake. I just think she's brilliant, gorgeous, incredibly talented and underappreciated."

Lake was once one of Hollywood's brightest lights, a contemporary of Oscar winners Ingrid Bergman (news) and Joan Crawford, a co-star with Alan Ladd in the film noirs "This Gun for Hire" and "The Glass Key," and with Joel McCrea in Preston Sturges' "Sullivan's Travels."

Her hairstyle, with long locks cascading over her right eye, was so popular that U.S. officials asked her to change it during World War II, fearing the 'do might cause workplace accidents among women on assembly lines.

Kim Basinger (news)'s Oscar-winning call girl character in 1998's "L.A. Confidential" was based on Lake.

But when the actress died in her early 50s on July 7, 1973, she was an entertainment footnote. She was working as a New York cocktail waitress, drinking heavily and married to her fourth husband, a commercial fisherman known as "Captain Bob."

Her sparsely attended Manhattan memorial service was paid for by a friend, veteran ghostwriter Donald Bain, who penned Lake's autobiography. Not even her ashes made the event; they were stored at a Burlington, Vt., funeral home in a squabble over money, as best Bain can remember.

The remains remained there until March 1976, when two friends volunteered to bring Lake's ashes to Florida. Bain sent the funeral home $200 to cover the back storage fees, and the ashes were shipped to the Park Avenue residence of Lake confidante William Roos.

Roos and pal Dick Toman took the ashes south for their ceremonial deposit in the water off Miami, just as Lake had once requested.

Mission accomplished. Or so Bain thought.

The years passed, Toman died, Roos fell out of touch with Bain — and then, 28 years later, Lake's ashes reappeared, along with an odd story of ownership.

According to Lake's current keeper, Larry Brill, off-Broadway producer Ben Bagley saw the urn with Lake's ashes while visiting Roos and became enamored of the attractive container. Roos, for reasons unexplained, later sent along the ashes to Bagley without the urn, said Brill.

A disappointed Bagley promptly poured the remains into a manila envelope and mailed them to Brill in about 1979. The amount was so small that it was clearly not all of her remains, suggesting that Roos might have saved some of the ashes as a keepsake.

"I have no reason not to believe the ashes are Veronica Lake," said Brill, 65, a graphic designer and Lake fan. "Benny's not going to dump some stranger's ashes in an envelope."

Bagley died in 1998, and neither Brill nor Bain knows what became of Roos. That leaves Bain as the last skeptical voice.

"How do you know these aren't the ashes of a dog from the vet?" wondered the author of more than 80 books, including the "Murder She Wrote" mystery series under the Jessica Fletcher pseudonym and the amorous adventures of two swinging stewardesses in "Coffee, Tea or Me?"

Brill, who spends his weekends in the Catskills, brought the ashes to Levine's store this summer. They quickly found a place among the shop's garden gnomes, vintage clothing and paint-by-number art, and inspired the October tribute.

Brill plans to take the ashes back to Manhattan afterward, and said he was considering offers for the ashes from potential buyers.

"What am I going to do, leave it to my 13-year-old kid?" Brill said. "My kid could care less. He doesn't know who she is."
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2004, 02:53 PM
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So Peppermint Patty Neely, what about Jean Harlow's? And I'm still waiting for the 411 on Mariette Hartley, BTW.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2004, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Hon, I’m only 57. Harlow was BEFORE my time.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neely OHara
Hon, I’m only 57. Harlow was BEFORE my time.
But you know all this stuff, or your buddy "Hel" does! And Mariette is around your age, lets have some scandal stories!
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2004, 03:34 PM
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Well, she wasn't before my time, I mean, apart from D.W. Griffith, who was? That dame was stealing roles from me left and right when I first came to Hollywood as the wide-eyed starlet!! She was more talented than Demi Moore, but she was no Doris Day. Get the drift?

Boy, if the twins let my ashes end up at a flea market somewhere, I'm going to be really pissed. Maybe they could weld my urn onto the bottom of my Oscar or something. I'll have to give this some thought.

Whitney Houston and her receipts:

http://www.tennisforum.com/showthrea...17447&page=324
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2004, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyRoger
But you know all this stuff, or your buddy "Hel" does! And Mariette is around your age, lets have some scandal stories!
Who are you calling "Hel"? That's Miss Lawson to you, bub. Only a select few can call me by me Christian name, dear. Once you bag an Oscar or an Emmy, we can talk, but until then, that's Miss Lawson.

Whitney Houston and her receipts:

http://www.tennisforum.com/showthrea...17447&page=324
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2004, 03:46 PM
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Thank you, Miss Lawson! And @ least "this Peppermint Patty" didn't rag on Mariette the way she did re. Jennifer O'Neill.

Also, as Kim Carnes sang in 1980:

Her hair is Harlow gold
Her lips a sweet surprise
Her hands are never cold
She's got Bette Davis eyes.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2004, 03:49 PM
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Kim Carnes was going to do a follow up, "She's got Helen Lawson Red Hair" but it never got off the ground. I was the Bombshell from Brooklyn, I deserve a song. I need a song. I need a doll.

Whitney Houston and her receipts:

http://www.tennisforum.com/showthrea...17447&page=324
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2004, 04:38 PM
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HL posted:
Quote:
I deserve a song. I need a song.
Hey Hells,why don't you just do a cover of a old classic like, "I did my way".Sinatra isn't using it anymore,and if you perform it at nursing homes,in the alzheimer wing, no one will know its not yours!!
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2004, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by seabreeze
HL posted: Hey Hells,why don't you just do a cover of a old classic like, "I did my way".Sinatra isn't using it anymore,and if you perform it at nursing homes,in the alzheimer wing, no one will know its not yours!!
The problem is, I really didn't do it "my way." I just conformed to what the studio and public wanted so I could make really big money and win an Oscar (both of which I accomplished).

Whitney Houston and her receipts:

http://www.tennisforum.com/showthrea...17447&page=324
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2004, 04:45 PM
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I just conformed to what the studio and public wanted so I could make really big money and win an Oscar (both of which I accomplished).
Atta Girl!
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2004, 05:03 PM
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the broad really did have the looks though. I guess that goes to show you that you can only get so far by sleeping your way to the top.

Blowing out someone else's candle does not make yours shine brighter.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2004, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sally Struthers
the broad really did have the looks though. I guess that goes to show you that you can only get so far by sleeping your way to the top.
Can Miss Lawson do some infomercials like you?
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2004, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyRoger
Can Miss Lawson do some infomercials like you?
laugh all you like but they pay well. I'm laughing all the way to the bank

Blowing out someone else's candle does not make yours shine brighter.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old Oct 13th, 2004, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sally Struthers
laugh all you like but they pay well. I'm laughing all the way to the bank
You got that right, Sal. I haven’t done one myself but I was talking to Linda Evans not too long ago and she made a boatload of money endorsing some Botox crème. Lin said she only did it as a favour to a friend but I told her “Lin, a gig is a gig so save me the explanation.”
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