Friday, May 8, 2009
FAME RUINS ROMANCE OF ANN HARDING, FILM BEAUTY
‘HAPPY’ FILM PAIR TO PART
Husband Losing Identity Because of Wife’s Success, Joint Statement Says
Hollywood, March 23 (UP)
The familiar Hollywood custom of dubbing a comparatively unsuccessful actor as “the husband of” a more successful actress wife has broken up another of the screen’s ideal romances.
Ann Harding, who rose to fame in films, and Harry Bannister, who registered only faintly as a motion picture player, have announced they will seek a divorce.
A joint announcement from the couple late to-day electrified the screen colony, which has looked upon the Harding-Bannister unity as one of the happiest of Hollywood film group marriages.
Miss Harding, riding the topmost crest of motion picture popularity, declared that she and her husband were getting a divorce “because, during our three years in the motion picture industry, we have been placed in a position which is untenable.”
Other film marriages have been ended by this custom of playfully or caustically pointing out the husband’s lesser importance, but never has a couple been so candid in admitting it.
“Due to Harry’s constant effort to forward my interests,” she continued, “often at the expense of his own, he is gradually losing his identity, becoming a background for my activities, and looked upon as ‘Ann Harding’s husband.’
“We have decided that the only way for Harry to reestablish himself in his profession is to set forth upon his own – quite apart from me – and win his way back to the standing he enjoyed in the theater, before his unfortunate situation in pictures has a chance to reach us and destroy the love and respect we have for each other.”
Bannister confirmed his wife’s announcement, and said, “during the five and a half years I have been married to Ann Harding, I have had the love and respect and devotion of the very great and lovely person who is my wife.
DIVORCE BEST SOLUTION
“Therefore, in order to preserve this in its entirety, we find the apparently drastic course of divorce the quickest and best solution to our eventual complete happiness.”
The announcement was unpreceded by rumor, for the married life of Miss Harding and Bannister had been regarded as ideal. Some indication that all was not well was indicated, however, last Monday when Bannister ended his contract with R. K. O. Studios. At that time he said he wanted to become a freelance player.
The Bannisters, who have a three year old daughter, Jane, were married in New York almost six years ago. They were equally famed on the stage there.
Three and a half years ago they came to Hollywood. Miss Harding’s blond beauty carried her to almost instant stardom and important money. Bannister got a few good parts at first, then found only bits.
Miss Harding, a native of San Antonio, Texas, was educated in several exclusive Eastern schools, and started life as an employee in a New York Insurance Company, but her talent soon led her to the stage.
She played on Broadway six years and in April, 1929, she came to Hollywood. Her pictures have been few, but highly successful. “Holiday” was one of her biggest hits, and others were “Devotion,” “Her Private Affairs,” “Paris Bound,” and “Condemned.”
Bannister played in one of her films, “Her Private Affair,” and has taken supporting roles in several others. He has spent much of his time recently flying. The couple own two airplanes – a sport training plane and a large mono-plane equipped for cross country flying.
The actress is the daughter of the late Gen. George Grant Gatley, chief of field artillery forces and second in command of the Rainbow Division in the World War. Miss Harding has been asked to act as hostess for the division reunion here next July.
Only a few days ago Bannister and R. K. O. studio officials reached an agreement on which the actor was released from his contract. He said he was not satisfied with the studio. His contract called for a salary of $1250 a week and had a year to run. It was reported a settlement was effected for approximately 80 per cent of this sum.
They did not announce when or where they would seek their divorce, or who would retain custody of their daughter, and neither could be reached late to-day for additional details.