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These articles originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times


October 14, 1935


Joan Crawford Weds Tone in Secret Rite


NEW YORK, Oct. 13. (Exclusive) — Joan Crawford, who innocently demanded "what marriage?" when she arrived here a fortnight ago with Franchot Tone, was fooling, after all.


The glamorous screen star and the suave Tone, her favorite escort since she divorced Douglas Fairbanks Jr., were wed secretly in Englewood Cliffs, NJ last Friday, it was learned tonight.


Late tonight it developed a series of Waldorf-Astoria rooms had been turned into bridal quarters. The couple was reached there and Franchot confirmed the news over the telephone.


“Just say we are both very happy," he said.

“Really now," he drawled, when pressed for more comment, “you can just fill in the lines, can't you?"

Mayor Herbert W. Jenkins, who performed the ceremony in his Englewood Cliffs home, confirmed the news.

“They had a license, so I married 'em,” he said, seemingly unimpressed at his role in bringing to an end one of Hollywood's most talked-of romances.

The two film players and a small group of friends motored to Englewood Cliffs after twice breaking engagements last week to be married at Harrison, NY Westchester County’s Gretna Green, it was learned.


The previous engagements were canceled because the secrecy-loving pair thought they were being followed by newspapermen or uninvited friends.

Witnesses to the simple ceremony were Nicholas Schenck, motion-picture magnate, and M. M. Friedman, Hollywood film executive.

Miss Crawford, Mayor Jenkins recalled, wore a blue serge suit and carried a bride's bouquet. "She was smiling and happy."


November 24, 1935


Franchot Tone More Than Just "Man Joan Married"

Son of Wealthy Family, He’s Actor in His Own Right,

Distinguished by Decisive Voice and "Mona Lisa" Smile


by Philip K. Scheuer

Nobody knows a great deal about the man Joan Crawford married, although the society pages must at some time or other have described him as a "catch." Like the Morgan brothers, Frank and Ralph, with their Angostura Bitters, Franchot Tone can always fall back on the Carborundum Company in a pinch. The Carborundum Company is really Frank J. Tone, Sr.—"F. J.” -- Franchot calls him—and carborundum is really an artificial compound of carbon and silicon. It is worth, a lot of money, in the long grind.

In this story, however, Franchot Tone will not once be referred to as “scion of wealthy family (although that is what he is); Franchot is an entity in his own right, a player of stage and screen who is distinguished from other players by a decisive speaking voice "and a smile that hovers somewhat between, cynicism and what Heywood Broun once described as "wist." It is the masculine counterpart, that smile, of the Mona Lisa's -- and quite as provoking.


Because he is stiffly erect, well mannered and usually unruffled, Hollywood is wont to cast him as a "gentleman” -- a slightly insulting term which implies slightly caddish tendencies. He doesn't mind this role especially, although he would prefer to be given parts in which he would be allowed to work with his hands, as he expresses it. He always worked with his hands on the stage, never wore a dress suit in all his seasons with the New Playwrights' Theater in Greenwich Village, the Theater Guild or the Group Theater, which last he helped organize—financially and otherwise.

Tone, the fact is, likes his drama straight, without benefit of camera. That benefit he considers often dubious, at best; people who look for art in cinema, he asserts, would be wiser to turn to some other of the fields in which genius finds more plentiful expression. He found working alongside Charles Laughton inspiring, in "Mutiny on the Bounty"; it enabled him to give what many will assay as his finest performance, although he himself singles out his lead in “Lives of a Bengal Lancer."


He most enjoyed playing with Joan in such films as "Today We Live," "Dancing Lady" and "Sadie McKee"—even though, he adds with a twinkle, he generally lost her to some luckier fellow. He still has hopes of doing a stage drama with her at some distant date. There was talk of their co-appearing in "The Postman Always Rings Twice," for the Guild, but Tone couldn't wangle a leave from the studio. "Joan could have gone," he said, "but I wouldn't have wanted to be left out here alone!"

He said this as though the very prospect horrified him, as indeed it may have. After three years, Tone objects to Hollywood on the grounds that it is either "all social or all work” with no happy medium. That the medium can be happy is exemplified, he stated, by the conditions obtaining in Manhattan's better speakeasies—which, while they are no longer nominally such, still provide that peculiarly pre-repeal kind of privacy which is conducive to the flow of both inspiration and conversation.

Here, his intimates, even in a colony, are few: Lynn Riggs, playwright; Jerry Asher, writer; Otto Morando, voice instructor, chiefly. He is fond of music, and collects books on acting, some dating back to 1850. He smiled his quizzical smile at the mention, in his studio biography, that "he loves to study philosophy" and is partial to golf and riding. "I don't believe I've played golf or read a book in ten years. As for riding, they should have seen me falling off horses in ‘Bengal Lancers,’" he remarked facetiously.

Tone's eyes gleamed with enthusiasm as he spoke of "the Stanislavsky system.” It is to this system, which he calls "a substitute for genius,” that he owes all practical knowledge of his profession, he declared—barring an apprenticeship as president of the Cornell Dramatic Club and a period of stock in Buffalo.

“I came upon it in 1928," he explained, "in New York. We used it in the Group Theater. Its leading exponents were, and are, Ouspenskaya and Boleslawski. Ouspenskaya is still teaching; Boley, of course, is directing here at M.-G.-M

"We were taught to 'act' mentally working inside rather than out. It was not merely enough, of course to be 'filled up' inside; one needed the will to make one's feeling known. As a method it was opposed to the Comedie Françoise school, which advocates imitativeness—the “put the sob in it, boys!” sort of thing. As Boley said last week, “the ideal lies somewhere between the two.”

More than any single factor, one suspects, the Stanislavsky system has imprinted itself on Franchot Tone's nature, personally as well as professionally. Either that, or the other way round; he stepped into a technique ready made to his measure. He is of Irish descent, the French-sounding Franchot (Fran-sho) having been inherited from his mother's line. It's the Irish part that may furnish a key to the wist in his smile.


[Thanks to Norman for these articles.]


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