The Roving Retro Reporter reports on the current scene:
Hollywood's Income Taxes -- Continued from here
CONSTANCE BENNETT has an undeserved reputation for extravagance, thanks largely to a certain imaginative article which claimed that she spends a quarter of a million each year on clothes. As a matter of fact, she is an exceedingly shrewd business woman, who invests wisely and keeps her expenses well within the limits of her income. Her salary, according to the best available reports, is approximately $8,000 a week. This year her income tax will probably be far in excess of $100,000. She rents a large home in Beverly Hills, owns a house at Malibu Beach and estimates that the two residences cost about $15,000 a year.
Connie budgets her expenses. Three-fourths of her salary is invested by the Equitable Investment Corporation, which handles her business as well as that of many other stars. She allows herself $100 a week for pocket money to take care of tips, café and theatre parties, and other odds and ends. She spends between $15,000 and $20,000 a year on clothes-a very modest sum in view of the position she is forced to maintain before the public. In her Beverly Hills home she has a housekeeper, nurse, cook, second cook, maid and two gardeners. For the beach house she employs a secretary. It costs her about $12,000 a year to take care of her fan mail and she pays the Equitable Investment Corporation approximately $5,000 annually for handling her financial affairs. Her intimates report that her charities are enormous. She gives heavily to the Community Chest and pays one-half of one per cent of her salary to the Motion Picture Relief Fund. It is known that she supports four needy families.
Although most screen stars dislike talking about their charities the fact remains that no class of people in the world gives so lavishly to help the poor. Nine players out of every ten have felt the sting of poverty and are anxious to do their bit.
Marion Davies' donations to charity are almost incredible. She supports a clinic for children in Sawtelle, California, and a large foundling home in New York. She gives generously to many established philanthropic organizations which solicit her aid. On the other hand, her personal expenses are fabulous. One can only gasp at the lavishness with which she entertains. To attempt fixing the cost of one of her parties would be an utterly impossible task. Her jewels are insured for $500,000.
CLARK GABLE, having tasted poverty for many years and not liking its flavor, is industriously saving most of his income. He lived, until recently, in a modest, unfurnished apartment which he rented for about $150 a month. He does no entertaining, spends little for clothes and employs only two servants, a maid and a cook.
Norma Shearer, with a screen income of approximately one-half million a year, spends very little of her own money, according to studio reports. Her husband Irving Thalberg, insists on being the provider. Perhaps her largest expense, excepting the inevitable income tax, is her life insurance, said to be a $1,000,000 policy.
Joan Crawford, with a salary estimated to be in the neighborhood of $4,500 a week, is carefully investing the bulk of her income. She owns the home in which she and Doug Jr. live, but he, in common with most other male members to a co-star marriage, pays all the household bills. Joan dresses well, but not lavishly, and manages to hold her modest bills down to about $15,000 a year. She employs a studio maid and a driver for her Cadillac and shares a secretary and business manager with Doug. Her voice is insured for $100,000 and her feet for $50,000. She gives generously to charities, entertains frequently, but not extravagantly, and considers her yearly vacation trip to New York, costing about $2,000, her one luxury.
Any article of this kind must necessarily be very incomplete, since to list all of the luminaries of the screen and report in any semblance of detail each one's mode of living would require a booklength manuscript. Many stars whose living expenses are almost incalculable-for instance, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson and John Barrymore-I have not attempted to include.
A few statements apply to every person in the picture colony. One and all, they give with exceeding generosity to charity; one and all, they realize their good fortune and spend freely to the general betterment of business. There is not a hoarder or a radical in the whole lot.
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