Thursday, December 15, 2016

Ginger Rogers, Fred & Ginger Legend



Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com
This reportedly was Ginger Rogers' favorite photo of herself.


Ginger Rogers - everybody knows the name. Pair it with Fred Astaire's name and you get instant recognition: Fred & Ginger, the most famous dance pair in history.

Well, all well and good, but Ginger Rogers had a life beyond simply pairing up with the greatest of dancers. Let's take a peek back in time and get an overview of the fabulous life of Ginger Rogers.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

The first thing to learn is that Ginger Rogers was only a stage name. She was born on 16 July 1911 as Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence, Missouri. The family later moved to Kansas City, and then Fort Worth. Ginger apparently was a corruption of "Virginia" by her little cousin. Rogers was Ginger's mother's last name, and the two remained quite close throughout their lives, even starring in films together.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

Ginger's mother, Lela McMath, became a scriptwriter in 1915, making the audacious decision to travel all the way to Hollywood to peddle a script - successfully. That may have sparked young Ginger's interest in performing, but it wasn't her "big break." That happened when Eddie Foy, a top vaudeville actor who was famous enough to have his life portrayed by Bob Hope in "The Seven Little Foys" (1955), came to Fort Worth in 1926.  Foy needed a last-minute stand, and Ginger won a Charleston dance contest. This got her a spot in Foy's troupe.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

A couple of years later, Ginger married Jack Culpepper, so her name technically became Virginia Culpepper. Culpepper was a childhood friend who had become successful as an entertainer under the name Jack Pepper. They formed an act, "Ginger and Pepper," but the two broke up quickly - both the act and for real - and Ginger started touring with her mother.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

Ginger's next big break was in 1929, when she was cast in a small role in a Broadway show, "Top Speed." George and Ira Gershwin saw her only two weeks into its run and hired her away to star in their own Broadway show, "Girl Crazy." The choreographer for "Girl Crazy" was... Fred Astaire.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

"Girl Crazy" was a huge hit, and Ginger began getting film roles. After making three films independently in 1929, Paramount Pictures signed Ginger to a standard seven-year contract in 1930. However, talented young actors often don't like those kinds of deals because they feel they can get better parts on their own, and Ginger got out of the contract after only five films. The decision worked out for Ginger (it doesn't for everyone), and soon she was starring in films for all the major studios.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

Ginger's next big breakthrough was a starring role as Anytime Annie in "42nd Street," the iconic 1930s film which spawned a veritable cottage industry of similarly themed films and stage shows. Ginger herself shone even brighter in Busby Berkeley's (choreographed) "Gold Diggers of 1933," in which she does a memorable "Pig Latin" version (where you take the first syllable of the word and put it at the end) of "We're In The Money." It didn't hurt that she was in a 1930s version of a bikini, either. The story goes that Ginger was just fooling around with the song on her own time, and somebody - probably Busby or director Mervyn LeRoy - heard it and got it put into the film. The scene also features the kind of extreme close-ups that give actors nightmares when their acne breaks out or they start sweating.


At this point, Ginger's career was rolling along indeed. That year, she began a string of films at RKO appearing with her old dance choreographer, Fred Astaire, in "Flying Down to Rio." This string of films lasted throughout the 1930s, and many consider them the greatest dance-centered films of all time. They also were successful, at least until the last couple, "Carefree" and "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle," which also were great films but just proved that, no matter how strong the cow, you can still milk it too much.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

Ginger was a great dancer, but the key to Fred & Ginger's success was that Ginger could combine dance with excellent acting and her natural beauty. Together, Fred & Ginger did 33 partnered dances, about 3 or 4 per film. Ginger was extremely busy during this period, as everyone wanted a pretty girl in their productions who also oozed talent from every pore. Some of Ginger's top roles without Fred during the '30s were "Stage Door" (1937) with Katharine Hepburn, "Vivacious Lady" (1938) with James Stewart, and "Bachelor Mother" (1939) with David Niven.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

In 1940, Ginger cemented her reputation as a top actress with "Kitty Foyle." This earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1941. She continued working with RKO, although she was upset with the studio for paying others more (including Astaire, who to be fair choreographed all the dances and spent endless hours on rehearsals for each film and thus did far fewer films than Rogers). Ginger acquired a bit of a chip on her shoulder around this time, one which never really left even decades later.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com
Ginger on the cover of the 9 December 1940 "Life" Magazine.

Ginger remained a top star throughout the war years, including starring in Billy Wilder's acclaimed first Hollywood feature film, "The Major and the Minor (1942). That film was particularly special for Ginger because her mother, Lela, portrayed her mother in the film as well.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com


Ginger got married again in 1943, this time to Jack Briggs, a US Marine. Once the war ended, though, things changed between them and they were divorced in 1949.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

As the 1940s wore on, Ginger's star began to fade a bit. It wasn't that her talent dwindled, but times changed and new crop of young ingenues appeared. The life of an actress gets more difficult as she enter her 30s, and Ginger was known for youthful roles with lots of spontaneity and vigor (in "The Major and the Minor," she played a woman masquerading as a 12-year-old at the age of 30!). A last pairing with Fred came in 1949's "The Barkleys of Broadway," when Judy Garland had to drop out due to health issues. The story goes that the studio was hesitant about hiring Ginger, but Fred - himself now one of the top stars in Hollywood - wanted her. The two never had any personal issues, and Ginger presented him with his own (special) Academy Award in 1950.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

Ginger continued to star in films during the 1950s, with some of her most memorable turns coming in "Monkey Business" (1952) with Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe (for which she won a Golden Globe), and "We're Not Married" (1952) also starring Monroe. The rise of Marilyn Monroe shows just how tough it was for "pretty girls" to stay on top in Hollywood, but Ginger continued to get good roles because she wasn't just pretty, but also extremely talented as an actress.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

While travelling Paris in 1953, Ginger met Jacques Bergerac, a French actor and lawyer. They quickly married, and Bergerac made the extra effort by moving to Hollywood to be with her, but this marriage also ended fairly quickly. The two divorced in 1957.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com



Many former leading ladies began appearing on television in the 1950s, and Ginger joined the crowd. By the 1960s and 1970s, she was mainly appearing on television, including a memorable appearance as herself on "Here's Lucy" in 1971.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com



Ginger and her fifth and final husband, William Marshall, formed a joint film production company in Jamaica. However, it was unsuccessful, and its financial collapse hurt Ginger's finances and contributed to the failure of the marriage. The culture was changing, and it was very difficult in the '60s and early '70s to meld old school talent with the burgeoning youth culture. Many actresses from the '40s and '50s would have done better to just skip the '60s and '70s and head straight to the '80s, when the grande dames of cinema became appreciated again.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

Ginger continued making occasional television appearances until the late 1980s. She remained a top draw on stage, including a well-received turn as the lead in "Mame" in 1969. Ginger made a grand entrance to London, where the play was being staged, arriving on the QE2. She set the record for highest salary on the West End. The play ran for 14 months, and a highlight was a command performance for QE2 herself, Queen Elizabeth II.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

Ginger always wanted to direct - what actor doesn't? - and in 1985 directed an off-Broadway production of "Babes in Arms" in Tarrytown, New York.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

Ginger earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. It is located at 6772 Hollywood Boulevard.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

Ginger was very interested in promoting other women in film. She was a long-time friend of Lucille Ball, as attested to her appearance on Lucy's television show, and starred in an early film co-directed and co-scripted by a woman, "Finishing School" (1934).

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

Ginger had the rare honor of having a Broadway musical about her own life set to appear on Broadway during her own lifetime. Called "Ginger The Musical," it was written by Robert Kennedy and Paul Becker. Ginger was excited about directing it herself. However, Ginger passed away at her home in Rancho Mirage from a heart attack in 1995 before the play could be produced. While it has appeared elsewhere, "Ginger The Musical" never has been on Broadway (at least not yet, though there are always rumors that it right on the verge of getting there). Another musical about Ginger, "Backwards in High Heels," also has been produced, in Florida.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

Before her death, Ginger completed her autobiography, "Ginger My Story" (New York:  Harper Collins, 1991). It is full of personal reminiscences, including tales about her dancing days with Fred and her feelings about being mistreated by the studios in the 1930s.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

There has been some debate over the years about who was Fred Astaire's best dancing partner, and whether Fred and Ginger actually got along as well together as the legend would have it - or maybe even a bit better than legend would have it. There is varying evidence on that.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com


On the one hand, Fred is on the record as having said some very gracious things about Ginger Rogers. For instance, during an interview on British chat show "Parkinson" in 1976, Astaire said:
Excuse me, I must say Ginger was certainly the one. You know, the most effective partner I had. Everyone knows. That was a whole other thing what we did...I just want to pay a tribute to Ginger because we did so many pictures together and believe me it was a value to have that girl...she had it! She was just great!
Similarly, in "Ginger: Salute to a Star," author Dick Richards quotes Astaire as having said:
Ginger was brilliantly effective. She made everything work for her. Actually she made things very fine for both of us and she deserves most of the credit for our success.
Taking those two quotes purely at face value, there seems no question that not only was Ginger Rogers Fred's best partner, but she more than held her own with him. In fact, they were tight friends in that showbizzy kind of way.

So, for those who want the "official story," that's it. Stop reading now, and thanks for stopping by.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

However, when you dig a bit deeper in areas where the official Ginger Rogers website might not tread, there are other indications that Fred may just have been being gracious with all of his late-in-life, oh-don't-we-all-just-love-each-other-so-much showbizzy kind words about Ginger. Astaire once said:
Ginger had never danced with a partner before. She faked it an awful lot. She couldn't tap and she couldn't do this and that ... but Ginger had style and talent and improved as she went along. She got so that after a while everyone else who danced with me looked wrong.
Again, that also is very complimentary in a decidedly backhanded kind of way, but it also sounds a bit closer to the truth. Fred had been a professional choreographer when Ginger was still just starting out. It is no slight to infer that she still had a lot to learn when she began dancing with the great Fred Astaire. It is only to her credit that Ginger was a quick learner and, by the end of their collaboration, was holding her own with the man who basically had taught her how to dance. It also is not unfair to say that Ginger Rogers was a top actress who danced, while Fred Astaire was a dancer - the best dancer - who also acted and sang a little bit.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com


Dig even deeper, and more tidbits come out. Research suggests that Fred and Ginger dated after they met in New York. That is not a big secret - it's in all the biographies - but many of those biographies gloss over the extent of that part of their relationship. By some accounts, their dating relationship lasted deep into the 1930s, and may even have continued after Ginger married Lew Ayres (husband No. 2) on 14 November 1934. There is no conclusive proof of this, of course, and the official story makes it sound as though the affair was over in a matter of days. By some accounts, Ginger was much more interested in Fred than the other way around, which may explain some of her petulance at times on set.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com


Then, there's the fact that Fred wasn't happy about Ginger's performance in "Flying Down to Rio," their first pairing. He wasn't happy at all. In fact, he didn't want to appear with Ginger in any more films. As he told his agent (where the rubber meets the road with actors) in a 1934 letter (as quoted in Kathleen Riley's "The Astaires: Fred & Adele"):
What's all this talk about me being teamed with Ginger Rogers? I will not have it Leland--I did not go into pictures to be teamed with her or anyone else, and if that is the program in mind for me I will not stand for it. I don't mind making another picture with her but as for this team idea, it's out.
He added, "I've just managed to live down one partnership and I don't want to be bothered with any more." One can only imagine what he said verbally. These quotes sound somewhat more in keeping with Fred's quote above about how Ginger was "faking it" at first. However, to be fair, Astaire did star in another nine films with Ginger Rogers after sending that letter. That may only prove that money talks, but facts are facts. Dancing with Ginger was better than dancing alone, and at least she tried to get better.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com


There also are stories that Astaire could become quite cross with Rogers throughout their pairing, and not just during their first film together. Astaire's dancing was all about subtlety: it wasn't enough to do the dance and hit the marks, it was much more than that. Which was was the left foot pointing? How about your fingers? Was your knee bent, and if so, how much? Which way were you looking? Do you push your leg forward, or kind of slide it? Astaire was a taskmaster (which Rogers admitted in the '60s) who practiced every move repeatedly until he got it just right, with every part of his body fluidly expressing what he wished it to say.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com Vivacious Lady
Ginger Rogers and Frances Mercer during the infamous catfight scene in "Vivacious Lady" (1938).

Dancing was Fred's main talent, the reason he was on the screen at all, and he knew it: their first film together was only Fred's second screen appearance, but Ginger's 20th. As the old acting pro, she took things a bit more casually at times. Rogers always was just dropping in from other productions to learn her steps at the last minute (in Fred's opinion), and this did not sit well with Fred. Not at all.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com


Then, there was the infamous "ostrich feather dress" incident. While filming "Top Hat" (1935), Ginger was determined to wear an elaborate blue dress into which was sewn ostrich feathers. Why she decided to make a stand on such a silly topic is unknown, but often problems in one area of a relationship manifest themselves in such silly, pointless confrontations (and, by some accounts, this was right around when they were breaking up behind the scenes). The feathers obviously would interfere with the dance, so Fred and director Mark Sandrich nixed the dress. Out of the question! Rogers stormed off the set - over an ostrich feather dress! - and only came back when Sandrich relented and let her wear it. Rogers, in fact, wore the dress for the very first time while dancing when they actually filmed the scene - and, as the men feared, feathers went flying everywhere. Due to very judicious editing, most of the feather-flying can't be viewed in the final cut, but you can still view some going airborne here and there. Astaire later laughed it off - supposedly - and gave Rogers a charm for her charm bracelet - a golden feather. People behind the scenes took to calling Rogers "feathers," which Rogers found amusing - supposedly. Astaire later got back at her by staging a comic version of the scene with Judy Garland in "Easter Parade" (1948). There is no way that Rogers would have missed the reference.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

Whatever went on between the two behind the scenes - and some rumors suggest it was quite a bit more - it apparently left a bit of a sore spot in Ginger's psyche. The infamous quote, "Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels," did not originate with Ginger herself (it apparently came from a 1982 Frank and Ernest cartoon written by Bob Thaves, though some do attribute it to Ginger, or to several other people). However, Ginger is on the record as having said:
There's nothing a man can do, that I can't do better and in heels.
Which, when you come right down to it, is basically the same thing.

Ginger Rogers legends.filminspector.com

Below is the famous catfight scene between Ginger Rogers and Frances Mercer from "Vivacious Woman."



2017



Friday, November 11, 2016

Ivana Trump: The Donald Legend



Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com


President Donald J. Trump is one of the world's biggest celebrities. Even before defeating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential contest, his opinions echoed around the world. They say, though, that behind every great man is an even greater woman. While Donald Trump no longer is married to Ivana Trump, many credit his success to her. She also remains a constant in Donald Trump's life, as the mother of some of his children and a big supporter of his political success.

Let's learn a little bit about the glamorous Ivana Trump.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com
1970.

Ivana Trump was born Ivana Marie Zelníčková on 20 February 1949, daughter of Miloš Zelníček and Marie Francová. She is from the Moravian town of Zlin, which at that time was in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic). Zlin is famous as the home of the Bata Shoes company. The founder of that company, Tomáš Baťa, believed in a very egalitarian social structure which granted prosperity to the entire town. Today, the company remains strong. The town, incidentally, was briefly renamed Gottwaldov in the late 1940s right before Ivana was born, but already had reverted to Zlin right before her birth. That is all a bit confusing if you start looking this stuff up, but I know, it's petty detail otherwise. However, the main point is that the country was in flux at the time, with the Communists making all sorts of changes.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump
The 1970s were a lot of fun.

One thing that was not in flux was the local sport. Ivana loved to ski from an early age. While attending Charles University in Prague, she specialized in the downhill and the slalom. There is some confusion about whether Ivana was chosen as an alternate on the official Czechoslovakian ski team for the 1972 Winter Olympics. This is widely reported, but the Czechoslovakian Olympic Committee later denied it.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump
At the bar of Studio 54 during Lorna Luft's 25th birthday celebration.

Besides skiing, Ivana also developed a taste for real estate men. She married real estate agent Alfred Winklmayr in 1971, and divorced him in 1973. Afterward, she moved to Montreal, Canada to live with an old friend, George Syrovatka. There, she modeled and studied English.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump Barbra Walters
With Barbra Walters.

Ivana's modelling work took her to New York City in the mid-70s. There, she met Donald J. Trump, the son of Fred Trump, a top real estate developer in Queens. They were married on 7 April 1977.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump Ivanka Trump
Family photo.

Ivana and Donald had three children:

  • Donald John Jr. (born December 31, 1977)
  • Ivanka Marie (born October 30, 1981)
  • Eric Fredrick (born January 6, 1984)

Donald Jr. speaks fluent Czech, and Ivanka (notice that her middle name also is similar to her mother's) knows a little bit. Eric does not know Czech because Ivana had become more fluent in English by the time he was little. Ivana now has eight grandchildren.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump
1983.

Ivana took an interest in Donald Trump's real estate ventures. She had a talent for interior design, so she became the Vice President of Interior Design for the Trump Organization.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump
1980s, with clowns.

Ivana became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1988, sponsored by Donald.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump
September 1984.

Ivana was instrumental in the development of The Trump Organization's Atlantic City properties, which blossomed after the state legalized gambling. Ivana became a well-known celebrity in that town, which retained a small-town vibe even after the casinos came.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Ivana Trump.

Donald asked Ivana to oversee the restoration of the famous Plaza Hotel on Central Park South. She became the Plaza's president and was named Hotelier of the Year in 1990. Ivana was profiled in Spy Magazine in May 1989. Spy was no friend of Donald's (going off on another tangent, it also was no friend of Hillary Clinton, but we digress). Writer Jonathan Van Meter absolutely devastated Ivana in the article. While long forgotten by most, the article had one nugget that remains to this day: Van Meter revealed that Ivana referred to her husband as "The Donald" (actually, the article says she called him "The Don," but then, Captain Kirk never said "Beam me up, Scotty" and Marie Antoinette never said "Let them eat cake," either). Not quite comfortable with English, Ivana at that time called everyone "The ____," but that didn't matter. Ivana Trump came up with "The Donald," and it has become his catchphrase ever since because for some reason it fits.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump
At a ceremony in honor of Norman Vincent Peale, who married them at the Waldorf Astoria. 1977. Yes, she's the one who came up with "The Donald."

The years 1989-1990 were a watershed for the Trump family. Donald liked to call Ivana "my twin as a woman," but there had been rumors that he was interesting in acquiring another twin. These rumors had been floating around at least since July 1988 (and probably much earlier), when the New York Post ran a blind item obviously (in hindsight) referring to Marla. Ivana apparently was unaware of the whole thing, or at least played it cool until the right moment.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Ivanka Trump
Ivana Trump with Ivanka, Atlantic City, early 1980s.

During the Christmas holidays in 1989, Donald and Ivana vacationed in Aspen. The first room they were offered had separate beds - she immediately demanded a change so that there was only one king-sized bed. There also was plenty of room for her 16 pieces of luggage.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump
Forbes 70th anniversary party in 1987.

Everything seemed quite comfortable. Donald and Ivana hit all the fashionable parties. However, also present at the parties was a young actress named Marla Maples.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump
 Greenwich, Connecticut in 1987. They only lived there for a few years.

It turned out that Marla was a friend of Donald's and was there on his dime. Marla was a small-town beauty queen from Dalton, Georgia - not the one in the Soviet Union, as some of his political enemies seem to think - and bore a striking resemblance to Ivana. She was, however, a bit younger. She was a Ford model, and apparently was being linked (unnamed) in the tabloids with Donald around the same time that she inked that Ford contract. Lots of coincidences in the Trump universe.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump
1988. Donald owned the yacht for a while, but it was hideously expensive.

Donald Trump has a lot of energy. He demonstrated that during his successful 2016 Presidential campaign, when he held five rallies a day in widely separated portions of the country and turned out just enough vote in select locations to win. That week in Aspen, he also showed off his energy by squiring around both Ivana and Marla to separate parties. While Marla probably knew the drill, Ivana did not.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump
Future President Trump and Ivana Trump, 1988 (AP Photo).

Now, Donald was a famous figure in 1989. Maybe not as famous as in 2016, but he was a regular in the tabloids and the New York party scene. Everybody knew Donald Trump. He was friends of a sort with Ronald Reagan, for goodness sakes (there are disputes about that, too). That he would openly attend parties with the "mystery blonde" in Aspen, which basically was New York City and Hollywood transplanted to Colorado for the week, surprised fellow partygoers. As Donald might say, Ivana probably needed her sleep, but not Donald.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump
1988.

Rumor has it that not only did Donald attend Aspen parties with both Ivana and Marla, but both were also at the same parties. At the same time. Other partygoers asked the lovely Marla for her phone number, but she demurred, saying that she already was taken. By Donald Trump. While The Donald was with his wife on the other side of the room. The wife who had no idea that he was taken. By someone else. Who Was In The Same Room. And telling people.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump
With Donald's parents in 1989.

Ivana might have come to Aspen not knowing anything was amiss, but she sure didn't leave the state of Colorado in the same happy state. What actually happened is subject to contrary accounts and has become the stuff of Trump legend, but what is certain is that there was a public confrontation. Apparently, according to witnesses, Ivana spotted Marla at a restaurant in town during brunch - it's not a huge town - and walked near her. They "had words." Ivana says that Marla came up to her, food tray in hand, and said, "I'm Marla, and I love your husband. Do you?" Now, if that isn't the opening salvo. One patron heard Ivana shout, “You bitch, leave my husband alone!” Ivana, however, claims that she merely said politely, "Get lost." What is not disputed is that The Donald, putting on his skis, was witness to the whole thing and ready to hit the slopes again in a hurry.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com
Cover girl, 1990.

After this, Donald and Ivana left the restaurant - Bonnie's - and Ivana started a conversation with Donald. One can imagine the subject, but nobody else overheard. The restaurant is right on the slopes, and the two lovebirds skied away from the sundeck to stand somewhere a bit more private, but still in full view of everyone. Once again, Ivana "had words" with Donald.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com
Ivana in Trump Tower. From Christopher Makos, "Everything: The Black and White Monograph."

Donald finally had enough. He decided to end the conversation and skied off down the mountain, leaving Ivana behind. However, Ivana is a really good skier, and The Donald is only so-so. I mean, he's probably quite good for someone who skis once or twice a year. Ivana may or may not have been on the Olympic ski team - and the Czechs know how to ski about as well as anyone, so being on that team would be something - but she's pretty good nonetheless. Witnesses say that as Donald awkwardly grunted his way down the mountain, Ivana got in front of him, skied backwards down the hill, and continued the conversation whilst wagging a finger in his face.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Raquel Welch
With Raquel Welch.

Donald later mentioned that "a fat guy" who had witnessed the incident later came up to him and said that Donald was a lucky man, to have two beautiful women fighting over him like that. Donald said he got a kick out of that, because the fat guy was right.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump
1990.

After that, things began to change. By February 1990, the couple was in all the papers as heading for divorce. When Donald returned from Tokyo that month, he headed back to New York as usual, but this time not to Trump Tower. Instead, he took up residence at the nearby Grand Hyatt, the hotel near Grand Central Terminal which he owned then and now.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Donald Trump
A Hungarian magazine, 1990.

The couple had a prenuptial agreement that had been updated in December 1987 - probably around the time that The Donald met Marla, though nobody knows exactly when that happened. The prenup provided Ivana with custody of the three children, the couple's 45-room, $3.7 million mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut (where they had not lived for some time), and $25 million. There have been many rumors of Donald's wealth over the years, and he perhaps was not a billionaire at that point - though some say he was - but $25 million was a small, small price for him to pay even after the full effects of the housing bust that was then in progress hit his assets. In fact, when the divorce was finalized, Donald Trump almost certainly was not a billionaire, and by some accounts he may even have had a negative net worth - though that seems a bit far-fetched.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com


The divorce was not particularly amicable. All sorts of mud was flung. Suddenly, Donald was linked to a veritable army of women, including model Carol Alt, Mike Tyson's ex Robin Givens (Mike endorsed Donald in the 2016 Presidential race), Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg (another blonde beauty), and even 1960s ice-skating legend Peggy Fleming of all people. Everyone denied the allegations... including Marla Maples. And her mother. Veterans of the 2016 Presidential campaign will recognize the pattern - allegations of something to do with females suddenly pop up when it is to someone else's advantage to make them. His experience with the tactic during this go-round probably helped Donald to weather a similar trumped-up storm on the eve of the election in 2016.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com
Ivana at the Mugler Spring 1992 Ready-to-Wear Fashion Show.

One can't say that Ivana gave up easily. Some claim that during 1989, in fact, she had plastic surgery to make her resemble Oxenberg. Now, if a woman wants to look good, copying Catherine Oxenberg is a good place to start.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com
Another outfit at the Mugler Spring 1992 Ready-to-Wear Fashion Show.

Some speculate that the real issue for Donald was not Ivana's looks - she always looked terrific, then and now - but her ambition. She was a smart woman, a savvy businesswoman, an increasingly successful businesswoman. Perhaps clashing egos got in the way of things more than a pretty new face.

Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com
Ivana Trump in Bob Mackie, 1992 Vanity Fair. And look who else is mentioned on the cover.

The bottom came in 1990, when Donald actually compared Ivana to Leona Helmsley, another titan of New York City real estate. Since the Donald had previously said the following about Leona, there is little doubt about what that meant:
She is a vicious, horrible woman who systematically destroyed the Helmsley name. If Harry had one fault, it was giving her too much leeway.
That quote was in Playboy, incidentally, and he was on the cover. That cover features prominently on his wall to this day when he makes promotional shots.


Ivana Trump legends.filminspector.com Ivanka Trump
Ivana Trump with Ivanka at the Ralph Lauren show in April 1995.

So, things got nasty during the divorce. Ivana was trying to break the pre-nup, and Donald was trying to clear the decks in a hurry for Marla. Ivana gave a deposition in which she said that The Donald had "raped" her. Now, rape is rape, and Ivana did say rape. However, once the divorce was finalized, Ivana has been walking that claim back like Michael Jackson moonwalking across the stage. Donald's lawyers did not help matters by making a variety of stupid public statements about the use of that word and what is permissible within marriages. While the controversy remains, Ivana appears to be clear now that she mean rape in the "figurative" sense, not the "literal" sense. As in, "The IRS raped me," that sort of thing. However, Donald Trump's political enemies don't like that particular interpretation and, ahem, don't accept it.

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1997.

Long story short, the couple reached a divorce settlement in 1992 (terms are sealed). Both Ivana and Donald married again soon after, Ivana to Riccardo Mazzucchelli and Donald to Marla. Then, both Ivana and Donald divorced and married again, Donald to Melania, and Ivana to Rossano Rubicondi. The status of Ivana's latest marriage at times has been a bit unclear, but apparently they are still together as of late 2016. Incidentally... Ivana has been married more times than The Donald. That's one of those stubborn-facts things that people looking to assign absolute blame to one party or the other tend to overlook.

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Ivana, Ivanka, Donald Trump and Betsey Johnson in 1997. Ivanka is looking a bit solemn amidst the merriment.

Ivana Trump remains a fixture in Donald Trump's life. She is the mother of his three oldest children, and Donald still talks to her. In fact, she claims to have advised him during his Presidential campaign. Ivana has become a reality television star in her own right - like The Donald, or shall we say in the same fashion as The Donald, because nobody is "like" Donald Trump - and an author (both fiction and self-help). She appeared in the film "The First Wives Club" and dispensed the following shrewd piece of advice:
Ladies you've have to be strong and independent. And remember: don't get mad, get everything.
There is no question whatsoever that Ivana Trump - she still uses the last name two marriages later - is a character and always will be. Incidentally... I know, lots of incidentallys in this one, but Donald Trump lives an incidentally kind of life - Ivana Trump admitted after the 2016 election that she had voted for Donald Trump for President. She's a keeper.

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Ivana has grown older gracefully. Source:Supplied.







2016