A tale of two Irenes.Posted: August 29, 2011
Don’t know if anyone noticed, but seems like the entire Eastern Seaboard of the good old USA was clusterfucked by Mother Earth this week. An earthquake, a hurricane, and a few minor tornadoes all in seven days. Shit.
Naturally, when thinking about the subject for this post all week I wanted to make light of this terrifying weather. Because really, what’s funnier than extensive property damage, evacuations, and flooding? If you said nothing, you’re right. And also fuck you, that’s so insensitive.
Anyway, I tried SO HARD to find a scandalous meteorologist. SO HARD. There were NONE. Well, there have been a few middle-aged male TV meteorologists boning a few young lady interns in recent years, but that’s stupid and LHB, JAF, and I made a solemn vow not to write about anyone still living (you know, “history”). Anyway, Fahrenheit, Celsius, Kelvin, all those historical weather enthusiasts (yes, they were real people, not just words) had like none sex. Apparently, that was a thing: if you were a scientist, Lady Science was your woman. No real ladies for you. (NOT MUCH HAS CHANGED, NERDS, am I right?!?!)
So anyway, when all these meteorological efforts proved fruitless, I did what anyone in my position would do: I looked for a scandalous Irene. You know, cause of that li’l hurricane/tropical storm/all-around disappointment (except for a the great storm coverage drinking game it produced) we had passing through this weekend. And I did this by typing “Irene” plus every letter of the alphabet one at a time into the Wiki search bar until I found someone who got me all hot and bothered. Luckily I only had to get to L to find IRENE LENTZ!!!!!!!!!!!1
Full disclosure: Ms. Lentz didn’t have all that much scandalous sex (that we know of). But she did maybe possibly die as a result of NOT having any scandalous sex. I know what you’re thinking – “MRG, that doesn’t make any fucking sense just tell me about sex that’s what I’m here for and while you’re at it stop preambling and just get to the good shit.” And to that I say SHUT UP I GET IT THIS IS STILL JUICY AND AS FOR THE PREAMBLING YOU KNOW HOW IMPORTANT CONTEXT IS FOR ME.
Sweet Irene was born in Montana in 1900. Naturally, when she came of age she looked around, realized she was living in Montana, and decided to get the hell out. She did this by becoming an actress in silent films. And as so many ladies of the screen before her, she married a behind-the-camera wiser older man. The lucky guy was F. Richard Jones, who, aside from hating his first name, was a BFD producer in Hollywood. What he DIDN’T hate, though, was hanging out with sick people and seasonally inappropriate outerwear. At least that’s what I would think, because he got tuberculosis and died in 1930. How nineteenth century, am I right!
Irene was devastated. She loved her F. She F-ing loved him. Get it? I’ll stop.
The poor young thang decided to channel her grief into the activity that all little frontierswomen like herself learn early in life – sewing clothes (I have gleaned this from Oregon Trail and various young adult historical fiction novels, so you can trust me). She opened up shop in Hollywood and sold totally fierce fashion forward clothes to the show business types. And she was so successful. So successful that even the decidedly unfashionable, unhip, unyoung men running Hollywood’s various production companies found out about her fiercetasticness and said “BITCH, we need you for the talkies!”
So this freelancing goes on for a few years, and boop ba doo, GINGER ROGERS is all, “HEY, I’m not going to do this film Shall We Dance with my very famous and fabulous partner Fred Astaire unless you get that sartorial maven Irene Lentz to design the shit out of my costumes.” You can see how fucking big this big break was for Irene.
In just the next few years, she would go on to design costumes for Hedy Lamarr, Claudette Colbert, Loretta Young, and my #1 all time girl-crush of all time, Ingrid Bergman.
But her most important client was Doris Day, that peach. They became BFFz. AND THEN SHIT GOT SCANDALOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!1
Okay, so even though Irene was all torn up about F’s death, a lady has needs. She met Cedric Gibbons, a very big bigwig at MGM, who was a big ol’ meanie. But his brother Eliot seemed like and okay dude, so Irene was like yeah sure, let’s get married or whatever. And so they did.
From the beginning, Irene wasn’t that into it. She and Eliot were unhappy. And sweet Doris Day knew it. Irene had started her own fashion house and left the business, but Doris lured her back in 1960 to design the costumes for Midnight Lace, ten years after Irene’s last film. She wanted to help her girlfriend out, and she also wanted to look fierce on camera. Irene ended up with a second Oscar nomination as a result.
But she was still a little blue, so Doris was like, “WOMAN, make me fierce again!” and so Irene designed for her 1962 film Gathering of Eagles.
And on November 15 of that year, Irene booked a room at the Knickerbocker Hotel in El Lay and jumped to her death.
That’s right. Poor, sad, talented Irene took a dive. Why? WELL I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED.
Apparently, (and this is where all that Wiki conjecture comes in, so grain of salt) Irene had it bad for Gary Cooper. Like I.L.+G.C.-all-over-her-notebook bad. And who could blame her? One of the most bangable dudes of all time. The man could wear a suit. Or nothing. Whatever you please. He was hot.
And remember Doris? Yeah, well during the filing of that last movie, she noticed that Irene seemed nervous and uncomfortable. And Doris said, “Hey girl, mama’s here. What’s the science?” And Irene was like, “Well I was in love with Gary Cooper and he died last year and I’m in great mental anguish because he was the only man I ever loved but now I’m also upset because you’re talking like that.”
And then BOOM, she jumped just a couple months later, right before her 62nd birthday. Maybe possibly probably because she loved Gary so much, although that’s not confirmed.
BUT if that’s the case, then Irene Lentz, fabulous fashionista and talented self-made woman that she was, was so upset about not boning Gary Cooper that she took her own life.
And that is very sad, but also very scandalous.
Also, Hurricane Irene is stupid.