14 Feb:
Hollywood’s Gossip Queens

Luella Parsons’s reign as Tinseltown’s top tittle-tattler was severely challenged on 14th February, 1938, following the print debut of rival column, ‘Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood’. 

With her fiery style and incendiary content, Hopper quickly garnered a massive audience of her own. Together, the two writers reached over 75 million readers and radio listeners in Hollywood’s golden age; their networks of informants and sensational stories making or breaking countless careers.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly discover how the rivals derailed Orson Welles’ career after the release of ‘Citizen Kane’; reveal how the Chicago railway played a pivotal role in Parsons’s rise to the top; and consider how Hedda changed her first name – to appease her first husband… 

Further Reading:

• ‘The Powerful Rivalry of Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons’ (Vanity Fair, 1997): https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/02/rivalry-hedda-hopper-louella-parsons-gossip-columnists

• ‘Forgotten Hollywood: Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons’ (Golden Globes, 2021): https://goldenglobes.com/articles/forgotten-hollywood-hedda-hopper-and-louella-parsons-articles-forgotten-hollywood-hedda-hopper-and-louella-parsons/

• ‘Publicist Frank Liberman on Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper’ (Television Academy Foundation, 2019):