Hollywood marriage

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A Hollywood marriage originally meant a glamorous high society marriage between celebrities involved in the U.S. film industry, as "Hollywood" is a common metonymous term for that industry; such marriages are more commonly known as supercouples in modern parlance. However, the term has grown to also have strong negative connotations of a marriage that is of short duration and quickly ends in separation or divorce.[1] The term developed the negative connotations fairly early; by the 1930s, a "Hollywood marriage" was a marriage both glamorous and short-lived.[2][3]

Issues[edit]

Sympathetic views of celebrities point out that in Hollywood, it is mostly the bad marriages that are documented by the media, giving a skewed perspective that might make "Hollywood marriages" appear to have a worse success rate than they have in reality. In 1972 Bob Thomas of the Associated Press remarked specifically about the tendency to ignore lasting celebrity marriages with the examples he gave including Bob Hope's marriage to Dolores Hope and Rosalind Russell's marriage to producer Frederick Brisson.[4]

Negative views of Hollywood marriages take the position that the divorce rates are indeed unusually high among celebrities and that this is caused by faults within Hollywood as a culture or by personal faults of the celebrities themselves. They point to the usage of weddings as publicity stunts, the egotism or immaturity of celebrities or "celebrity culture", and high rates of infidelity or promiscuity. Bee Wilson, in an article for The Daily Telegraph, critiqued "Hollywood marriages" for often being based on the unrealistic dreams of what she termed "permanent children", although she points to some classic Hollywood couples, like Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart or Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, as exceptions to these criticisms.[5] While the introduction to the Cultural Sociology of Divorce: An Encyclopedia edited by Robert E. Emery specifically mentions Hollywood divorces as epitomizing a "consumerist, throw-away-marriage view found in the West."[6]

The actors and entertainers themselves vary in perspective on the commonality or reason for divorce in Hollywood. In 1961 Anne Baxter stated Hollywood was "the most difficult place in America for marriage" due, in part, to the "terrible extremes of success and failure" both spouses may face.[7] In a 1964 interview Mitzi Gaynor, who would remain married to the husband mentioned in the interview until his death (in 2006), took the more "defensive" position that "Hollywood" couples look different mostly because "everything we do is magnified." However, she conceded they might be slightly different because "you have to be a little off-center to get into this business in the first place."[8]

Beyond anecdote or opinion, the actual evidence on the matter is complicated by differing definitions of who qualifies as a "celebrity" or "Hollywood." A study from Radford University placed "dancers and choreographers" as the occupations having the highest percent currently divorced[9] with "Entertainers and performers, sports and related workers, all other" still being above average at tenth. That placed them between "Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides" at ninth and "Baggage porters and concierges" at eleventh.[10] In 1900, even before the modern film industry had coalesced, in an era where concert saloons and minstrel shows were the predominant form of entertainment, "actors, professional showmen" were listed as having the highest divorce rate of occupations.[11] A Forbes article placed "professional athletes and entertainers" together and with a high divorce rate.[12]

Entertainers married a year or less[edit]

The idea that the term "Hollywood marriage" equates to something short-term is sometimes displayed by citing celebrities who had marriages that ended in divorce, separation, or annulment within approximately one year. The following examples of that are primarily restricted to marriages involving a notable actor, entertainer or director linked to "Hollywood" in some way and which ended in divorce or annulment. Note that the vast majority of the examples are from the 1970s onward; this is in part because no-fault divorce became legalized in that era, which increased the ease and number of divorces overall. (In much of the early 20th century, there was a one-year waiting period to finalize a divorce in California, which was later repealed.)

Names Length Marriage Notes Source
Britney Spears and Jason Alexander 56 hours January 2004 Annulled [13][14][15]
Nicolas Cage and Erika Koike 4 days March 23–27, 2019 Annulled [16][17]
Elliott Lewis and Ann Wigton 5 days August 30 – September 4, 1940 Annulled [18]
Michelle Phillips and Dennis Hopper 8 days October 31 – November 8, 1970 [19][20]
Robert Evans and Catherine Oxenberg 9 days July 12–21, 1998 Evans's fifth of seven marriages. Annulled. [21]
Pamela Anderson and Jon Peters 12 days January 20 – February 1, 2020 Marriage certificate never officially enacted. [22]
Patty Duke and Michael Tell 13 days June 26 – July 9, 1970 Annulled. Marriage produced a child, Sean Astin, whom Duke mistakenly believed to be fathered by Desi Arnaz, Jr. at the time. [23][24][25]
Eddie Murphy and Tracey Edmonds 2 weeks January 2008 [15]
Mario Lopez and Ali Landry 18 days April 24 – May 2004 [15][26]
Drew Barrymore and Jeremy Thomas 19 days February–March 1994 [27]
Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman 42 days June 27 – August 4, 1964 Separated August 4, divorce mutually requested October 21 and granted November 18. [28]
Kim Darby and James Westmoreland 47 days 1970 [29]
Harlan Ellison and Loretta Patrick 7 weeks 1966 Ellison's third and shortest of five marriages. [30]
Ethel Merman and William Smith 2 months 1940–1941
Milla Jovovich and Shawn Andrews 2 months 1992 Annulled [31]
Chris Kattan and Sunshine Deia Tutt 2 months 2008–2009 [32]
Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries 72 days 2011 Divorce was finalized in 2013 [33][34]
Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson 121 days July 29 – November 27, 2006 [15]
Nicolas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley 108 days 2002 Divorce took over a year to be finalized. [35][36][15]
Bill Harrah and Bobbie Gentry <4 months December 18, 1969 – April 16, 1970 One of Harrah's seven marriages. Fictionalized in Gentry's hit song "Fancy."
Colin Farrell and Amelia Warner > 4 months July 17 – November 2001 [15]
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Esposito 4 months 2006–2007 [15]
Renée Zellweger and Kenny Chesney 4 months May 2005 – 2005 Annulled [27]
Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray 5 months April–September 2005 Separated (September 2005). Bush unsuccessfully petitioned for annulment (February 2006). Divorced (December 2006). [15]
Charlie Sheen and Donna Peele 5 months September 1995 – 1996 [37][38][15]
Michael Kopech and Vanessa Morgan 157 days January 4 – June 19, 2020 [39] />
Drew Barrymore and Tom Green 163 days July 7 – December 17, 2001 [40][41][15]
Shannen Doherty and Ashley Hamilton > 6 months 1993 – March 1994 [42][43]
Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman 6 months November 14 – April 1999 Rodman filed for an annulment 9 days later but they reconciled before mutually agreeing to divorce 6 months later. [44][45][46]
Kim Darby and James Stacy 7 months 1968–1969 [29]
Harlan Ellison and Lori Horowitz 8 months 1976–1977 Ellison's fourth of five marriages. His fifth marriage would last 32 years until his death. [47]
Carly Pearce and Michael Ray 812 months October 6, 2019 – June 19, 2020 [48]
Rick Salomon and Shannen Doherty 9 months 2002–2003
Elizabeth Taylor and Conrad Hilton 205 days May 6 – November 27, 1950 [49]
Jennifer Lopez and Cris Judd 218 days September 2001 – June 2002 [15][50]
Jim Carrey and Lauren Holly 10 months September 1996 – July 1997 [51][52]
Woody Harrelson and Nancy Simon 10 months 1985–1986 Married in Tijuana with the intent of getting a Mexican divorce afterward. The divorce did not occur until ten months later as the "divorce stand" was closed. [53]
Rick Salomon and Pamela Anderson 10 weeks
1 year
2007–2008, 2014–2015 Married and remarried [54][55]
Desi Arnaz Jr. and Linda Purl < 1 year 1979 – January 3, 1980 [56]
James Caan and Sheila Marie Ryan > 1 year 1976–1977 Son: Scott Caan [57]
Angela Lansbury and Richard Cromwell > 1 year September 27, 1945 – September 1946 Her second marriage would last 53 years. [58][59]
Lana Wood and Jack Wrather III > 1 year 1962–1963 Annulled, as Wood was under the age of consent at the time of the marriage. Wrather III was the son of Jack Wrather Jr. [60]
Lana Wood and Stephen Oliver <1 year 1966 Annulled.
Lana Wood and Stanley Vogel <1 year 1968
Kelsey Grammer and Leigh-Anne Csuhany 1 year September 1992 – 1993 [61]
Lorenzo Lamas and Victoria Hilbert 1 year 1981–1982 His second marriage, to Michele Smith, did not last two years but did lead to children.[62] [63]
Martin Scorsese and Julia Cameron 1 year 1976–1977 [64]
Robert Evans and Phyllis George 1 year 1977–1978 Evans's fourth of seven marriages. [21]
Robert Evans and Victoria White 1 year 2005–2006 Evans's seventh and final marriage. [21]
Mickey Rooney and Ava Gardner 1 year+ 1942–1943 [65]
Gloria Swanson and Wallace Beery 1 year March 27, 1916–1917 Swanson, age 17 at the time, was an unwilling party to the marriage but was unable to have it annulled. Due to California laws, the divorce would not be finalized until December 1918. It was the first of Swanson's six marriages.[66]
Gloria Swanson and William M. Davey 1 year January 25, 1945–1946 Swanson's fourth of six marriages, made solely for financial reasons. The two were in the midst of divorce proceedings when Davey died.[66]
Richard Mulligan and Rachel Ryan <1 year April 27, 1992 – "early 1993" Mulligan's fourth and final marriage. [67][68]

Entertainers married 50 years or more[edit]

Entertainment couples whose relationships last for decades, and/or life, are occasionally used as a counterpoint when referring to "Hollywood marriage".[69] Listed are a selection of entertainers who have or had marriages that lasted over 50 years.

(Note that in a few of these cases, the entertainers were not necessarily in faithful marriages. Tom Jones, for example, was widely known to effectively be in an open relationship and had many extramarital affairs throughout his marriage.)

Legend:
  Living couples, still married

Names Length Marriage Source
Irving Benson and Lillian Waldowsky 79 years, 105 days November 19, 1936 – March 3, 2016 (her death) [70]
Norman Lloyd and Peggy Lloyd 75 years, 65 days June 26, 1936 – August 30, 2011 (her death) [71]
Art Linkletter and Lois Linkletter 74 years, 172 days November 25, 1935 – May 16, 2010 (his death) [72][73]
Johnnie Wright and Kitty Wells 73 years, 332 days October 30, 1937 – September 27, 2011 (his death) [74]
Charles Lane and Ruth Covell Lane 71 years, 233 days April 12, 1931 – November 30, 2002 (her death) [75]
William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett 71 years, 34 days June 30, 1951 − present [76]
Karl Malden and Mona Greenberg 70 years, 195 days December 18, 1938 – July 1, 2009 (his death) [77]
Pete Seeger and Toshi Aline Ohta 69 years, 354 days July 20, 1943 - July 9, 2013 (her death) [78]
Joan Evans and Kirby Weatherly 69 years, 353 days August 15, 1952 – present [79]
Monty Hall and Marilyn Doreen Plottel 69 years, 260 days September 28, 1947 – June 5, 2017 (her death)
Stan Lee and Joan Boocock 69 years, 214 days December 5, 1947 – July 6, 2017 (her death) [80]
Bob Hope and Dolores Reade 69 years, 158 days February 19, 1934 – July 27, 2003 (his death) [81]
Nehemiah Persoff and Thia Persoff 69 years+ August 22, 1951 − early 2021 (her death) [82]
Chuck Berry and Thelmetta "Toddy" Suggs 68 years, 141 days October 28, 1948 – March 18, 2017 (his death) [83]
Frank Cady and Shirley Katherine Jones 68 years, 68 days June 15, 1940 – August 22, 2008 (her death) [84]
Slim Whitman and Alma Crist Whitman 67 years, 233 days June 28, 1941 – February 16, 2009 (her death) [85][86]
Anne Jackson and Eli Wallach 66 years, 111 days March 5, 1948 – June 24, 2014 (his death) [87][88][89]
Gigi Parrish and John Weld 66 years+ 1937 – June 14, 2003 (his death) [90][91]
Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens 65 years, 253 days May 29, 1954 − February 5, 2020 (his death) [92][93]
Pat Boone and Shirley Foley 65 years, 2 months November 1953 − January 11, 2019 (her death) [94]
Alan Alda and Arlene Alda 65 years, 141 days March 15, 1957 − present [95]
Eva Marie Saint and Jeffrey Hayden 65 years, 57 days October 28, 1951 − December 24, 2016 (his death) [96]
William Schallert and Rosemarie D. "Lia" Waggner 65 years+ February 26, 1949 − 2015 (her death) [97][98][99][100]
Walter Cronkite and Betsy Cronkite 64 years, 350 days March 30, 1940 – March 15, 2005 (her death)
Danny Aiello and Sandy Cohen 64 years, 329 days January 8, 1955 − December 13, 2019 (his death) [101]
Mary Carlisle and James Blakely 64 years, 323 days March 14, 1942 – January 30, 2007 (his death) [102][103]
Carl Reiner and Estelle Reiner 64 years, 306 days December 24, 1943 − October 25, 2008 (her death) [104]
Lydia Clarke and Charlton Heston 64 years, 19 days March 17, 1944 − April 5, 2008 (his death) [105][106]
Doris Belack and Philip Rose 64 years+ 1946 – May 31, 2011 (his death)
Conrad Bain and Monica Sloan 63 years, 176 days September 4, 1945 – February 26, 2009 (her death) [107]
Edna Mae Cooper and Karl Brown 63 years+ 1922 – June 27, 1986 (her death)
Irving Berlin and Ellin Mackay 62 years, 208 days Jan 4, 1926 – July 29, 1988 (her death) [108]
Dick Van Patten and Patricia Poole 61 years, 59 days April 25, 1954 − June 23, 2015 (his death) [109][110]
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara 60 years, 251 days September 14, 1954 – May 23, 2015 (her death) [111]
Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss 60 years, 281 days October 26, 1961 − present [112][113]
Kristine Miller and William Schuyler 60 years, 136 days July 27, 1953 − December 10, 2013 (his death) [114]
Martin Sheen and Janet Templeton 60 years, 223 days December 23, 1961 − present [115][116]
Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin 60 years, 34 days May 15, 1948 – June 17, 2008 (her death) [117]
Bob Newhart and Virginia Quinn 59 years, 203 days January 12, 1963 − present [118][119]
Francis Ford Coppola and Eleanor Coppola 59 years, 182 days February 2, 1963 − present [120][121]
Adolph Zukor and Lottie Kaufman 59 years, 89 days January 10, 1897 – April 7, 1956 (her death) [122][123][124]
Tom Jones and Melinda Trenchard 59 years, 39 days March 2, 1957 – April 10, 2016 (her death) [125]
Brenda Lee and Ronnie Shacklett 59 years, 101 days April 24, 1963 – present [126][127]
Lee Grant and Joseph Feury 59 years+ 1962 – present
Lloyd Bridges and Dorothy Dean 59 years+ 1938 – March 10, 1998 (his death)
William Christopher and Barbara O'Connor 59 years+ 1957 − December 31, 2016 (his death) [128][129][130]
Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade 59 years+ 1955 — October 5, 2014 (his death)
Larry Hagman and Maj Axelsson 58 years, 341 days December 18, 1954 − November 23, 2012 (his death)
Bill Cosby and Camille Hanks Cosby 58 years, 190 days January 25, 1964 – present [131]
James Garner and Lois Clarke 57 years, 336 days August 17, 1956 − July 19, 2014 (his death)
Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee 57 years, 57 days December 9, 1948 − February 4, 2005 (his death) [132]
Laurence Irving and Rosalind Frances Woolner 57 years+ 1920 – December 14, 1978 (her death) [133]
Margia Dean and Felipe Alvarez 56 years, 339 days August 29, 1965 – present [134]
Cecil B. DeMille and Constance Adams 56 years, 158 days August 16, 1902 − January 21, 1959 (his death)
René Auberjonois and Judith Mihalyi 56 years, 51 days October 19, 1963 – December 8, 2019 (his death) [135]
Dolly Parton and Carl Dean 56 years, 65 days May 30, 1966 − present [136]
Darryl F. Zanuck and Virginia Fox 55 years, 333 days January 24, 1924 – December 22, 1979 (his death) [137]
Vince and Linda McMahon 55 years, 342 days August 26, 1966 − present
Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé 55 years, 224 days December 29, 1957 − August 10, 2013 (her death)
Shane Rimmer and Sheila Logan 55 years, 190 days September 21, 1963 – March 29, 2019 (his death) [138]
John McIntire and Jeanette Nolan 55 years, 158 days 26 August 1935 – 30 January 1991 (his death)
Lupita Tovar and Paul Kohner 55 years, 138 days 31 October 1932 – 16 March 1988 (his death)
Mary Kay Jones and Johnny Stearns 55 years, 113 days 11 August 1946 − December 1, 2001 (his death) [139][140]
Shirley Temple and Charles Alden Black 54 years, 232 days December 16, 1950 – August 4, 2005 (his death)
Yakima Canutt and Minnie Audrea Yeager 54 years, 194 days November 12, 1931 – May 24, 1986 (his death)
Anne Jeffreys and Robert Sterling 54 years, 190 days November 21, 1951 − May 30, 2006 (his death) [141]
Grant Whytock and Leotta Whytock 54 years, 135 days June 1, 1918 – October 13, 1972 (her death)
Phil Harris and Alice Faye 54 years, 3 months May 1941 – August 11, 1995 (his death) [142]
Frances Chaney and Ring Lardner Jr. 54 years, 34 days September 28, 1946 – October 31, 2000 (his death)
Ann Blyth and Dr. James Vincent McNulty 53 years, 320 days June 27, 1953 – May 13, 2007 (his death) [143]
Angela Lansbury and Peter Shaw 53 years, 170 days August 12, 1949 – January 29, 2003 (his death) [144][145]
Alfred Hitchcock and Alma Reville 53 years, 149 days December 2, 1926 — April 29, 1980 (his death) [146]
Marlene Dietrich and Rudolf Sieber 53 years, 39 days May 17, 1923 – June 24, 1976 (his death)
Christopher Walken and Georgianne Walken 53 years, 4 months January 1969 – present
Burt Mustin and Frances Woods 53 years+ 1915 – August 18, 1969 (her death) [147][148]
Cara Williams and Asher Dann 53 years+ 1964 - March 18, 2018 (his death) [149]
Henry Hathaway and Blanche Gonzalez 52 years, 337 days March 12, 1932 – February 11, 1985 (his death)
Billy Davis Jr. and Marilyn McCoo 53 years, 8 days July 26, 1969 – present [150]
Billy Wilder and Audrey Young 52 years, 271 days June 30, 1949 – March 27, 2002 (his death) [151]
Susan Lucci and Helmut Huber 52 years, 196 days September 13, 1969 — March 28, 2022 (his death) [152][153]
Frank Capra and Lucille Warner 52 years, 152 days February 1, 1932 – July 1, 1984 (her death) [154]
Nancy Davis and Ronald Reagan 52 years, 93 days March 4, 1952 − June 5, 2004 (his death) [155]
Don Rickles and Barbara Sklar 52 years, 23 days March 14, 1965 − April 5, 2017 (his death) [156]
Mitzi Gaynor and Jack Bean 52 years, 16 days November 18, 1954 − December 4, 2006 (his death) [157][158]
Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy 52 years+ 1942 – September 11, 1994 (her death) [159]
John Howard Lawson and Susan Edmond Lawson 52 years+ 1925 – August 11, 1977 (his death) [160][161]
Martha Scott and Mel Powell 51 years, 276 days July 23, 1946 – April 24, 1998 (his death) [162]
Barry Gibb and Linda Gray 51 years, 336 days September 1, 1970 – present
Norman Jewison and Margaret Ann Dixon 51 years, 139 days July 11, 1953 – November 26, 2004 (her death)
Stephen King and Tabitha Spruce 51 years, 213 days January 2, 1971 – present [163]
Alexander Knox and Doris Nolan 51 years, 117 days December 30, 1944 – April 25, 1995 (his death) [164]
Louise Lovely and Albert Bertie Cowen 51 years, 113 days November 26, 1928 – March 17, 1980 (her death) [165][166]
Jean Speegle Howard and Rance Howard 51 years+ 1949 − September 2, 2000 (her death) [167]
John Forsythe and Julie Warren 51 years+ 1943 – August 15, 1994 (her death)
Lewis Milestone and Kendall Lee 51 years+ 1926 – July 30, 1978 (her death)
Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman 50 years, 241 days January 29, 1958 − September 26, 2008 (his death) [168]
Barbara Anderson and Don Burnett 50 years, 7 months June 1971 – present [169]
Rosemary Harris and John Ehle 50 years, 154 days October 21, 1967 – March 24, 2018 (his death) [170]
Regis Philbin and Joy Philbin 50 years, 145 days March 1, 1970 – July 24, 2020 (his death) [171]
Christopher Plummer and Elaine Taylor 50 years, 124 days October 2, 1970 – February 2, 2021 (his death) [172]
Ann-Margret and Roger Smith 50 years, 27 days May 8, 1967 – June 4, 2017 (his death) [173]
Joan Leslie and William Caldwell 50 years, 20 days March 17, 1950 – April 5, 2000 (his death) [174]
Ben E. King and Betty Davis 50 years+ 1964 − April 30, 2015 (his death)
Lee Phillip and William J. Bell 50 years+ 1954 – April 29, 2005 (his death)

Notes[edit]

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References[edit]

  • Bach, Steven (2011). Marlene Dietrich: Life and Legend. University of Minnesota Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-8166-7584-5.
  • Grazer, Gigi Levangie (2005). "Seven stages of a Hollywood marriage". The starter wife. Simon & Schuster, 2005. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-7432-6502-7. Husband dumps wife by cellphone and upgrades to a younger version. (not verbatim)