It is such a thrill to be appearing in Palm Springs this weekend! I’ll be signing books at Just Fabulous bookstore, 515 North Palm Canyon Drive, on Saturday, May 11, from 1-4. I’m truly looking forward to seeing all of you there.
My career really began in Palm Springs, and, like so many good things that happened to me, almost by accident. My mother and I were staying at the Montecito Hotel one spring and the owner of the hotel took a shine to me. He offered to sponsor me as a contestant in the Miss Palm Springs beauty contest. I was fifteen at the time and scared. I did my best to NOT enter the contest, but my mother finally convinced me.
The night of the contest, the popular Chi-Chi nightclub was packed. My knees knocking with fear, I paraded around the stage with several other girls in bathing suits to the cheers and applause of the patrons. The next thing I knew they were putting a crown on my head and I was Miss Palm Springs!
As luck would have it, the owner of RKO Studios, the eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, was in the audience. A few days after the beauty contest, I received a call from RKO’s casting director asking me to meet Hughes and discuss a contract at RKO. It was the beginning of my movie career and the beginning of my offbeat relationship with one of the world’s richest men.