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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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“Bad Girl” walked out on the stage with a yellow raincoat on, and I remember saying, “That's the most beautiful girl I ever saw, and I'm going to meet her if it's the last thing I do on earth.” The girl's name was Sylvia Sidney. Almost immediately after that she was signed up for movies and went to Hollywood. I had not met her. But by this time I considered her my personal property, and I followed her career in the papers religiously.

Now, directly Sylvia hit Hollywood--she was a girl who, to put it mildly, knew what she wanted; she was going to be a big star in Hollywood, or else! She set out to enchant the head of the studio that had brought her out there--Paramount Pictures--a man named Schulberg, Mr. Ben Schulberg, whose son I'll tell you about later--his son is Budd Schulberg, whose What Makes Sammy Run? I published.

Well, Sylvia broke up the Schulberg household. She thought she was just vamping Mr. Schulberg to help along her career in Hollywood, and it ended up being one of the great love affairs of Hollywood. He fell in love with her; she fell in love with him. He was old enough to be her father, but a fascinating man--a fascinating man. I had never met Sylvia, remember, but I deeply resented the affair.

Now, I had told everybody that I must meet Sylvia Sidney, anybody that knew us both. And twice dinner dates were arranged, once with Mr. Ernst Lubitsch and his wife. They had fixed it up that we were going to have a foursome. The day before the dinner, which excited me so I could do no work for about three days, she got pneumonia and had to be taken to the hospital. That date was off.

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