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Walter Winchell (1897-1972)

  1. Lew Ayres, Okay America,1931.    The title was Winchell’s radio catchphrase and the script was penned for him to play gossip columnist Larry Wayne (his boss called him Ego!) in what was almost The Walter Winchell Story. Just not as honest as Alexander Mackendrick's  outstanding class, The Sweet Smell of Success, 1956.
  2. Cary Grant, His Girl Friday, 1939.       Columbia czar Harry Cohn chose Mr Staccato of the Airwavs as editor Walter Burns. At the New York Daily Mirror, Winchell wrote the first syndicated gossip column - also aired on WABC radio. Having begun in the Prohibition era, he was the perfct, if breathless, narrator for The Untouchables, TV, 1959-63, and inspired Burt Lancaster’s sanctimonious columnist in The Sweet Smell of Success, 1956.   The Winchell column died with the Mirror in 1963.
  3. Humphey Bogart, All Through the Night, 1941.       “Good evening Mr. and Mrs. America from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea. Let's go to press...” The paper and radi columnist was booked first as the New York mobster, “Gloves” Donahue. But he was too busy being the most powerful and feared journo in the US. Second choice, George Raft (who hated being a second choice) passed to Bogie. As usual. Lancaster’s superbly acidic  portrayal of Winchell’s psychological cruelty in The Sweet Smell of Success, did for Winchell what Winchell had done for so many celebrities and “Commies” - it destroyed him.

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