LUSH LIFE: Libby Holman

LUSH LIFE: Libby Holman

I used to visit all the very gay places
Those come what may places
Where one relaxes
On the axis
Of the wheel of life
To get the feel of life
From jazz and cocktails

The girls I knew had sad and sullen gray faces
With distingue traces
that used to be there
you could see where
they'd been
washed away
by too many through the day
12 o'clocktails

Then you came along
with your siren song
to tempt me to madness
I thought for awhile that your pointed
was tinged with the sadness
of a great love for me

Ah, yes...I was wrong
again I was wrong

is lonely again
and only last year
everything seemed so assured
life is awful
and the thoughtful of heart
can only bore me

A week in Paris will ease the bite of it
All I care is to
in spite of it
I'll forget you, I will
and yet you are still
burning inside my brain

Romance is mush
stifling those who strive
I'll live a Lush Life
in some small dive

With the rest of those
whose lives are lonely

Billy Strayhorn wrote this song when he was just a teenager. Small wonder that Duke Ellington took one listen and hired him as his songwriting partner for the rest of his life.

When young actor Montgomery Clift met the vivacious temptress Libby Holman during rehearsals for the play "Mexican Mural", she attempted to lure him away from the rest of the adoring cast members with promises of mysterious Nightclubs and strong drink.

He replied that he only drank milk, and it was true, but he left with her anyway...

Two years later, Montgomery Clift is one of the biggest stars on Earth, and, in accordance with his stature, buys one of the swankiest pads in New York City, to entertain girlfriend Libby Holman and her wild theater crowd.

He hires a carpenter to build him a near room-sized Medicine Cabinet. The man finds the request to be a bit unusual, and asks Clift how he plans to fill the thing. The now cocky superstar tells the man to just build it, and let him worry about filling it.

Three days later, the job was done, and Clift was well pleased with it. So pleased, in fact, that he asked the carpenter to return the next day to see what he intended to use the cabinet for.

The carpenter promptly returned the next morning and was ceremoniously ushered in by young Monty. He walked into his creation and was stunned to find it stocked from top to bottom with every type of pharmaceutical you could imagine, and even a few drugs of the NON-pharmaceutical variety.

A drug addict's wonderland.

Such was the LETHAL influence of Libby Holman, also known as "The Death Angel", a woman who's life was touched equally by Pain and Passion, who's desire for young, effeminate boys was tempered by her hot desire for strong, determined, artistic women...

Her list of lovers reads like an MGM studio Roll Call:

Jeanne Eagels
Tallulah Bankhead
Josephine Baker
Smith Reynolds
Jane Bowles
Montgomery Clift

....just to mention a FEW...

Her life was marred with equal parts accomplishment and disappointment, laughter and tragedy, love and death...

Murder. Madness. Deceit. Bribery. Treachery. Tenderness. Triumph....

She was arrested for the murder of her young, tobacco millionaire husband....

Arrested for indecent exposure in Paris after a romp on the beach with Josephine Baker.....

One of the first leaders of the nascent Civil Rights movement....

The youngest woman ever to graduate from her Cincinnati college...

As far as I know, there has never been a movie made about her, for no one would believe it. Probably the perfect vehicle for Angelina Jolie, but it would be less believable than "Salt"....

But, every word would be true....

part one

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