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Saturday, July 2, 2011

A friend of Vera Ellen 2010

May 18, 2010

A friend of Vera Ellen

Jacquline Campbell
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Jacquline Campbell, of Colorado. I had actually met Mrs. Campbell on two other occasions just over three years ago, but we've never had more then a minute to chat or say "hello". She came in for lunch at Mr. Henry's, and a recognized her face immediately. She's a classy type of lady, with flaming red hair and an beautiful poise and grace. It was a sunny day on the Hill, and 6th street was quiet that day, so I had the perfect opportunity to chat with her. I had a feeling that Mrs. Campbell had been an entertainer in her youth, just one look at her an you could tell. I asked her son in law, Rick, if she had worked and show business, and to no surprise he confirmed what I suspected. Rick told me that she had a series of screen tests back in Hollywood during the 1940's, and that her family still had copies of them. Ms. Campbell seemed to blush, and she smiled, which opened the door to a series of exciting stories. First I got to hear stories from her childhood. She told me that she grew up on Alcatraz, as her father was the lighthouse keeper there. She mentioned that Al Capone was held on the island during her childhood, and that he was assigned work as a cobbler in the prison. He actually worked on her shoes when she was just a kid.
From the sounds of it, Mrs. Campbell has lived in a many exciting locations throughout her life, but the stories that intrigued me most were from her college years at UCLA. She told me hat Vera Ellen was her college roommate! I had no idea that Vera Ellen had attended UCLA, but Roxi, who is a dedicated Vera Ellen fan, verified that it appears in many of her bios, and a quick google search when I returned home confirmed it. Who knew? It's hard to imagine on a random afternoon, that I could run into the college roommate of Vera Ellen, but I did. If only I had more time to ask what she was like. Mrs. Campbell did mention to me that she and Vera Ellen went out of double dates  Rock Hudson. The stories were fascinating, but apparently he had a "close" male friend that would join them for the double dates, who would drive them home after a night on the town. She also mentioned that she had been to the original Brown Derby, and that back in those days her college friends would go out dancing 3 to 4 nights a week
Vera Ellen with Rock Hudson

I do wish had the opportunity to speak Mrs. Campbell and her son in law longer, I felt so lucky that afternoon to have had the opportunity. I did invite her to the studio for our Monday tea dance, but her stay in DC will be a short one. Here's to hoping she'll have time to visit the studio someday!

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