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Jimmie Fidler

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Jimmie Fidler in a scene from Personality Parade (1938).

Jimmie Fidler (August 26, 1898 – August 9, 1988) was an American columnist, journalist and radio and television personality. He wrote a Hollywood gossip column and was sometimes billed as Jimmy Fidler.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Fidler was a former Hollywood publicist who became a syndicated columnist with his "Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood" column in 187 outlets, including the New York Post and the Los Angeles Times. In 1933-34 his 15-minute NBC radio show, Hollywood on the Air, sponsored by Tangee lipstick, was broadcast from the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. He was regarded in Hollywood as a genuine threat to gossip queen Louella Parsons, especially after he scooped her in November 1935 on a major story about Clark Gable, an incident so embarrassing to Parsons that she lied about it in her autobiography.[1]

Contents

FilmsEdit

Fidler had brief experience in movies before he became a columnist. Winning first prize in a contest in Memphis, Tennessee, took him to Hollywood. Once there, he was an extra before he "worked his way to semi-important roles."[2]

Fidler interviewed film personalities for the Hollywood segments of Fox Movietone News. Such was Fidler's influence that a negative comment by him could affect the box office drawing power of a star. According to Time, in January 1938 he was sued for libel by Constance Bennett for $250,000 after he reported she snubbed Patsy Kelly on a Hal Roach movie set and that studio workmen bought flowers for Kelly but none for Bennett.[3]

Fidler won the case, with the Judge ruling that remarks against a public character, even if false, are not libel if made without malice.[4]

In 1938 Fidler made a short MGM documentary film, Personality Parade, about actors making the change from silent films to talkies. It featured clips of more than 60 performers whose careers began in silent films.[citation needed]

TelevisionEdit

By 1950, Fidler was earning more than $250,000 a year and was heard by 40 million listeners over 486 radio stations. During 1952-53, he hosted the live television drama series, Hollywood Opening Night on NBC.[5]

Jimmie Fidler continued his radio program in independent syndication, until his retirement in late 1983, at the age of 85. For his contribution to the radio industry, Fidler has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6128 Hollywood Blvd.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Barbas, Samantha. The First Lady of Hollywood: A Biography of Louella Parsons. University of California Press, 2005.
  2. ^ "Jimmy Fidler's Hollywood Column to Appear in Star". Valley Morning Star. December 28, 1949. p. 1. Retrieved March 12, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.   
  3. ^ "Big Sum Sought By Miss Bennett In Libel Action". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. January 4, 1938. p. 7. 
  4. ^ "Court Upholds Jimmie Fidler In Libel Case". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. October 17, 1938. p. 11. 
  5. ^ "Obituary: Jimmie Fidler," The New York Times, August 12, 1988.

External linksEdit