The night train from Frankfurt was late.
Nothing went nowadays as it should.
The simple businessman awaiting the arrival of the
German coaches at Amsterdam's Central Station began to grow
nervous. The telegram in his pocket said that his two
brothers-in-law had managed to board the express. But
suppose something had happened to them.... The worst of the
pogroms in their native city had ended, and they had emerged
unscathed. But the turbid current of anti-Semitism still
ran strong, throughout all Europe. What if there had been a
last-minute inspection, a questioning of documents or
motives at the border? The man could picture his in-laws
all too plainly in the hands of the Gestapo.
A chill December wind blew in off the Het Ij, the
Amsterdam Harbor. To the man standing on the exposed
platform, it smelled like the breath of a wolf.
Nothing could be counted on in this bad year of 1938.
The man's anxiety increased. His chest felt filled
with sand. This simple delay--undoubtedly innocent--was
somehow driving home to him with more force than many a
greater outrage the tremendous uncertainty of the times, the
danger under which they all lived.
What a responsibility, to care for a family, a wife and
two daughters, under such conditions!
He had thought they were safe in Holland. For five
years they had lived here in relative security. He had been
able to convince himself that the madness in Germany would
not touch them in their adopted country. But now he knew
differently. Not one inch of the continent would be spared
the insanity of Hitler and his followers.
Suddenly he was possessed by a flash of prescience, a
moment of revelation of Old Testament proportions.
If they stayed here, they would all die. Sooner or
later, despite all possible delaying tactics, all the tricks
and dodges of the pursued, the Germans would get them. They
Under the impact of the vision, the man began to weep.
The arrival of the Frankfort train brought him back to
himself. He dried his tears on his coatsleeve and searched
the faces of the disembarking passengers for his wife's
There they were!
"Hans, Dietrich, how good to see you again!"
"And you, Otto."
They embraced, then stepped apart.
Otto said, "It's a walk of a mile or two home. Do you
mind? It would save trolley fare...."
"Not at all," said Hans. "It will feel good to stretch
our legs after the long journey."
"And it will give us time to talk," added Dietrich.
"Man to man, without troubling Edith or the girls."
They departed the station and soon picked up the Oz
"We live in the River Quarter, South Amsterdam,"
explained Otto. "Many Jewish families have gathered there."
For some minutes the brothers brought Otto up to date
on the affairs of those relatives and friends who remained
in Frankfort. The news was welcome, but at the same time
disturbing. Things were worse than he had guessed.
At last, within sight of the Town Hall, Hans broached
the real meat of their discussion.
"We are not settling here, Otto, despite your kind
offer. We are determined to move on. In fact, we have
already purchased passage to America."
Otto was stunned. "America.... Why so far? We'll
never see you again. And what will you do there?"
Dietrich answered, "To my mind, it's just far enough.
Let us not fool ourselves, Otto. The Nazis will not stop
until they've conquered all of Europe. It's as plain as the
yellow star they force all Jews to wear! Even England is
not safe. As to how we shall manage--well, we are skilled
German optical craftsmen. Surely such talents are in demand
They crossed the Amstel River. Ice floes resembling
partially surfaced U-boats passed beneath the many bridges.
Otto did not speak. He could not bring himself to
contradict what the brothers had said, not after his
As they crossed Prinsengracht Dietrich said, "Will you
and Edith and the children join us, Otto? There are some
steerage berths left on our ship. It's not too late...."
Despite his recent vision of their doom, Otto could not
bring himself to instantly agree. His nature was more timid
than that of the two bachelors.
"I don't know.... It means starting from scratch. Life
would be hard at first. I'm not sure that Edith would like
America.... And I have an obligation to my current firm--"
Hans suddenly stopped and grabbed Otto by the upper
arms. "Mein Gott! Otto, wake up! This is your last
Otto's voice quavered. "I just don't know what's
necessary. It's all too confusing--"
Deitrich intervened. "Hans, please. Otto will make up
his own mind. All we can do is offer our advice." He
looked keenly at Otto. "And let me reiterate, we strongly
recommend flight. If not all of you, at least the
This possiblity had never occured to Otto. "Split up
the family? I couldn't--"
"Think on it. We could present it to the girls as a
little vacation with their two rediscovered uncles. Not
upsetting in the least. Come, man! If you and Edith won't
save yourselves, you must at least save the children."
They were silent the rest of the way home.
Number Forty-Six Merwedeplein was brightly lit. When
the door was opened a gust of warm air, scented with
heavenly odors of cooking, washed over the three men.
Edith stepped forth from the kitchen, drying her hands
on her apron. Upon sighting her brothers, she began to cry.
They hastened to hug and comfort her, while Otto stood
Attracted by the noises, an adolescent girl wearing
glasses emerged from the parlor. She was followed closely
by her sister, some three years younger.
Otto reintroduced the girls to the uncles they had not
seen in many years.
"This is Margot," he said, indicating the elder.
"Margot, give your uncles a kiss."
Margot did so.
"And this is Anneliese Marie."
The younger girl had dark hair and grey-green eyes with
green flecks. Dimples were prominent in her cheeks and chin.
She had a slight overbite.
Now her interesting eyes flashed. "Pim," she said
forthrightly and with great dignity, using her father's
nickname, "you know I prefer to be called Anne."
Her uncles laughed at her seriousness. "Very well,"
said Hans. "Little Miss Anne Frank it shall be."
* * *
Thursday, June 14, 1939
On Tuesday, June 12th, I woke up at six o'clock, and no
wonder; it was my first screen test.
Oh, yes, it was my tenth birthday also. At the
breakfast table, I was treated to a rousing chorus of "Happy
Birthday" from Uncle Hans, Uncle Dietrich and Margot. Silly
old Hans had stuck a candle in my Cream of Wheat, and I had
to blow it out. Then I received my presents. From the
uncles, a subscription to Screen Romances, along with some
new publicity stills for my collection; and from Margot,
this diary I am now writing in. It has a marvelous picture
of Rin-Tin-Tin on the cover. A trifle babyish, perhaps, for
a young lady of my years, but I like it nonetheless.
But the celebration could not take my mind off the
upcoming test. I confess I was a little nervous, and kept
fussing with my hair at the mirror for so long that Uncle
Dietrich had to call out, "Hurry up, liebchen, or we'll be
Riding to the studio in our big Packard, I sat between
the uncles up front, a rare treat. Normally Margot and I
are consigned to the back. Uncle Hans, driving, said, "Are
you sure you want to go through with this, Anne? After all,
you're still quite young to be thinking of a career."
"Only a year younger than Shirley Temple," I replied.
"And she has been making films for ages. And after all,
it's been my only dream for years and years now."
"Very well," he said. "But don't set your hopes too
high. There are dozens of pretty young girls for every
role. I see them arrive at the studio every day, and most
go away heartbroken."
"Not me, Uncle. I am grateful just for this chance to
audition. If I fail, I will go back happily to my studies.
Why, there's lots of other careers I could have. Perhaps I
could be a journalist, for instance."
"I am glad to find you so sensible, Anne. I had to call
in many favors to get you this opportunity, but it is still
far from a sure thing."
Soon we were through the studio gates. The lot was
bustling with glamorous people, and I thought to myself,
Little Anne, you have certainly come a long way from that
Montessori schoolyard halfway around the world!
Almost before I knew it, we were on the soundstage. The
lights, the microphones, the cameras and the spectators,
although just as I had always imagined them, were enough to
make my head spin. With cameras whirring, I was asked to
recite one of Temple's speeches from Captain January, which
I managed to do without flubbing it. A voice from beyond the
lights next asked me to "sing something." I obliged with
Captain Spalding's big number from Animal Crackers. And then
it was over, almost before it had begun.
Uncle Dietrich had gone to work already, but Uncle Hans
was waiting for me.
"Do you know who that was who asked you to sing?"
Uncle's voice assumed a reverent tone. "That was Louis
Accompanying Uncle to the workshop, where I would spend
the day (what bliss!), I actually saw in the flesh the
beautiful Lane Sisters, Lola, Rosemary and Priscilla, the
stars of Four Daughters.
Lola and Rosemary were busy chatting gaily with some
men, but Priscilla--my favorite--was kind enough to bestow a
warm smile on me.
To think that once, back in Amsterdam, I had a fantasy
of Priscilla Lane becoming my special friend--And now it
might actually come true!
Saturday, June 16, 1939
I haven't written for a few days, because I wanted
first of all to think about my diary. I don't want to set
down a series of bald facts in a diary like most people do,
but I want this diary itself to be my friend, and I shall
call my friend Priscilla (after whom, we all know!).
I shall start by sketching out my life since Margot and
I arrived in America, under the guardianship of our uncles.
We landed, of course, in New York. Soon, we were
living with Jewish friends on the Lower East Side.
Unfortunately, work was hard to find, even for such talented
craftsmen as Hans and Dietrich. One day a month or so after
our arrival, Margot and I we were told that we were moving.
"Before our savings are eaten away, we intend to try
our hand at life in California, girls. They say Hollywood
needs lots of camera technicians and repairmen."
"Hollywood!" I shouted. "Hurray! Oh, thank you, thank
you, dear uncles!"
"Oh, Anne," said Margot, somewhat snippily, "please
spare us. Don't make it sound as if our uncles are catering
to your foolish obsession. It's strictly a practical move."
I knew this was true, but I could still maintain my
fantasy, couldn't I?
You see, diary, ever since I was in kindergarten, I had
been enthralled by the cinema. The walls of my room back in
Amsterdam were positively covered with photos of my favorite
stars. I could recite the plots of all the films I had ever
seen, as well as the names of many of the actors and crew
involved. In short, I was a regular little starstruck fan.
Well, we packed our meager belongings and set out on
the westward train journey, rather like the hardy souls in
John Ford's Stagecoach. I was much taken with the vastness
of my new home, its immense and varied terrain. I found the
farms most impressive; one could never go hungry in this
Upon arrival, just as we had hoped, Hans and Dietrich
quickly found jobs. And not just with one of the "Poverty
Row" studios either, but with the biggest: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
MGM has twenty directors, 75 writers and 250 actors and
actresses on permanent payroll! Last year, its profits were
over five million dollars. It's just tops!
And, diary--your friend, Anne, was just singing to its
head, Louis B. Mayer!
Monday, June 18, 1939
I hardly know where to begin.
Honestly, living in America ages one entirely beyond
one's years! (And although most people would not credit it,
pleasant experiences can sometimes be as trying as
I know I've always been a precocious child. (Haven't
Pim and Mums forever delighted in scolding me for it?) But
since coming to Hollywood, I feel as if I've gone from
childhood to young womanhood overnight. Even though I have
just turned ten, I feel at least a good five years older.
(Although my figure surely lags behind!)
But I am circling around the important issue I have to
relate. It seems that I am afraid to set it down on paper,
lest it prove the merest soap-bubble of my overactive
Today, Mister Mayer offered me a role!
And not just any old role, but the starring role in a
new family film. (Mister Mayer always says he will never
put his name on a picture he's ashamed to let his family
It happened like this.
At eight this morning, the phone rang. When Uncle Hans
hung up, he wore a stunned expression.
"That was Mayer's secretary, Anne. He wants to see you
in his office at ten."
I walked around the house in a daze. The drive to the
studio passed unnoticed by me. The next thing I knew, I was
sitting in Mister Mayer's office in front of his huge desk,
Uncle Hans by my side.
"So, Miss Frank--your uncle tells me you'd like to
become an actress."
"Yes, sir. I've been told I have a talent for mimicry.
I could always imitate my friends back home. Strangers
"Your test shows promise, real promise. Normally, we'd
start you out small, a bit part here and there. But it just
so happens that something's come up where your inexperience
might actually be valuable. Have you ever read The Wizard
"Mister Frank Baum's book? Of course."
"Well, we're filming it. Or at least, we're trying
to. I don't know what's the matter with this project, but
at times it seems cursed. I wanted to begin it last year,
but couldn't free up Vic--Vic Fleming--from Gone With the
Wind. My son-in-law, Selznick, had a lock on him. Then as
soon as he was ready, just a month ago, we lost Judy."
An expression of genuine grief passed over Mister
Mayer's face. I knew that Judy Garland had been one of his
"It was a horrible accident," I said, though I fear my
words were little consolation. "I cried when I read about
Mister Mayer looked approvingly at me. "I appreciate
that, Anne. Not only was it wrenching for me, but also for
the studio. Judy's death in that car crash threw a
monkey-wrench into the filming. We had already shot several
key scenes with her too. Then, on top of that, just last
week Buddy Ebsen developed an allergy to his Tin Man makeup.
It was almost enough to make me abandon the whole project.
But then you showed up, as if by a miracle."
Mister Mayer got up and came around to sit on his desk.
"Anne, I think you'd be perfect for the part of Dorothy. The
more I thought about it, the more I realized Judy was a bit
too old at seventeen for the character. Baum had a younger,
more innocent kid in mind, someone kinda naive, and I think
it's you. Are you interested?"
I could hardly breathe. Yet somehow I managed to
"Interested? Mister Mayer, I'd die for such a part!"
Mister Mayer slapped his hands on his knees. "Great!
It's settled then. Now, all I've got to do is line up
someone to replace Ebsen."
Uncle Hans and I got up to go, but a word from Mister
Mayer stopped us.
"Oh, one more thing, kid. That last name. It's got to
go. Too Jewish. German too. Your accent's almost
unnoticeable, and lessons'll clean up the rest, but the
name's a dead giveaway. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a Yid
myself, there's no prejudice involved, it's just that the
public likes its stars non-denominational, if you get my
I admit I was taken somewhat aback, never having
thought of my heritage as anything to be ashamed of. But I
"Perhaps I could use my uncle's name?"
"Hollander? Kinda long. Say, what if we shorten it?
How does 'Anne Holland' grab you?"
I considered it for only a moment before agreeing.
Mister Mayer smiled, and came to shake my hand. "Kid,
I can see we're going to get along fine."
Tuesday, June 26, 1939
My first day of filming was a huge success, but more
wearying than I ever could have imagined. I got off on a
good footing with my co-stars, disarming what I suspected
was some initial jealousy that a newcomer like myself should
suddenly leap into such a prominent role. By the end of the
day we were all clowning together between takes like old
I have been assigned a chaperone and tutor to accompany
me on the set. (How I wish Mums could have taken this role;
perhaps it would have brought us closer together....) Her
name is Toby Wing, and I'm afraid that, try as I will, I can
only consider her a rather harsh and vulgar person. She had
a few small parts several years ago, mostly for Paramount,
but hasn't really worked since 1934's Search for Beauty.
Somehow--I hate to imagine the circumstances--she ended up
on the MGM payroll. She's quite glamorous, in a
showgirlish way, with platinum hair and long legs (which
she doesn't hesitate to show off at the slightest
provocation!), but she snaps her chewing-gum and has
When I contrast her with you, Priscilla, my dream
friend, how coarse she appears!
Fancy this: attempting to give me a math lesson during
lunch, she said, "Your figure comes first, honey, but it
don't hurt to know figures too. Else how you gonna count
Diamonds! As if that's why I'm doing this!
Oh, well, best to keep all this between you and me,
diary, as I do with everything.
Sunday, September 2, 1939
Please forgive me. Filming has kept me so busy that I
haven't written to you in all these days. But yesterday's
events compel me to.
Hitler has invaded Poland. No more need be said. The
war that everyone dreaded for so long is underway.
Oh, what will become of my dear Pim and Mumsie, not to
mention all my other friends? Peter, Miep, Elli, Lies,
Jopie, Sanne-- For now, they are safe. But I have an awful
intuition that they will soon be in harm's way.
All Margot and I can do here in America is pray. I
cannot imagine what life must be like in Europe now. My
days in Amsterdam seem so far away. I guess I am truly an
Thursday, April 30, 1940
Ten months of filming. Who could ever have predicted
it would take so long? I feel as if I've passed through a
kind of fire that has burned away all I was before. Out of
the ashes I emerge a new person, stronger and more mature,
one who has earned to right to utter those magic words:
"It's a wrap."
My first film is in the can. It turned out to be
the studio's most expensive project to date. In fact,
months of post-production work still await, some of which
involves me. But for most of my time, I'll be working on a
new film. Mister Mayer already has another project lined up
for me. He wants me to play the daughter in an adaptation
of the classic Swiss Family Robinson. I've just read the
book, and it's a thrilling tale. Hard to credit though, a
family isolated and trapped like that, living off their
wits, surrounded by wild beasts, struggling just to get
enough to eat. But Mister Mayer thinks it will go over big
with the public, and I trust his judgement.
I guess it's as Toby said: "Sweetie, you're on your
way to the top now!"
Friday, May 10, 1940
Holland, dear Holland, my namesake, has been invaded!
The uncles, Margot and I were glued to the radio all
day. (Luckily, there was no shooting scheduled.) I can't
begin to picture what the innocent country is undergoing.
Our hearts go out to the poor helpless citizens there. If
only America would get involved in the war-- Perhaps there
is something I could do as an actress to help.
I shall ask Mister Mayer for his advice.
Wednesday, June 12, 1940
What should I receive for my birthday from Mister Mayer
but the most fabulous present imaginable!
Fox studios has had a project on hold for some time,
while they gauged public sentiment toward the war, and
Mister Mayer has bought it for me. I'll dive into it as
soon as the Swiss pic is finished.
I am to play the daughter of the female lead in I
Married a Nazi. I've read the script, and it's a corker! In
the end, I get to denounce my "father" as a spy, and save
Hoover Dam from blowing up.
Now I don't feel quite so useless and powerless.
Friday, September 15, 1940
Tonight was the best night of my life.
I attended the premiere of The Wizard of Oz at
Grauman's Chinese Theater.
Stepping from the limousine, adjusting my mink (a
beautiful stole by Adrian) around my shoulders as the
flashbulbs popped, I could hardly believe that I was soon to
see my name, Anne Holland, on the silver screen. I moved as
if in a dream. Throughout the whole screening, I felt
transported. I was proud of my work, glad that my name was
associated with such a fine picture, one that will, I am
sure, last for generations and serve as an inspiration of
how courage, brains and heart may triumph over adversity.
(Is it too much to see in the Wicked Witch a symbol of Nazi
And, dear Pris, just to show you that I am still, under
my new exterior, the same little fan I once was, I must
exclaim that the premiere was simply studded with stars!
(Although much to my disappointment you were not there,
since you were busy filming Four Mothers, the sequel to Four
Daughters and Four Wives.) It was keen to meet so many of
the people I've admired all these years. I even got to shake
hands with Charlie McCarthy and his "partner," Edgar Bergen.
As the musicians say, "They're a gas!"
Sunday, December 2, 1940
The queerest thing happened to me yesterday, and I feel
I must tell you about it.
Having developed a headache on the set, I called a halt
to filming and asked for a few minutes to recover myself by
lying down. Opening my dressing-room door, I was shocked to
encounter my chaperone, Toby, in an amorous embrace with one
of the stagehands. Her dress was hiked halfway to the sky,
and her lipstick was all smeared. She looked a fright.
Instead of expressing repentence, she just laughed and
said, "Oh, honey, you don't mind, do you? A girl's gotta
amuse herself somehow. I wasn't cut out to be no teacher."
I made no reply, and was soon alone in the room, a cold
compress on my forehead.
I couldn't get the image of Toby, pressed down by the
grip, out of my mind. A mix of repulsion and attraction
filled my bosom.
I have had these kinds of feelings subconsciously
before I came here, as well as more recently. I remember that once when I
slept with a girlfriend (Bonita Granville) I had a strong
desire to kiss her, and I did so. And in fact, I go into
ecstasies every time I see the near-naked figure of a woman,
such as Jean Harlow, for example. It strikes me as so
wonderful and exquisite that I have difficulty in stopping
the tears rolling down my cheeks.
Am I too young for such feelings? Sometimes I feel as
if my whole life that was to be has been accelerated beyond
all comprehension by forces beyond my control.
If only I had a boyfriend too!
Thursday, June 12, 1941
Yet another marvelous present from Uncle Louis!
(This is becoming a regular tradition....)
He plans to revive the Andy Hardy series of films,
which has been in abeyance since Judy Garland's death.
And I am to play in them, opposite Mickey Rooney!
Uncle Louis says that, at twelve, I am now mature
enough to serve as a "love interest" for Mickey, who is
seven years my senior, but looks much younger. (Just a
couple of years ago, in Boy's Town, for instance, he was
still playing a child's part.)
I can't tell you how excited I am to be working with
Mickey. He's so cute!
Don't be jealous of me, Pris!
Monday, July 1, 1941
At the oddest moments, the plight of my poor parents
will recur to me, shattering my mood of the moment and
making me forget my lines. Sometimes I feel incredibly
guilty that I should have left them behind, to suffer in my
stead. At other times, I imagine that my safety and that of
Margot must serve as an inspiration to them in their
unimaginable difficulties, for I know that they truly do
love us both, despite whatever unavoidable fallings-out we
might have had.
Would I have accomplished as much with my life had I
stayed in Amsterdam? That is a question I will never have
the answer to, although sometimes, just before dropping off
to sleep, I sometimes catch a ghostly glimpse of what might
have been, and that unreal alternate life both scares and
Monday, July 8, 1941
I've read the script for Love Finds Andy Hardy,
and must say that several times I blushed. Not that there's
anything indecent in it--far from it! It's just that it
will be a supreme test of my professionalism to keep my true
emotions separate from the role.
You see, I've fallen in love with Mickey!
It's true, Pris. One meeting was all it took. That's
what an adorable little charmer he is! (Not that he flirted
with me at all. He's the perfect gentleman, and probably
feels nothing for me....) But that night, all I did was
dream of him.
I was completely upset by the dreams. When Uncle Hans
kissed me this morning, I could have cried out: "Oh, if
only you were Mickey!" I think of him now all the time, and
I keep repeating to myself the whole day, "Oh, Mickey,
darling, darling Mickey...!"
Who can help me now? I must live on and pray to God
that when Mickey someday reads the love in my eyes he will
say, "Oh, Anne, if I had only known, I would have come to
you long before!"
Sunday, December 7, 1941
Well, we are in the war now for sure. The destruction
at Pearl Harbor has finally awakened the slumbering giant,
America. Already Hollywood is shifting gears to do its bit.
Who knows? Perhaps one day soon, I will be reunited with
Pim and Mumsie. I will buy them a big house in the hills,
with lots and lots of rooms, even a secret annex where we
can hide together from my public!
Thursday, February 14, 1942
A valentine from Mickey! Is he just being considerate,
or can it be that--?
Toby advises, "Don't throw yourself at him like you're
desperate, kid. Keep him guessing and hanging on a little
It seems like a cruel and sneaky tactic, but perhaps I
should heed Toby's greater experience.
Monday, March 3, 1941
Whether it was Toby's advice or my own pure heart, I
don't care to know. Suffice it to say that Mickey has
It happened like this.
We had just finished a very emotional scene and were
refreshing ourselves with sodas from the studio commissary,
standing outside in a secluded corner of a Western set. I
was still trembling from the stress of concealing my
emotions, and Mickey, the angel, seemed to sense how
vulnerable I was and how delicately I needed to be treated.
He came towards me, I impulsively flung my arms around his
neck (he's not much taller than me) and gave him a kiss on
his left cheek, and was about to kiss the other cheek, when
my lips met his and we pressed them together. In a whirl we
were clasped in each other's arms, again and again, never to
Is it right that I should have yielded so soon, that I
am so ardent?
I simply don't care. My happiness is complete.
Sunday, June 14, 1942
At age thirteen, my life is over.
Mickey has just been drafted. No strings that Uncle
Louis can pull have been able to get him a deferment.
The love which has so recently bloomed between us must
now undergo the immense strain of separation and anxiety
which so many other couples are experiencing in this
What, oh, what is the use of war? Why can't people
live peacefully together? Why do they make still more
gigantic planes, still heavier bombs? Why should millions
be spent daily on the war and yet there's not a penny
available for medical services, artists or poor people? Why
do some people starve, while there are surpluses rotting in
other parts of the world? Why are people so crazy?
I have no answers. All I know is that I shall wait
forever for Mickey to return.
Thursday, October 16, 1944
We have just had a letter from Pim and Mumsie!
After receiving a call-up notice from the S.S., they
resolved to flee Holland. By many torturous strategems,
they made their way to Switzerland, where they can now sit
out the war in safety.
I am so relieved. I doubt they would ever have made
it, if they had been burdened with Margot and me. Finally
the wisdom of our Uncles' advice reaches its triumphant
Now, if only I had fresh news of Mickey. He survived
D-Day, but the war is hardly over yet....
Saturday, November 12, 1944
Mickey is coming home.
He has lost a leg.
Tuesday, January 3, 1945
The war has changed Mickey so much. Gone is the
carefree boy I fell in love with. The horrible sights he
witnessed, the events he participated in, have all scarred
Even I, safe at home, have been deeply shaken by the
news out of liberated Germany of the so-called
"concentration camps...." All the friends of my youth seem
to have vanished into them, consumed like so many moths
around a klieg light.
I still love Mickey, of course, and forever shall. But
I know that the brief childlike interlude we enjoyed will
never return. After we are married, we shall enter our
adulthood with no chance of stepping back. (Odd, I never
could quite picture myself as an adult.)
I resolve now to devote the rest of my life to taking
care of Mickey.
And of course, to my art.
Friday, December 19, 1949
Why do I write now, after all these years of silence,
during which I was so busy with so many things that I
neglected my oldest, my dearest friend? Only to mention
that Margot has emigrated to Israel, to be with Mumsie and
Pim. So much for my dream of us all living in one big
house. (Though how anyone besides your long-suffering Anne
could stand to live with poor Mickey is beyond me....)
How I wish I could believe in something, anything, as
fervently as Margot does. But I fear my faith in anything
outside the glorious artifice of the soundstage has
I never really acknowledged to Margot how much her
presence meant to me. We fought, as sisters will, but
beneath it all was a deep understanding and affection.
As a final instance of her sisterly devotion, she
managed to extract from Mickey just before her departure a
promise to stop drinking.
Saturday, June 12, 1951
The divorce is final.
The proceedings were extremely messy--vile, in fact.
In accordance with California state law, I was forced to
prove mental cruelty charges against Mickey. Not a hard
task, given his abusive nature when drunk, but nevertheless
an unpleasant one. When I think back to the days of our
innocent courtship, even to those few months after the
marriage, when Mickey was making an honest effort to restart
his career, I find myself in tears at what was lost in the
war's cruel embrace. Could anything possibly have been
worse? I ask in self-pity.
But then I take a couple of Miltowns, straighten my
seams, and go on like the trouper I've long become.
Anyway, Mickey's lawyer in retaliation brought up that
old scandal with Vincent Minnelli. Luckily, there was never
any proof of my pregnancy--I made sure to avoid all
photo-ops in those last few months--and no one's ever traced
little Liza to that Minnesota orphanage. So, as I hoped,
the judge's decision went completely in my favor.
Still, the whole affair was incredibly complex,
wasteful of both my time and money. I still sometimes can't
believe what my life has become these days.
Oh, Priscilla, if only I had stayed with Pim and
Mumsie in Amsterdam! Surely, we could have escaped together
to Switzerland! Surely after the war I could have gone back
to the lovely little house at Number Forty-Six Merwedeplein,
taken up with one of my old boyfriends, and gone on to
become an average Dutch hausfrau! What a sweet life it
would have been! No agents, no fractious co-stars, no
face-lifts looming just down the road.
But the horrors I've just described are my only life
now. There is no other path.
Yet--you know what?
Despite everything, way down deep, beneath the pancake
makeup, I still believe in the goodness of man.