Monthly Archives: September 2014

Polly Bergen & the Newmans

Polly Bergen Bel Air California

Roger Asquith and Polly Bergen

Just a Bel Air neighborhood afternoon. Actress Polly Bergen passed away a short while ago at age 84. I met Polly Bergen on the set of MOVE OVER, DARLING, with her co-stars Doris Day and James Garner.  Polly plays the 2nd wife of James Garner. His first wife, Doris Day, is presumed to have died in a plane crash … but she didn’t… and thereby hangs the tale!!! My associate and I had been invited to Polly’s Bel Air mansion to talk about the film and also the new beauty products being added to her successful new business POLLY BERGEN COSMETICS. Arriving at the entrance to her home, I pressed the intercom and announced our arrival.

The huge decorative iron gates swung open and we crunched along the driveway to the house where Polly was there to greet us. Ten minutes later we were appreciating a frosty glass of ice cold Margaritas on the patio with a fantastic view of the various multi million dollars homes nestling between the Palm trees. Polly told us Bel Air was a very close knit neighbourhood where everybody was very friendly. Elizabeth Taylor lived very close by and next door was the home of her friends, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

Just like movie magic, a few minutes later, Paul and Joanne came walking across the lawn to bring Polly a belated birthday present. Obviously they didn’t announce themselves at the huge iron gated entrance. “They live next door,” whispered Polly “and take a short cut across their lawn then squeeze through a  gap in the fence. It was hard to believe Paul Newman having to squeeze through anything, but here he was stalking across the manicured lawn like HUD the tough cattle rancher in the film he was making on location in Texas.

Paul and Joanne sat down with us on the patio while Polly served up another round of Margaritas.  Being Hollywood, the talk was all naturally about movies. Joanne was filming WOMEN OF SUMMER. She had taken over the role after the tragic death of Marilyn Monroe. Paul took the role of HUD very seriously and trained as a cattle rancher in Texas until he could rope a steer like an expert, furthermore, he had the calloused hands to prove it.    Co-star Patricia Neal won the Oscar for Best Actress in the film HUD even though she was only in the film for less than twenty-five minutes.

The Hollywood chatter continued and we had another round of Margaritas, then my associate signalled she had to leave for another appointment. Reluctantly we left Polly, Joanne and Paul to finish their drinks. Driving back to Hollywood, my friend was more interested in the bag of cosmetics that Polly had given her than talking about Paul Newman whom she had just met. “He’s quite a short guy, isn’t he? I thought HUD is supposed to be a tall hunky Texas Rancher,” she said, sniffing some cold cream “I guess he has to stand on boxes like Alan Ladd in in the film SHANE.”

I stared in horror at my associate, how could she be so crass as to tell the truth when writing about a film star?!



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Elvis Presley’s Secret Palm Springs Love Nest – Roger Asquith Tells All!

Exclusive Release of my Elvis Love Nest Photos and Interview

Elvis bar

Bar at Elvis Palm Springs Hideaway

“So this is where Elvis lets it all hang out,” snorted my associate, checking out Elvis’ Palm Springs secret love nest. “I’m not kidding he parades around this pool a la carte, that’s why he planted all these bushes. Take some coloured photographs, Roger.” …and so I did and another and another.

But that all happened many years ago and the coloured slides had been filed away and forgotten, until I read that sixty years had passed since Elvis made his first recording in the now famous Sun Studios in Memphis. The BBC jumped on the anniversary and went to town digging up all the old footage of the first King of Pop and I rummage thru my files and dug up the old coloured slides and sent them to Laura Elvin, news reporter at the South West News Service in Bristol.
A few days later they sent David armed with a truckload of TV equipment to interview me about – Elvis Presley’s Secret Love Nest in Palm Springs.

Sitting back in my favourite armchair I stared into the camera lens only a few feet away remembering I recently had a “nose job” and jokingly informed Mister DeMille I wasn’t ready for my close up. Now the joke was on me.

Elvis Presley Pink Bedroom

Elvis’ Hideaway Pink Room

“So, Roger, tell us about Elvis parading around his pool with nothing on?” was David’s first question. Wow! If that was David’s first salvo, what in the Sam hell was he saving for the last, the headline grabber? I shuddered to think. After truthfully answering David’s opening bombshell, I was very glad the notorious Elvis Mafia and his overpowering manager, Colonel Parker were no longer around to re-arrange my recent nose job and I became a little more relaxed.

Here’s the story behind the pictures. A friend and I were Real Estate agents in Palm Springs with the keys to Elvis Presley’s secret hideaway. Our instructions were to take a quick look around and remove any evidence of orgiastic activity, but the little two bedroom white stucco house with the kidney shaped swimming pool was immaculate. Elvis’ king-size bed was made up. The black silk sheets all neatly in place and even the black pillows were all puffed up ready for Elvis to rest his weary head. A shiny new television set had replaced the previous one that had been used for target practice. It was apparently Elvis’ habit to turn off any program he didn’t like, by popping a few bullets thru the screen. The TV sellers in Palm Springs didn’t mind, business was quite brisk when the King was in town. In the dining room the huge table was set for dinner with sparkling crystal glasses for each guest, although it’s doubtful Elvis was so formal, probably preferring hot dogs and burgers on the patio barbeque while letting it all hang out.

David For Southwest News Service

David For Southwest News Service

I would have preferred to talk about my other adventures, written up in my book Cuban Trader or the sex, murder and blackmail in That’s Hollywood, but David preferred to question me about Elvis and his secret love nest in Palm Springs… YES, there were pix of Elvis all around the place. NO, there were no pix of him in the nude. Yes, there were two juke boxes stacked with his gold records. YES. There was a secluded heated swimming pool. NO, I didn’t know who slept in the second bedroom. YES, I did take a souvenir of my visit; a wine glass with E.P. etched into the crystal and gave it to my friend Cindy.

Finally David asked me a few questions about having lunch with Elvis at MGM where he made all his films. YES,I was invited many times, and dutifully wrote up a glowing report, albeit censored by the Colonel. YES he was a good host. Yes the food was good and YES he gave me a signed LP from his latest film. NO, I was never invited to his orgiastic parties.

So, what did I think of Elvis’ secret love nest in Palm Springs?

For a secret love nest it was well planned. The perfect place for a wild weekend. Heavy duty double beds, a well-stocked bar, and two juke boxes stacked with Elvis recordings. Outside the patio and kidney shaped pool were hidden from the nosey neighbours by tall Palm Trees and evergreen bushes. What more did anyone want? Maybe a few gallons of sun tan lotion and a tiny camera to take pix when Elvis wasn’t looking!!!!

The article and full collection of pix can be seen at and the interview can be seen on YouTube.

And any news outlets who pick it up…

Well, That’s Hollywood!

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