Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings

Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings

by Craig Brown


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From “one of the funniest writers in Britain—wise, clever, hilarious, and a national treasure” (Helen Fielding, author of Bridget Jones’s Diary) comes this delightful book of “101 ingeniously linked encounters between the famous and the infamous” [The Observer (London) Best Books of the Year].

Hello Goodbye Hello is a daisy chain of 101 fascinating true encounters, a book that has been hailed by reviewers in London as “howlingly funny” (The Spectator), “original and a complete delight” (The Sunday Times), and “rich and hugely enjoyable” (The Guardian). Or, as the London Evening Standard put it, “the truth and nothing but the plain, bonkers, howling truth . . . It is partly a huge karmic parlour game, partly a dance to the music of chaos—and only the genius of Craig Brown could have produced it.” Who could imagine such unlikely—but true— encounters as these:

Martha Graham meets Madonna

Igor Stravinsky meets Walt Disney

Frank Lloyd Wright meets Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe meets Nikita Khrushchev

President Richard Nixon meets Elvis Presley

Harpo Marx meets George Bernard Shaw

Cecil Beaton meets Mick Jagger

Salvador Dali meets Sigmund Freud

Groucho Marx meets T.S. Eliot

Brilliant in conception, Hello Goodbye Hello shows how the celebrated and gifted—like the rest of us— got along famously or disastrously or indifferently with one another, but, thanks to Craig Brown, always to our amusement and entertainment.

From an opening story in which Adolf Hitler survives being knocked down by a careless English driver in 1931 to the Duchess of Windsor’s meeting with the Führer over tea, and 99 others in between, Hello Goodbye Hello is the perfect example that truth is stranger than fiction (and infinitely more enjoyable).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451684513
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 08/20/2013
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,290,623
Product dimensions: 5.78(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.92(d)

About the Author

Craig Brown writes the Private Eye celebrity diary as well as a twice-weekly column for the Daily Mail (London) and reviews books for Mail on Sunday. He was the host of This Is Craig Brown on BBC Radio 4. Mr. Brown lives in London.

Read an Excerpt




The Café de Paris, Hollywood

September 19th 1959

In her bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Marilyn Monroe is preparing to meet the Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev. When she was first invited, his name hadn’t rung a bell, and she wasn’t keen to go. It was only when her studio told her that in Russia, America meant two things, Coca-Cola and Marilyn Monroe, that she changed her mind. ‘She loved hearing that,’ recalls Lena Pepitone, her maid. Marilyn tells Lena that the studio wants her to wear her tightest, sexiest dress. ‘I guess there’s not much sex in Russia,’ she concludes.

Her preparations are lengthy and elaborate, involving a masseuse, a hairdresser and a make-up artist. When they are halfway through, the president of Twentieth Century-Fox, Spyros Skouras, arrives, just to make sure that, for once in her life, Marilyn will be on time. As agreed, she squeezes into a low-cut, skin-tight black lace dress. Her chauffeur drops her at the studio before noon. The parking lot is empty. ‘We must be late! It must be over!’ gasps Marilyn. In fact, they are far too early.37

Nikita Khrushchev’s American tour has had more than its share of ups and downs. He is a temperamental character, apt to flair up at the slightest provocation. Perhaps because of this, the American media cannot get enough of him. ‘It’s Khrush, Khrushy, Khrushchev!’ writes a columnist for the New York Daily News. ‘The fellow’s all over the dials these days ... The pudgy Soviet dictator is smiling, laughing, scowling, shaking his forefinger or clenching his iron fist.’ Others have been less generous. A rival columnist in the New York Mirror describes him as ‘a rural dolt unwittingly proving a case against himself and his system’. The three main television networks show live coverage of his visit, repeating it every night in special thirty-minute bulletins. He is followed everywhere by 342 reporters and photographers, the largest travelling media group the world has ever known.

On the fifth day of his tour, Khrushchev arrives in Los Angeles, in time for lunch for four hundred people at Twentieth Century-Fox. There has been such demand for places that spouses have been banned unless they also happen to be stars. There are one or two couples – Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fisher, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh – but they are few and far between.

Khrushchev enters a packed room. Everyone who is anyone is here: Edward G. Robinson, Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers, Kirk Douglas, Shelley Winters, Dean Martin, Debbie Reynolds, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Frank Sinatra, Maurice Chevalier, Zsa Zsa Gabor. Mrs Khrushchev is seated between Bob Hope and Gary Cooper. Conversation proves stilted.

‘Why don’t you move out here? You’ll like the climate,’ suggests Cooper.

‘No,’ replies Mrs Khrushchev. ‘Moscow is all right for me.’

Khrushchev is on the top table, next to Skouras. Lunch has its awkward moments. When Khrushchev is told that his spur-of-the-moment request to visit Disneyland has been turned down, owing to security worries, he sends the American Ambassador to the UN a furious note. ‘I understand you have cancelled the trip to Disneyland. I am most displeased.’

The after-lunch speeches are awkward. Khrushchev heckles Skouras during his speech of welcome, and further heckles Henry Cabot Lodge as he speaks of America’s affection for Russian culture. ‘Have you seen They Fought for Their Homeland?’ he yells. ‘It is based on a novel by Mikhail Sholokhov.’


‘Well, buy it. You should see it.’

In his own speech, Khrushchev grows very bullish. ‘I have a question for you. Which country has the best ballet? Yours?! You do not even have a permanent opera and ballet theatre! Your theatres thrive on what is given to them by rich people! In our country, it is the state that gives the money! And the best ballet is in the Soviet Union! It is our pride!’

After going on like this for forty-five minutes, he suddenly seems to remember something. ‘Just now, I was told that I could not go to Disneyland. I asked, “Why not? What is it? Do you have rocket-launching pads there?” Just listen to what I was told: “We” – which means the American authorities – “cannot guarantee your security there.” What is it? Is there an epidemic of cholera there? Have gangsters taken hold of the place?’ He punches the air, and starts to look angry. ‘That’s the situation I find myself in. For me, such a situation is inconceivable. I cannot find words to explain this to my people!’

At last he sits down. The Hollywood audience applauds. As he is being shown to the sound stage to watch the movie Can-Can being filmed,38 he recognises Marilyn Monroe and darts over to shake her hand. All wide-eyed, Marilyn delivers a line that Natalie Wood, a fluent Russian speaker, has coached her to say. For once, she gets it right first time: ‘We the workers of Twentieth Century-Fox rejoice that you have come to visit our studio and country.’

Khrushchev seems to appreciate her effort. ‘He looked at me the way a man looks on a woman,’ she recalls.

‘You’re a very lovely young lady,’ he says, squeezing her hand.

‘My husband, Arthur Miller, sends you his greeting. There should be more of this kind of thing. It would help both our countries understand each other.’

Afterwards, Marilyn Monroe enthuses, ‘This is about the biggest day in the history of the movie business.’ But when she gets back home, she has changed her tune. ‘He was fat and ugly and had warts on his face and he growled,’ she tells Lena. ‘Who would want to be a Communist with a President like that?’39

But she is pretty sure that the Premier enjoyed their meeting. ‘I could tell Khrushchev liked me. He smiled more when he was introduced to me than for anybody else at the whole banquet. And everybody else was there. He squeezed my hand so long and so hard that I thought he would break it. I guess it was better than having to kiss him.’

Table of Contents

Note to the U.S. Edition xvii

Author s Note xxi

Adolf Hitler + John Scott-Ellis 1

John Scott-Ellis + Rudyard Kipling 4

Rudyard Kipling + Mark Twain 7

Mark Twain + Helen Keller 11

Helen Keller + Martha Graham 14

Martha Graham + Madonna 17

Madonna + Michael Jackson 20

Michael Jackson + Nancy Reagan 23

Nancy Reagan + Andy Warhol 26

Andy Warhol + Jackie Kennedy 29

Jackie Kennedy + HM Queen Elizabeth II 32

HM Queen Elizabeth II + The Duke of Windsor 35

The Duke of Windsor + Elizabeth Taylor 38

Elizabeth Taylor + James Dean 41

James Dean + Alec Guinness 44

Alec Guinness + Evelyn Waugh 47

Evelyn Waugh + Igor Stravinsky 51

Igor Stravinsky + Walt Disney 54

Walt Disney + P.L. Travers 57

P.L. Travers + George Ivanovich Gurdjieff 61

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff + Frank Lloyd Wright 64

Frank Lloyd Wright + Marilyn Monroe 67

Marilyn Monroe + Nikita Khrushchev 70

Nikita Khrushchev + George Brown 74

George Brown + Eli Wallach 78

Eh Wallach +Frank Sinatra 82

Frank Sinatra + Dominick Dunne 85

Dominick Dunne + Phil Spector 88

Phil Spector + Leonard Cohen 91

Leonard Cohen + Janis Joplin 94

Janis Joplin + Patti Smith 97

Patti Smith + Allen Ginsberg 100

Allen Ginsberg + Francis Bacon 103

Francis Bacon + HRH Princess Margaret 106

HRH Princess Margaret + Kenneth Tynan 109

Kenneth Tynan + Truman Capote 112

Truman Capote + Peggy Lee 115

Peggy Lee + President Richard M. Nixon 119

President Richard M. Nixon + Elvis Presley 123

Elvis Presley + Paul McCartney 127

Paul McCartney + Noël Coward 130

Noël Coward + Prince Felix Youssoupoff 133

Prince Felix Youssoupoff + Grigori Rasputin 136

Grigori Rasputin + Tsar Nicholas II 139

Tsar Nicholas II + Harry Houdini 142

Harry Houdini + President Theodore Roosevelt 145

President Theodore Roosevelt + H.G. Wells 149

H.G. Wells + Josef Stalin 152

Josef Stalin + Maxim Gorky 155

Maxim Gorky + Leo Tolstoy 158

Leo Tolstoy + Pyotr Il'ich Tchaikovsky 161

Pyotr Il'ich Tchaikovsky + Sergei Rachmaninoff 164

Sergei Rachmaninoff + Harpo Marx 167

Harpo Marx + George Bernard Shaw 170

George Bernard Shaw + Bertrand Russell 174

Bertrand Russell + Sarah Miles 177

Sarah Miles + Terence Stamp 181

Terence Stamp + Edward Heath 184

Edward Heath + Walter Sickert 188

Walter Sickert + Winston Churchill 192

Winston Churchill + Laurence Olivier 195

Laurence Olivier + J.D. Salinger 198

J.D. Salinger + Ernest Hemingway 202

Ernest Hemingway + Ford Madox Ford 206

Ford Madox Ford + Oscar Wilde 209

Oscar Wilde + Marcel Proust 212

Marcel Proust + James Joyce 215

James Joyce + Harold Nicolson 219

Harold Nicolson + Cecil Beaton 222

Cecil Beaton + Mick Jagger 225

Mick Jagger + Tom Driberg 228

Tom Driberg + Christopher Hitchens 232

Christopher Hitchens + George Galloway 236

George Galloway + Michael Barrymore 240

Michael Barrymore + Diana, Princess of Wales 244

Diana, Princess of Wales + Princess Grace 247

Princess Grace + Alfred Hitchcock 250

Alfred Hitchcock + Raymond Chandler 253

Raymond Chandler + Howard Hawks 256

Howard Hawks + Howard Hughes 259

Howard Hughes + Cubby Broccoli 262

Cubby Broccoli + George Lazenby 266

George Lazenby + Simon Dee 269

Simon Dee + Michael Ramsey 272

Michael Ramsey + Geoffrey Fisher 276

Geoffrey Fisher + Roald Dahl 279

Roald Dahl + Kingsley Amis 282

Kingsley Amis + Anthony Armstrong-Jones 285

Lord Snowdon + Barry Humphries 288

Barry Humphries + Salvador Dalí 291

Salvador Dalí + Sigmund Freud 294

Sigmund Freud + Gustav Mahler 297

Gustav Mahler + Auguste Rodin 301

Auguste Rodin + Isadora Duncan 304

Isadora Duncan + Jean Cocteau 307

Jean Cocteau + Charlie Chaplin 311

Charlie Chaplin + Groucho Marx 314

Groucho Marx + T.S. Eliot 317

T.S. Eliot + Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother 321

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother + The Duchess of Windsor 325

The Duchess of Windsor + Adolf Hitler 329

Acknowledgements 333

Bibliography 335

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Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
shopaholicDE More than 1 year ago
I liked this book. I would recommend it. I think the idea is pretty clever -stringing the people together like this, however, it is a "dry" read- a bit hard to get through and at times I found myself going over a page because my mind would wander and here, it was something laugh out loud funny - just the way it's written, it is in English but I do find sometimes when I am reading a book from a British author, I have trouble with it and I do not know why that is. It's something I've noticed. Also the people I was very familiar with, of course, I liked those stories much better than those I was not as familiar with. I would borrow this one from a library rather than running out and buying it.
efm More than 1 year ago
easy read, interesting how one persons life interacts with another.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most of the stories were entertaining, however I thought a lot of them were boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
karatepen More than 1 year ago
This is a book filled with almost trivia facts of encounters within interesting or famous people.it is a book to pick up when you want to distract yourself and read something of some interest.It is well written and has an interesting devotion by the author for research on issues one wouldn't come across otherwise.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can we go to dark light? Im locked out of the second