Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.03 at 20:06
Current mood: contemplative
Yesterday marked the 80th anniversary of the bizarre death of Russ Columbo, among the more important figures in Carole Lombard’s life. Columbo, nine months older than Carole, was felled by a Civil War-era gun that inexplicably went off, ricocheted and fatally struck him in the eye.
Columbo and Lombard were close, but the jury is still out on what might have happened between them had fate not intervened. Some biographers maintain that while Carole appreciated the near-worship she received from him, she wasn’t comfortable with that sort of adulation and didn’t want a long-term relationship. Others believe he was the one love of Lombard’s life (more so than William Powell or Clark Gable), and a few think they possibly may have married.
What can’t be denied, however, is that Russ brought some romance back to Carole’s life at a time when she was getting back in the social swing following her August 1933 divorce from Powell. He was a talented vocalist, musician and composer, and arguably was stronger in the latter two categories than his friendly rival at the time, Bing Crosby.
I cordially invite you to check out the Russ Columbo Society (http://www.russcolumbo.com), which is working hard to give him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Since Russ was an integral part of the early ’30s Los Angeles music scene, performing at venues such as the famed Cinegrill at the Hollywood Roosevelt in addition to his recording, songwriting, radio appearances and film acting, the honor would be appropriate.)
In his honor, here’s a song Columbo recorded Aug. 31, 1934 with Jimmie Grier’s orchestra, two days before the fatal accident. It’s the beautiful ballad “I See Two Lovers”: