Charles and his wife, Pat Paterson,
are very congenial. They live six months
in Hollywood and six months in
their Paris apartment.
did not take success as ultimate achievement," Charles Boyer
continued. "I do not now. I suffer always for fear that I will
not achieve the perfection I crave. I sacrificed everything to the
"If it be true that a man may achieve
anything he desires so long as he desires it keenly enough -- then
I succeeded. For it was all I desired. I had no life at all apart
from my life in the theatre. I had no youth of my own -- but only
youths of the young characters I played.
"It was for this reason -- my single-hearted
love of my work -- that I swore never to marry. I felt that marriage
would be impossible for me and unfair to any woman. The theatre, a
wife, and I could not run harmoniously in triple harness.
I did have, unquestionably, great good luck in those years. Perhaps
the greatest luck of all was in coming to know intimately Henri Bernstein,
the great playwright and author. For eight years I played all of his
new plays -- which meant, actually, four plays in eight years, so
long was the run of each.
played, by the way, "La Bataille" on the stage -- and fifteen
years later made the same play for the screen under the title of "Thunder
in the East." The play was the same. The parts I played were
not. For on the stage the director played the part I later did in
made, but very disinterestedly, a few silent films in Paris. "L'Homme
du Large," "Chantelouve," "La Ronde Infernale"
and a few others. I had no premonition whatever that I should
ever become a 'movie actor.' I would have laughed the idea off
as improbable and preposterous.
"I made a tour of Egypt, Turkey, Rumania and Belgium, in
repertoire. No, I am sorry .." Mr. Boyer gave me his kindest
smile when I murmured something hopeful about possible romances under
the oblique eyes of the Sphinx or along the fabulous Nile, ".
. .sorry to be such very bad copy. But, if this is to be the story
of my life, let us make it the true one, without fiction. I was far
too preoccupied on that tour for any dalliance. I had too many roles
to learn. I lived all of the time in those roles -- you see, the story
of my life is actually the story of a theatre life, little else.
"I cannot recall that I fell in love,
even once, in all those years. Not really, not memorably. And
if a love does not leave so much as a memory behind, surely it is
not worthy of the name. Such passing fancies as I may have had...passed.
They were but ripples on the surface of my deep absorption in my work.
I said, indeed, that I couldn't fall in love, that for me love was
not possible. Because, I thought, there is no such thing as
love at first sight and that is the only way it could ever happen
to me. I would never have time for love to develop and grow slowly.
"WE WERE not without temptations on the Paris stage,"
Boyer admitted, in the slightly embarrassed way in which he speaks
of personal matters. "I believe that a man on the stage -- in
Paris, at any rate -- has an even more ardent following than a man
on the screen in America. The fans are not so numerous, of course,
but individually they are more intense. The substance is always more
potent than the shadow.
"I can recall, if it will help you, one
or two rather amusing incidents," and the dark brows raised amusedly. "There
was a young lady who wrote to me for many months. She pleaded for
a rendezvous. I did not reply. One day she wrote again, more urgently
than before. She suggested that if I would agree to meet her after
the matinee, I should wear a white carnation in my lapel and make
a slight bow to the left as the last curtain fell. Some three or four
other men were in that play with me. I admitted them to the plot.
Which was that, as the curtain fell, we should all four of us be wearing
a white carnation in our buttonholes and all four make a slight bow
to the left. We did. I hope this young lady had a sense of humor.
A sense of humor is a healthy thing."