Boyer with wife Pat
Charles and his wife, Pat Paterson,
are very congenial. They live six months
in Hollywood and six months in
their Paris apartment.

"I 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 theatre.
    "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.

    "And 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.

 "I 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 the film.
"I 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."


magazines menu