Paul V. Coates – Confidential File, Nov. 10, 1959
November 10, 2009 | 2:00 pm
I'm not one to go around saying I told you so.
But I did.
Three years ago I warned you about Eloise's alter ego, Evelyn Rudie.
I told you that she was an artful woman. That behind that saccharine smile of innocence was one of the most calculating, wily women of Hollywood, Zsa Zsa Gabor not withstanding.
This I knew long before Miss Rudie's unscheduled flight east to consult Mamie about her Hooper rating.
Shortly after television and Evelyn were born, I had the occasion to interview the child star on a TV show.
Miss Rudie was 6, going on 7, at the time. And I was practically old enough to be her father. Or at least her older brother.
But you know Hollywood.
About a week after the show, I received a thinly disguised letter of affection from the tyke.
Being a married man, I naturally ignored it. In fact, I destroyed it immediately.
When one has a wife one just doesn't leave that kind of perfumed mail spread all over the living room coffee table.
Then, a few days later- it was the first week in February -- came note No. 2. This one didn't beat around any bushes.
It asked, bluntly, did I want to be her Valentine?
And it was signed, "Love, Evelyn Rudie."
Assuming that this thing she felt for me was nothing more than childish infatuation, I decided to play it as a big joke.
I was at a Sunset Strip restaurant with a group of friends when I let it drop, during a lull, that I'd been getting these letters.
"She seems so sincere. I'd hate to hurt the poor child. But, really -- the difference in our ages," I said. "It would never work."
As I said it, Leo Guild, a notorious eavesdropper who worked for the Hollywood Reporter, appeared over my left shoulder.
"WHO seems so sincere?" he asked, not very casually.
Envisaging Evelyn and I being linked as the latest twosome in tomorrow's editions, I answered him:
"I was just telling the folks here, Leo, that Evelyn Rudie has been sending me the most intimate letters, and I'd just hate to hurt the poor-"
"Evelyn Rudie?" he interrupted. "You been getting those letters, too?"
My face fell. "Too?"
Guild nodded. "She's been doing that for years."
"Years?" I cried. "She's not even 7 yet."
"Well," he qualified, "for a few years, anyway."
"And," he added, "she just sent me a note asking if I'd be her Valentine."
This, I dutifully reported to you three years ago. Evelyn Rudie is a sneak. She double-dates, but without an extra girl. Just to get her name in the columns.
This Mamie Eisenhower routine, I'm convinced, was strictly another one of her publicity schemes.