‘The L Word’ In Golden Era: Meet Mercedes de Acosta, Hollywood’s Most Passionate lesbian over 50

Produced in 1893 in new york to wealthy Spanish immigrants, Mercedes de Acosta was a poet, playwright, screenwriter, novelist and socialite. She traveled in circles that incorporated the Vanderbilts, Rodin, Debussy, Sarah Bernhardt and many social icons exactly who charmed the whole world in a gracious age.  But Mercedes is actually many remembered as enthusiast to some of the most extremely interesting feminine artistes of her day – attractive leaders of stage and display, such as for example Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich plus.

To journey her every day life is to navigate the Gilded era, through Golden chronilogical age of Hollywood and beyond. GO’s tips guide: star biographer Darwin Porter, 83, whom followed numerous divas of yesteryear to soirées and yourself understood Mercedes. They 1st met at a dinner in 1961 at residence of Maria Voigt, jewellery developer for Tiffany’s. He had already been dealing with their present visit to Spain, whenever Mercedes stepped in and announced, «the past time we went to The country of spain, I drove down here with Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas!» «From that minute, I don’t know the reason why she appreciated myself, but we adored their!» Darwin told GO. He and companion in criminal activities in the pencil and heart, Danforth Prince, 67, not too long ago printed »

The Sexy Sapphic Exploits of Mercedes de Acosta: Hollywood’s Greatest Lover

Really a tasty profile of Mercedes’ strong pursuits.

Very put-on your corsets and embroidered fabric – or trousers if you want – for a look back to the unabashedly authentic lifetime of Mercedes de Acosta (by herself, partial towards tricorn cap, highwayman cape and indicated buckled footwear).

Romancing the Soul

On performers, Mercedes composed, «Im keen on them by some peculiar thing they emanate – a trace of some winged essence which clings to their spirit.»

Mercedes met

Isadora Duncan

, «mom of Modern dancing,» in 1917 at Amagansett in ny. «I caught my personal basic picture of Isadora standing up in the sun, at once I felt the dunes, the reeds, the coastline, the sea – all of these – in a few unusual method mingled with her and she was actually section of all of them.» In her memoir, »

Right here Lies the Heart

Mercedes described a lengthy involvement with the free-spirited revolutionary, writing that it was that very first feeling that permitted the lady to get usually tolerant – «tolerant of the woman violence, the woman recklessness, of most the woman crazy and out of control love matters. I comprehended all of these passions inside her when I could say I recognized thunder, or a hurricane…»

Mercedes’ strong connection to the woman enthusiasts transcended physical area; it absolutely was from time to time religious, even psychic, by the woman membership. The allure: «She could hunt a little bit into your heart,» Darwin informed GO.

«I never ever talk like this. I don’t know what helped me open my heart for you.» Mercedes’ memoir papers just how Isadora informed her regarding tragic death of the woman young ones in a vehicle crash. Rips poured down Isadora’s face and Mercedes was actually obligated to ask the lady to dancing on her behalf. «Without a word she led myself over the mud, right back through a cornfield and into an empty outdated barn.» The performer showed up entirely practiced of herself. Mercedes penned, «I relocated toward her, and it felt just as if I walked on a beam of light.»

They invested time with each other mostly in France. After an extended separation, during which Mercedes embarked on her behalf composing profession – and other romances – both reconnected in 1925. Mercedes found Isadora smashed, in a seedy resort in Paris. She urged the dancer to publish the woman autobiography. Prior to Isadora could see its achievements, fate turned grave, when this lady long purple scarf, blowing in wind, had gotten tangled into the wheel of an unbarred Bugatti auto, taking her throat.

In those years, Mercedes also enjoyed a five-year affair with

Eva La Gallienne

, a British-born celebrity, director, and producer. That they had theater in accordance (in addition to intimacies with Russian-born Art Nouveau actress,



As soon as, while going to Darwin’s historical Staten Island home/B&B,

Magnolia House

, Mercedes informed him: «should you decide write living story one-day – and that I believe you may – you will need a part devoted to my romance with Eva Los Angeles Gallienne. We had been incredibly in love, the event enduring for five tumultuous, argumentative, envious decades. Yes, we ‘strayed’ and decrease inside arms of various other enthusiasts, but we usually gone back to one another for comfort, solace, comprehension, and a grand and fiery passion.»

a common buddy had released the women from the Ritz resort in 1921. Eva wished to satisfy Mercedes, aware of their own shared affection for Italian actress

Eleanora Duse

(reportedly additionally a paramour of Mercedes’). They «feverishly» compared records over meal. Meanwhile, Mercedes ended up being involved to painter Abram Poole in what might be a marriage of lavender ease (and little coital activity). Mercedes returned from her honeymoon in Europe, and watched Eva act the very first time in »


on Broadway. The Woman memoir illuminates what happened subsequent: «Whenever the site visitors had opted and she had taken off the woman makeup, We moved home with the woman to the woman flat… .»


While Mercedes was actually on her behalf honeymoon with Poole, Eva attended an event, and danced with a drunken John Barrymore. When she declined his improvements, the guy took her hand to his pants, Darwin dishes. «He said to feel it, and then he mentioned the guy despised the hearsay available Broadway that he stuffed their crotch with a sock when he came on stage in eco-friendly tights.»

They dated, attended avant-garde functions on eastern 19


Street, as well as in Paris viewed Mata Hari «dance for the unclothed at a personal party for a coven of US lesbian expatriates,» Darwin/Danforth create. Mercedes published of the time in France with Eva, discovering a fisherman’s house. Knocking throughout the home. Looking to be boarders. A widow answered. «She setup united states in a loft on top of the house and got out the woman linen wedding ceremony sheets… .»

But it was not Eva who be the love of Mercedes’ existence. «i obtained the sensation that [Eva] ended up being of blended emotions about Mercedes,» Darwin informed GO. «It actually was just like the love affair which could have already been, but never ever turned into – because Eva had moved on to ladies that she discovered a lot more suitable. And I believe also, she failed to wish to discover Garbo all the time… .»

Mercedes fell in love with

Greta Garbo

by yourself in a dark colored cinema, enjoying »

The Torrent

» (MGM 1926). «I didn’t know then…that discover a key section of the heart which, when held pure, can act as a magnet and draw to it self a desire.» Her intend ended up being understood, when they found from the residence of Austrian actress/screenwriter Salka Viertel. The doorbell rang. Greta Garbo stepped in. «Her legs were blank and, like the woman arms, slim and delicate.» Whenever Garbo kept, Salka told Mercedes «Greta appreciated you very much.»

2 days afterwards they had breakfast with Salka who was wanting a producer to swing by after on company. Very Salka provided the women the run of a place she was house-sitting. From screen they watched the blue Pacific, and played files throughout the phonograph, undertaking the tango to »

Schöne Gigolo

.» Greta invited their to the woman location for lunch, but Mercedes had afternoon programs – ideas interrupted whenever a butler established, «Mia de Costa you will be wanted regarding the telephone.» It absolutely was Greta. «today produce your vehicle, and arrive at my house,» Greta laughed. Mercedes hurried to get the celebrity waiting in her own garage in a Chinese dressing gown. They invested the night, although not the evening; Garbo was a student in a production of »

Susan Lenox»

so when Darwin, tells it, had to face «[Clark] Gable’s poor air tomorrow early morning.»

Whenever movie wrapped, Greta welcomed the lady once more. They joined the living room area, but Greta caught the girl believed. «we never use this space. I live in my bed room,» she said, as well as went upstairs.

Greta eventually announced she would renew «utterly alone» in a cabin within the Sierra Nevadas. Down. But two evenings afterwards, Greta phoned. She had been 300 miles out along with her chauffeur, on her behalf way back through the hot Mojave Desert to get Mercedes for a six-week stay, when they sunbathed unclothed. As Mercedes recalled, »

Into the Sierra Nevadas she used to rise in front of me personally, sufficient reason for her tresses blown straight back, her face considered the wind and sunshine, she’d leap from stone to rock on her behalf blank Hellenic legs. I would personally see her above myself, the woman face and the body discussed contrary to the air, appearing like some vibrant, essential, glorious goodness and goddess melted into one.»

Modern enthusiasts pining when it comes down to one who had gotten away, simply take heart: Even Hollywood’s best lesbian enchanting was dealt an unrequited hand. Greta performed things the woman method. «Mercedes desperately desired that becoming the romance, therefore ended up being open door, closed-door, open door, closed door,» Darwin told GO.

They remained friends for thirty years, until 1960, when financially destitute and ill with a head cyst, Mercedes published the woman tell-all autobiography. The publication alienated numerous friends and previous enthusiasts who thought «outed» and betrayed. Greta Garbo never ever forgave the lady; she had written Mercedes 181 characters, cards, and telegrams. Mercedes marketed the woman forms into the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia.

Marlene Dietrich

– which swamped Mercedes’ house beyond capacity with roses – ended up being an outlier.  She appreciated the ebook. The woman lipstick-stained garment, a present to Mercedes, is situated in the Rosenbach collection.

During the woman life, Mercedes developed three amounts of poetry, two novels, and performs. Nevertheless, industrial success eluded their. MGM retained this lady, but shelved her screenplays. Sadly, we’re going to never notice scene she composed with Greta Garbo escaping from a window clothed as one. (We would, but have actually Mercedes saying thanks to for launching her to trousers).

Just how to honor this type of for years and years? Pursue passion without discipline. Realize that some things «hold forever securely, and some everything is not to be more than dreamed.» And ought to you find yourself in a theater with somebody who helps make the palms sweat – possibly she’s short dark colored locks, deep-set vision and scarlet lip area – when it comes to love of all things fiery and okay, simply take her hand-in your own website.