It seems unbelievable in our current climate that the Hollywood Studios used to have so much power and hold over their actors and actresses, practically controlling their whole lives. Greer Garson, MGM’s first lady for many years, was one such actress who felt the reins of the studio system.
Greer Garson was in love again, this time with Buddy Fogelson. The couple were spotted together shopping for Christmas presents at the silver shop next to Romanoff’s. Greer’s behaviour was described as “an undefinable, kind of cocky, assured look a woman gets who’s in love…”
Alexis Smith, a Warner contract player, was on the MGM lot making “Any Number Can Play”. Visiting her old screenmate, Errol Flynn, one day in his dressing room, she heard a loud noise. Flynn explained it was the call for everyone to come on set. Everyone gathered and the cameraman moved his camera into position after the final lighting had been set up. Only as everyone was prepared did a little silver bell ring. Alex wondered what it was. It was Greer’s signal to come on the set. “That was my first experience with the legendary MGM treatment of its First Ladies” she said. ” Evidently, Greer was the Queen of them all”. As is customary of First Ladies, at the MGM 25 year anniversary party, Greer presented Louis B Mayer with a “silver key of opportunity” which harked back to the opening of the studio in 1924 when Will Rogers handed a similar key to Mayer and Irving Thalberg.
However, despite her status, Greer was undermined left and right by the studio when it came to her wedding plans. Greer had to wait until the “That Foresyte Woman” production was completed before she could even consider it. Although shooting finished on the film in March, retakes dragged on into the Summer. Preproduction tests began on Europa and the Bull in mid May. Everyone wanted to know when she was going to marry Buddy, and Buddy himself was getting impatient.
Greer had to film a sequel to Mrs Miniver in the UK at Borehamwood studios right after Europa and the Bull. Buddy had said he wasn’t prepared to wait until after that. However, he didn’t have to, as Greer became seriously ill with intestinal problems. Nobody except her close family and the studio was allowed to know just how ill she really was. Greer was admitted into hospital for an emergency operation, seriously ill and seriously throwing the Europa schedule into peril. She finally left the hospital and went to convalesce with Buddy at the Forked Lightning Ranch for a weekend.
Greer submitted her wedding date to Dore Schary’s office. She was allowed to go due to her ill health but was made aware she had to be back for wardrobe tests soon after. Finally, Greer arrived in Lamy New Mexico on July 15th 1949 for her wedding. She and Buddy married in the home of Buddy’s friend, Dr Fletcher A. Catron, the former assistant U.S. attorney for the District of New Mexico. Reporters cornered them after the wedding and Greer asserted her new, if not pointless, credo, “My career will not interfere with my marriage!”