George Raft — Answers Twenty Pointed Questions (1933) 🇺🇸

January 26, 2022

Movie Classic, through James Fiedler, asks The Mystery Man twenty impertinent questions — about everything from blondes and bodyguards to his dislike of being alone — and George comes back with twenty pertinent answers. In fact, some of his answers may surprise you!

by James Fidler and George Raft

George Raft is the fourth star to cooperate with Movie Classic  to give you a cross-examination interview — something new and newsy in interviews. You form your own impressions of a star, without any help from the interviewer. The questions ask things that everybody wants to know about the mysterious George — but they are worded frankly to encourage frank, revealing answers. And no star to date has been franker than George! — Editor.

George Raft who is one of the most mysterious stars in Hollywood, has just faced a cross-examination intended to reveal some of his hidden life and plans — and liked it.

Usually, when George is interviewed, he manages to give such evasive statements that even the keenest writers leave him with confused notions about the man. But Movie Classic forestalled such a happening.

James Fidler asked George twenty “impertinent” questions and warned him that his “pertinent” answers would be “used against him.” Despite this warning, George responded whole-heartedly to every question, with the result that he tells more about himself than he ever has before. And after you read them, you will know him better than you ever have before.

Read Jimmie’s questions (in light italics) and George’s answers (in heavy Roman type), and see how many of the Raft “rumors” they end:

1. — James Fidler: Are you in love? Will you marry?

George Raft: “I am not in love. I will not marry until I can give a woman everything she desires without sacrificing my own wants. I would be unhappy if I had to ‘do without’ in order to be married.”

2. What will you seek in a wife?

George Raft: “Attractiveness — of dress, appearance, mannerisms. A woman attractive in every way.”

3. Have you ever been married?

George Raft: “Not yet. I have been accused of having a wife, but, I assure you, there has never been a Mrs. George Raft.”

4. Were you questioned by the police soon after your arrival in Hollywood? If so, why?”

George Raft: “Yes. The police heard rumors that I was connected with New York gangsters. I was thoroughly investigated, and given a clean record. The fact that I was permitted to remain proves that I was found to be a desirable citizen. Police officials later apologized for their action.”

5. Did you once have an argument with Rudolph Valentino that ended in a fight?

George Raft: “Yes. When Latin men are thrown together, they often quarrel. Valentino and I were no exceptions — but like many fights between men, ours cemented a friendship that endured.”

6. Have you objected to starring in former Valentino stories? If so, why?

George Raft: “Yes. I do not think I am capable of playing the same parts as well as Valentino played them. Therefore, I would suffer by comparison.”

7. Did you win your salary fight with Paramount?”

George Raft: “Yes. I was being paid a very small salary under the terms of a contract signed before I won a fan following. I felt that I had made myself more valuable to my organization, and therefore should be paid more money. Paramount was not at first inclined to agree, but when my employers learned that I seriously intended to quit motion pictures, rather than work for an inadequate salary, they agreed to my demands.”

8. Is it true you cannot drive an automobile?

George Raft: “No; I drive well. However, I dislike to, and seldom do. Because I am always chauffeured, people conceived the notion that I know nothing about automobiles. I can take motors apart and, more important, put them together again.”

9. Do you have a bodyguard?

George Raft: “Yes — and no. A man accompanies me wherever I go. Primarily, he is for company. But he is an expert pistol shot and has a permit to carry firearms. I, like many other stars, have been the victim of kidnap and extortion threats.”

10. Did you order a dozen suits at one time, and do you purchase at least one new suit every week?

George Raft: “Yes — to both parts of the question. Clothes are my weakness, and now that I can afford to, I indulge freely. After I leave you, I have a date with my tailor. He is fitting me with four new suits. When I went to Europe for a few weeks, I brought back twenty new suits. I have reached the point where I order seasonal clothes far in advance; for example, I was fitted for white summer suits in December. Who knows? — I may be dead before I have a chance to wear them.”

11. Is it true you date only with blondes? Why?

George Raft: “Yes, with a few rare exceptions. Brunettes do not interest me. Perhaps I am an example of the old law of opposites.”

12. Were you asked to use your influence in behalf of Al Capone?

George Raft: “When I was in Chicago, a group of men called on me and asked that I visit the late Mayor Cermak and plead for his aid toward Capone’s release. I did not go to the Mayor. After all, he could do nothing. The United States Government arrested and convicted Capone.”

13. Were you ever a gigolo?

George Raft: “No. I was a taxi-dancer in a New York cafe at the same time Valentine occupied a similar position. The difference between gigolo and taxidancer is marked. The former is paid by a woman or women for his body. The latter is paid for his services as a dance partner.”

14. Is your underwear made to order?

George Raft: “Yes. Tailors fit it to my body. Such garments are much more comfortable.”

15. Do you wear pajamas in bed?

George Raft: “No. I sleep in puris naturalibis. That means naked.”

16. Is it true you did eight shows daily for your personal-appearance tour?

George Raft: “Eight shows most days. Some days I did ten shows. Those were the days I played two or more benefit performances. The work was so grueling that I lost fourteen pounds in three weeks. The day before Christmas I broke down, and I spent Christmas Day in bed. I had to stop over in Chicago in order to regain the strength to travel to California. The laugh is: I went East for a rest!”

17. Why do you hate to be alone?

George Raft: “That is my phobia Why do some humans dread being left in a closed room? Why do others fear high places? I go crazy when I’m alone. I won’t even attend a theatre or picture show without a companion.”

18. Do you ever drink liquor?

George Raft: “I do not drink liquor or coffee. I have never drunk either, except for the initial tastes that convinced me I don’t like their tastes.

19. How true is the report that you cannot sleep nights?

George Raft: “I rarely go to bed before three or four o’clock in the morning. Many years of night-life in New York brought about this uncomfortable illness. The only way I can sleep at night, when I am working on a picture, is to stay out of bed for thirty-six hours prior to the start of production. That causes such a state of exhaustion that I must sleep. But, invariably, when I am refreshed — that is, caught up on sleep — I revert to the early morning hours.”

20. What amazing thing happened to you on your personal-appearance tour?

George Raft: “Members of audiences in a Brooklyn theatre threw gifts and roses on the stage. A beautiful bathrobe and a fine wallet were among the presents thrown to me. This is a common custom in Europe, but I am told it has never before happened in America. The gifts and flowers came from men and women. I was extremely embarrassed, particularly because of the roses.”

Next month another big questions-and-answers surprise is in store for you — with a fiery feminine star welcoming a chance to speak her mind!

Source: Movie Classic Magazine, May 1933