from my sketchbook: charles boyer

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Rockin' the casbah! Rock the casbah!
Charles Boyer will be remembered as one of Hollywood’s most romantic leading men. Starring opposite some of the silver screen’s most desirable leading ladies – Hedy Lamarr, Marlene Dietrich, Merle Oberon – Charles was a first class charmer. He succeeded in making the female members of the audience swoon along with his female co-stars. Warner Brothers animators patterned their love-starved skunk Pepe LePew after Charles’ character in the 1938 romantic drama Algiers. Even as he drove screen wife Ingrid Bergman towards insanity in Gaslight, Charles remained suave.

Off-screen, Charles was quiet and reserved. But, he proved that he was the ultimate romantic.

In 1934, Charles met British actress Pat Paterson at a dinner party. After two weeks of dating, they were engaged and three months after their first meeting, they were married. The couple fled the crazed Hollywood scene in favor of a quieter life in Paradise Valley, Arizona. They were married for 44 years.

Pat Paterson-Boyer was diagnosed with a brain tumor and passed away on August 24, 1978. Unable to go on without the love of his life, Charles took a deliberate overdose of Seconal two days after his wife’s death. He was 78 years old.

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