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Movie Teen Illustrated (Summer 1957)

"Young Jimmy (MacArthur)"

"Well, at least there’s never a dull moment when Jimmy’s around,” his famous mother, actress Helen Hayes said as he rushed out of a restaurant and off toward Brooks Brothers in New York to buy “a load of new shirts.”

She had questioned him about this extravagance and he had howled, “Can I help it that the Harvard Laundry is so lousy they ruin all my shirts?”

Though she didn’t say so, Helen wondered if it was the laundry or Jim’s love for clothes.

This is typical of him. His alert mind goes in dozens of directions with such speed that it is nigh impossible to keep up with him. There’s his career. He’s a student at Harvard, but he also has a movie under his belt -- The Young Stranger, in which he proved conclusively that Ma wasn’t the only one with acting talent. It means, of course, that he could chuck college and make his fame and fortune in filmtown -- but he doesn’t think this is what he wants. He could change his mind, of course.

He’s toyed with the idea of being a lawyer. He is currently dabbling in the magazine publishing business, holding the title of associate publisher in a small, new firm. Most of his friends believe that this is more title than labor, but Jimmy says he’s dead serious about it.

That’s just it. He’s dead serious about everything -- while it lasts, particularly romance, most especially romance. He is currently mad about Susan Strasburg, pretty and gifted young daughter of the Actors’ Studio Strasburgs, and herself starred in the film Stage Struck.

But Susan says he’s too young. She’s not exactly aged herself and it is possible she means that he acts young.

He has a variety of playtime interests -- including tennis, swimming, and skating. But right now his greatest pastime is girls and more girls. He has no ideal girl, that is he doesn’t care if she’s small or tall, blonde or brunette. But he does require that she’s a lady, that she’s a good sport, that she’s intelligent, and, of course, he wants her to be pretty.

What does he think of marriage? “I’m all for it,” he says, “but it’s not for me -- yet. I have to decide on a career and get going on it -- I mean the one I’m going to keep all my life. Then I’ll think about a wife. When I meet the girl I’ll take her home to meet Mother. I feel sorry for the poor girl. Mom can be pretty critical where I’m concerned.”

His mother has a different version. “I wouldn’t dream of interfering in Jimmy’s choice unless I felt the girl was completely all wrong. But Jimmy wouldn’t fall in love with such a girl.”

She has kept hands off in his plans too, he’ll tell you. “Once of the first things Mother and Dad pounded into me was the fact I had to think for myself, make my own decisions,” Jimmy tells you. “I grew up in a stage atmosphere. The people who came to our house were of the theater world -- many of them were famous stars or writers. So it didn’t have the same kind of glamour for me that it has for other young people who don’t know anything about the hard work and disillusionment involved.”

But it left him with a yen for the bright lights. He appeared in school plays and in summer stock. When Hollywood came calling, he took it up with his mother, asked her, “What shall I do?”

“What do you want to do?” she countered.

Well, he wanted to go, to make the picture, but he felt he wanted to finish his Harvard education too. After that, he will decide what he’ll make of his life.

But at present -- why worry? He’s proved his ability in a powerful film, he’s doing all right at school. He dates delightful girls, he flits in and out of his publishing office in New York. And though at times he knows he seems a little wild and irresponsible, he’s not worried.

He knows when the time comes to pick a wife, to pick a career, that he’ll be better equipped to know what he wants.

Hollywood and his admirers are hoping he’ll pick pictures. As for a wife -- well, let the best girl win.

Joyce Bulifant, James MacArthur

Joyce Bulifant, James MacArthur

James MacArthur

James MacArthur, Helen Hayes

James MacArthur

James MacArthur, Joyce Bulifant

James MacArthur, Joyce Bulifant

James MacArthur

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