Our favourite letters from the stars

Our favourite letters from the stars
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There’s nothing quite so special as a lovingly hand-written letter.

And from the bulging postbag of correspondence we receive at Yours every week, we suspect you would agree!

As, apparently, would the Audrey Hepburn fan who recently paid £11,250 at auction for ten of the star’s private letters, written to her dear friend and mentor, Sir Felix Aylmer. Penned between 1951 and 1960, the letters reveal details of the dramatic decade in which the star rose from unknown ballerina to Hollywood fame.

“Would you believe it,” she wrote in 1951, aged 22. “I’m in Monte Carlo working on a French picture. The place is heavenly and this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” she said as she filmed one of her very first movies, Monte Carlo Baby. The following year, Audrey got engaged to wealthy industrialist, James Hanson, but later called the whole thing off, fearing the pair would spend too much time apart.

She put pen to paper to her father figure, Sir Felix. “It is with a heavy heart I am writing to tell you James Hanson and I are no longer engaged. I know there is little I need explain to you, a gentleman of this profession.
“For a year I thought it possible to make our combined lives and careers work out... It is all very unhappy making but I am sure it is the only sensible dicision [sic].”

Audrey also wrote to Sir Felix in 1960 in a joyous mood when her son Sean was born. “Sean is truly a dream and I find it hard to believe he is ours to keep. I long to show him to you.”

Offering an intimate portrait of the thoughts of one of the world’s biggest icons, we wondered what the letters of other stars might have revealed over the decades. Read on for just a few nuggets we uncovered...

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

Theirs was the most turbulent love story in Hollywood, but Liz Taylor and Richard Burton wrote some of the most gorgeous love letters. Richard wrote in an early letter, “My blind eyes are desperately waiting for the sight of you. You don’t realise of course, E.B., how fascinatingly beautiful you have always been, and how strangely you have acquired an added and special and dangerous loveliness.”

James Dean

When the iconic actor James Dean went to California in September 1955 for a car racing competition, he needed someone to look after Marcus, the Siamese kitten Elizabeth Taylor had given him at the end of filming Giant (1956). His friend Jeanette Doty, offered to be on cat duty and the night before he left, he visited her with the cat, clutching a letter that gave specific instructions on how to care for him...

  • 1 teaspoon white Karo
  • 1 big can evaporated milk
  • equal part boiled water or  distilled water
  • 1 egg yoke mix and chill
  • Don’t feed him meat or formula cold.
  • 1 drop vitamen [sic] solution per day
  • Take Marcus to Dr. Cooper on Melrose for shots next week

Tragically this was most likely the last note James wrote, as he was killed in his Porsche on the way to California.

Clark Gable

Heartthrob film star Clark Gable knew he wanted to be an actor from age 17. But acting, to his oil driller and farmer, dad, William, was only for ‘sissies’ and not a suitable career for his son. However, Clark was determined and as his star rose to stratospheric heights, his dad continued to disapprove of the path that his boy had chosen.

So in 1928, a 27-year-old Clark wrote a moving letter to his dad, who he hadn’t seen in years but from whom he’d just received a letter. He wrote of his recent marriage and subsequent divorce as well as the fact his wife had kept from him the letters his dad had written. 

He writes to his dad: “I too have been wanting to get in touch with you for a long time, but not even Uncle Frank could give me your address. Now that we are in touch with each other again I want it to continue, you must write me every week now so we won’t lose each other again. Because you are my Dad and I love you.”

He continues: “I will send you a set of pictures tomorrow so you can see what kind of a looking son you have. Nothing to brag about, but at least I am a man like my Dad.”

The Queen's recipe to Eisenhower

In 1959, The Queen entertained US President Dwight D Eisenhower and his wife, Marnie, at Balmoral. The President fell in love with the Queen’s drop scones. Five months after serving them, she belatedly sent the President a letter, enclosed with a recipe.

“Seeing a picture of you in today’s newspaper standing in front of a barbecue grilling quail, reminded me that I had never sent you the recipe of the drop scones which I promised you at Balmoral,” the Queen begins. “I now hasten to do so and I do hope you will find them successful.”

She goes on to advise him on some quite specific baking instructions: “Though the quantities are for 16 people, when there are fewer, I generally put in less flour and milk, but use the other ingredients as stated.
“I think the mixture needs a great deal of beating while making, and shouldn’t stand about too long before cooking.”

Who knew the Queen was such a keen cook?