That was on January 24th and Kim seemed sure of her own mind.
Thirteen days later, on February 6, she was married for the second time.., to actor-businessman James Westmoreland... after a month-long whirlwind courtship that left even blasé Hollywood agape.
Yet at the time, Kim was saying exactly what she meant. Oh, she had already met Westmoreland. But she had not yet made up her mind to marry the tall, handsome erstwhile member of The Monroes television series cast... at least, not so soon.
But a woman can sometimes change her mind, and that is what happened to Kim. The day after her divorce from Jim Stacy became final, Kim Darby became Mrs. James Westmoreland.
Having a wedding-even a small, simple, private one--was very important to Kim. She had had only the reading of the ceremony when she wed Stacy. This time, she wanted something more romantic.
She got it, thanks to a good friend, divorcee Samantha Karp, who lives with her two small children in a charming home overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the exclusive Malibu Colony. For Samantha not only lent her lovely home for the occasion, but also made all the other arrangements. All Kim had to do was get her dress, go with James to buy their wedding rings, engage someone to take care of her toddler daughter, Heather (she wanted Heather's nurse to be able to attend), get her blood test and marriage license-and show up! Everything else Samantha did, from flowers to wedding cake.
Kim's desire to have her wedding truly private was no sign of unfriendliness; the press was welcomed after the ceremony and treated royally. The guest list was small--fewer than 20--and not the usual "Hollywood group." Actor Jason Evers was there, but he is an old, old friend. Kim's agent and her publicity rep were there, but they are friends, too.
There, too, was Marlene Haimoff, office nurse of Kim's doctor and a friend since the actress' childhood. Mariene had babysat Heather the night Kim had her first date with Westmoreland. It wouldn't have been the same without her.
And Kim's beloved grandmother, Mabel Zerby, was there, the only member of either the bride's or groom's family in attendance. Pert, perky octogenarian Mrs. Zerby and her late husband, Clyde, had reared Kim after the child's parents were divorced when she was only two years old.
Kim's only attendant was Vickie Anderson, wife of actor Michael Anderson, who was in Peru making a movie and missed the festivities. James' best man was young businessman Michael Landau.
Theirs was a short, beautiful ceremony by the Reverend Walter Gerber, pastor of the Malibu Presbyterian Church. Kim was hatless, attired in a miniskirted white dress, her arms filled with an old-fashioned bouquet bought for her by James, all roses and fragrant lilies of the valley. Westmoreland wore a dark blue suit.
They said their vows before a flower-banked altar flanked by candles, in a home filled with other flowers. It was beautiful--I saw it when I went in to bring out Kim's grandmother to be photographed with the newlyweds. I saw the wedding cake, too--a luscious-looking fantasy iced in springtime green with strawberries peeking from between its white layers. It was as pretty as any girl could wish.
By the time the ceremony ended, the winter sun was sinking rapidly, yet it was still warm. Kim, James--and Mabel Zerby--posed graciously, Kim's dress flaring in the soft ocean breeze. It may have been snowy in the rest of the country, but in Malibu that day one would have thought it was summer.
It was an obviously happy threesome who stood smiling into the cameras that Friday afternoon, James' arms around both Kim and her grandmother. No matter that he hadn't even met Mrs. Zerby until the wedding; they plainly doted on each other, On, the two had talked--but only on the telephone. That didn't matter to Mabel Zerby at all, as she told me a couple of days before the wedding.
"I like the sound of him," she said. "He must be good to Kim for her to love him so, and she does. And all I want for my little girl is for her to be happy. I'll love any man who treats her well."
Unspoken was Mrs, Zerby's sorrow that Kim had had so much unhappiness with Jim Stacy. All she wanted for her beloved granddaughter, who zoomed to stardom in True Grit, was happiness as a woman. That's all Kim wanted for herself, too, She had made that clear that afternoon we'd talked in her home.
"I don't think of myself as an actress,"
she said. "I really just don't . . not my real self. I'm
a girl, you know; that's what I really am. 'Kim Darby' the label
doesn't mean anything to me, and people who take me for that and
want to know me as that never get to know me at all. That's another
life; that's up there on the screen, It's not really me.
"I think love is a woman's whole thing," she had smiled gently. "That's what she survives with. When I care for someone, I'm completely devoted to that person in every respect."
Now the real Kim Darby was embarking on a second try at matrimony with a man who had come to know her very quickly indeed. But seeing them there, it was clear that he knew her very well.
James Westmoreland--called Jamie by Kim and her grandmother--is a very likeable fellow. He came to Hollywood from his native Detroit 15 years ago, and worked hard to make an acting career using the monicker "Rad Fulton." He made pictures both in Rome and in Hollywood, but despite his looks, his talent, and his lean, six-foot, 170-pound frame, stardom eluded him. Even after making a hit in The Monroes, Westmoreland found Hollywood rough going.
Not a fellow to sit around and mourn, he began to take up golf professionally--and became an inventor. Now his interests are more in business than acting and he may never step in front of a camera again.
Which may be one reason Kim felt confident enough to marry him. As she herself said with sad wisdom, "This business doesn't respect marriage."
Kim should know. One of her grave problems during her first marriage was having to be out of town so long making True Grit, while Jim Stacy stayed in Hollywood. He had been making progress on TV's Lancer series, and he had to stay put. Kim recognizes that separation puts unbearable strain on a marriage and has vowed it will never happen to her again.
Mr. and Mrs. Westmoreland's romance is one of those arranged introductions that "took." Westmoreland asked to meet Kim, whom he had seen and admired on the screen and the Michael Andersons, friends of both, set up a dinner party with that purpose in mind. It was hoped the two would like each other. Nobody dreamed it would be so much more than mere liking.
"Certainly Kim did not. For several months she had been the almost constant companion of actor Peter Deuel, with whom she appeared in Generation. Peter helped bring Kim out of her depression after her marriage to Stacy collapsed. When Kim celebrated her 22nd birthday last summer during the filming of Norwood, it was Pete who trekked down to the location site to celebrate with her.
But in January, when Kim met Jamie, Pete was extremely busy with his own career in New York. He was in New York still when Kim decided to marry Westmoreland, and he was still in New York when the wedding took place.
Pete was the one person, of course, that Kim had to tell herself. But she didn't do it until after she checked into the hospital, the Sunday prior to her wedding, for some previously scheduled, minor surgery (a small growth was on her neck). By that time, she was sure of her own mind, and she told Pete by telephone.
And that added Peter Deuel to the list of dumbfounded Hollywoodites agog at the news of Kim's romance with Westmoreland.
Those few days in the hospital almost wrecked her schedule completely. She checked out temporarily on Monday night, to attend the annual Golden Globe Awards banquet with Jamie, giving the film colony its only public glimpse of the two before they became man and wife.
Kim, usually so shy and withdrawn, floated in the awards night as if she had wings on her feet. And the enchanted Westmoreland never seemed to take his eyes off her all evening.
But it was back to the hospital for Kim right afterward, and she did not emerge until late Wednesday, leaving her just 48 hours to buy her dress, get the license, etc. She made it. By the time she exchanged plain, old-fashioned gold bands with Jamie, you'd have thought the whole thing had been planned for months.
Perhaps as pleased as anybody with the match was Olive Stern, who, in the time she's been taking care of Heather, has grown to love Kim like a sister. Olive saw the breakup of Kim's first marriage and the hurt Kim suffered. Now she was seeing Kim as a happy young woman--and Olive liked what she saw. She likes Westmoreland, too.
"I think he's is a cultured, refined person,'' Olive said in her crisp British accent. "He is very attentive and devoted to Kim."
The new Mr. and Mrs. Westmoreland didn't take a lengthy honeymoon. Instead, they were sent off--in a shower of rose petals and rice--to nearby Palm Springs for a few days. It was from Palm Springs that an ecstatic Kim called her grandmother Monday morning, two days a bride, just to share her happiness with her adored "Mom."
"Jamie cooked breakfast for me this morning." she reported, her young voice filled with wonder and delight at such magnificent treatment. "And he's a good cook," she added.
That made Mabel Zerby laugh, for cooking was the one domestic art that had really thrown Kim a curve when she first married Stacy. She was doubly impressed, therefore, by a man who not only would, but could, whip up a delicious breakfast.
Kim and her new husband are remarkably sensible in their approach to life. Kim must stay busy with her blossoming career. Jamie must get about his work if his business ventures are to succeed. He is not about to fall into that old trap that so many men have who have married bright, beautiful young stars. Jamie is going to be able to support his own home and do it in fine style, of that he is sure.
So he and Kim will defer a lengthy vacation until later. Right now, they will stay in Kim's home, but probably not for long. Kim has a larger house in mind, maybe?
Her eyes smiled yes. "I'd like to have a bigger family. I don't want to raise Heather alone."
Much sooner than Kim expected, she's married again. Although she and Jamie say they don't intend to start a family for two or three years, they still want a place that belongs just to them.
The reason she has to stick close to home is that Kim was slated to start a film with True Grit mentor Hal Wallis on April 1. Its appropriate title--Unexpected Things. Kim had to prepare for that by dieting.
She may be dieting again now, after all that wedding cake and special breakfasts cooked by the bridegroom. But, if so, Kim won't mind. With Jamie Westmoreland to love her, what's mere food? Next to Jamie's arms around her, what's a French fry?
Here is a little girl who's been sad so long. . .Kim is a fine young woman, filled with talent and love. She is lucky to have found Jamie--and he was just as lucky to have found her.
Caption: After whirlwind courtship, Kim & Jamie wed in
ceremony at Samantha Karp's Malibu home.
Photo Caption: Grandma Mabel Zerby, who raised Kim, loves Jamie 'cause he'll take care of Kim.
Photo Caption: No time for long honeymoon, but pair (with attendant Vickie Anderson) had two days together.
Photo Caption: "I think love is a woman's whole thing," Kim says. She and Jamie met at an "arranged" dinner that close friends, the Mike Andersons, tossed.
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