Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ida Lupino's ghost story

Ida Lupino was a popular actress of Hollywood's Golden Era who branched out into directing at a time when few women were directors. She became the only person ever to direct AND star in an episode of The Twilight Zone (the name of the episode is "The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine").

Ida was raised in London, where her parents, Stanley and Connie, were popular stage performers. When her parents were performing, Ida was cared for by her paternal grandmother.

One evening, when Ida was a child, the phone rang. Her parents were performing; grandmother asked Ida to answer the phone, as her hands were full. Ida picked up the phone and heard her father's friend Andrew speaking. Andrew said in a monotone: "Stanley... I must speak with Stanley... It's very important..." Ida said hello to "Uncle Andy", as she called him, and explained that her parents were performing that night. Andrew, however, continued to state that he had to speak with Stanley.

Ida's grandmother, confused by what she was hearing from Ida, took the phone and, after listening for a moment, asked, "Andrew, are you ill?" Then she made a sound of exasperation and explained that the call had been cut off. She contacted the operator to ask what number had just called them - and the operator said that no calls had been made to their number in more than an hour.

That night, Ida was allowed to stay up until her parents returned from the theater. When her grandmother told them what had happened earlier, Connie Lupino fell into a chair, looking as if she were going to faint. Her father, white-faced, insisted that Andrew could not have called that evening.

"He did," her grandmother persisted, "and I think you should call him back. He didn't sound well."

Finally her father said, "Mom... Andrew is dead. He hanged himself three days ago."

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