Hollywood boy-toy ANDERSON LAWLER died on this date. As early as November 1929, Photoplay explained to its readers “How bachelors manage their homes”. Described as a “playboy”, WILLIAM HAINES appeared in a photograph captioned “at home, fastidious housekeeper and host, art connoisseur. The commode is Venetian, the portrait a Sir Peter Lely.” Well of course it is!
Tea with RAMON NOVARRO was served by his “man” (Novarro’s “valet” and éminence grise Frank Hansen) and consisted of “tiny finger sandwiches, cut in hearts and shamrocks, and luscious little petit fours” and that GARY COOPER lived with his mother (such a good boy). She noted a boiling ham in the kitchen, a gift from Anderson Lawlor’s mother in Virginia. Modern research suggest overwhelmingly that Cooper was involved in a long-term relationship with Andy Lawlor aka ANDERSON LAWLER.
Lawler was born Sidney Lawler on May 5, 1902 in Russellville, Alabama. Prior to 1927, Lawler would move to New York City, and change his professional name to Anderson. In 1927 he would have a featured role in the Broadway production Her First Affaire, which premiered in August 1927.
In 1929 he would move to Los Angeles, where he would begin his career in the film industry. His first role would be in 1929’s River of Romance. Just arrived in Hollywood, he met Cooper. Lawler acted in thirty-nine films over the next ten years, his last film credit being in 1939. Seventeen of those roles however were uncredited bit parts, and in addition one role was deleted before the film was published. Lawler frequently stayed at the Cooper house at 7511 Franklin Avenue while Cooper’s parents were away. When Cooper eventually took his own apartment on Argyle Avenue, Anderson casually moved in…
While in Hollywood, he appeared in almost thirty films during this time, mostly in supporting roles, before moving behind the scenes in 1939. Aside from his professional career, he was also popular with many Hollywood luminaries, such as William Haines, George Cukor, Gary Cooper and Katharine Hepburn (anyone notice a theme there?)
Lawler was a enthusiastically gay (and if Gary Cooper was your boyfriend wouldn’t you be, too?) although he was frequently linked with women, though this was usually a Hollywood smoke screen. In 1935 he accompanied Kay Francis on a trip to Europe, ostensibly sent by the studios to keep her out of trouble. Walter Winchell helpfully started a rumor that the two were engaged. Let’s just say….probably not. Repeat after me: Gary Cooper. Gary Cooper. Gary Cooper.
Lawler produced the 1946 film, Somewhere in the Night, which was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and starred John Hodiak, Nancy Guild and Lloyd Nolan. Lee Strasberg adapted the screenplay, and was an assistant director on the project. Shortly after this, both Lawler and Strasberg were transferred to the New York office of Twentieth Century-Fox. Lawler and Strasberg had a close friendship, Lawler becoming the godfather of Strasberg’s daughter, Susan.
In New York, Lawler worked in Fox’s talent department, but he also began a second career as a producer of legitimate theater. At least one of those plays, Oh Men, Oh Women, would be turned into a film in 1957. On April 6, 1959, Lawler died suddenly from a heart attack.