Jo-Ann Campbell

"I Do Love Him! "




Waiters in Sardi's aren't impressed by anybody in the world - they've seen them all.

They never look twice at a pretty girl, because Sardi's is Sardi's and—well, they've seen all the pretty girls there are. But when I came in at 6 o'clock to meet Jo-Ann there, the place was crowded and Jo-Ann already had a table and all the waiters nearby were trying to be subtle about it but they were definitely looking at her twice !

She had already ordered a drink—a double ginger ale, because she doesn't ever drink liquor. She was wearing a blue, high-necked wool dress with sparkly white beads and bracelet to match. Her face was carefully made up with emphasis on the eyes, which were very big and very blue, and her hair was cut medium-short in one of those looks-easy-but-isn't styles.

At the time of our conversation, Jo-Ann Campbell and Bobby Darin were through. Bobby had told the world that this was the girl he loved and intended to marry, and now they had broken up. When I asked why, Jo-Ann talked willingly, her voice wanned by her southern accent, holding nothing back, trying to explain the real reason... "It happened fast. We didn't speak or talk about it. That was it. It would have been two years last February ...

"What I'm used to is what Bobby doesn't do. I was raised in a small town. Boys call up a week in advance. They call every night between dates just to talk. Girls like to be treated that way, I don't care who they are.

"He doesn't realize what he does to hurt the other person. When I first met him he wasn't doing anything. Just demonstration records. He wrote me—he called me every Saturday night. Then all of a sudden he forgot that a girl needs these things. He didn't call or write. Once in three weeks, or once a month, maybe. Honest.

"I told him, 'At this point in my career I'm very depressed . . . if you'd just call I'd feel so much better.' He tried to for awhile. Then he'd stop again. It wasn't that I just wanted to have a boy call me. Boys call me every night—they bug me to death, some of them—but he didn't —when I wanted him to.

"One night he called and said, I just cut a record session, Jo-Jo, and it's going to be a hit, I know it.' The name of the record was Splish-Splash. I understood, for awhile. I tried not to let it get me when he stopped calling and stopped writing. After Splish-Splash he got more and more popular. But I just couldn't understand why three and four weeks would go by at a time . . . I couldn't see it. That's why I felt it wasn't as serious with him . . .

"He asked me to marry him. People would come up and say, 'I hear you're going to marry Bobby,' and I'd deny it. If I married Bobby and if he was going to be on the road two or three months in Vegas and places like that it would be the same old thing. That's why I never let it happen.

"The final break came in New Jersey when we were appearing on the same bill. I hadn't seen him for three months . . . three. He just walked into my dressing room opening day and we talked, I was mad but I didn't show it. He asked me out that evening after the show. I knew he was tired . . . but he was so moody. We went to dinner at the house of his friend Donny Kirshner and his wife. Bobby was very moody that night. All his friends put up with his moods. .. I can't do it the way they can. I'm not made that way. Even if it's something I want, I'll walk away...

"Right in the middle of dinner he got up and left the table and started to play records in the other room. Then the rest of us finished. I waited till everybody was through. Then I went into the bedroom and called a taxi. I didn't tell anybody. I waited about fifteen minutes. Then I heard the cab outside. I got my coat, I went over and kissed Bobby on the forehead. I said, 'I'm going home, Bobby.' He was shocked. He grabbed me and said, 'Please don't go,' But I had to. Don't you see? I apologized to Donny and Donny got in the cab and saw me home.

"Next day at the show we didn't speak, to each other. That was ten weeks ago. Now I haven't seen or talked to him. Not for ten weeks.

"It's nobody's fault. When I'm with Bobby he's so much closer to me. But his moods ... I just felt like ... I used to have people come and say, 'Oo you love Bobby?' I'd say yes. I did and I do. But I think love consists of two things, mainly ... respect has more to do with it than people realize. And happiness together. I'm not sure whether we had that or not...

"Lots of girls would give up anything for Bobby. I know that. I also know he'd eventually lose respect for them. Bobby liked me because I wasn't that way. I want a career. I want marriage— a child and a home, too. But also a career. I've worked too hard not to try. . . .

"My parents gave up too much. My father quit his job in Florida so I could come to New York. I went to Lodge Professional School on 57th Street here in New York. It was so different from high school at home. I used to be a majorette . . . we had so much fun. But in professional school you just go and sit for three hours a day and learn and then you go again. . . .

"Then when I met Bobby I thought—this is what I wanted to happen. . . . Bobby wanted to get married now. . . .I wanted a career for me, too. There were no arguments about that. I just knew—I mean, at least, I felt—it would be so much greater that way . . . if I had a name, then get married. That's what I wanted to happen— then continue the career after the baby was born. But it didn't happen that way. Not at all.

"He asked me to marry him so many times but I never felt he really wanted to. I'd always answer him, 'Yes, honey, someday we will—but not now.'

"I wanted him to really want me more than anything. I thought he would love me more if I made a name for myself . . . silly, I know , . . but that was what I thought. I've always been afraid to get married. I never found the right person to get married to. Not until Bobby. I only realized later how serious he was. Bobby was the first boy I ever knew that I loved enough to want to marry.

"But I fought it inwardly . . . felt somehow it wouldn't work out . . . held back. . . . I held it all in. I cried for him more than he'll ever know. . . . But I'm not the type to sit home and worry and cry. I'll go on about my career. Maybe I'll love somebody later even more than Bobby. I don't know.

"This I know—Bobby will never change, not for anyone or for any reason. He has what he wants—career-wise. If he quit show business he'd be the most miserable person in the world. This is for him. If I thought he was going to quit for me I wouldn't have it. You couldn't live with him.

"Some day, though, I think he'll make a wonderful husband. Not for me, maybe, but for somebody.

"Still, if we were really in love, he'd... people tell me love affairs are all one-sided. I don't believe that. If he loved me the way I love him . . . and if the time presents itself . . . then ..

"Sometimes I think what if Bobby decided to call me ... say, tonight...what would I do? I'll be honest. I'd be so happy. My love for Bobby is the same, I don't love him any more since we left each other, or any less. Even now, he's the only boy l'd still ever think of marrying. I don't really believe it's over—and yet I keep thinking maybe it is, maybe it's the end. Through nobody's fault ...but my own, maybe.

"The trouble is, there's only one thing I'm afraid of—he's found success . . . really found it now. But will he know, will he be able to tell when he's found happiness. . . . "Do you think he really will . . .?"



-—BY BARBARA PERLMAN



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