"Look! There's Linda Cristal with Bobby Darin. Well, now she'll wreck any chance he ever had of getting back together with Sandra Dee."
Linda Cristal, walking down the aisle of the Pantages Theater that evening last fall in Hollywood, almost stumbled. How could anyone, especially anyone who looked as beautiful as the glamorous star who'd made that crack, be so mean? For a moment, she felt her eyes sting with unshed tears, and she bit her lip in fury.
Then Bobby touched her arm gently, and when she turned her head toward him he smiled encouragingly and shook his head slightly. When the usher had seated them, he whispered softly, "Don't let them bother you. As long as they're talking about us, they're leaving some other poor slobs alone."
Linda relaxed and decided to enjoy the evening, for she was at the charity premiere of Walt Disney's The Happiest Millionaire, and the event was an ultla-glamorous Hollywood affair.
"So let them gossip, Linda thought wearily to herself. "There's not much I can do." She was right. There wasn't a thing she could do. Probably the morning papers would carry an item about the newest and hottest romantic triangle-Linda Cristal, Bobby Darin and Bobby's ex-wife, blonde, pert Sandra Dee.
"Actually, I'd met Bobby about six years ago," Linda admitted during an interview. "It was at a friend's recording session. Bobby was warm and sweet. But The Happiest Millionaire was the first time I really dated Bobby."
Sitting in her dressing room just off the set of her hit TV series, High Chaparral, this lovely, sultry South American beauty made no bones about the fact that she found Bobby Darin a most attractive man. And it didn't seem possible that Bobby could ever resist a woman like Linda. Linda Cristal, to put it bluntly, is irresistible -- right down from her long, abundant raven hair to her slim, shapely legs. And her charming accent is unbeatable.
She comes by that accent naturally, since she was born in Argentina. Linda's parents were killed in a car crash when she was thirteen and her brother, artist Miguel Moya, took charge of the adolescent beauty. He saw that she was educated, and when she was sixteen Miguel thought traveling was just what she needed. Her first stop was Mexico City, and she didn't get much further than that. Film producer-director Miguelito Aleman took one look at her and signed her for his next film. She made nine more for Aleman and then went north to make her American film debut opposite Dana Andrews. Her score to date: 30 films, countless TV appearances and now, a starring role in one of this season's rare hits, High Chaparral.
Linda found time between pictures to get hitched to producer-businessman Yale Wexler. They split in 1966 and Linda got custody of their two sons, Gregory and Jordan. Linda and Yale are still friends, and since Yale is a multi-millionaire, the Cristal clan is very well off. Linda even managed to stay out of the headlines ... until Bobby Darin walked into her life.
At first, Linda ignored the nasty gossip about Bobby and herself. Bobby and Sandra had split, but both were making the familiar Hollywood reconciliation noises until Linda appeared. She began to think that, maybe, underneath there was an ounce of truth to the "triangle" gossip. She liked to be with Bobby and she liked to talk about him. "He shows me the most fascinating time. He is so bright, so aware ... and such a man!
"On our first date," Linda said, "Bobby wanted to pick me up at six, but this was impossible because I was shooting and didn't get off until six. It was a black tie affair, which meant I had to be dressed accordingly. How I managed to get dressed, complete with a white gown, flowers in my hair and evening make-up, in fifteen minutes, I'll never know. But I did. By 6:30 I arrived by cab at the home of Warren Cowan and Barbara Rush."
For a second, breathless from her stream of words, Linda was silent, then she burst into carefree laughter and said, "I beat Bobby there! When he drove up, I looked out the window and thought, 'Oh, Lord, what is this?' Because what I was seeing, so I thought, was this old-fashioned 1920-type car."
"Actually, it was this fine new specially-made car, the Excalibur," Linda giggled, highly amused with her own initial ignorance. Then, for just a second, Linda's eyes seem to mist over, and she swallowed hard, as if there were a big lump in her throat. Softly, she recalled, "Bobby paid me the most beautiful compliment. He said, 'You look like a beautiful Hawaiian princess.'"
Then came a whole string of other dates with Bobby and the gossip continued. Linda got worried when she heard herself making comments about Bobby such as, "When Bobby talks -- really talks -- I just am fascinated. He expresses himself so openly and beautifully." It was then that she really began to think the whole thing was going too far. What clinched her discovery was meeting the third comer in the triangle, Sandra Dee.
"I liked Sandra the moment I met her," Linda revealed, with a self-conscious expression. "She and I have so much in common. At a Christmas party Sandra and I discovered that our lives have been almost parallel.
"It's true," she continued eagerly. "We compared notes and found that she and Bobby got married about the same time that Yale and I did. That we had a child at about the same time and also got divorced at about the same time. We just looked at each other, howled and said, 'Ye gods, we've both been doing the same things at the same time.' It was remarkable!"
That chance meeting with Sandra made the lady change her mind. Certainly, she cared a lot about Bobby. She'd been raving about him to friends for weeks. But when it came right down to it, she didn't love him. And she just happened to like his ex-wife. If the gossips were right and Sandra and Bobby had a chance of saying their "I do's" a second time, then she didn't want to be blamed for stopping them.
Linda gracefully bowed out of the uncomfortable triangle, and a few months later she gracefully fell in love with Adam West. Bobby and Sandra found out that their love wasn't the real thing after all, but you can't say the same about Linda and Adam. In fact, people are saying that wedding bells will be heard in the not too distant future. That's okay by Linda. She's willing to take another stab at wedlock. And you can be sure that Linda Cristal is complimenting her good luck because she had the sense to say "Adios" to Bobby Darin before things got sticky and wait for the real Mr. Right to make his very welcome entrance.
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