‘Linda Darnell: From Dallas to Hollywood'
Hamon exhibit highlights selections from the Jeff Gordon Collection
The exhibition "Linda Darnell: From Dallas to Hollywood" offers a sneak preview of one of the newest gifts to Hamon Arts Library.
Film historian and collector Jeff Gordon spent five months curating the tribute to his favorite movie star, which continues through May 17 in the library's Hawn Gallery. Gordon made an estate gift of his extensive collection of film-related items to SMU and carefully selected the movie posters, lobby cards, photographs and other Darnell materials from his vast archives.
Amy Turner, head of the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection, and Sam Ratcliffe '74, head of the Jerry Bywaters Special Collections and exhibits coordinator, collaborated with Gordon on the project. "They were wonderful to work with and helped me every step of the way," he says.
At a reception in his honor February 8, Gordon spoke movingly about the precocious beauty destroyed by her off-screen demons. As a boy, Gordon first saw her in a revival house screening of It Happened Tomorrow (1944) and was smitten. "There was something about her eyes; there was vulnerability and sadness."
The actress grew up in Oak Cliff and often referred to herself as "a Texas girl," Gordon says. The Dallas link — and a University connection through nephew Daniel Gordon '06, who earned a degree in theatre from Meadows School of the Arts — convinced Gordon his collection would have an appreciative home at SMU.
"I feel that my bequest to SMU is the greatest thing I've done in my life," Gordon says.
Read more about Jeff Gordon and his gift on the Hamon Arts Library blog, Quarternotes, at blog.smu.edu/quarternotes/.