In 1940 Paulette had an affair with Anatole Litvak, a famous director (Mayerling, All this and heaven too, The snake pit and Anastasia) and one of actress Miriam Hopkins’husbands. He fell in love with Paulette and offered her many presents like jewelry and paintings.

The same year they met, Paulette and Litvak caused a scandal in the Hollywood restaurant and nightclub Ciro’s. There are several accounts as to what may have happened including one alleging that upon losing one of her earrings, Paulette met Litvak under the table where they remained for a long time and began making rather convincing groans.  In a puritanical America, the tabloid press ran wild with the story distorting and embellishing into a sensational tale. Many complaints by the families of American soldiers were sent to the Department of State in Washington, D.C., which took the matter seriously, summoning witnesses such as the director Jean Negulesco. Anatole Litvak had a nervous breakdown.  Paulette, however, was able to hush-up the affair by asking one her friends, US Ambassador to the Soviet Union, William A. Harriman to intervene.

Anatole Litvak later joined the army when the US declared war after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Director Hal Ashby was inspired by this affair for his film Shampoo (1975) with Warren Beatty and Julie Christie in the restaurant scene.


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