One night in 1940, back in New York, Hemingway had grandiosely tried to pay
|Posted: 29 August 2005 at 6:23pm | IP Logged
his bar bill at the Stork with a $100,000 royalty check he had gotten for
the screen rights to For Whom the Bell Tolls. (A hundred thousand dollars in
1940 would be $1.2 million today.) [Stork Club owner Sherman] Billingsley
shook his head; no way he could cash that check, not then. But if Hemingway
could wait until closing time ... Then, amazingly, Billingsley did cash it,
although it is hard to imagine how, with the club then grossing —officially,
anyway —by Billingsley's account, $3,500 a night. Now Billingsley needed a
favor back. Could Hemingway recommend a good lawyer in Key West? There was
Club there ...
Billingsley had given a job in his club to his brother Logan's estranged son
Glenn, the innocent product of an old family scandal that had ended with a
killing. But Glenn had spent too much time chasing the girls, though he
finally settled down and married a woman named Barbara (the Barbara
Billingsley who would later star as television's June Cleaver in Leave It to
Beaver), whom Billingsley irrationally resented for being so thoughtless as
to have the same name as his middle daughter. After leaving New York, Glenn
and Barbara resettled in Key West, where, Billingsley complained to
Hemingway, Glenn had the nerve to open his own Stork Club.
'I'll be your lawyer,' Hemingway said.
He called back an hour later. 'The Key West Stork Club has changed its name
to Billingsley's Cooked Goose. "