Coming Up Hedda

Film actress and notorious Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper nicknamed her Beverly Hills home ‘the house that Fear built.’ It’s hard to imagine she would have inspired the same kind of fear if she had stuck with her own birth name: Elda Furry.

Hedda Hopper

Hedda Hopper: Library of Congress

An aspiring actress, young Elda got her start in the entertainment world by running away from home to join choruses in New York. However she got off to a shaky start before joining the theatre company of DeWolf Hopper. She became his fifth wife, but quickly discovered that being Mrs Elda Hopper had an odd domestic drawback.

She told Life magazine that her husband had previously been married to women named Ella, Ida, Edna and Nella; confusion with Elda was inevitable and DeWolf frequently called her by one of his ex-wives’ names. A numerologist advised her to change her name to Hedda, which proved far less confusing.

As Hedda Hopper she appeared in around 140 films, nearly one third of which are now believed to have been lost.

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