Louise Brooks from A to Z: A for Acting, Allan Cuseo, Jack Addison Randall and Amateur Night in Greenwich Village

Acting and Allan Cuseo - Dr. Allan O’Grady Cuseo, current Headmaster and Artistic Director at the Rochester Association of Performing Arts (or RAPA), became dear friends with Louise after finding her in the library stacks late one night. She was crossing out incorrect facts from books, calling them “lies” under her breath, in keeping with what Allan describes as her constant obsession with and search for the truth. In a recent interview, Allan told us that Louise “taught him how to act” by analyzing scripts with him in her apartment and picking apart various classical texts. He now credits her for his desire to obtain his Ph.D. in 1988 from Columbia University in Literary Analysis.

 Louise with Jack Addison Randall, April 10, 1937

Louise with Jack Addison Randall, April 10, 1937

Jack Addison Randall was a Western star in the 1930s and 1940s, during which at some point he and Louise had a wild affair. The two lived together for a time in Hollywood at a point when Brooks was still trying to revive her film career. They shared a love of sex and sexuality, as well as a fascination with autoeroticism, as is recorded by brilliant biographical author Barry Paris in his book, Louise Brooks, published in 1989. When covering this period in her life, he goes on to record a story told by Louise of a time that she was found by clothing designer Howard Shoup in the midst of a nasty brawl with Addison in their home. What may be taken from her words is that she had broken every bit of dinnerware that had been breakable, and "Shoupie", upon seeing this, uttered the phrase “Well, Mary Louise, whatever else may be said about you, you’re never dull.” (Paris, 382) Randall later went on to marry Louise’s dear friend from adolescence and her Denishawn days, Barbara Bennett.

Amateur Night in Greenwich Village was a piece that Brooks wrote in her later life that served as an glimpse into her time as a call girl in New York in the 1940s.  That whole period of her life is very foggy, and this short story serves as one of the few bits of surviving evidence for historians to gain insight from.

 

*For further reading into Brooks’ writings or into her relationship with Jack Addison Randall, consult Louise Brooks by Barry Paris (I also recommend reading it just because it’s incredible) and for further photographs of Brooks from this time period visit LouiseBrooks.com

Charlotte Siller