Janis Paige Recalls Rape Attempt by Alfred Bloomingdale

Janis Paige, the 95-year-old veteran of  stage (The Pajama Game, 1964-1965), screen (Hollywood Canteen, 1944; Of Human Bondage, 1946; Romance on the High Seas, 1948) and TV (All in the Family, 1976; Eight Is Enough, 1977-1980), has come forward with her tale of sexual abuse in Hollywood's Golden Age — and she alleges it was at the hands of the late Alfred Bloomingdale (1916-1982).

Bloomingdale, whose wife Betsy (1922-2016) died just last year, was the department-store heir who dragged his family's name into the tabloids when, after his death, his sex worker lover of a dozen years, Vicki Morgan (1952-1983) sued his estate for palimony and was promptly murdered by her schizophrenic roommate.

In a must-read piece for THR, Paige writes:

The unrelenting barrage of sexual-abuse accusations levied at the uber-rich and all-powerful Harvey Weinstein opened up my own memories. Tears, rage and fighting for my life reappeared, and I was forced to recall everything one more painful time, including what I wore that night so long ago. Even at 95, I remember everything.

According to Paige, "the director of my next movie" introduced her to Bloomingdale, and insisted she go on a date with him, assuring her he was okay.

A very young Miss Paige — she has written that she was a virgin at 22 when she arrived in Hollywood.

Sidenote: The director was clearly Freddie De Cordova (1910-2001), who directed her in Her Kind of Man (1944). De Cordova went from directing B pictures to producing The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson from 1970 until Carson (1925-2005) retired, and staying on with the show under Jay Leno's (b. 1950) reign, strictly in a low-paying advisory capacity. Later in the game, De Cordova's wife Janet (1919-2009) was besties with Betsy Bloomingdale, so it makes sense that old Freddie would be hooking up Alfred with tail in the '40s — they had a decades-long friendship. I shouldn't have to remind you the Bloomingdales were thick as thieves with the Reagans — and that Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) was, in 1991, accused of having raped Selene Walters (1924-2017) in 1952.

Paige writes that she resisted the date with Bloomingdale, but went anyway. She was treated like a prop and didn't want to go up to his apartment after:

As we headed toward my home, he parked outside the Sunset Towers. It's still there today. He said, "I have to pick up something at my apartment. I'll only be a minute or two." I told him that I'd wait in the car. He said that he'd feel terrible if someone bothered me while he was gone. "Please, Janis, I'll feel safer if you're with me and not alone," he said. I again told him I'd rather wait, and he said that it was unfair of me to make him worry.

Dutifully, I followed him into the elevator and up to his apartment. He opened the door, and as I stepped inside, I heard it slam. Without a word, he suddenly reached around me and tore my blouse open. I could feel his hands, not only on my breasts, but seemingly everywhere. He was big and strong, and I began to fight, kick, bite and scream. When he put his hand over my mouth, I couldn't breathe and thought I was going to die.

Fortunately, she got away, but writes movingly of her terror as she tried to walk home, eventually accepting a ride from her attempted rapist, keeping one "hand on the door handle."

A great beauty like Paige would have been a feather in the cap for gross ogre Alfred Bloomingdale.

Had Paige said a word back then, her career and livelihood would have gone away. That's the definition of sexual harassment and, in this case, it included attempted rape.

Paige in July (Image via Facebook @janispaigeactress)

Her closing words on the topic are powerful:

Maybe there's a special place in hell for the Alfred Bloomingdales or Harvey Weinsteins of the world and for those who aid and then deny their grossly demented behavior.

At 95, time is not on my side, and neither is silence. I simply want to add my name and say, "Me too."

4 Responses

  1. To Janis Paige—Because some girls grow into Stunningly Beautiful Women—This Point ought to be taught to and understood by girls growing up!!!! Many Men are going to become The Village Rapist—only because of two things—A wicked and savage desire to have sex with beautiful women—and the fact that they never never attempt to rape 75 to 100 year old women!!!! Old women are finally safe!! But Overwhelmingly Beautiful women have no chance to escape from the vile ravishing kind of men —Whatever their age. —They appear to be born miserably focused. Every young girl and every woman should carry an ice pick!!!! I hope the rest of your life to this day has been very wonderful—All my Best, Yours Sincerely, Lee Clark, Pocatello,ID

    • I know you are trying to be positive about what happened to Ms. Paige but you are misguided if think only beautiful women and girls get raped. Rape, sexual abuse and harassment is not about how attractive a woman or girl is. It is a crime of power. If it were only beauty that counted, that would not explain the babies that are raped and molested. Nor would it explain the old (and older) women who are raped. And yes, it does happen to old ladies. By saying it is all about beauty, you are blaming the victim again. Let’s lay blame where it belongs. Rape, abuse and harassment are about men thinking they have the right to assert their physical dominance and higher social status against women who are generally physically weaker than men and whose value in our society is not equal to the value assigned to males. That is what rape culture is about and that’s what exists in our society. As for Ms. Paige, thank you for speaking up and adding your voice to the millions of women proclaiming, “Me, too”. Thank you also for providing an example to those women and girls who have as yet only summoned the courage to whisper those words..

  2. SFW

    I would bet money Janis Page was not the only lovely lady Alfred Bloomingdale tried to rape or actually did rape! …. Men like him thought and still do think they can do whatever they want because of their money and status. THEY WERE RIGHT to think that and sadly, it’s still true to some extent but little by little things are changing.
    And Ms. Page knew she would have been the one to suffer if she’d spoken up back then.
    She would have been called a liar, her career would have been over and her name and reputation would have been trashed.
    Ms. Page, I’m so glad you’ve finally been able to tell your story …. You go, girl!

  3. I can only picture Alfred wearing diapers while Vicki Morgan fed him pablum, which was one of his sexual aberrations. On an interview for a role in one of his movies Tom Laughlin “Billy Jack” asked me to look for a pin he had hidden in the drapes in his Century City office. At one point he said, “You’re not even looking. You are just pretending.” When I turned around he was stark buck naked. I grabbed my portfolio and ran out the door. I should have reported him to Screen Actors Guild.

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