Constance Bennett, Actress/Card Shark (1933)
“For several years, Constance had been an integral part of Hollywood’s poker playing elite…The stakes were high. Several observers said that on the wildest nights, studios came close to changing hands.
Usually there was a set routine: the poker games were a postlude to dinner. Several of the studio heads and their wives would be invited in for a meal on Friday night. Around 9:30, the wives would say their good-byes and leave their husbands to face Constance around the poker table in the yellow music room. The games frequently lasted for 24 hours straight - or even longer. In the early morning hours, Constance would make coffee and scrambled eggs for the bleary-eyed holdouts.
Frequently, Constance won, and won big, and her secret weapon was her inscrutable expression. ‘I came in a couple of times while they were playing,’ recalled Peter Plant, ‘and my mother would be sitting there looking at her cards, and she had this expression on her face like this plate without a cake on it. No expression. And I noticed that all the other people were always looking at each other. You looked at her - you didn’t get anything. Later I understood that one of the reasons my mother was a successful card player was that she was the only actor or actress at the table, other than [her husband] Gilbert Roland, who wasn’t a very good card player - and not a very good actor either.’
-excerpted from The Bennetts by Brian Kellow