Remembering Jack Lord

Marie!

Taken by Jack Lord

The bride of my youth, who abides me still

Marie was born on August 16, 1905, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Gennaro Cepparulo and Elsie DeNarde Cepparulo. Her father dealt in artificial flowers, while her mother kept their home in the timeless traditions. Marie had two brothers, Silvius, who was older than she, and Florian, who was younger than she.


After graduating from high school, Marie sailed to France, where she studied fashion design and art. Marie's address at this point was 10723 Orville Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. There, she and her brothers moved with their mother to live with their maternal grandparents. The details surrounding Mrs. Cepparulo's leaving her husband and moving to her family's home are unknown. We do know that, in 1927, Marie changed her name legally from Cepparulo to DeNarde, which was her mother's maiden name.  We also know that, in 1928, her father died of double pneumonia related to a pre-existing heart condition.


After completing her studies in France, Marie moved to 145 East 49th Street in New York City and went to work as a fashion designer on Seventh Avenue. Twice before the outbreak of World War II, Marie sailed to Havana, Cuba. In those pre-Castro years, Havana was the “in” place for successful people to vacation, much like Honolulu came to be. At this point, Marie lived at 212 East 48th Street in New York City, where, she would continue to live until she and Jack moved to California in 1957. The Columbia University Catalogue (1943/1944 and 1944/1945) shows Marie's name and this address in its Directory of Students. It does not tell what she studied.


Jack and Marie were married on January 17, 1949. He was studying acting and trying to break into the profession. Until Jack became established in acting, Marie continued to work. Then, following both the lessons of her upbringing and the traditions of her day, she gave up her career for marriage. When people seemed unable to understand her decision, she would tell them that many wives did the same thing and that what made her experience unique was that Jack showed appreciation for all that she did for him. Marie fully encouraged him in the pursuit of his dream. Marie was Jack's stabilizing force. She taught him to control his temper, managed his business affairs, and kept home a warm and inviting place to come after a tedious day at work. The following is the first page of a letter she wrote to Jack’s and her friend and journalist Paul Denis (See if you don’t think Marie was left-handed):

Marie was an excellent cook. Although she claimed Frank Sinatra taught her how to cook, it seems more likely that she learned the art through her traditional upbringing. Jack once said that Marie kept large files of recipes, some being different ways of preparing the same dish, and that she made the best matzo ball soup he’d ever tasted. Some sources say Marie made the best cacciatore in the islands, while others say that Jack did.


Marie liked a well-ordered kitchen, yet one that was not bland or sterile, like a commercial kitchen. Her kitchen in Honolulu had pumpkin-colored cabinets. She had a stainless steel cart on which she placed dinner to be rolled into the dining room. Similarly, Marie enjoyed planning dinner parties. Contrary to rumor, Jack and Marie entertained. They preferred small, intimate gatherings of their closest friends to large groups of acquaintances. The following are notes Marie made as she planned a dinner party:


Matteo Quiche

Peas / crab stuffed

 

Salad     tomato-avocado

endive

 

Rack of lamb

Noodles

Green beans

 

Lemon meringue pie?

Cheese cake?

Chocolate mousse?


Marie's pumpkin-colored kitchen (Photographer unknown)


But, what was Marie like as a person? Basically, it comes down to six qualities:


She was stylish. Wayne Harada of the Honolulu Advertiser wrote, “Always with a hat on. Always immaculately dressed. Always stylish... She had a fashion model’s aura, her 19-inch waist was legendary as her thing about her hair – which she almost never displayed in public, concealed beneath wide-brimmed or furry hats. It was an event of note when she let her hair down after a poolside visit at the old Kuilima resort (now Turtle Bay)”  (Harada, Wayne. “Friends Fondly Remember Marie Lord” in Honolulu Advertiser. October 15, 2005.).


She was gracious. As James MacArthur said, “…Marie was always…very pleasant to everyone. Marie was a nice lady” (Ryan, Tim. “She Was the Rock Behind ‘Five-0’ Star” in Honolulu Star-Bulletin. October 14, 2005.). Jimmy Borges echoed this when he called Marie “a wonderful, sweet, giving lady” (Ryan, Tim. “She Was the Rock Behind ‘Five-0’ Star” in Honolulu Star-Bulletin. October 14, 2005.). Jim Nabors said, “Marie was a very lovely, beautiful lady...” (Harada, Wayne. “Friends Fondly Remember Marie Lord” in Honolulu Advertiser. October 15, 2005.). Alicia Antonio said, “When they came in to dinner [at the Maile Room at the Kahala Hilton], they were both very particular about certain things; they had their favorite wine, and they always started their meals with fresh fruit” and “…she was always gracious”  (Harada, Wayne. “Friends Fondly Remember Marie Lord” in Honolulu Advertiser. October 15, 2005.).  For years after Jack’s death, MacArthur and others took Marie to lunch at the Kahala (Ryan, Tim. “She Was the Rock Behind ‘Five-0’ Star” in Honolulu Star-Bulletin. October 14, 2005.).


She was strong. As Tim Ryan wrote in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, “Marie was ‘described by friends as the classic strong woman behind the successful [man]’” (Ryan, Tim. “She Was the Rock Behind ‘Five-0’ Star” in Honolulu Star-Bulletin. October 14, 2005.). Alicia Antonio said, “She was very protective of Jack” (Harada, Wayne. “Friends Fondly Remember Marie Lord” in Honolulu Advertiser. October 15, 2005.).  James MacArthur took it a step further when he said that nothing and no one prevented her from looking after Jack (Ryan, Tim. “She Was the Rock Behind ‘Five-0’ Star” in Honolulu Star-Bulletin. October 14, 2005.). Eddie Sherman took it still further when he called Marie “the rock behind Jack Lord” (Ryan, Tim. “She Was the Rock Behind ‘Five-0’ Star” in Honolulu Star-Bulletin. October 14, 2005.). Wayne Harada gave a good example when he wrote, “[Marie] once told The Advertiser that she had to fire domestic help because they were ‘selling’ information to tabloid reporters and paparazzi who were intent on getting details of their lives” (Harada, Wayne. “Friends Fondly Remember Marie Lord” in Honolulu Advertiser. October 15, 2005.).


She was a pragmatist.  Although this is related to Marie being a strong person, it should be mentioned separately. Jack mentioned that Marie reminded him of something he said he had forgotten: “It’s not what happens in life – but how one responds to what happens that counts” (Asher, Jerry. “Bitter-Sweet” in TV Star Parade. January 1965.). Being reminded of that “served to direct [Jack's] thinking...” (Asher, Jerry. “Bitter-Sweet” in TV Star Parade. January 1965.).


She was generous. Marie was very charitable. Wayne Harada wrote, “Few knew of Marie Lord’s charitable side. When the downtown Hawai‘i Theatre restoration project needed funds to erect the marquee after interior renovation, Marie Lord donated the money in Jack’s name. In her memory, the marquee lights were dimmed [the night she died]” (Harada, Wayne. “Friends Fondly Remember Marie Lord” in Honolulu Advertiser. October 15, 2005.).  Read more about the restoration and see pictures at http://www.hawaiiforvisitors.com/oahu/attractions/hawaii-theatre.htm. The article mentions Marie's generous donation.


Jeannette Paulson Hereniko, founder of the Hawaii International Film Festival, said, “She was a very private person; both she and Jack were very supportive of the film festival at a time when many people were cynical; they gave money, time and support – which I’ll never forget” (Harada, Wayne. “Friends Fondly Remember Marie Lord” in Honolulu Advertiser. October 15, 2005.).


She was sentimental. Marie said, the lack of children led her to “adopt and shower too much love on younger people” (Ryan, Tim. “Marie Lord ‘An Old-Fashioned Wife’” in Honolulu Star-Bulletin. October 17, 1996.). Tim Ryan wrote in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, “[In their later years], she’s showering that affection on a cat, Kitty Boy” to which Marie said, “Jack really loves Kitty Boy…he just hugs him…” (Ryan, Tim. “Marie Lord ‘An Old-Fashioned Wife’” in Honolulu Star-Bulletin. October 17, 1996.).