One more thing is essential to the star’s public image as disseminated by the tabloid press: a star does not live like normal people. Not merely does he consort with screen goddesses whose brilliance lets his own light beam more brightly, he also earns much more money than the average reader of the tabloid press – and this not only may, but indeed must, become known, even if the reports about Curd Jürgens’ wages that appeared in a variety of papers in 1957 have to be glossed over with reference to an indiscretion.[i] But making money alone is not enough – it must be laid out properly: Money in – lots of it – must be as quickly as possible money out, and be changed into something else: visible signs of social status.
In 1957 Curd Jürgens had rented and subsequently bought one of these symbols – a huge villa in Cap Farrat with a vista of the sea. This investment brought dividends in the gossip columns in newspapers in the form of headlines like “The tsar’s courier lives like a monarch”.[ii]
Neustädter Tageblatt: “Der ‘Kurier des Zaren’ lebt wie ein Monarch”, 7.6.1957
And if the reader is kept away by high fences and a spacious park and prevented from approaching the star in his luxurious private surroundings, he can dispatch a surrogate, gossip columnist: “Let’s have a look inside!” The first thing the reporter mentions is the – for the 1950s – astronomical sum of 10,000 DM a month rent. He then moves on to the large number of servants, the splendour of the rooms, the fantastic view and the celebrity neighbours: Prince Rainier and his wife Grace Patricia. A feature of this part of the public image is the additional accounts of the actor’s numerous cars and of the parties he hosts – in which the “Norman wardrobe” is able to give proof of his capacity for alcohol, in the context of the time an attribute of vigorous masculinity.