To Mary Shannon, actress and longtime friend [Letter 199]

Item Reference Code: 147_SAx_012_001

Date(s) of creation

March 23, 1946


Mary Shannon


[Page 1]
March 23, 1946

Dear Mary:

No, we didn’t know or suspect that you and Rollie [actor Rollin Bauer] were going to break up. And your letter was quite a shock to both of us.

You say you want to hear my reaction. Don’t you know what my reaction would be? Nobody has a right to blame you nor to pass judgment on such an issue—except yourself. If you found, to the best of your honest and serious judgment, that you had to leave Rollie—then that was the right thing to do. And I know that you wouldn’t have decided it lightly.

I am terribly sorry that it had to happen, and I feel sad for both you and Rollie, simply because I thought you were happy together. But if you weren’t happy and knew you couldn’t be—then it was better to end it now, rather than live your whole life as a pretense. Sacrifice never works, it only destroys both people involved. No marriage can be preserved as a matter of mere duty. Every person’s first duty is to find his real and honest happiness.

That’s my reaction—with the advice that no reaction, neither mine nor anybody else’s, is of any importance in such a question. Nothing is important, except your own best judgment.

So, of course, we’re still friends—if that’s what you questioned by implication in your letter.

I didn’t write you sooner, not knowing where you would be. I hope this will reach you in Seattle. And I certainly hope that I’ll see you (and “the object of your affections” too) if you’re anywhere near Los Angeles. Until then—let me know what you are doing. And I will answer. Damn it all, I do feel concerned about you.

[Page 2]

I want you to be happy, darling—whatever you decide to be your happiness. I know it must be terribly hard for you now. I hope you’ll get what you really want and the kind of life you want. I’ll stand by you and with you—at least in my wishes for your future.

Love from both of us,