IT TAKES TWO
They say you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, but Suzanne Somers and Alan Hamel proved that axiom wrong – one of the rare couples who’ve established a successful brand, and an ever-lasting bond in the glare of Tinseltown.
Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Canadian-born “America’s Sweetheart” Mary Pickford, along with Fairbanks, became Hollywood’s first “it” couple. They enjoyed onscreen success, but their partnership arguably made a greater impact off-screen, co-founding PickfordFairbanks Studio and United Artists and helping to create the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Fairbanks even hosted the first Oscars while Pickford won the second-ever Best Actress prize. They divorced in 1936 after 16 years of marriage and failing to transition from silent films to talkies.
George Burns and Gracie Allen The couple met in 1923, when he was 27 and she was 28 and forged both a decadeslong marriage and a career together. Their legendary Burns and Allen comedy pairing became one of the few acts rooted in vaudeville to transcend radio, television and film, and Burns never stopped honouring Allen publicly after her death in 1964. The city of Los Angeles even named a street after each of them, meaning you can actually stand at the intersection of Gracie Allen Drive and George Burns Road.
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Not only did Lucy and Desi, who were married for 20 years, create and star in one of the best-loved sitcoms of all time, I Love Lucy, but they also founded one of America’s most successful production companies, Desilu Productions. After their divorce in 1960, Lucy took over Desilu, a groundbreaking move that made her the first female stu- dio head in television history. She later sold Desilu to Paramount Pictures for $17 million and started a second production company, Lucille Ball Productions.
Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee Davis and Dee’s relationship dates back to the Civil Rights movement, where their activism included marching on Washington alongside Martin Luther King Jr., lending vocal support at rallies and working alongside the movement’s leaders. They carried that passion to the stage and screen, performing together numerous times while using their careers – Davis an accomplished director and Dee an award-winning actress – to help shatter barriers for AfricanAmericans in Hollywood.
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston One of Hollywood’s most buzzed-about couples in the early 2000s, Brad and Jen’s five-year marriage spawned a production company, Plan B Entertainment, co-founded with producer Brad Grey. Their 2005 marital split became tabloid fodder due to a love-triangle involving Angelina Jolie, with whom Pitt starred in Mr. & Mrs. Smith that year. The divorce settlement gave the actor full control of Plan B, which has turned out three Best Picture Oscar winners to date – The Departed, 12 Years a Slave and Moonlight.
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Beyond establishing a 30-year marriage that is the envy of most Hollywood couples as well as acting together in multiple films, Wilson has proved integral in helping to establish her husband’s production company and record label, Playtone. She serves as its CFO and has steered Playtone toward creative success, including tipping off Tom about a Canadian play called My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which they adapted into one of the most popular and financially successful romantic comedies ever.