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November 30, 2021

The Kings of Hollywood, 1957

Slim Aaron’s most celebrated image was shot on New Year’s Eve of 1957 in the Crown Room at Romanoff’s restaurant in Hollywood. The photograph, known as The Kings of Hollywood, shows four great film leading men Clark Gable, Van Heflin, Gary Cooper and Jimmy Stewart enjoy a joke at Romanoff's restaurant in Beverly Hills on the last day of 1957.

Film stars (left to right) Clark Gable, Van Heflin, Gary Cooper and James Stewart enjoy a joke at a New Year’s party held at Romanoff’s in Beverly Hills. (Photo by Slim Aarons/Getty Images)

“I had done photographs from my New York apartment at 57th and Park to help Alfred Hitchcock on the set design for Rear Window, and I’d gotten to know Jimmy Stewart,” Aarons recalled. “I was friends with Gable too—I [later] hung around with him when he was filming It Started in Naples with Sophia Loren, and even played a small part in the movie. When my wife and I went to parties at stars’ homes in Los Angeles, I would never go off later and knock them, and they knew that. So when I walked over to the bar at Romanoff’s with my camera, I wasn’t an intruder. In fact, the reason these guys are laughing is that Gable is telling them how bad he thought I’d be in the movie.”

Over the course of a career lasting half a century, Slim Aarons (1916–2006) portrayed high society, aristocracy, authors, artists, business icons, the celebrated and their milieu. In doing so, he captured a golden age of wealth, privilege, beauty and leisure that occurred alongside—but quite separate from—the cultural and political backdrop of the second half of the Twentieth Century.




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