Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee

The Beginning of Their Lives Together

This article appeared in the
March 1961 issue of Photoplay Magazine

Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee at the airport in New York shortly after their early morning marriage in New Jersey. They were on their way to Los Angeles for their four day Honeymoon.

8:10: Still wearing the same dress she was married in, Sandy held tightly to Bobby's hand when they arrived at the airport.

8:20: They checked in at the ticket window, then they sat down to wait till takeoff. The terminal was chilly.

8:35: Neither smiled. Sandy rummaged for a sweater. Bobby looked concerned. Before coming to the airport, they'd had an hour to themselves. "Don't tell anyone where we were," Bobby said.

9:00 They hurried across the field to the boarding ramp alone. No one had come to see them off.

9:30: They were both tired. When the stewardess called her Mrs. Darin, Sandy smiled for the first time.

1:20: The plane landed in Los Angeles. "I'm so happy," Sandy told a friend, but she was crying.

1:35: Bobby took Sandy's arm and led her over to a black limousine. Then they drove off to the house he'd rented. The honeymoon began. Behind them, in New York, was Sandy's mother. By now, she must know they'd eloped. Why did they do it? Why all the rush, why all the tears? Here is the exclusive story behind the runaway honeymoon.

She stepped into her dress--white satin with lavender trim--and looked at herself in the long door mirror. Her eyes were still red. She went and got the pads and soaked them in witch hazel; then patted them gently on her eyes. There'd been so much crying lately; she didn't want Bobby to know she'd been hurt again.

There was the doorbell. Bobby was early. With him were his sister Nina and her husband Charles Maffia. They were going to celebrate Nina's birthday.

Now that she saw him she knew she was going to have to tell him--she just couldn't stand being alone anymore--ever again.

Instead she ran to him and said: "Bobby, I've been on the phone all night trying to find Mother. I still don't know where she is." He put his arms around her to comfort her and she buried her face against his shoulder so that the rest of her words were muffled. "I hate it here," she said. "I hate being alone like this." Bobby knew she was lonely since her mother got mad and packed up her things and left Sandra alone. "Is it so bad of me to love you?" Sandy asked.

His arms were tight around her. "Honey....take it easy. Everything's going to be all right." But she shook her head. "Bobby, I don't want to wait till Friday," she said. "Please, Bobby, please let's marry tonight."

For a long moment he was quiet. "Are you sure this is what you want?"

"Yes," she answered, "please."

"Okay. Just a minute." She felt calmer now, Bobby would handle everything. She watched him walk over to the phone and give the operator the number of his friend Don Kirshner in Elizabeth, New Jersey. "Don? Listen, this is it," he said. "Is it okay if we get married at your house? A reporter's been following me all night and if we go to my house he'll know something's up."

He listened for a moment to Don's answer. Then he hung up and turned to Sandy. "See? Everything's settled. Now let's go out and celebrate."

"Bobby," she said, "there's something else...Would it be all right if I took Clementine with us--because you gave her to me...Look," she said smiling for the first time since he'd come in the door, "I even have a lavender ribbon for her to wear. She'll match my dress!" Bobby smiled--dogs at weddings are good luck. The day was Wednesday, November 30th.

10:05 PM: Bobby's niece, actress Vee Walden, was posing for a magazine photographer when the phone rang. It was Nina, her mother.

"Vivi, they're getting married tonight."


"Quiet dear, we don't want anyone else to know. You'd better catch the bus to Elizabeth right away. And don't tell you sister. Vana's too young. I'm afraid she might say something."

Vee ran back to the photographer. "I'm awfully sorry, but something's come up. I've got to go." Then she made a phone call. "Vana if you tell Mother I said anything I'll kill you, but Uncle Bobby's getting married tonight. You wake Gary and get a cab and meet us at Don Kirshner's house."

Now the guests were all invited.

11:15 PM: Sandra was huddled in a corner whispering into the telephone. "Auntie, please talk to Mother and tell her ... tell her I'm getting married tonight. We decided not to wait till Friday. Please ask her to come. I love her and I want her at my wedding. And Bobby does, too."

Sandy understood why her mother was unhappy about the wedding. "She thinks I'm too young," she told her aunt, "but you know she was only eighteen when I was born. That was all right, wasn't it?"
Her mother was worried, too, because Bobby's Protestant and they're Russian Orthodox. But Bobby had agreed that she could bring up the children any way she wanted. "We won't have any problems," she told her aunt.

But that wasn't the end of it. Her mother had raised another objection. She'd said that Bobby's a sick boy. "Honestly, that's just not true," Sandy protested. Bobby's in better health now than ever before in his whole life. And today his doctors say that the physician who said he was so sick as a child was all wrong. "Why, Bobby wouldn't be alive today if he'd been that sick," Sandy said.

Bobby had told her she shouldn't let herself cry anymore. Her eyes were getting all red and puffy. All brides should look happy, he said.

The judge would be there soon. Sandy had to hurry. "I love Bobby very, very much," she said, "and I know I'm doing the right thing. I'm only sorry that Mother doesn't understand.

"I just want to tell you one more thing." She tried to explain how all the misunderstanding had gotten started. She and Bobby hadn't planned on getting married until January. They thought it'd be all right, her mother liked him fine when they were in Italy. But when they showed her the engagement ring, she got very angry. Then she came around. She suggested they wait until June, then she said she'd give them a big formal wedding. They didn't want that and they didn't want to wait.
Maybe she thought they'd forget about each other by June, but Sandy and Bobby knew they wouldn't. The kept getting angrier and angrier. The next thing Sandy knew, someone told her mother they were planning to elope before January.

"Honestly, that wasn't true," Sandy said. "We were going to wait, like we said we would. But Mother got so mad--and hurt I guess--that she just moved out and left me." When her aunt didn't say anything, she said, "You know how I hate to be alone. That's when we decided to get married on Friday. But then after tonight I couldn't take it anymore, so it's tonight...."

That's why they moved the wedding date up so suddenly. Sandy loved Bobby, and she needed him then more than ever. And he loved her very much, too--so why not get married right away?

"I've got to hang up now," Sandy continued. "Please call her, talk to her. Tell her it won't be like a real wedding unless she's there. And...tell her I love her."

Sandy hung up the phone, dabbed at her eyes with a tissue and went in to join the wedding party.

Some of the guests couldn't attend.

12:00 AM: Magistrate Samuel Lohman was there, ready to perform the ceremony.

"Bobby," Nina told him, "will you stop being so nervous and do something! Where are the flowers?"

"I'm not nervous. Look, I'm as straight as an arrow." Bobby held out his hand, playfully making it tremble.

"You'd better take a whiff of this. Here, Sandy, you too."

"Really, Nina, I'm fine. Who needs smelling salts?"

"Sandy, dear, you do. Does anyone know what happened to the flowers? What kind of wedding is this?"

"Calm down, Nina," Dick Behrke said. "I'm the best man, I've got the flowers."

"Excuse me," Magistrate Lohman said, "who has the license?"

That's when they remembered. The license wouldn't be valid until the next day.

"Well," Magistrate Lohman said, "the only thing I can suggest is that you call County Judge Scott Long. Maybe he can waive the waiting period."

Desperate, Bobby telephoned the judge. It was almost 1 A.M. and he'd gone to bed. Finally, he came to the phone. Bobby pleaded with him. Sandy pleaded with him. But it was no good.

"Let me try," Nina said. For over 20 minutes, she coaxed and wheedled until, probably too tired to argue any more, Judge Scott said, "All right you win."

2:15 AM: More Problems

Racing to Judge Long's house, Sandy suddenly noticed a familiar looking street.

"Bobby, you know what? We're lost!"

"Honey, I didn't want to say anything, but I think so, too."

"What do we do now?" Sandy worried.

"Just keep driving till something happens."

Something happened soon enough. A police car stopped them for speeding.

Bobby explained what had happened and finally, they were led to Judge Long's house. The judge, yanking his bathrobe tight around his pajamas, opened the door.

"Here's the license," he said. "And I'm warning you, you'd better stay happy."

4:05 AM: Vana was sleeping on a couch. Vee, breaking her diet, was eating a box of chocolate candy. "For energy," she said. Four-year-old Gary was wide-awake, though, dancing with anticipation when Sandy and Bobby got back.

Now they could be married.

"Nina, you know that my best friend, Lorna, was supposed to be my matron of honor on Friday," Sandy said, "but I couldn't reach her would you..."

"Honey, I'd be proud to," She gave her a hug. "Just as proud as I am to have you in our family."

"Nina, were there any calls...?"

"No, Sandy there weren't. Honey, try not to feel too bad about your mother. You know she loves you. And as soon as she sees how happy you are, everything will straighten out. You'll see. Now don't do that. If you look sad at your wedding, it's bad luck. That's right, smile."

"Hey, wait. Sandy," Vee said, "I almost forgot I have something for you. This is a garter from my girl friend's wedding. It's blue, borrowed and old. And it's for you..."

Sandy picked up her bouquet of white roses and baby's breath, and the wedding began. From time to time, she'd look over at Bobby and grasp his hand.

"Will you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?"

Bobby, very slowly, thoughtfully: "I...will." "Will you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?"

Sandy, quickly, her voice high and cracking: "I will!"

"I now pronounce you man and wife."

It was done. And for the first time, Sandy kissed Bobby in front of other people. He was her husband now.

Then everybody was kissing everybody else and Gary danced around shouting: "Look--Uncle Bobby's kissing Daddy!"

"Hey," Bobby said, "where's the food?"

"I'll go to the diner and get some sandwiches. C'mon Charlie, come with me," Don said. And then he whispered. "Let's leave them alone for a few minutes." "Sandy, let me hold your hand, honey." Bobby said, "I want to tell you something. I'm very glad you married me. And...well...I'll be good to you.

"You're my wife now and I want you to know that I love you very, very much and I'll take care of you always."

"Oh, Bobby, I love you so much!"

9:00 AM: They walked through the doors and across the airfield to the plane. Sandy wrapped her coat a little tighter against the wind. Then they were settled into their seat on the plane.

"Just think," Sandy said, "in two minutes the plane will take off and before we know it we'll be in our own home in California.

"That was funny about Fabian, wasn't it Bobby? I mean, how you lent the house to him, and he lent it to Frankie Avalon and Frankie lent it to Bobby Rydell. Now Fabian had to tell Frankie to move, but he wasn't using the house so he had to call Bobby, and Bobby....Are you listening to me?"

"Sure, honey. I'm just a little tired..."

"Mrs. Darin, I'm your stewardess, if you want anything...I see your husband's fallen asleep. If you can get his head off your shoulder. I'll get him a pillow and you'll be more comfortable."

"No, thank you very much," Sandy said. "This is fine."

The plane was leaving the ground now. Sandy could see the city below getting smaller and smaller. She smiled at Bobby, still sleeping on her shoulder. She was glad he felt the way she did about children. They both wanted lots of them---and as soon as possible.

When she looked out the window again she could see the city and the houses below beginning to fade. Somewhere down there was her mother...She would never have dreamed it would be this way. A runaway honeymoon...Sandy sighed. The plane made a sharp turn and the city was gone. Ahead of them lay their honeymoon trip to Los Angeles and their whole lives together.

For more information, read:

"Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee," Warner books.

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