Of course the man insisted that the roll be opened, but Win stood her ground. "I simply cannot do it!" she cried. "It took my husband and two bellhops at the hotel two hours to get this together. I cannot do it!" Finally, as the man continued to insist, she lost her patience and yelled, "I'll sit here until doomsday before I'll open it. I should stay in London with my husband anyway. I'll stay, if necessary, but I will not open that roll!"
     They sailed.
     They arrived in New York with practically no money. But Win had heard in London that 20th Century-Fox was going to make "How Green Was My Valley" and she knew how right the part of Huw would be for Roddy. She contacted the New York office and got Roddy an interview; the men were impressed; the test was arranged. That test did the trick, and Roddy was on his way to Hollywood — and stardom.


SINCE coming to America, Roddy has built up a large fan following — mainly because he takes his fan mail seriously. His mail — 8,000 to 10,000 letters a month — comes from all over the world. Recently he got a letter from Russia that had been held up in censorship for four years. Almost every person who writes him wants to be a pen pal. Obviously this isn't possible, but he does try to answer personally at least one letter to each follower. His mother takes care of the others. The only ones he doesn't reply to are those little love notes that go ecstatic about his physical charms. He also has an active fan club that does more than a man-size job in keeping his fans together.

     "Among his fans there are several handicapped children to whom he writes often. He has always been interested in such campaigns as the March of Dimes, and whenever he's in Chicago, he makes it a point to stop off at the Spalding School, where he has many friends among the handicapped children. In a good many cases he has given afflicted children a genuine desire to live, merely by his letters. There's little Dorothy Gagon of Los Angeles. Sometime ago she fell and broke her arm. Gangrene set in, and the arm had to be amputated. While in the hospital she wrote to Roddy. She didn't complain, but he sensed a total defeat in her letter. So as soon as she was able to go out, Roddy invited her to one of his radio broadcasts, took her to dinner, and soon became her friend. He encouraged her to take up painting and ice skating. Today Dorothy Gagon is an active, enthusiastic child.

With Jane Powell


RODDY likes to sleep. In fact, he's an expert as a result of his having to sleep whenever he could during the days of the blitz. One favorite spot is the back seat of the family car when they're out for a drive. That, and a motion picture set. Once during the filming of "My Friend Flicka" the director lost Roddy. Win insisted he was somewhere on the set. And he was. Asleep on a bed.

     He's a good eater. But if there ever is any sign of a failing appetite, all his mother has to mention is a milk-chocolate sandwich. Yes, you read that right. Take two pieces of bread, buttered, and spread the milk chocolate between them.
     Roddy dabbles in oil painting, but his main interest lies in motion pictures. He hopes to someday be a director. Evidence of this lies not only in his Imperial Eagle Studio, but in his graduation thesis topic — "The History of the Motion Picture." He studies as well as anyone his age, but often picks odd times and places. Recently his sister was doing a play at a little theatre in Beverly Hills. The family went every night she played. One evening Tom McDowall found Roddy taking paper cups from the drinking fountain — and writing a composition on them.
     Roddy McDowall is a completely unspoiled boy. I've been around the family a lot, and to this day I've never heard him argue with any decision of his mother, or refuse to obey her. Of all stories about Roddy perhaps the one that best demonstrates his devotion to his family is this: A friend happened to drop by one day when Roddy, dressed in slacks and sweat shirt, was mopping the floor. (He has always helped out in the house, doing dishes, setting the table, and so on.)
     "Roddy shouldn't be doing that sort of work," the friend said to Win. "It's not right."
     To which Roddy remarked, "Why isn't it? After all, it isn't right for Mother to be cooking and doing for others as much as she does, but she does it. And she's certainly far more important than I am."
     Yep — Roddy McDowall is an unconventional star!

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