STATESBORO, Ga. - Rebecca Franklin Morehouse, who became a star reporter on the Atlanta Journal before she moved to New York, wrote for the New York Times Magazine, Time Magazine, the North American Newspaper Alliance and Playbill, the theatre magazine, died January 7 while under the care of Ogeechee Area Hospice. She had been living at Willow Pond, an assisted living facility in Statesboro, Ga., close to where she was born in Register, Ga. on Nov. 15, 1915.
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Morehouse, who was raised on a farm in Register, was a graduate of the University of Georgia at Athens, majoring in journalism. She first worked for the Birmingham News before joining the Atlanta Journal where she got to know Margaret Mitchell and covered front-page stories until she moved to New York City in 1949 to marry drama critic Ward Morehouse. She and Morehouse, who died in 1966, lived a glamorous life, traveling around the world and living at New York's Plaza Hotel for 11 years. She immediately made her own mark as a New York entertainment reporter, lunching with Ethyl Barrymore and Katharine Hepburn and interviewing Cary Grant four times.
"One time Cary was very tired and put up his feet on the coffee table and said he was "too tired to do the interview," Morehouse once recalled. "We were living at The Plaza and I had read he had made a big fuss about not getting three halves of an English muffin -- so much so it made the news. Well, he suddenly perked up, got angry about it again, and then gave me a great interview!"
In London, she and her husband, who had been a friend of Humphrey Bogart's ever since he wrote a movie called "Big City Blues" with Bogart in a supporting role, often entertained in their suite at London's Savoy Hotel, a favorite of Charlie Chaplin, Victor Mature and Richard Harris. She sometimes told the story of Bogart almost coming to blows with another guest at the party, who insisted that "Bogart not take his wife, Lauren Bacall, to the African location shooting of the movie 'African Queen.' "
She met the late Ward Morehouse, who was also from Georgia and had been a reporter on the Atlanta Journal himself before he moved to New York and worked for the New York Tribune and New York Sun, in the Atlanta Journal's library or "morgue," as newspaper libraries used to be called. He was so enamored with her that he once had her paged at an Atlanta Braves baseball game to tell her how much he loved her.
Rebecca Morehouse, who was known to agonize about finding just the correct word in a story, had actually recently finished a book on proper English usage when she died. After her husband died, Morehouse lived on Manhattan's Upper East Side where she wrote a highly respected monthly column on theater news for Playbill for a number of years.
She also wrote a play called "Prom Party" that was produced with some fanfare by Georgia Southern University. The play was originally performed at Abingdon, Virginia at the Barter Theatre. Hundreds of stories she wrote for Time, New York Times, Playbill and other publications are housed in a collection named after her at the University of Georgia in Athens.
Surviving Morehouse are nephews Britt Franklin, Wayne Franklin and Robert Franklin and nieces Carlene Franklin Johnson and Jeanmarie Franklin DeLoach as well as a stepson Ward Morehouse III. She is also survived by sister-in-law, Mrs. H.V. Franklin, Jr. (Jean), and several great nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents Herschel Victor Franklin, Sr. and Pearl Dekle Franklin; her brothers Jason Britt Franklin, Oscar Carl Franklin, and H.V. Franklin, Jr.
Funeral Services for Mrs. Morehouse will be at 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 9, 2011 at the Statesboro Primitive Baptist Church with Elder Randy Waters officiating.
The visitation will be held from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m. at the church.
Burial will be at the Eastside Cemetery in Statesboro.
Pall bearers will be Chris Johnson, Mitch Johnson, B.J. Tillman, Jim Tillman, Remer Dekle, Dewey Dekle and Ricky Dekle.
The family requests that memorial contributions be made to Ogeechee Area Hospice, P.O. Box 531, Statesboro, GA 30459, or to Statesboro Primitive Baptist Church, 4 South Zetterower Ave. Statesboro, GA 30458.
Friends may sign the online register book at www.joineranderson.com.
Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
Statesboro Herald, January 9, 2011
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Published in Statesboro Herald from Jan. 8 to Jan. 16, 2011
Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home
502 Miller Street Ext. Statesboro, GA 30458