Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Famous Ephebophile: Peter Arno | The NEW YORKER Cartoonist and the Nymphet Debutantes

Peter Arno and a young model in his (dining-room) studio (1949).

We shared in The Allure of Nymphets that J.D. Salinger was enraged  after he learned that Oona O'Neill, the love of his life, left him for Charlie Chaplin. O'Neill married 50-year-old Chaplin only days after her 18th birthday.

"You cad! You're not fit to touch the hem of her skirt." 
"Please sir! This isn't my table."

But before O'Neill married Chaplin, she dated Peter Arno - the New Yorker cartoonist and (open) nympholept. 

Ben Schwartz wrote in his Vanity Fair feature “The Double Life of Peter Arno, *The New Yorker’*s Most Influential Cartoonist” (APRIL 5, 2016): 

“In 1942, [38-year-old Peter] Arno dated his last “Debutante of the Year,” Oona O’Neill, 17-year-old daughter of Eugene O’Neill and future wife of Charlie Chaplin. “Oona only slept with two men before she married Chaplin,” says her biographer, Jane Scovell—“Peter Arno and Orson Welles. She was looking for older men [...]”  

"Do you have the same thing in a cook?" 
"Gee, Mr. Payson! Mere words can't express my appreciation - I guess."

And Schwartz shared that prior to O'Neill, 34-year-old Arno dated 17-year-old Brenda Diana Duff Frazier - the original celebutante.

But despite Arno's highly publicized age-gap affairs, he was more famous for his cartoons that often depicted old(er) men with lovely young women. 

"Why, George Carter! What keeps you in town?"
"Good Lord, Hawkins! You might at least have said, 'Ahem'!"

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