Help identify Jack Thayer on picture


Jul 15, 2009
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I recently published on ET a picture captioned "Jack Thayer Jr and Barabara Stanwyck". This picture is from L'ILLUSTRE, a weekly magazine published in September 1956 in Switzerland. The language of the magazine is French, and the caption reads: "Jack Thayer junior, aujourd'hui un homme de 61 ans, eut la profonde satisfaction de constater, qu'à l'écran, on avait rendu un juste hommage au magnifique courage de sa mère. Il rendit visite à Barbara Stanwyck, qui personnifie Mrs. Thayer dans le film, et lui décrivit l'admirable personne que fut Mrs. Thayer". Yet, I know that the man on the picture is NOT Jack Thayer Jr, who died in 1945. Then, if the man on the picture really is Jack Thayer Jr, when was it taken and why should he be with Stanwyck? If the picture was really taken on the set of Fox's TITANIC, who is the man on the picture? Can anyone identify this man as a member of the Thayer family? Could he be one of the Thayers (a cousin, a grandson...)?
Or maybe is he just another Titanic survivor the reporter mistook with Jack Thayer?
Thanks for your help!
Olivier
--> L'Illustré, revue hebdomadaire suisse, N° 37, Lausanne, 13 Sept. 1956, page 30
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Barbara's hairstyle (or wig) is exactly the same as she wore for the film, so I'd say this pic was certainly taken during production in 1953. Both Jack Jnr and his own son died in 1945, so the obvious candidate is Jack's brother Frederick, who would have been 61 in 1956 when the article was written (if indeed he was still living).
 

Phillip Gowan

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Apr 10, 2001
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I don't think it is a member of the "Titanic" Thayer family if the man is a Thayer at all. Fred Thayer was at death's doorstep in September of 1956 and died in November--and the photo does not look at all like him anyway. Jack Thayer's son, John B. Thayer IV was only in his 30's in 1956. Maybe they were "had" by an imposter. There have been plenty of them!
 
Jul 15, 2009
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Dear all, thanks for your opinions, it is great to get answers from you. Do you think the picture should be maintained on ET and what should the correct caption read then? I would not like some people to think that ET's credibility is dwindling away publishing this kind of pictures... I was so happy to find pictures of Max Stähelin and Emma Sägesser, for instance, that also I decided to use that of 'Jack Thayer Jr'. I would not like it to become some kind of controversy just because the original caption was wrong or because the reporter was mislaid by some 'fake' survivor. For the same reason, I wonder if I should keep 'Walter Belford's' picture, as he certainly never was on the Titanic and therefore never was a survivor of the tragedy...
Yours, Olivier
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Though the article was written in 1956 when Fred Thayer was indeed "un homme de 61 ans" and at the end of his life, the photo referred to was taken several years earlier and well within his lifetime. But I've never seen a picture of Fred. Phil obviously has, and if he's certain this isn't Fred then we'd have to rule him out. Certainly a lot of otherwise anonymous publicity seekers come out of the woodwork whenever the name 'Titanic' is in the news, and both the Press and the public are often unwilling to let the truth stand in the way of a good story!
 

Chris Dohany

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Jan 8, 2001
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Olivier,
Even the suspect pics ("Thayer Jr." and Belford) show a Titanic interest so I'd be inclined leave them up, with proper captioning of course. At the very least they induce discussion.
 
D

David Cosgrove

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Hi Olivier,
I didn't realise there was a discussion up about this subject when I emailed you, otherwise I just would have posted my two cents worth here!!
Being a Titanic buff as well as a Hollywood fan, I can almost guarantee that the photo was taken in 1953 on the set of "Titanic" - just judging from Barbara's costume, make-up and hairstyle. Alas, I can't shed any light on the identity of our mystery man. This was the first I've heard of Marian Thayer being the inspiration for Barbara Stanwyck's performance...I question the validity of that too. Perhaps we just have an imaginative Swiss journalist here...
 
Mar 15, 2001
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I just happened to see this photo on ET today and was wondering who the man in the photograph is if Jack died in 1945. Was he an imposter?
 

David Paris

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Mar 27, 2008
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Darren,

Refer to "Help identify Jack Thayer in Picture" in the Thayer Family thread. I don't know about "imposter" but the man certainly isn't Thayer as he'd been dead since 1945! The possibility is that he was a survivor, but who he was is anyone's guess.

DP

[Moderator's Note: This post and the one above it, originally posted as a separate thread in this subtopic, have been moved to the pre-existing one discussing the same subject. JDT]
 

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