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Edmund Wilson
The typist's tale of 'Last Tycoon'
The typist's tale of 'Last Tycoon'

All these years later, Frances Kroll Ring can still see it, the afternoon she filled out an application at Rusty's Employment Agency on Hollywood Boulevard and drove to Encino to meet a writer who was looking for a secretary. It was April 1939, and she was 22, a Bronx transplant with typing and dictation skills. She'd been in Southern California for a little more than a year, coming west to help her father, a New York furrier, set up shop on Wilshire Boulevard. "Everybody said, 'You're a furrier? What are you doing in Southern California?' " Ring remembers. "But he knew the studios used furs. Because then the actresses used to be dressed to the...

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