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“Times Past,” AKC Gazette: Lina Basquette (1907–1994) did enough living for 10 lifetimes: Ziegfeld Follies dancer, movie star, widow of Sam Warner (of Warner Brothers fame), and fabulously successful breeder-handler-judge of Great Danes. Basquette handled her Honey Hollow Danes to 125 BIS, 500 group wins, and more than 1,000 BOB.

Along the way, she was married nine times to seven husbands. “I was never a boozer or pill popper,” she said. “My weakness was men.”

Basquette was a born raconteur, a go-to source for writers looking for zippy quotes to light up their copy. Here are some Basquette gems reported by Barry Paris for a New Yorker profile.

“So many get reformed through religion. I got reformed through dogs. I underwent menopause without taking even an aspirin because I was so busy whelping puppies. Dogs saved my life. I recommend having four-legged animals to cure the midlife crisis.”

“I always say, you’re only as good as the dogs you show. You walk in with a top dog, and you look terrific. But, boy, if you have a mediocre one, you’re going to look just mediocre.”

“When I met Warner Gilmore, he was the manager of the St. Moritz, but after we got married we were living in the country in a house full of dogs. He forced me to choose between him and Great Danes, and I picked the dogs. We were divorced in 1950. Never regretted it, either. I lost a couple of husbands along the way because of Great Danes, but don’t let that fool you—I’ve still got an eye for a man as well as a dog.”

“Why should I be this healthy with the life I had? Poor Rita Hayworth, Mary Astor—they all got knocked for a loop. It’s because I found this fabulous world of dogs, which started as a hobby and developed into a career. How many women have a complete, distinguished career at 81?”


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This article was originally published in AKC Family Dog magazine. Subscribe today ($12.95 for 6 issues, including digital edition) to get expert tips on training, behavior, health, nutrition, and grooming, and read incredible stories of dogs and their people.
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