Thank You For Visiting Sedona Legend-
The Jack And Helen Frye Story!
Sedona's Celebrity Love Story!
This is the official, not to mention only, web portal in the world
dedicated exclusively to the legacy of Jack and Helen Frye!
The Frye Legacy-
a Lifetime of Accomplishment!
By Randall Reynolds
The Sedona Legend Web Site is a copyrighted historical photo enhanced narrative presented for
educational and entertainment purposes. Some materials may be displayed in regard to the
United States Fair Use Act. This web portal is totally non-profit and generates no income nor
does it seek or has it ever accepted a single donation. It is an independent venture.
Sedona Legend was envisioned and created to provide Red Rock State Park visitors a
comprehensive historic overview for Jack and Helen Frye and their Deer-Lick and Smoke Trail
Ranches. This effort is now officially cited by R.R.S.P. as an indepth historical venue
representing Jack and Helen Frye.
Sedona Legend is encouraged by the many friends of Jack and Helen Frye. A gracious thank
you to the Frye and Varner families for invaluable support and Red Rock State Park staff and
volunteers for their enthusiasm.
Sedona Legend Helen Frye a.k.a. the Jack and Helen Frye Story
A Decade of Research and Presentation- Created By Randall D. Reynolds
Copyright © 2003 All Rights Reserved
Helen Frye and Tyrone Power
From Rumor to Fact
Helen Vanderbilt Frye..... This website focuses on her life and romance with Jack Frye the
famous pioneer aviator and corporate genius. However, this particular page focuses on the
period after Jack and Helen were divorced in 1950 and before they considered remarriage by
1958. During this period they were both unsuccessful in their romantic involvements with other
partners. Jack, in 1950, immediately went on to marry Emily Nevada Smith, the glamorous
New York actress-showgirl. Meanwhile, Helen Frye was left alone and isolated on the Sedona
ranch in a self-imposed secluded retirement. Or was she?
It appears Helen did occasionally find some romance and companionship of her own! Three men
would come into her life from 1950 to 1960 as solid dating relationships. Two of these men were
Ed (Eddy) Ellinger and Nassan Gobran (both men were also lifetime friends of Helen as well).
The third relationship was a clandestine affair which lasted many years. This was the
relationship between Helen Frye and international film idol, Tyrone "Ty" Power.
Some of Helen’s friends state they met when Ty was filming "Pony Soldier" at Sedona in 1952.
I feel they likely had known each other from before, though (casually), as Tyrone was
connected unofficially with TWA throughout the years. Ty was close friends with Howard
Hughes and TWA Captain Bob Buck (both connected with the Fryes) and likely he knew Jack
and Helen Frye too. During the filming of "Pony Soldier" at Sedona, Tyrone and Helen
definitely spent time together, according to local witnesses, but in what capacity?
In June of 1950 Helen had just weathered the devastating loss of her husband Jack who
divorced her to marry the much younger 28-year-old Nevada Smith. Adding to that heartbreak
Helen was not able to have children; however, Nevada was to eventually provide Jack with the
child he so desperately desired.
When Tyrone and Helen actually became romantic is unknown. Tyrone was already married to
actress Linda Christian but it appears not happily so. At different periods, from about 1952-1957
Ty would fly out to the Sedona Smoke Trail Ranch and stay with Helen Frye. As Helen would
tell her Sedona friends- “he is here with his toothbrush for the weekend”. In other words this
was Helen's way of saying he was spending the weekend with her. Many of the visits were very
discreet but occasionally the two were spotted in and around Sedona and the state. It was not
unusual to see Helen with a celebrity as she was a marvelous hostess and many celebrity friends
would visit her at the ranch. But Ty, it appears, was different, more than a friend, he eventually
asked Helen to marry him.
Soon after this proposal he returned to Hollywood (on TWA, it is assumed) and promptly asked
Linda for a divorce. After this revelation was reported no one seems to know for sure what
happened next, except, that Helen and Ty obviously did not get married. It was reported in
Hollywood at the time that on two separate occasions when Ty asked his wife Linda for a
divorce, all of the sudden, she announced she was pregnant! This appears to be the reason that
he stayed with her, at least for a time, as he wanted a son.
One local Sedona resident (Bob Bradshaw) remembers the affair less than favorably, in light of
the fact that Tyrone was "married" and Helen was a Sedona divorcee'. As I told Bob they were
both adults and don’t forget that Ty was the one who was married. In my opinion, aside from
the fact that the affair provided much fodder for local gossip, it does take two to tangle. Sedona
as in many small towns has been known to be a quite gossipy, and still is, for that matter!
Eventually in 1958, Tyrone married another woman Debbie Ann Minardos, but tragically he died
later that year of a heart attack. All was not lost though, Jack and Helen Frye eventually found
themselves together again rekindling their romance and a wedding was considered. However,
Helen insisted that Jack complete his divorce from Nevada Smith before they proceeded. The
cruel hand of fate intervened; however, when Jack was tragically killed by a drunk driver in
Tucson Arizona, on February 3, 1959. Sadly, a remarriage was not to be and Jack and Helen
would not be allowed to go "back". Helen would never again remarry, this last heartache, it
seems, simply broke her heart for forever!
Tyrone Power at a charity dinner at Clarkdale Arizona in 1952. Behind him in the white outfit
is Helen's dear friend (Rosie Armijo's) sister, Henrietta Targhetta. To the right is Ty's "Pony
Soldier" co-star, Penny Edwards. The other gentlemen is unidentified.
Ty Power & Helen Frye as Reported by Media
As I stated earlier, at first when I heard that Helen and Ty were once an item I didn’t believe it
and thought it might be just a local rumor. I heard it from Helen’s family, Helen’s dear friend,
Rosie Armijo (whom Helen actually would phone when Ty was there or coming for the weekend)
and from Helen’s neighbor and friend Marie Stilley. Even one of Helen’s friends in California.
But I realized it was more than rumor when I interviewed Bob Bradshaw (Sedona’s most
famous photographer) and movie wrangler. He knew Ty, in fact, he mentioned to me that Ty
and Helen were at one time engaged to be married. He thought that it was a little scandalous
that “Helen” was chasing a 'married man.' In my mind, I thought, why is Helen the temptress?
After all, it was Ty who was out here with Helen at the ranch and he was the one who was
married! I guess the other woman always gets the blame. Either way, Bob knew Helen well, so
he was not an outsider in the circle. This is when I decided to start searching for documentation.
Several sources told me that there was a photo of Helen and Ty in Arizona Highways Magazine
but they didn’t know what issue. I decided to start with 1950 and work my forward. After
several hours- Eureka! I found the issue with photos. Mind you, Arizona Highways is not a
Hollywood rag, they do features on Arizona scenery and attractions, not generally celebrities.
But this particular article was talking about a popular celebrity hangout in Wickenburg,
Arizona. Ty was featured in two images, and guess who just happened to be sitting next to him
at the dinner table (unidentified)? Helen Frye! I had my smoking gun. They “were” seeing each
other. I am not able to re-publish the AZ Highways photo on this website because of copyright
restrictions but it can be found by seeking Arizona Highways (Issue January 1955).
Unlike Tyrone Power who was always being photographed by the paparazzi I have had a difficult
time finding photos of Ty and Helen taken during the time they were seeing each other.
Certainly I have found no glamour shots. The one in AZ Highways is the only published photo I
have located. It is possible Tyrone asked the magazine not to mention Helen by name as he was
still married. The 1954 photo (above) is as close as I can get to the time frame and very well
could have been taken when Tyrone Power and Helen were riding on the Frye Ranch together.
There are other images of the two of them together but I am unable to feature such here.
Please note- Helen did not have gray hair- but sometimes she powdered it for style and effect.
I have resisted writing about the Tyrone Power - Helen Frye romance for many years due to
various reasons. Namely this romance "appeared" to be more rumor than fact, secondly, Ty was
married. It happened so long ago and proved difficult to nail down. However, eventually, in
regard to other unrelated research on Helen's life, I, again, was confronted with the tale, but
with a few more details. I finally decided I had enough information to go forward with a story
and based the foundation on the verification from 4 different sources. These "sources", isolated
from each other, have retained their knowledge of the story since the time it occurred. This
coupled with photos convinced me the romance did indeed transpire. However, likely, it won't be
verified any further.
Why, you might ask? Simply because Sedona in the 1950's was a very small town, reporters
rarely found their way up here, and the community didn't even have a local newspaper at the
time. Smoke Trail Ranch was very private and isolated (exactly what the Fryes desired) and
rarely were locals privy as to "who" was staying out there, or for "what" reasons, even in the
TWA years. Ty came out to Sedona, it is assumed, for some of those very circumstances and it
is assured that Helen and he had all the privacy they desired. This, obviously, is the sole reason
this affair, unlike the other public ones Ty had, is still private after 50 years! A secret never
So how did Tyrone Power and Helen Frye spend their time at the Smoke Trail Ranch at Sedona?
This much is most assured- they talked about mutual friends, walked and held hands. They rode
horses, swam in Oak Creek, laid out in the radiant Arizona sun and Helen cooked for him.
Sometimes, not often, they ventured out and mixed with other intimate friends. The perfect
escape from a very public Hollywood life for Tyrone Power and it likely was a special time in his
But what does it say about Helen Frye? Simply that she was absolutely amazing and there was
much more to her than people ever dreamed! A beautiful woman inside and out, a marriage to a
Vanderbilt, and a marriage to one of the most powerful men in the country, Jack Frye. Interest
from billionaire Howard Hughes, and lastly, a marriage proposal from one of Hollywood's most
attractive movie stars, Tyrone Power, (a picture idol, a god-like man, adored by women and men
world-wide)! Helen Vanderbilt Frye was truly "all that" and much much more!
Tyrone Power was considered a valued friend to many who knew him. He married his first wife
Annabella on April 23, 1939 (divorced January 26, 1948). He married Linda Christian on
January 27, 1949 (divorced August 7, 1956). Tyrone and Helen did not marry but instead
remained close friends to the end of Ty's life. He did remarry one last time to Deborah Ann
Minardos, on May 7, 1958.
It was rumored in Sedona that he died at the time he and Helen Frye were engaged but this was
not true. In fact, Ty Power died while making the film "Solomon and Sheba" in Italy on
November 15, 1958 at the young age of 44. He was a heavy smoker as was Helen Frye. Ty was
laid to rest at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery. He left behind two children by Linda, and one, by
Debbie (a son, born January 19, 1959) two months, after, Tyrone died. At his funeral, Ty's
long-term friend Cesar Romero spoke about Ty, ".....he was beautiful man, he was beautiful
outside and he was beautiful inside". A fitting tribute for a man considered one of the most
attractive men to ever grace the silver screen and one fervently chased by the some of the most
beautiful women in the world!
(Ran in AZ Highways January 1955) "A Barrel of Barbecue Fun" By Allen C. Reed
My Description of first Arizona Highways Photo:
Helen Frye (former wife of TWA powerhouse Jack Frye and intimate of Howard Hughes) is
spotted with Tyrone Power enjoying dinner at Wickenburg, Arizona in the fall of 1954. (Helen
Frye is on the left. Ty is center.) The lady on the right is unidentified. Helen and Ty had driven
over from Sedona where he was a guest at the Frye Ranch for the weekend.
Second image is of Ty sampling some barbecue….
Tyrone samples succulent barbecue from Chef Vic Comer on his evening out with Helen
Vanderbilt Frye. Location was the famous Hollywood celebrity hang out- Wickenburg's
The second “smoking gun” was located at Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff. After hours
of perusing newspapers I found Tyrone Power and Helen mentioned again (as below).
April 5, 1952
The George Babbitt's hosted a dinner party for Mrs. Helen Frye and her guest Tyrone Power and
one other guest, Frye friend, Lynne Gray of New York City and Phoenix. Likely George’s wife
Madeline Babbitt was there too but not mentioned. After the Saturday evening pre-dinner
gathering the group drove up to Flagstaff and had dinner at the regionally famous Spanish Inn.
It was mentioned that Mrs. Frye was from Oak Creek (at the time Sedona was often referred to
as Oak Creek). The Babbitts of Oak Creek Canyon were good friends of Helen Frye.
So now we know Ty Power and Helen Frye started dating in early 1952 when Pony Soldier was
being filmed at Sedona and dated at least through 1955. Surely there is more media material
out there about the two but I am yet to find it. The bottom line for me is that I set out to verify
the "rumor" and found, as often is the case, rumor is indeed based in fact. It seems interesting
that in spite of Ty's busy life in Hollywood, and with his family life, he still was able to "escape"
to Sedona and the Frye Ranch for weekend rendezvous over several years. As for Helen
Vanderbilt Frye, she knew many celebrities from Howard Hughes, Gene Tyranny, Marlene
Dietrich, Faye Emerson, and many more. She and Ty shared a circle of mutual friends.
Searching For Clues
Pulling Together the Narrative
Rare Articles of Tyrone Power and Helen Frye