Picture the scene; after completing more than a dozen television interviews, then facing ten photographers all clamoring for her attention on a red carpet lined with tall gold Oscar statues, Italian actress Sophia Loren was game enough to sit atop the base of one of the last Oscar statues used as backdrops. She settled herself, carefully arranged her dress so her long tan legs were shown to advantage and posed up a storm.
As she got up and prepared to head into the tribute honoring her at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Tribute in Beverly Hills, I thanked her for her patience. She turned to me and said “This is fun”.
I have covered red carpet events for Reuters in Los Angeles for the past 19 years – the routine premiere, the various award shows from Oscars to Grammys – but it still boils down to getting there early, hoping the publicist has marked a spot for you on the arrival line, and waiting.
Thursday night at the Academy, there were only about ten of us shooting. As luck would have it, I was placed next to last in line, right at the end of the arrivals line. It could have been good or bad. If the guest was in a hurry they would fly past. But it seemed luck was on my side as Miss Loren posed for the first group of photographers, I asked her publicist, Stan Rosenfield, if he would have her pose at the Oscar statue in front of my position, she posed for the others, then moved to right in front of me. She then proceeded to give the gift of a great pose, sitting at the base of the statue. As events go, one of the few remaining screen legends making a rare appearance in the U.S., this was one to be remembered.
Aside from that magnificent pose on the statue, she was surrounded by her sons and their wives, host Billy Crystal and other guests.