Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Wonder Years. When Celebrities Were Interesting

Here are some images of my favourite celebrity couples from the late sixties and early seventies. In those days they knew how to party, get married, get divorced, and manage their careers all at the same time. The beauty of it  was they didn't pontificate, and even if they did, we didn't mind because  we knew they weren't on the take. And they didn't 'take' themselves too seriously -- they were grateful for their privileged position, and were generous enough to make their lives entertaining for the rest of us. Without rubbing our noses in it.

I'm including Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller, because they seem such an interesting pair, although people at the time thought of them as kind of mismatched. Beauty versus the Brains, and all that.  Well, they must have been, because their marriage ended in divorce before Marilyn's tragic death in 1962.

That seems to be a dog Elizabeth Taylor is holding. And it looks like she's also wearing the Hope diamond. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were larger than life, and as a child, I really loved them. Still do.

Sean Connery visits wife Diane Cilento on the set of 'Hombre' circa 1966, with director Martin Ritt. Diane Cilento recently passed away, but she was, and still is, beautiful. They made a handsome couple.

Beauty and the Bald -- I mean beast. Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow were married briefly in the late sixties. This pairing made for some head-scratching. It was like -- 'but why?' Age difference aside, they seemed to get along. At least until they realised they'd made a mistake and parted amicably.

Princess Margaret was the Royal rebel, and when it was revealed she was 'holidaying' with  boyfriend Roddy Llewellyn on her private island, it caused a bit of a stir. Naturally, a lot of us loved it,  and thought 'good on you', but they were never married, and must have parted amicably.

Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy was another pairing that had  curious onlookers scratching their heads. Onassis always kept a low profile, but he was very rich, and had known his future wife when she was First Lady. The public love affair with Mrs Onassis continued, despite trouble with the paparazzi, which seemed to make the public adore her even more than when she was First Lady.

Terence Stamp and Julie Christie starred together in 'Far From the Madding Crowd' and this is a still from that film. They were immortalised by the Kinks song 'Waterloo Sunset' with the lines 'Terry meets Julie/at waterloo station/every friday night'. Everyone naturally assumed that The Kinks were singing about them. They were both young, good-looking and talented, and the press ate it up.

Singer/songwriters James Taylor and Carly Simon got together and became the royalty of American popular music. Taylor had a massive hit with 'Fire and Rain' and Simon had a big album on her hands with 'No Secrets'. This was around 1972. They retired into domestic bliss, and stayed together till 1983, when they were divorced. Which is sad when you think about it.

Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw  met on the set of  'The Getaway', a heist film directed by Sam Peckinpah. Both of them were married to other people at the time, but that didn't seem to be a problem. They got divorces to be with each other. Both of them were gorgeous and it was fun while it lasted.

Jean Shrimpton was an English model who caused a sensation when she wore a mini-skirt to the 1965 Melbourne Cup in Australia. Terence Stamp was a promising young actor, and they both look great in this picture, photographed by Terry O'Neill.

Warren Beatty and Julie Christie were reticent to talk about their relationship. They were apparently together for a number of years, were politically active on behalf of the Democratic party, and made a number of movies together, including 'McCabe and Mrs Miller', 'Shampoo' and 'Heaven Can Wait'. The press respected their privacy, as they parted, and forged their careers separately.

Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero became parents without the benefits of marriage. Despite a lot of blather about how tolerant everyone was supposed to be in those days, it surely must have come at some cost to them both. Vanessa Redgrave has always commanded respect, no matter what she's done, so I suppose there was no harm done to their careers.

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward seemed like the perfect Hollywood couple. In actual fact, they lived on the East coast, devoting themselves to charity work and bringing up their children. They were also politically active, when it wasn't the fashionable thing to be doing. Newman campaigned for Eugene McCarthy and got a mention on a list of celebrities whom president Richard Nixon wished would keep  quiet. Something he must surely have relished. 

John Lennon was also someone that a lot of us really loved, and it was heartbreaking when he died. John and Yoko were made for each other. People at first, didn't understand the attraction, but they made their presence felt with a big contribution to the on-going public opposition over the war that was going in in Vietnam. Their concern for their fellow man was sincere and heartfelt, and Yoko still carries on to this day, a strong and urgent reminder to the rest of us not to be so complacent.

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