Sunday, April 1, 2012
warren and ali in one week! birthdays are fun. ali turned 73 today. i adore her. so does everyone else. she truly defined 'je ne sais quoi' (literally ‘I don't know what’) and that gift of presence insured that no one seemed to care whether she was a 'good' actress. in salute to her brains and beauty, here are some extracts from a great 'vanity fair' article from a few years back. enjoy.
The actress Candace Bergen is rapturous about her friend—“You fall in love with her; she’s always been more alive than most others, so artistic and enchanted, with that refined, intellectual, bohemian glamour and a little bit of the Bedouin”
The 10 top box-office names of 1971 were nine men and one woman, and that woman was Ali. I can’t think of another movie star who became as big as she became overnight. 'Love Story' was a phenomenon. Aside from its seven Academy Award nominations, and its implantation of the kitschy motto “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” into America’s brainpan, thanks to its low budget it’s still among the most profitable studio movies ever made.
Steinem says, “Ali seemed unaware of being beautiful, though I remember thinking it was like living with the most magnificent and graceful cat. It was proof of her warmth and kindness that in those pre-feminist days, when we were all supposed to be in competition with each other, I don’t remember a female human being who resented her.”
regarding her marriage to steve mcqueen: Her big sin, she says, “was to be inauthentic at the beginning. I didn’t state my case: ‘You know, even though I told you I’d rather be on a motorcycle opening a can of beer, the truth is I’d rather go to Paris.’
Ultimately, McQueen’s paranoid possessiveness was unconquerable. He had already been having numerous affairs, according to MacGraw. “He had a suite in the Beverly Wilshire hotel, where he would go when we fought. It was a place I never went, which was stupid. I should have gone in, opened the door, and kicked the shit out of whoever was in bed with him.” She adds, “He would have enjoyed it!” In fact, the only infidelities that mattered to him were the ones he imagined her having. When she was at her lowest ebb, she was invited to be photographed by Francesco Scavullo for his book Scavullo on Beauty. She flew to New York, eager to feel what she hadn’t felt in a very long time: glamorous. There was a knock on the door of the apartment she had borrowed, and it was McQueen. Convinced she was having an affair, he’d taken the next flight to check up on her. He sprawled on the one small bed, she says, “and I sat on the bathroom floor all night, reading Freud to try to bore myself to sleep, but it didn’t work.” The next morning, the famous makeup artist Way Bandy had to Pan-Cake her dark circles for the photo shoot.