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Pier Angeli (1932-1971)

  1. Susan Shentall, Romeo and Juliet, 1954.   The British production had its roots in MGM's 1952 idea: Brando and Angeli.
  2. Marisa Pavan, The Rose  Tattoo, 1954.  Married to singer Vic Damone (to James Dean's annoyance), Angeli was in the family way and replaced, also in  the family way, by her twin sister.
  3. Elsa Cardenas, Giant, 1955.
  4. Leslie Caron, Gigi, 1958.   No chance when a real French wonder turned up.
  5. Haya Harareet, Ben-Hur, 1958.   For Esther in the MGMighty $5m epic re-make, director William Wyler (one of the original’s 1924 crew) looked at Angeli, Ava Gardner - plus Carroll Baker and Carolyn Craig from another epic. Giant.
  6. Audrey Hepburn, Green Mansions, 1959.   First bought by RKO for Dolores Del Rio 1932, WH Hudson's novel about mystery jungle girl, Rima, landed at MGM in 1945where no scripts satisfied MGM boss LB Mayer.In the summer of ‘54, director Vincent Minnelli began shooting Alan Jay Learner's version with Angeli and Edmund Purdom. Producer Arthur Freed hated rushes and killed it.Having first read it at Princeton, actor Mel Ferrer felt he had actually wed Rima -“figure and features were singularly delicate”- and directed her in it. Very. Badly.
  7. Natalie Wood, West Side Story, 1961    .Excellent thinking, but soon enough as her sister’s star rose in Hollywood, as Angeli returned to Italy, a shadow of her teenage self, under her full name, Anna-Maria Pierangeli, and often, very little else, clothes-wise.
  8. Bourvil, Le grande vadrouille, France-UK, 1966.    The second film of Gallic comics Bourvil and Louis de Funès had started years before in realisateur Gérard Oury’s head and he had talked to Pier and her twin, Marisa Pavan. But Italians twins called Lillie and Lulu, helping shot-down RAF pilots during WWI, became Augustin and Stanlias... and arecord-breaking box-office triumph.


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