Today I Came the Closest I Will Ever to Sophia Loren

August 23, 2012

In talking to her good friend Anna Strasberg

Sophia Loren …I have idolized since I saw her in the movie “Two Women” when I was 14…

she was the FIRST ballsy woman…..I had ever encountered……she not only exuded sex appeal…but such STRENGTH!!!

she talked back to MEN…which was kind of rare in the “Leave It to Beaver”…. “Madmen” era I grew up in…

my mother NEVER talked back or argued with my Father….frankly it was just not worth the effort as he was “always right”… why cause yourself stress by disagreeing….

I am sure she wanted to disagree with him  when he told me NEVER to major in ART in college (which she had) he said it was a “waste of time”….I mean I looked at her when he said this…and her face merely said: “No Comment”…….

from that day forward I looked for Strong Women….

and found them..later …in my family…and then the wonderful Donna…and more recently my dear friend Michelle….

I talked to Anna for what seemed like 30 minutes but  it probably was more like 10..

she was Lee Strasberg’s last wife….

born in Caracas Venezuela in 1939…which makes her only 7 years older than me..and 2 years older than my sister Daidie….

Lee as Wikipedia says “was an actor, director, and acting teacher”….

“he is considered the Father of Method Acting”…”he trained Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Montgomery Cliff, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Julie Harris, Paul Newman, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and director Elia Kazan”

Author Pamela Wojcik said “Whether directly influenced by Strasberg or not, the new male stars – all – to some degree or other adapt “Method” techniques to support their identification as rebels…He creates romance as a drama of male neuroticism and also invests his characterization with an unprecedented aura of versimiitude.”

He founded the “Actor Studio West”  in 1969 in West Hollywood…the year I moved here.

I INSTANTLY felt when I first  engaged the line and heard Anna’s voice…

I KNEW that this was a very cultured woman who has known and enjoyed  life to the hilt.. just by  the timbre of her voice….

…which made me flash on the death notice I received in the mail a few days ago..

.about my dear friend Barbara Embree…

who was an artist Elizabeth and I used in our shop on Sunset Plaza…we carried her paintings which are now world wide…but what we loved about her was that she would hand paint anything…. for the CEO’s wife of Caesar’s Palace in Vegas we had  an Ostrich egg painted for Ronald Reagan’s birthday

….that as you turned had all the different elements in his life ( I have always wondered if it is in the Reagan Library)….

Carol Matthau had us have Barbara create  an ostrich egg for Marlon Brando for Valentine’s Day….

and for Diana Ross’s children …a child’s table… hand painted with the child’s names on the chairs…..

Barbara was just a wonderful woman..

like my mum.. she .was the kind of female who was told back in those days you simply did what your husband told you to …as it was simply the way women were treated and expected to act  up through  WWII…look at Downton Abbey

according to her death announcement: “she graduated from Scripps College…her Junior year was spent in Paris where she attended the Sorbonne..

.she was the wife of David Kenyon Webster, one of the famed Easy Co, 506th Regiment, 101 Airborne “Band of Brother” (which HBO did a mini’-series about)…. and author of “Parachute Infantry” and “Myth and Maneater”

David – her husband…who had a great interest in sharks.. – left their Santa Monica house ….”went out to sea”  one morning and never came back……his body never found..

Barbara years later married Charles Embree…whom  I only met twice….he seemed much older than Barbara…who with her girlish giggle seemed always sooo young…..Charles plays the trumbone I think……

there is just something about the period before I was born that fascinates me…the period especially between WWI and WW II… mother was born in 1916….but ran into Hitler’s Army doing the goose step…when  she and my Aunt Mimi (of “Forest Lodge”)…were on their first vacation together in Europe…chapperoned by Aunt Mimi’s French tutor… Mamselle Diebold……

And I have been working on a novel about this period…..for some time…but have years to go…..

what totally amazes me is How WOMEN have changed…and Men also….

you know what I want if I am stuck on a desert…and deserted  island in the middle of nowhere..

it is NOT Sophia Loren… is

A Black woman….as THEY have LIVED and have so many wonderful stories…

and there is one in particular I am thinking of …

2 Responses to “Today I Came the Closest I Will Ever to Sophia Loren”

  1. Gray James said

    Speaking of Sophia Loren, this summer we went again to Sorrento, across the Bay of Naples from Pozzuoli, which is where she is really from. Just off that part of the coast is the island of Ischia, a fascinating volcanic island with famous gardens (Mortelli) and less-famous but equally impressive Roman aqueduct. Island folk are famously leery of Naples, and work at being self-sufficient – growing veggies and trading amongst themselves for variety.

  2. Kacey said

    I am putting together an exhibition that will include a hand painted ostrich egg and am trying to learn more about the artist, Barbara Embree (so that I can learn more about the piece). The ostrich egg I have appears to have been commissioned through “Elizabeth’s Staircase” at sunset plaza. It sounds as if this may have a connection to my research. Please feel free to send me an e-mail if you would like to help me with my research by answering some questions. Thank you.

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