Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 18, 1976 · Page 130
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 130

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 18, 1976
Page 130
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Page 130 article text (OCR)

Matte Keller- by Lloyd Shearer HOLLYWOOD, CAL. T here is only one bankable film actress in Hollywood -- Barbra Strei- sand. The banks will loan production money on the films in which she stars because they are convinced she is "box office." They will also secure motion pictures with Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and a few other so-called male superstars, but Barbra is the only female in the "bankable" category. For the past year or so Barbra and her roommate, hairdresser Jon Peters, have been busy producing a musical version of "A Star Is Bom," the 1937 classic in which the late Fredric March superbly played a fading film star whose career ends in suicide as his actress wife, Janet Gaynor, rises to stardom. Since Barbra has been busy, and the studios here have developed no other "box office" actresses, they've been compelled to look abroad for distaff Ulent Their latest import is a tall, well- endowed 21-jeweled movement from Switzerland, Marthe Keller, age 30. If you haven't heard the name, you soon will, for Marthe (pronounced Mart) stars in three biggies scheduled for release within the next year. They are "Marathon Man," with Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier, in which she plays Hoffman's lover and a courier for a sinister organization headed by Lord Olivier; "Black Sunday," in which she plays a Palestinian terrorist helping to blow up the Super Bowl with 80,000 Americans and the President of the U.S.; and "Bobby Deerfield," a screenplay adapted from the Erich Maria Remarque novel "Heaven Has No Favorites," in which she co-stars opposite Al Pacino, teaching him to live life at its fullest. Who is Marthe Keller to be signed for three major productions and eventually to be accorded the well-known Hollywood buildup, when a year ago she couldn't even speak English? She is one of Europe's top stars, immensely talented, free-wheeling, free- loving, talkative beyond description, uninhibited, colorful, yet marveiously disciplined and thoroughly trained. It was John Schlesinger, director of "Marathon Man," who ran into her at the Cannes Film Festival last year and suggested she fly to New York for a screen test opposite Dustin Hoffman, "just to see if the chemistry of their personalities was compatible." As Marthe tells it in her broken English:"They sent to me in Switzerland in English a script of 'Marathon Man.' ! cannot speak English, so how I am to do screen test? 'Beautiful' "I have this friend who speaks English, a ski champion. He read to me the scenes, and I memorize them by sounds. When I meet Schlesinger, the director, he explain everything to me, everything. I understand nothing, so I say to everything, 'Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.' "He is satisfied, but when I arriving in New York, I am sick with nerves, i cannot sleep night before screen test. When I get up I drink bottle of red wine for breakfast. "When I arriving--for screen test I meet Dustin. He is so short. I am so tall. He is beautiful. At once he makes 'chokes' by taking off his shoes. I am tipsy with wine. But the screen test go well. Everyone is so happy. I say to myself, 'What the hell you nervous for?' I get the part, and I am in Hollywood." In time Marthe Keller, protected and warned by filmland's press agents and front office executives, will undoubtedly become less frank and open. At the moment she is still refreshingly forthright, especially for a Swiss, about the most intimate aspects of her life- Some weeks ago, for example, Donald Zee, an English reporter, asked her about her love affair with French continued Marthe Keller assumes a Dietrich-like stance in a French movie. The well-endowed Swiss Miss is also starring in three American pictures. M Miss Keller is visited on the set of "Black Sunday" by son A/exanoVe; she refused to marry his father, French director Philippe de Broca.

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