Monday, 14 April 2014

Britain is still a country for and old men say "Happy Birthday" to a screen goddess called Julie Chistie, whose beauty beguiled them when they were boys

Julie is 73 years old today

I first remember seeing her in the 1961 science fiction series on BBC television called 'A for Andromeda'.
I was 14 and she was 20.

Before she reached the black and white tv screen she :

* was born during the Second World War in 1941 on the Singlijan Tea Plantation in Assam in British India which was managed by her father who separated from her mother when she was a child.

* back in England, from the age if six, was brought up by a foster-mother and studied as a boarder at the independent 'Convent of Our Lady School' in St. Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, from which she was later expelled for telling a risqué joke which reached a wider audience than originally anticipated.

* at Wycombe Court School, played the role of the 'Dauphin' in George Bernard Shaw's 'Saint Joan' and after leaving, studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama before her part in Andromeda.

Then, when I was 16, she played Liz, the friend and would-be lover of the eponymous 'Billy Liar', played by Tom Courtenay.

When I was 18, she played the amoral model, Diana Scott in 'Darling'.

In the same year she appeared as Lara Antipova in David Lean's adaptation of Boris Pasternak's novel 'Doctor Zhivago'.

When I was 19, she was in Truffaut's 'Fahrenheit 451'.

A year later, with me at 20 and she at 27, she played Thomas Hardy's heroine 'Bathsheba Everdene' in Schlesinger's 'Far from the Madding Crowd'.
And that wonderful scene with Terrence Stamp as Sergeant Troy on Maiden Castle :

In that same year for 'The Kinks' rock band, Ray Davies wrote 'Waterloo Sunset' :

I believed for many years that the lyrics :
Terry meets Julie,
Waterloo Station,
every friday night

alluded to an affair between Julie and Terrence until Ray Davies denied this in his autobiography and claimed in a 2008 interview, "It was a fantasy about my sister going off with her boyfriend to a new world and they were going to emigrate and go to another country."

When boyhood was gone and I reached 21, she played the lead character, Petulia Danner, opposite George C. Scott, in Richard Lester's 'Petulia'.

Warren Beatty described her as "the most beautiful and at the same time the most nervous person I had ever known."

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