Top Red Carpet revelers at the Turner Classic Film Festival include an international group of pass holders and seasoned celebrities accustomed to the flashes and clicks of Nikons and iPhones on Thursday, April 10, at the Gala Premiere restoration of 1955’s “Oklahoma!” introduced by TCM Host Robert Osborne and Oscar-winning actress Shirley Jones at the TCL Chinese Theatre.
Special TCM Film Festival 2014 guest celebrities Shirley Jones, Maureen O’Hara, Margaret O’Brien, Kim Novak, Tippi Hedren, Bo Hopkins, Merrie Spaeth, Candy Clark, George Chakiris, Diane Baker, Richard Sherman, Leonard Maltin, Ben Mankiewicz, and Robert Osborne all paraded down the aisle at the popular event. Other stars attending the festival included Richard Dreyfuss and Alan Arkin.
Fancy fans and glitzy celebs posed, pitched, and paired for photo ops from seasoned media professionals and admiring patrons as they walked the gauntlet of onlookers and dedicated classic film lovers on Hollywood Boulevard.
Actress Tippi Hedren, “The Birds” and “Marnie,” and actress Kim Novak, “Vertigo” and “Bell, Book, and Candle,” host a media photo op frenzy as fans and photographers snap away as the gals do the red carpet rumba at the TCL Chinese Theatre prior to Shirley Jones’ introduction to 1955’s “Oklahoma!” Both ladies were patient, gracious, and appreciative of all the attention they received Thursday, April 10, at the TCMFF 2014.
Actress Margaret O’Brien attended the Turner Classic Film Festival 2014 to introduce “Meet Me in St. Louis” on Friday, April 11, and memorialize actor friend Mickey Rooney prior to a screening of “National Velvet” on Sunday. O’Brien visited with fans, signed autographs, and posed for photos with international fans and thrilled audiences during her multiple appearances.
Writer Debra Levine and Oscar-winner George Chakiris of “West Side Story” pose for journalists. Levine hopes “everyone will visit” her Arts Meme blog as Chakiris graces her with a warm hug. Chakiris is also a jewelry designer and lectures on classic Hollywood.
Media communications specialist and Dallas resident Merrie Spaeth attended the TCMFF 2014 to introduce her one and only film, “The World of Henry Orient,” with actress Paula Prentiss on Friday at the Chinese Multiplex to a packed audience of fans. According to a Dallas Morning News article by Nanette Light, Spaeth credited “serendipity for landing her a role at age 14 alongside actor Peter Sellers in the 1964 movie ‘The World of Henry Orient.’ A former Reagan aide who is now a public relations executive, Spaeth’s brief acting career is often overshadowed by her role as adviser to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which ran controversial TV ads opposing then Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential candidacy.”
“I thought things like this didn’t happen to people who lived in Philadelphia and went to Quaker school,” said Spaeth, 65.
Light’s article also stated that Spaeth was “absent from the Hollywood scene for more than four decades. Spaeth returned to the red carpet last week — accompanied by her daughter, 22-year-old Maverick Lezar — to celebrate the movie’s 50th anniversary at an April 11 screening during the Turner Classic Film Festival in Los Angeles.”
Spaeth was happy to be a movie star again if only for one day, and enjoyed her four days of fun at the festival.
Spaeth is CEO of Spaeth Communications.
(Photo Courtesy of TCM)
TCM Host Ben Mankiewicz emceed the special TCM/USPS commemorative stamp ceremony honoring former SAG/AFTRA president and actor Charlton Heston as well as poolside screenings and interviews with fans and celebrities at the popular festival. Actress, producer and director Illeana Douglas introduced Jerry Lewis at a screening of “The Nutty Professor” and interviewed Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss for fans in Club TCM. The granddaughter of classic film actor Melvyn Douglas, Illeana has a popular web series, and acts, directs, produces, and writes for the film and television industries.
Festival fans file in for film screening of 1955’s “Oklahoma!” as they greet media and gallery members. Pass holders came from Canada, the continental U.S, and several European countries to enjoy the festivities at the TCMFF 2014.
Flying in from Dallas, Texas, for the TCMFF 2014 fun, Dallas public relations executive Kelly Kitchens Wickersham and her husband Mark Wickersham enjoy attending screenings and panels. Wickersham administrates one of the most popular Facebook pages for TCM Film Festival fans.
Another fabulous gal donning vintage togs was Texan Theresa Madere, a wedding planner from Burnet, Texas. Her perky manner and her interested in classic films inspire her to blog as Butterscotch Greer on the TCM Message Boards Festivals Forum.
Actor Bo Hopkins appeared at the TCMFF 2014 to participate in a poolside screening and discussion of “American Graffiti” and also starred in such films as “Midnight Express,” “The Wild Bunch,” and “Monte Walsh.” Hopkins’ cool demeanor, willingness to chat with fans, and jovial nature made him a favorite on the walk of fame to the TCL Chinese screening. Hopkins has two films in post-production, “The Boys at the Bar” and “Of God and Kings.”
(Photo Courtesy of TCM)
Popular TCM Host Robert Osborne and actress pal Diane Baker on the Red Carpet at the Turner Classic Film Festival appear to cheers from the crowd. Baker is Director of Film and Television at San Francisco’s Academy of Art.
The people most responsible for the success of the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival 2014 (besides the loyal fans of the network) include Charles Tabesh (VP of Programming), Dennis Adamovich (VP of Digital), Jeff Gregor (General Manager of TCM), and Genevieve McGillicuddy (TCMFF Director). Oscar-winning actress Shirley Jones is front and center as she smiles prior to the Gala Premiere Restoration of “Oklahoma!”
Film critic and historian Leonard Maltin and TCM Senior Researcher Alexa Foreman smile for the cameras on Thursday evening before the screening of “Oklahoma!” Maltin hosted several panels and interviewed guests in Club TCM, and was always ready to sign autographs and to visit with fans of his books and articles. Foreman has conducted hundreds of interviews for the Turner Archives and is known as “The Keeper of the Flame” for classic film history at TCM because of her attention to accuracy and detail.
Composer Richard Sherman (“Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book,” Winnie The Pooh”) and his lovely wife Elizabeth stopped and chatted for several moments and revealed how happy they were to be part of the festival events.
Actress Maureen O’Hara elicited the most excitement, awe, comments, and applause when she appeared on the Red Carpet prior to the screening of “Oklahoma!” at the Turner Classic Film Festival Gala Premiere Restoration Thursday evening, April 10, at the TCL Chinese Theatre. O’Hara was the most popular star attending the premiere and the Vanity Fair party after the screening, and introduced John Ford’s “How Green Was My Valley,” filmed in 1941, and participated in several interviews with TCM Host Robert Osborne.
A few moments after this photograph was taken, O’Hara’s grandson, Connor Fitzsimons helped her move down the red carpet to my media station, and she reached out to grasp my hand. There was such love and admiration in her voice and her manner, and I knew how much she enjoyed being a part of the festival events. She told me “Thank you” twice, and as she was about to grasp my hand for her very firm handshake she had given to other media representatives along the corridor, someone called out to her grandson to move along, and she was whisked away.
But for a few shining moments, she looked right into my eyes and showered me with attention, and she made me feel like the luckiest gal on the red carpet. Of all the celebrities at the April festival, she was the one that garned the most “oohs” and “ahhs” from passholders and other celebrities wherever she went. Her spirit and her determined air was a great inspiration to me and everyone else she me. Her events at the festival were the most popular for any individual celebrity, and all were blessed with the indomitable spirit of a great Irish lass.
When a special airplane arrived for O’Hara in Idaho, she wasn’t able to climb up the steps because the initial staircase was too high, so TCM sent another plane for her. Her grandson wanted to cancel her appearance, but O’Hara told her grandson that she was going to wait in the executive lounge until the other plane arrived because she was going to the Turner Classic Film festival this year! (Darcy Hettrich, VP of Talent for TCM revealed this story at the initial Meet The TCM Panel on Thursday afternoon at the festival, and the audience loved it.)
Maureen O’Hara at the Vanity Fair party Thursday evening after the screening of “Oklahoma.” (Photo courtesy of TCM)
The excitement of photographing and interviewing celebrities is part of the allure of working a red carpet event. What surprised me most is that many of the credentialed media from established news outlets didn’t know who most of the celebrities were, and I found that one of my responsibilities at the event was to answer questions and explain who the celelbrities were, what their accomplishments entailed, and why they were at the festival. I am glad I was there!
All photos taken by the author unless otherwise noted. ©