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When stardom is new, autograph signing can be a thrill. One night in Paris 60 year old Cary Grant and 25 year old Sophia Loren wished to go out to dinner. "But people will come up to us. I can't stand it!" said jaded Briton. "I love it," said Sophia. When they left their hotel Grant complete with his hat pulled down,dark glasses, his scarf wrapped around his face, and his huge overcoat looked like Invisible Man. Sophia looked like Sophia. As they walked streets of Paris people began to come up to her for autographs which she joyfully signed. After a few fan encounters Grant began to get jealous. Down came hat, off came glasses, coat and scarf and soon he was standing under neon lights to get noticed.
Another English actor named Grant was thrilled by his breakout stardom due to movie Four Weddings And A Funeral (1994). Hugh Grant would drive around New York looking for theaters where film was playing then get out and wait in line, happy for attention and to sign autographs. Later when he was arrested in Los Angeles for hiring prostitute Divine Brown, he turned down requests to put his signature on tabloids containing his mug shot.
Some actors just sign despite their annoyance. One time Arnold Schwarzenegger was being interviewed at a press junket when a reporter asked him for an autograph for his mother, a big no-no. The star grimaced and said,"Of course. I wouldn't want to disappoint your mother." He paused then added," I'm sure you have disappointed her enough already."
Autographs can cause internal conflicts for stars who take themselves too seriously. During making of Klute (1971) Donald Sutherland received a written request from a fan who wished for an autograph for his daughter. Sutherland showed letter to his humorless girlfriend Jane Fonda who expressed a strong opinion that he should not sign it, autographs imply that movie actors are somehow superior to others. Sutherland bowed to her philosophy and wrote a letter stating his reasons for refusing request. The man wrote him back,"Dear Mr. Sutherland, thank you for your letter. We think you are full of it but we ripped off signature and gave it to our daughter."
Stephen Schochet is the author and narrator of the audiobooks "Fascinating Walt Disney" and "Tales Of Hollywood". The Saint Louis Post Dispatch says," these two elaborate productions are exceptionally entertaining." Hear realaudio samples of these great, unique gifts at www.hollywoodstories.com.