Pixie From Paris—Leslie Caron
She never wears jewelry of any kind. She hates the smell of a cigar. She is fond of all dogs, strong-smelling cheeses and roaming about department stores.
She wore a bikini bathing suit on the occasion of her first visit to a Hollywood swimming pool when she first arrived here.
“I noticed everyone eyeing me strangely, and I came home and told my mother, and she said: ‘Yes, of course, people in this country have different ideas about swimming wear.’ I have never worn it since.”
She is shy in the presence of strangers, and her mother, Margaret Petit Caron, born in Topeka, Kansas, was formerly premiere danseuse with the Greenwich Village Follies.
She was baptized Leslie Claire Margaret Caron. She hates beets and turnips. She wears out more than one hundred pairs of ballet shoes each year.
She doesn’t believe in hunches, plays no musical instrument and is unable to practice economy.
She adores clothes, prefers black, would like to appear on the stage as well as in movies. After she completes “Daddy Long Legs,” she will play in “Orvet,” which Jean Renoir wrote for her.
She weighs 110 pounds.
She does not like drive-in movies and drive-in restaurants. She is an incurable ash-tray stealer. Her favorite picture is “Lili.”
She dotes on desserts and does not think that happiness is a matter of money. She smokes about ten cigarettes a day.
She was born in a three-story house that her grandparents had built outside of Paris, at Neuilly; as a child she used to rollerskate on its paved roof.
She hates oysters, clams or any kind of raw sea food.
She is an excellent listener when it is rewarding, but when it is dull she cannot repress her boredom. She is right-handed, five feet three and one half inches tall.
She is very fond of snails: “Mmm, yes. You mean Escargots a la Bourguignonne? Wonderful!”
She is very nostalgic for Paris.
She started studying dancing at the age of ten, and her mother’s pet names for her were either Minnie Mouse or Betty Boops. She is very fond of flowers and likes them everywhere.
She wore dental braces as a child. “I went to the dentist once every single week.”
She is not orderly or systematic.
She has no allergy and has never seen a boxing or wrestling match: “But recently I went to a motorcycle race and I was quite overcome by the spectacle. The public watching it seemed to me more professional than the people on the motorcycles. They wore leather jackets, brought leather seats to sit on—ladies as well as men—and they looked tougher than the racers. When the races were over, they all got on their own machines and rode away. It was the strangest sight; very different from a ballet or movie audience, though perhaps only because they were all sun-tanned and wind-burned and all seemingly clad in leather.”
She has a better memory for faces than names.
She loves having breakfast in bed: “But I don’t get a chance to any more.” Her father is a manufacturing chemist and once had a pharmacy in Paris.
Her joy about appearing in 20th Century-Fox’s “Daddy Long Legs” is because at long last she dances with Fred Astaire.
She likes hot dogs and would like some day to play St. Joan.
She wishes she could go dancing in night clubs “like other people,” but her strenuous schedule precludes it. She cares little for sport clothes and she studied ballet for two years at the National Conservatory of France, where Roland Petit discovered her and immediately placed her in professional ballet.
She dislikes golf. “It is for poops.”
She values most in people their enthusiasm and honesty, and ever since she was a child, she has wished she could ride a horse.
She believes in luck.
Her hobby is painting imaginary portraits.
She has no superstitions.
Her parents now live in the Virgin Islands. Her biggest thrill came on her nineteenth birthday, her first in the United States. Gene Kelly had heard of it on the set and invited her to his home that evening: “When I came in I saw about thirty of the most important people in Hollywood, singing happy birthday to me. I could have cried.”
Leslie Caron is sick of playing the perennial waif. “Enough is enough.”
She enjoys Western films now much more than she did as a child: “As a child I was very high-brow. I couldn’t stand all that shooting and riding. Now I love them.” She sleeps at least nine hours every night.
She abhors the color green.
She had all the usual childhood illnesses.
She likes wine with dinner and the actors and actresses she admires particularly are Anna Magnani, Marlon Brando, Judy Garland, Gerard Philipe and Laurence Olivier.
Her apartment is furnished with antique furniture. Her favorite ballet is “The Sphinx” and whenever she travels she is an inveterate tourist, doing everything that tourists do.
She was born in Paris on July 1, 1932.
She is bad at business matters.
She loves to bake chocolate mocha cake, often goes barefooted in the privacy of her apartment and has a great longing to see Italy someday. She gets restless when loafing.
Her voice is best described as contralto, and when she was a little girl she preferred boys to girls: “I had a rather secluded childhood due to my dancing lessons, but whenever I played it was always with boys rather than girls. I was a tomboy. I didn’t like girls. I followed my brother around, and when you saw a gang of boys in the street playing marbles, playing war, roller skating, anything—I was the only girl in the crowd.”
She cannot abide electric guitars or electric organs.
She places no credence in fortune-tellers or astrology: “. . . but they amuse me.” She is very proud of a great-grandfather who was once a famous mayor of Paris.
She wants someday to be fluent in Italian and she has no prejudices about a man’s attire: “It depends on the man that’s wearing it, rather than on what he wears.”
She doesn’t like garlic.
She is crazy about shoes: “But I like sober shoes, not fancy ones.”
She is a good cook, and at sixteen she joined the Ballet des Champs Elysees, touring all Europe and giving command performances before the King of Egypt and the Queen of England. She has no pets now.
She adores Dior, admires The Soil, by Emile Zola and feels she learns from watching the work of great artists on the screen. “I get inspiration that way. When I saw Marlon Brando in ‘On the Waterfront,’ I was very moved. Also, when I saw Judy Garland in ‘A Star Is Born.’ ”
She is characterized by simplicity and a great passion for beauty. She cooks by instinct and taste, not by measurements.
She dislikes highly spiced food.
She loves to put on a record at home and jitterbug with her friends. “You don’t have to watch your technique, just let yourself go; just dancing to the music. It is wonderful!”
Her first act in the United States, between planes in New York, was to order a double banana split.
She has a small nose and startling blue eyes, and as a little girl she changed idols with every movie she saw! “When I saw Vivian Leigh I spent every spare moment trying to make my round mouth look like her little one.”
She is very tender towards close friends, distant with mere acquaintances.
She now makes up for her childhood anemia by eating two and a half pounds of meat daily on doctor’s orders, and her favorite lunch is two man-sized steaks.
She earned her first money at the age of fourteen, acting and dancing in a children’s show, for which she was paid fifty francs—about fifty cents. She never cashed that check, saving it as a souvenir, but it has been mislaid and she cannot find it.
She is affected by military processions: “I get a big bump in my throat. It doesn’t matter what nationality it is.’ She thinks Scotland a beautiful country.
She prefers more formal type clothes for both daytime and evening, and laments her inability to see more plays and concerts. She favors French Impressionist painters and hopes someday to collect their work.
A performance has to be honestly moving to make her cry.
She loves parlor games: “Especially noisy games. It is fun because everyone gets so undignified trying to act out things without making it too easy, giving it away.”
Her favorite colors are blue, pink, orange, yellow and black.
She is very fond of cats: “As a matter of fact, I have had more cats even than dogs. Of mixed breeds always, never pedigreed.”
She has read a French child’s book called Croquemitaine six or seven times: “In France, when a child is naughty, he is threatened that he will be given to Croquemitaine, who looks very ugly but is really very nice and kind to children, especially the unwanted ones. I think this book would make a lovely picture, but I could only see the late Lon Chaney in the part.”
She treasures old Roman coins dated before Christ, which she herself dug up on a trip to North Africa. She has a very sentimental attachment for the theatre in Paris where she made her bow as a ballerina.
She was a frequenter of her father’s pharmacy where she “borrowed” all kinds of make-up with which she would try for weird effects.
Her favorite composers are Bach, Wagner, Stravinsky and Gershwin.
Leslie Caron likes most to stroll on the Champs Elysees, London’s Picadilly Circus, New York’s Times Square and Fifth Avenue, and Hollywood’s Sunset Strip: “I often drive to the sea at Santa Monica.”
—BY JOSEPH HENRY STEELE
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MAY 1955