Barbara Bouchet: «Love, children, success: in Italy I found America» | TV Smiles and Songs

The actress tells us about her adventurous life, her projects and … how she ended up in the kitchen of “Celebrity Chef”

Paolo Fiorelli
August 12, 2022 at 08:29

Barbara Bouchet it never stops. This summer she has already worked on an upcoming film (“Diabolik 3”, at Christmas), received a lifetime achievement award (given to her by the president of Lombardy Attilio Fontana) and made an appearance in the kitchen of “Celebrity Chef”, guest of her son Alessandro Bourgeois. With these rhythms, he is not surprised that he has a life to tell. So let’s start …

Madam Bouchet, you have a very adventurous story! Is it true that as a child you fled to America with the whole family?
“Before, when I was still little, we had to leave our city overrun by Russians. We took refuge in a small village in Germany, guests of uncles. A room for the whole family, a bathroom on the balcony. I was the oldest of six brothers and I was a “nurse”: as soon as they reached one year of age, my mother passed them to me. Then, when I was 12, we went to America. I only remember huge plantations where I harvested cotton. As soon as we were able to repay the trip we moved to San Francisco ».

Did she already want to be an actress?
“No. I gave a picture of myself to a guy I liked and he sent it to a Sandra Dee impersonator contest. I won. Among the awards there was an audition in Hollywood but they never gave me. And then I got stuck. I moved in with a friend, did the auditions and in the meantime I was selling shoes or fried chicken to support myself ».

And he immediately worked with David Niven, Jack Lemmon and Marlon Brando …
“I didn’t even know who they were and it was better that way, or I would have been too excited. The film that made me most popular was the parody “Casino Royale”, where I was Miss Moneypenny, the secretary of 007 ».

She was also an alien in “Star Trek”! Was she good or bad?
“Kelinda? More than anything else, it was a bit weird. I never thought the series would become a cult. They still invite me to conventions! ».

How did it get to Italy?
«In 1970 the director Piero Zuffi offered me a role in the thriller“ Colpo scorente ”after seeing a photo of me in“ Variety ”. I had never been to Italy and I said “ok!”. Then they offered me another, and another … and I’m still here. ‘

In those years she also became one of the queens of “sexy comedy”, a symbol of seduction.
“Yet they always treated me with great respect, perhaps because I was from Hollywood. Instead I also received indecent proposals there … the American star system is ruthless, I would not have stood it for long. Here I found kindness. And laughter ».

The nicest partners?
«Ugo Tognazzi and Monica Vitti on the set of“ L’anatra all’arancia ”. They made jokes by changing the lines … and I was in the middle of it! ».

Then he didn’t make films for almost twenty years. How come?
“I got tired of being a symbol of sex. Not even at 40, huh! But I did TV: I was the first to bring fitness to the screen with “Fit with Barbara Bouchet” and I’m very proud of it ».

The return of luxury was in Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York”.
“My sister called me:” Scorsese is in Rome to make a film: are you ready? ” I showed up for an audition and Martin kissed my hand and said, “Would he really accept a small role”? Why not? Today I no longer pretend to be the protagonist, it is enough for me to act and have fun ».

“Dancing with the Stars”?
«Superb but very tiring. Four hours a day of training! In the end I was so happy that I didn’t even break a bone … And Stefano Oradei, my partner, was delightful ».

We also saw her dueling in the kitchen with Corinne Clery in “Celebrity Chef”, on Tv8.
“That’s how it went: Alessandro tells me he will do a program with celebrities. And I: “I’m sorry I’m not a cook, I could finally work with you”. “Wait mom, I’ll talk to you.” They said: “But your mother doesn’t cook!”. And he: “Yes, but she is an actress. If you can memorize a script, you can memorize a recipe! ”. In the end, that episode achieved record ratings. And she made me understand that Alessandro struggles in the kitchen ».

Do you see each other often?
«I am in Rome and he in Milan, like my other son Massimiliano. When I can I go, also to be the grandmother of Arizona and Alexandra, Alessandro’s daughters. He is funny, my mother couldn’t bear to be called “grandmother”, but I love him ».

Alessandro seems to have been born for the screen: did he take it from her?
«From me and from the Neapolitan father. Luigi was a histrionic ».

How did he conquer it?
«He sent me the yellow roses at home signing ‘Mister X’. Then at a party he came forward but I played the precious: “Ah, are you the one with flowers? Nice to meet you, Barbara ”and on. I was a bit of a viper … Finally I accepted an invitation to dinner: when the paparazzi arrived, he disappeared. I liked this, because men usually wanted to be photographed next to me to end up in the newspapers. I was very courted ».

Was he never jealous?
«Once he heard me on the phone saying: ’38-12-41 … ok, bye.’ She gave me a square: “Whose number is that? Now I call him! ”. And I: “Just call. These are the scenes of the script to be studied ”. Then I said that if he wanted to be with me he had to forget about jealousy. And she did it. ‘

We can understand it, though. She has been called one of the most beautiful women in the world.
«You are not exaggerating. It’s hard to live with this, you know? I try not to think too much about the past. I was a beautiful girl. Now I am a beautiful lady ».

Barbara Bouchet: «Love, children, success: in Italy I found America» | TV Smiles and Songs