Melding Shakespeare with the spirit of rebellion, Hussey became the worlds most famous teenager. Then she went to live at Hollywoods most notorious address
At their first press conference in 1967, Romeo and Juliet clutched each others hands. For safety, star Olivia Hussey insisted to the Guardian. The paper noted that director Franco Zeffirellis 16-year-old heroine still spoke Shakespeare with a Spanish lilt. As a child, Hussey birth name Osuna left Buenos Aires for London with her mother and brother, unaware that she wouldnt see her father again until she became so famous that the Argentinean government flew her home to hug her grandmother on live TV.
Fame hadnt taken long to arrive. As Hussey recounts in her lively new autobiography, The Girl on the Balcony, a year after the trio arrived in the UK, she turned to her mother and announced: I think its time I started taking my career seriously. She was eight.
I used to walk around the house with a towel on my head pretending to be a nun, says Hussey, now 67. One day I just said, I dont know about being a nun. I like pretending to be a nun. Maybe if I was an actress, I could pretend to be a nun and still be me. Her vow came true. After Romeo and Juliet which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year turned her and co-star Leonard Whiting into international idols, she went on to play both the Virgin Mary and Mother Teresa. Laughs Hussey: That was my destiny.