Classy ceremony celebrates cinema

GOOD MORNING from Lake Como and the little village of Cernobbio, where the most unique of international awards was held last Friday in conjunction with the Viva Hollywood celebration. Plus the Merit of Achievement Awards and The Italian Contribution to American Cinema. … Reminiscent of the line of limos arriving at the Academy Awards–but on a much smaller scale, of course–was the caravan of Rollses, Bentleys, Mercedes, etc. departing the stars’ luxury H.Q. at the Villa d’Este and driving but a few blocks to another spectacular site on the shore of Lake Como. This was the locale for the show and awards–the Villa Erba, at one time the home of Luchino Visconti, one of the grandchildren of the Erba family. The Villa itself, with its dozens of enormous, marble-floored, tapestry-walled rooms with Venetian chandeliered ceilings, was the scene only for cocktails preceding the dinner followed by the awards. The limos awaited the cocktailers, then drove the guests across acres of lawn that stretched down to the lake, then deposited us all at a modern, all-glass ballroom where the black-tied guests proceeded to their assigned tables. Proceeds from sales to the civilian guests, went to Help Children Assn. of Italy. It was a different kind of awards show for the Hollywood group, two of whom are no strangers to the Oscars, leading off with, of course, Oscar winner and Academy President Karl Malden, plus winner Ernest Borgnine. And the other Hollywoodians here have presented on Oscar as well. This show, produced by Pier Quinto Cariaggi with wife Lara as associate producer, included not only the earlier noted (last Friday) winners from both countries, but also the de rigueur classic film clips associated with the players, plus a reel, a la Oscar, of Hollywood superstars and their chef d’oeuvres The Cariaggi family adds a second generation in show business with daughter Guenda C., who recorded the video’d “Lovers” on the Full Time label. The American stars were, appropriately, winged to the Viva Hollywood event from all points via showbiz-conscious American Airlines, one of the sponsors of the TV show seen on RAI-2 in Italy this week and to be syndie’d throughout Europe.

UNLIKE AWARDS SHOWS we all know, this one features an ad lib, fun and easy-going feeling sparked by hosts asking winners questions (unrehearsed) about some of their well-known portrayals. The host is Daniele Piombi, whose glib, knowledgeable manner amazed those of us accustomed to seeing award shows totally cue-carded to the letter. He was assisted by Paolo Limiti and Nadio Cassini. … Rod Taylor received his award from Amanda Lear and Fabio Testi. Karl Malden, his award from Rossano Brazzi and Samantha Eggar. (She was there with BevHills attorney Jeffrey Berkowitz.) Eggar told me she’ll make her musical legit bow in “Mame” at Danbury, Conn., July 23. … Malden was also surprised with the Max Haufler (of Switzerland) award, presented by Marie Daforet and Marco Blaser. Malden heads on to London to catch some plays before returning to L.A. and Acad meets. He’s anxious to see improvement (changes) in the Board of Governors’ Ball costs. … Janet Leigh received her award from Umberto Smaila and Marta Marzotta. Maxwell Robb, former U.S. Ambassador to Italy, presented awards to Italian filmmakers Carlo Rambaldi, Pino Domaggio, Pietro Scalia, Carlo Di Palma, Elsa Martinelli and Rossano Brazzi. Bo Derek received her trophy from Di Palma and Milla Sammoner. Katherine Kelly Lang, her award from Giorgio Berna. Ernest Borgnine, his award from Vittorio Sgarbi and Elsa Martinelli, Ernie saying, “I want to put this next to my Oscar.” Jackie Bisset, receiving her award from Ben Gazzara and Adriana Ikita, told me she was inspired to become an actress after seeing Jeanne Moreau in “La Notte.” … Ben Gazzara had winged in from the Ukraine where he co-stars in “Quiet Flows the Don” mini. It’s Italian-financed, he said thankfully, as the Italians trucked in food regularly. The country (Ukraine) is in need of everything. … Pier Quinto Cariaggi expands his producer’s sights–he’s buying the hotel in Yalta where FDR, Churchill and Stalin signed the treaty. Cariaggi and partners (five) will update the hotel to a showplace–complete with casino.

“BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL” star Katherine Kelly Lang and her husband-director Scott Snider winged to the Villa d’Este from Athens where she hosted the “Miss Europe” contest with “Bold” co-star Dan McVicar. The soap is enormously popular in Greece, as it is in Italy. The Athens audience stayed in the rain as the “Miss Europe” show was delayed for two hours–ending at 2:30 a.m. Lang required security at all times because of the crowds of her fans. She expects their second child in October. They have a 19-month-old son, Jeremy Scott, who appears on “Bold” with her. Will the second baby also be a soaper? “The producers haven’t told me–yet,” she laughed. Although pregnant, Katherine proceeded from the Viva Hollywood doings here to Paris for honors from Best magazine, then on the N.Y. for tomorrow’s Daytime Emmys.

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