Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Candid Photos of Celebrities of ’50s and ’60s by Elio Sorci – The World’s First Paparazzi

In the post-war years of the 1950s, Italy saw an explosion in international film production, and as stars flocked to Rome—followed by models, playboys, and monarchs—the city was transformed. A small band of press photographers—or 'paparazzi'—were the very first to document this 'Hollywood on the Tiber' phenomenon, and prominent among their number was Elio Sorci.

According to Telegraph, the recognition was surely gratifying, though the award itself had little history, for the term 'paparazzo' had only been coined and entered popular usage with the release of Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita in 1960. Sorci's widow, Maria, reminds us that, in 1963, he was named 'the highest paid photographer in the world' – a perhaps accurate honour; yet one that underscores the essentially mercenary nature of the profession that Sorci and a band of opportunistic young men had effectively invented. Sorci confirmed this when he explained, “We weren't tied down by any kind of contract; we sold our photos to the highest bidder.”

Brigitte Bardot filming in Fiesole, Tuscany, 1962.

Dodo’ D’Hambourg, Rome, 1960.

Clint Eastwood, Via Veneto, Rome, 1965.

Elizabeth Taylor at the David di Donatello Awards, Rome, 1962.

Princess Grace of Monaco, Rome, 1957.

Sophia Loren at the premiere of C’era una volta (More Than a Miracle), Naples, 1967.

Ted Kennedy visiting the set of Barabbas, Cinecittà Studios, Rome, 1961.

Audrey Hepburn, Rome, 1961.

Actor John Wayne arrives at Ciampino Airport in Rome in 1960.

German-born strip tease performer Dodo d'Hambourg of Paris Crazy Horse Saloon fame appears in Italy in the 1960s.

Actress Audrey Hepburn arrives at Fiumicino Airport, Rome in 1958.

Italian actress Sophia Loren attends the film premiere of 'Once Upon a Time in The West' in Naples, Italy in 1967.

(All photos copyright © Elio Sorci/Camera Press)

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