Bardot makes birthday plea to Loren to give up fur



PARIS, Claire Rosemberg and Jean-Francois Guyot - Screen legend Brigitte Bardot marked her birthday on Monday with a call for her "splendid twin" Sophia Loren, who like her turned 75 this week, to give up fur once and for all.
Both the broody former French "sex kitten" Bardot and the sultry Italian Loren took the prudish 50s by storm, becoming icons of the sexual liberation that shook the Western world in the decades to come.
But Bardot abandoned her film career in 1973, aged just 39, becoming a reclusive animal rights crusader and making recent headlines for fiery comments about Islam that landed her in court.



Bardot makes birthday plea to Loren to give up fur
Back in the public eye on her birthday and star of a major Paris exhibition in her honour, Bardot sent her wishes to the voluptuous Loren, who turned 75 on September 20, but could not resist a chance to further her animal rights cause.
"I wish a happy birthday to Sophia Loren, my splendid twin, and I ask her to stop wearing fur -- that is the best gift she could offer me," she told AFP in a written interview.
The screen icons crossed swords in the mid-1990s when Bardot wrote to Loren over ads in which she modelled fur coats, accusing her of "wearing a cemetery on your back". The Italian actress never responded.
Bardot also said she had no reason to regret her own role as a screen goddess and sexual liberation icon. "I regret nothing," she said in the interview.
Half a century ago, Bardot's role as a "demon-driven temptress" in the 1956 movie "And God Created Woman" caused a moral storm worldwide.
As Juliette, Bardot danced barefoot, sweaty and dishevelled to a mambo beat in a scene that became a defining moment in film and embodied the end of the prudish postwar era.
But stardom proved too much to handle.
News footage at the Paris exhibit opening on Tuesday shows Bardot being mobbed at the Cannes festival by hysterical fans who are beaten back and sent flying to the ground by police as they tear at the star.
Unable to cope, she retired from films to pose on icebergs with baby seals as she switched from sex symbol to saviour of nature, selling off everything she owned to fund her animal rights foundation.
Nature is her chief concern today, she insisted.
"Nobody has given a damn, for far too long, despite urgent warnings," she said of her environment crusade.
"Deforestation leaving animals without a habitat, concrete invading the planet, thousands of factories spewing poison into the atmosphere, millions of cars and planes choking us, intensive farming polluting the water table."
"Swallows have disappeared, bees are dying out because of pesticides that should have been banned long ago -- it's a scandal."
Holed up since 1973 in the French Riviera resort of Saint Tropez, Bardot has fallen from grace in recent years, with a controversial fourth marriage to a former aide of far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.
She has been prosecuted for inciting racial hatred by attacking what she called the "Islamisation" of France.
"I say what I think and I think what I say," she told AFP. "In a democracy one must have the right to express oneself and that's what I do, even if it displeases."
The Paris exhibition, "Brigitte Bardot: The Carefree Years," runs until January 31 at the Espace Landowski with some 2,000 photos, films and mementos spanning B.B.'s life and times from her teens to her retirement in 1973.
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Monday, September 28th 2009
Claire Rosemberg and Jean-Francois Guyot
           


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