They stated she was going to be the subsequent Grace Kelly, along with her lengthy blonde curls and large blue eyes and talent to work the lens reverse stars like Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando, and Elvis Presley. The truth is, within the 1957 movie Loving You, the rising actress gave the King his very first on-screen kiss—she blushed after which he blushed and “the director kept yelling ‘cut!’ ” And regardless that she didn’t date the heartthrob, when she all of the sudden disappeared from the limelight just a few years later, rumors have been that she’d fled Hollywood after bearing the icon’s love little one.
“Nothing could have been further from the truth,” says Mom Dolores Hart, 80, greater than 5 a long time later from her workplace within the Abbey of Regina Laudis, an enclosed Benedictine monastery and dealing farm in Bethlehem, Connecticut. Her story was the topic of an Oscar-nominated quick movie, God Is the Larger Elvis, launched in 2012; now, because the 2018 Met Gala approaches, with its theme of “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” who higher to recall the push and pull between transcendent impulses and delightful pleasures?
Lately, the actress turned Roman Catholic nun could be discovered within the monastery, tending to the neighborhood in addition to her chickens and cows and llamas, to not point out her African grey parrot, Beau, who’s at the moment whistling into the telephone. Mom Dolores additionally meets her sisters seven instances a day and as soon as at evening for prayer. “Stability is one of the significant factors of the rules of Saint Benedict,” she says, admitting it was additionally what attracted her to changing into a nun within the first place, given her troublesome childhood, during which she was shuttled backwards and forwards between Los Angeles and Illinois. “My parents divorced and married three times over,” she says, matter-of-factly.
But it surely wasn’t all a seamless transition for the prioress who, then 24 years previous in 1963, needed to quietly purge all her belongings—fur coats, jewels, attire—in secret. “It was really sad, like what purgatory may be like,” she says with fun. “I couldn’t talk to the press, not even my mother, but they had to make sure I was for real.” After she entered the monastery and have become a postulant, she wouldn’t take the behavior of a nun for at the very least one other 12 months. Which means that, along with her promise of dedication and obedience, an inside realization that’s cemented via a collection of vows, she needed to minimize her golden shoulder-length curls, the very trait that—sure excessive in a girlish ponytail—helped her safe a studio contract with Paramount.
“When I was very small, my great-grandma used to say to me as she would brush her hair, ‘Don’t ever cut your hair, dear, until it’s really love,’ ” says Mom Dolores, recalling the time she refused to cut her waist-grazing lengths for the position as a younger aristocratic girl who leaves her household to turn out to be a nun within the 1961 historic drama Francis of Assisi. A lot to the filmmakers’ dismay, Hart requested to grease her lengths down and placed on a wig to be able to faux the climactic ceremonial scene. “At the time, I just couldn’t do that for a movie—it had to be for something real.”
In fact, that was then, when beauty usually equaled film star potential earlier than critical performing chops even got here into play. (Thankfully, Mom Dolores had each, coming from a protracted line of beginner actors, movie buffs, projectionists, all with deep-rooted Catholic values, based on her 2013 autobiography, The Ear of the Coronary heart.) And whereas it’s been greater than half a century since she sat within the hair-and-makeup chair—the place she would spend hours every day whereas on set for hit movies corresponding to The place the Boys Are, Come Fly With Me, and King Creole (one other invoice she shared with Presley)—the prioress, who now wears a behavior and veil and wimple, admits the need to look stunning isn’t ever removed from attain.
Working example: Final 12 months, whereas in New York Metropolis to rejoice her 50 years of vowed life, Mom Dolores discovered herself again within the highlight. It was, on all accounts, a crimson carpet magnificence catastrophe: “My skin was broken out and purple from a lotion I had applied in the car on the way over,” she says, including that a health care provider needed to be referred to as, and later instructed her that no make-up be used to cowl up the blemishes, for concern it might worsen the response. “Whether it was from allergies or nerves,” says Mom Dolores, “what struck me afterward was that after all these years, the desire to look right doesn’t have anything to do with how much you pray or don’t pray. It’s an instinct you simply have to deal with.” So, what did she do? “I finally told myself to stop worrying and just do what I have to do. . . . I appreciate the elegance [of it all], but in the end, all you have is the moment you’re living.” Not that she regarded something however camera-perfect in pictures from the celebratory day. Discuss divine intervention.
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