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Moore vs Ekberg

"The Great Glamazon Gambit"

by Donald Hall


Modern Man

Vol. 11, No. 12, August,  1961


         In the D-cup donnybrooks between the world's most mammarific movie stars, it is unthinkable to continue the series further without hearing from the blouse blitzers Anita Ekberg and Cleo Moore. Besides being at war with each other, they are propaganda experts, regularly occupying headlines with news about their careers, measurements and extra-curricular activities.
Anita EkbergFor instance, Anita posed nude for a sculptor, danced hotly at a cafe society binge, and thumped bongos while bare-chested, thus making more controversy about bans than the atomic test. And Cleo, who paints self-portraits in the nude and kissed disc jokey Jack Eigen on TV so passionately that she cost him his job, disappeared from the news only long enough to muster more mustard for a new attack. And now she is staging a friction-fired re-entry into the world spotlight by taking on Anita in a no-holds-barred and all-flesh-bared curves 'n quotes contest.
     So far, the fuss between the pulsating pair involves Anita's remarks on American women, whom she calls immature and girlish. Cleo, about as girlish as a girl can get, says no European actress has anything not found on U.S. gals--and in equal abundance.
     But this is only the beginning. MM, fanning the blaze, reports the low-down on what is coming off. Anita and Cleo, interviewed separately (since they would have it no other way) were asked identical questions, giving almost the same effect as a poison-to-poison skirmish. The results might be a draw, but one thing is sure: both have stockpiles of stackness for some knockout bombshelling.
     QUESTION: What are your measurements?
     CLEO: Well, I'm 38 here and 22 around here--and 38 down here.
     ANITA: 39-22-37
     QUESTION: When did you first become aware of your measurements?
     CLEO: Believe it or not, I was all fully rounded by the time I was nine years old. It was strange what happened to me; I mean popping out like that before I was even ten. My little sister was 13 when she fully developed.
     ANITA: Back in 1951 I had been thumbing through a few American movie magazines and looking at some of the women who had made good in films. And it occurred to me that I had physical properties that were just as good as Dagmar and a few others. So I tried my luck in a contest and won the title of "Miss Malmo." I lost out by a nose for the "Miss Sweden" title, but I figured my bust line would carry me far. Up to that time I hadn't paid much attention to my measurements. So you can really say I owe it all to a tape measure.Cleo Moore
     QUESTION:  What do you think of Italy's bustiest actress, Sophia Loren?
     CLEO: She's all right, if you like brunettes.
     ANITA: Miss Loren's sex appeal is much more earthy than mine. I have a more sophisticated type of appeal. You can show Miss Loren in a factory canning eels, but you can never show me canning eels. My public wouldn't believe it. But Sophia's public will believe anything. She's got it made. And I give her credit.
     QUESTION: What was you biggest publicity stunt?
     CLEO: There were a couple, like the time I said I was going to run for Governor of my home state of Louisiana. But my biggest stunt was that famous five-minute television kiss I engaged in with disk jockey Jack Eigen. Our lips met for all of five minutes on the TV screen, and that cost poor Jack his job. The station was flooded with protesting phone calls and telegrams. But I guess that did more for me than anything so far.
     ANITA: It was after we had just finished War and Peace. It was arranged for my strapless evening gown to pop apart in the crowded lobby of a London hotel before a large crowd of witnesses. We had it fixed up for an English magazine to be on the spot to get still pictures of that scene so that the magazine could later be banned. Newspapers condemned me at the time for being so tasteless. They claimed I established a new low.
     QUESTION: How do men treat you?
     CLEO: They seem to be charmed by my Southern accent. You don't think I'm beginning to lose it, do you?
     ANITA: In general they respect me. In Italy, I usually have a hard time with men. Men in Italy have strange ideas about how to deal with women. You get pinched and patted by Italians until you are black and blue. They give you what is called "mano morta," or the dead hand. A man puts his hand on your thigh. He leaves it there. If you don't move, it comes to life. I guess this is considered perfectly okay. when in Rome, let the Romans do as they usually do.
     QUESTION: What do you consider you best movie so far?
     CLEO: I made a number of pictures, strictly C-pictures that were done on small budgets with a crackerjack director and actor who's now dead, Hugo Haas. Anything I learned about the fine art of acting I learned from Hugo. We made one film called Thy Neighbor's Wife in which I got flogged at the public whipping post for adultery. I did my best acting in that film, I guess.
     ANITA: War and Peace. Unfortunately most of what I did in that epic film ended up on the cutting room floor. I did a somewhat sexy scene in a costume that revealed more that it hid. But because the picture was already over three hours long, and because the producers didn't want to run the risk of having their multi-million dollar film banned in America, they cut my dance scene out. So as it was, my part in War and Peace turned out to be a bit part.
Anita EkbergQUESTION: What is your favorite for of relaxation?
     CLEO: I like to take afternoon naps in the nude. That's one form of relaxation I indulge in. Mostly, though, I like to paint. I'm not a very good painter, but I'm learning a lot. I like to paint nudes mostly. And I usually use myself as a model, posing in front of a mirror as I dab the strokes on the canvas. Painting self-portraits without clothes on has also given me some publicity. One newspaper even published one of my nude paintings--the one of me naked from the waste up.
     ANITA: Swimming in the nude. And reading scandal magazines. I'm still sore at one of those scandal magazines for printing a big story about me and then not even putting me on the cover.
     QUESTION: What do you think of European girls in contrast to American girls?
     CLEO: There's no difference. I notice Jayne Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe get as much attention as Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren. None of the European girls, including Anita Ekberg, has anything not found on American girls as well.
     ANITA: The average European girl is much more mature. A girl in Europe knows life by the age of 20. She can make sensible conversation and doesn't place men on a pedestal. Many American girls at the age of 20 don't know how to behave with men. They don't have the poise. They drink and smoke and smear on lots of lipstick and try and act sophisticated. But they're not womenl they're still girls. The European girls at 20 are women in every sense of the word. Ask any man who's had any contact with both.
     QUESTION: Do you have any special problems?
Cleo MooreCLEO: Not particularly. When I travel around I do have one problem. Ever since that Jack Eigen kiss incident, people don't ask me for my autograph any more. They want a lip print for their autograph books. I'm a sport; I go along. So I end up using about ten tubes of lipstick a day. I've even had to buy a darker kind than I prefer to wear in order to make a better print.
     ANITA: Blouses. I can't seem to find comfortable blouses in stores. I put them on and they are too small. They feel too crowded inside. I guess it's me, and not the way they make the blouses.
     QUESTION: Who are the most interesting men you know?
     CLEO: Brando, Holden, and newspaper reporters who want to interview me.
     ANITA: Any man with a by-line, magazine or newspaper.
     QUESTION: What do you hope to do in movies?
     CLEO: Serious roles. You know, just because you're a blonde type doesn't mean you can't suddenly do serious parts. I mean, Jane Wyman did a lot of silly parts for years and then all of a sudden went serious and was tremendous. I'm just hoping I don't get typed for those creature movies--you know, "The Thing From Outer Sputnik" and so on.
     ANITA: To be co-starred in a movie with Ingrid Bergman.
     QUESTION: This is the end of the interview. Now that it's over, have any of the foregoing questioned irked you?
     CLEO: None at all. But I'd like to ask you a question, seriously. Tell me the truth--do you think I've lost my Southern accent? I feel it comes back to me only when I'm shouting at fights or at baseball games.
     ANITA: Your questions were proper. Will the editor of your magazine use my pictures on his cover?

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