Actress Paula Prentiss and media scion Merrie Spaeth haven't seen each other since the filming of "The World of Henry Orient" in 1964 but reunited after 50 years at the Turner Classic Film Festival on Friday, April 11, at 12:15 in the Chinese Multiplex 6 in Hollywood to discuss the merits of the film, their experiences, and comment on the production.
The film follows the exploits of two impressionable teenage girls (played by Merrie Spaeth and Tippy Walker) who trail their idol, concert pianist Henry Orient, played by Peter Sellers. Prentiss plays a married woman involved in an affair with Orient.
Author Cari Beauchamp, who wrote "Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood," introduced the actresses, and reminded a packed theatre that "The World of Henry Orient" was one of the first "female buddy" pictures focusing on female bonding. Both Prentiss and Spaeth agreed that they couldn't believe it had been 50 years since they had seen each other, and discussed the comedic genius of Peter Sellers who would often do impressions and practical jokes in between takes on the New York set. Spaeth also reminisced about wearing a heavy wool coat during the warm summer days in the big city.
Prentiss, an actress whose credits include "Where The Boys Are," "In Harm's Way," and "Man's Favorite Sport," has been married to actor/director Dick Benjamin since 1961, and they have two children and two grandchildren. Prentiss was initially offered a 7-year contract at MGM early in her career, and also appeared in a series of popular films with actor Jim Hutton.
Prentiss' husband, Dick Benjamin, was introduced at the screening and received a round of applause as he bowed graciously to the adoring audience.
Spaeth, a media and communications specialist who also wrote speeches for the Reagan and Bush administrations, only appeared in one film, "The World of Henry Orient." A cum laude graduate of Smith College and a graduate of Columbia Business School, Spaeth also was Director of Media Relations of the Reagan White House, and has authored two books, "Words Matter" and "Marketplace Communications." Her firm, Spaeth Communications, is based in Dallas, Texas,