Romeo and Juliet for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day symbols of love and affection, particularly candy and greeting cards, can be traced back to the 15th century. And scholars guess that Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” was first performed as a stage play in 1594-1595. In 1968, Italian director Franco Zeffirelli released his Oscar winning film, “Romeo and Juliet,” to rave reviews.

The film adaptation starred two unknown actors, Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, in the title roles. Olivia was 15-years-old and Leonard was 17-years-old when the film was made. Zeffirelli included a nude scene. Because she was so young, Olivia was barred from seeing her film in some theaters. Here is a clip of the two young actors doing a television interview after the London premiere:

The stars have remained friends but they did not have a big romance as some magazines reported. Leonard, who is 62-years-old, quit his film career in the 1970s and lives in London with his second wife. He has two daughters.
Olivia is 61-years-old and continues to act in film and television roles. Her personal life included a marriage to Dean Martin’s son, Dean Paul Martin, in 1971. After having one son in 1973, they divorced in 1978. She also has one son by her second husband, Japanese singer Akira Fuse, and a daughter by her current husband, rock musician David Glen Eisley. Their daughter, India, is also an actor. Olivia and her family live in Los Angeles.

On Valentine’s Day in 2008, local film buff and special event producer, Marc Huestis, created a tribute to this classic film and interviewed Olivia at San Francisco’s majestic Castro Theatre. Here is a clip from that interview:

The Castro Theatre is one of the City’s original movie palaces. It was built in 1922 with more than 1,400 seats. It was refurbished in 2001 and now hosts a variety of films and special events. You can check out the schedule at:

Best wishes,