Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Paula Prentiss Is on Her Way

Cleveland Press December 10, 1965

In an era of non-contract performers and independent producers, the career of film actress Paula Prentiss is almost an anachronism.

She's under contract to MGM. It's a position she shares with three others -- Yvette Mimieux. George Peppard and George Hamilton. MGM was once the giant, with almost 150 performers under contract.

Miss Prentiss is in Cleveland to promote her latest film, Howard Hawks' ''Man's Favorite Sport" with Rock Hudson, for which she was lent out by her parent company.

"I'm lucky in several ways," she said. "First of all to be a contract player at all. Secondly, to be cast in a major role immediately and be kept in circulation."

THE MAJOR PART was a role in "Where the Boys Are", her first film. She was signed for it a week after ending a year of graduate work in drama at Northwestern.

Since then she has made "The Honeymoon Machine," "Bachelor in Paradise," "The Horizontal Lieutenant," and "Follow the Boys." Complete but unreleased is "The World of Henry Orient" with Peter Sellers.

The Texas-born actress started out as a pre-med student at Randolph-Macon Women's college in Lynchburg, Va., but switched to Northwestern during her junior year after a summer course there in theater arts convinced her to change her plans. She received her bachelor's degree in 1959.

THERE WAS summer stock, graduate study and then discovery by a talent scout.

Last year she returned to the stage briefly for a part in Shakespeare's "As You Like It" in New York's Central Park.

Some reviewers have called her a young Rosalind Russell.

"I don't know what my style is. I'll have to make more pictures before I do.

"As for stage work, I'll try to do more summer work. There's not much chance for a part while I'm under contract."

The contract is for eight years, has five to run. Her home is in New York. She has been married a little more than two years to actor-director Richard Benjamin, her college sweetheart at Northwestern.

SHE'S A TALL, lanky girl -- 5 ft., 9 in., 122 pounds. She was born Paula Regaso, but producer Joe Pasternak changed that to Prentiss. She's trying, unsuccessfully, to stop smoking after a 10 day bout with nicotine poisoning.

During the ride from the airport yesterday our conversation was interrupted as she emptied four boxes of Chiclets (one at a time) into her mouth and lighted two cigarettes.

Between chewing, smoking and discussing her career the talk turned to food -- such food as antipasto, salami, fresh Italian sausage, carnoli and other Italian pastry. Everybody joined in.

With Miss Regaso, publicist Carl Ferrarra, limousine driver Anthony Mazzarella and this writer doing the talking, what kind of food do you think would be under discussion -- wiener schnitzel?