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Weekend Magazine, 18-24 April 1984

HOW Ringo has changed me by Barbara Bach

WHY I'M HAPPY WITH MY CAVEMAN RINGO Barbara Bach has (temporarily) swapped acting for the simpler pleasures of being Mrs. Starr

WHAT makes a beautiful girl like Barbara Bach turn her back on the glamour and excitement of being a top movie star?
     The answer is simple. To quote the words of a famous hit by The beatles, All You Need IS Love.
     The 36-year-old American actress has found that in the arms of former-Beatle Ringo Starr and they live a life of contentment in the Berkshire countryside.
     The girl who became a household name when she appeared in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, is devoted to her family. But she hasn't ruled out work for good.
     Barbara says: "No work has been offered to me that is worth two or three months seperation from my family."
     Barbara and Ringo's home is a 17th-century mansion set in 79 acres of land. It has 26 rooms.
     Following the assasination of John Lennon the couple were surrounded by bodyguards who accompanied them wherever they went. Now the minders have been replaced by two ferocious alsations and visitors have to notify the household of their time of arrival.
     Barbara has two children, Francesca, 14, and Gianni, ninem from her 10-year marriage to Italian producer, Augusto Gregorini.
     "I married him when I was 18. he was 10 years older than me and he was from a wonderful family," she says.
     "Living in another country for 10 years, speaking their language, I almost had a completely different identity.
     "In Italy they were way behind in divorce laws and abortion. They were new ideas and the people were fighting for them - and losing - which was incredible. Even though I didn't vote in Italy, I believe I physically helped the campaigners with my presence."

Raised in an all-girls convent school, Barbara is from Queens, a New York suburb, and is the daughter of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother.
     She left school at 16 and went into modelling, but it was her cover picture for the magazine, Seventeen that led her along the path to top modelling assignments all over Europe. "In Italy I was casually asked on the street if I would do something for television.
     "One of those things they say happens, and it did. Franco Rossi, an Italian director, saw me doing that and then asked me if I would do The Odyssey.
     "I'd done plenty of TV commercials, so I knew the difference between appearing in front of a still camera and one used for motion pictures. But the only kind of theatrical training I'd had was at an actor's studio at night for six months where I saw what they did briefly, but I was actually too busy working then to continue.
     "I was again modelling when another director called me and said he'd seen Franco Rossi's film and that physically I'd be perfect for something he was doing.
     "Fortunately two young Italians, straight from the theatre, were in it and the director was also a drama teacher. I picked up many things from these people."
     She smiles when it's suggested that her looks led to her career.
     "I never felt I was a fantastic beauty and I did not want to be known as a sex symbol. I had different films offered to me where I was to play attractive, sexy people, but I was not interested."
     However, she admits that her high cheekbones, as well as her accent, helped to get her the part of Anya in the Bond film, and as Marizza, the Yugoslav partisan, in Force Ten from Navarone.
     "This was a true story and Marizza was not attractive, wearing very little make-up as well as a uniform," Barbara explains.
     When asked if she was ever interested in making pornographic films, Barbara shook her head.
     "I think they're boring. I can't understand why they still churn them out.
     "I believe there are some top actresses who started that way. I'm not going to judge them, but I'm sure plenty of them do it painfully.
     "I wanted to be able to do things that I was proud of, work with people that I admire. That's the kind of drive I had. I think we're all relitively ambitious in the sense that we enjoy this work."
     It was when she was making Caveman on location in Mexico with Ringo that their love scenes for the camera spilled over into real life.

During the two years they were livjng together before their marriage the relationship was regarded as somewhat tempestuous.
     But there is no doubt the couple have found contentment in their present home.
     "I already owned this place and my three children were growing up only 45 minutes drive away," Ringo recalls. "We decided the sensible thing was to move here permanently."
     Ringo was married to his childhood sweetheart Maureem, a former hairdresser, for 10 years and had lived with Nancy Andrews, a publicity agent, for six.
     The move, two years ago, was expensive from the tax point of view. Ringo had been a resident of Monte Carlo, a tax haven favoured by many top stars.
     "I miss the sunshine in America," Barbara admits, "but you don't need bodyguards here."
     Ringo adds: "I always felt safe in America, but if the President himself can't be properly protected, what chance do other people have?
     "I've always loved living in England. I only went abroad because I'd got divorced and there was nothing to keep me here. So I went wandering. Now Barbara loves it too. We grow our own vegetables. It's terrific."
     While Ringo works on albums in his own recording studio that he has set up at home, Barbara loves riding her horse, being with the family and generally fitting into their routine.
     "I don't want to go back to full-time working," she says. I've learned to love just living with the family."


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