Terry O’Neill Reflects on an Iconic Hollywood Photo

The Beverly Hills Hotel, that year's Best Actress winner and a pile of print newspapers

Remember the time the Oscars were hosted by Richard Pryor, Jane Fonda, Ellen Burstyn and Warren Beatty? Of course you don’t.

Back in those days, the Academy liked to enlist multiple MCs and people still tended to read print newspapers. On the morning of Tuesday March 27, 1977, Best Actress winner Faye Dunaway (Network) posed for a famous photo, poolside at another LA institution, surrounded by that morning’s newspapers. From a recent New York magazine conversation with Terry O’Neill, the photographer who took the picture:

”Funny enough, I was photographing her on an assignment for People magazine at the time — they always did a piece on the girl they think is going to win. Anyway, they picked Dunaway, and while we were doing the pictures, I said to her, “I’ve been to the Oscars before. If you win, they always take the same pictures of you receiving the statue in the press room.”

“I knew that wasn’t the real story — the real story is the next day, when they realize suddenly they’re getting all these offers to do films, their value goes from $100,000 to $10 million, and they’re just sort of stunned. I wanted to capture that, so I told her my idea, and she was sport enough to do it early in the morning at the Beverly Hills Hotel. She got up at 6 a.m., and we got that great picture. It’s become one of the most Hollywood pictures of all time.”

O’Neill and Dunaway married in 1983, the year of Shirley MacLaine/Terms of Endearment and parted in 1987, the year of Cher/Moonstruck. Read the rest of New York contributor Erica Schwiegershausen’s Q&A with O’Neill here.

[Photo of Dunaway at Vanity Fair Oscar party February 24, 2013: Joe Seer/Shutterstock.com]