Hollywood Legends IV – Bernard of Hollywood™

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April 11, 2013 – The successful ‘Hollywood Legends’ series is being taken one step further – this fourth set of the series is dedicated to the stars of the 50s and 60s: Brigitte Bardot, Claudia Cardinale, and Gregory Peck in photos by Bernard of Hollywood.

Cook Islands / 5 Ci$ / Silver .925 / 25 g / 38.61 mm / Mintage: 2,500 (each coin).

For the fourth time, Coin Invest Trust has designed a set of coins of legendary Hollywood stars from the photographs of Bernard of Hollywood. The front, identical on all the coins, depicts a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II as the Cook Islands’ official head of state, and also features her name, the name of the issuing country, and the nominal value of 5 dollars.

The backs of the coins are designed in the style consistent with the series. The inscription reads Hollywood Legends, and a small star appears both before and between the words. A perforated 35-mm filmstrip runs along the exergue, and within it, the name of the person to whom the respective coin is dedicated: Brigitte Bardot, Claudia Cardinale, or Gregory Peck. The year of issue, 2013, appears in small lettering above the strip, and a large star containing a stylized camera icon hovers above it. In the centre, a framed photo on a textured background just slightly overlaps all the other elements. In shots taken by the famous Hollywood photographer Bruno Bernard, also known as Bernard of Hollywood, Brigitte Bardot kneels sideways in colour, and a radiant Claudia Cardinale with ample décolletage and a pensive Gregory Peck are portrayed in black and white. The photographer’s signature appears on the bottom edge of each photograph – Bernard of Hollywood.

After Bruno Bernard had discovered Marilyn Monroe, he made a name for himself in the film world and quickly became the photographer of the stars. He received an Oscar in 1984 for his contributions to the film world, the only still photographer thus far to have achieved this honour.

Brigitte Bardot at a cocktail party in 1968. Photo: Michel Bernanau / Wikipedia.

B.B. – the initials alone convey the myth surrounding the Frenchwoman Brigitte Bardot. Following training in ballet, she was an in-demand model during the fifties. However she owes her real breakthrough to the support and encouragement of her husband, director Roger Vadim. No other woman embodied the combination of girlish innocence and aggressive sensuality quite like Bardot, a heady mixture still evident today in her first big film ‘And God Created Woman’ from 1956. Following a brilliant career and a prominent place in the sixties’ jet set, she abruptly ended her film career in 1972 and has since dedicated herself to animal welfare.

Claudia Cardinale as Jill McBain in Leone’s Once upon a Time in the West (1968). Photo: Gawain 78 / Wikipedia.

Claudia Cardinale will be celebrating her 75th birthday on April 15th. Born in Tunisia to Sicilian immigrant parents, by 1957 she had already won her first beauty contest. Along with Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, Cardinale embodied the female face of 1960s Italy. Fellini’s ‘8 1/2,’ Visconti’s ‘The Leopard’ and Edwards’ ‘The Pink Panther’ made her known to a wider audience. Sergio Leone’s ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ from 1968 was one of her greatest successes. She also appeared together with Brigitte Bardot in 1971 in the spaghetti western comedy ‘The Legend of Frenchie King.’

Gregory Peck in Cannes (2002). Photo: Machocarioca / Wikipedia. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/deed.en

Gregory Peck was also born in April, but 2013 marks the tenth anniversary of his death. Born in California to an Irish pharmacist, Peck attended college, sustaining a rowing injury there to which he owed his exemption from military service during the Second World War. This exemption proved a huge advantage at the time, as it meant he faced little male competition in Hollywood. Handsome and about 6 foot 2, he was one of the most sought after actors during the war years. He shot with Hitchcock, Ford and Zinnemann, and was considered the symbol of the upstanding gentleman, bound squarely to his ideals. These qualities were exemplified in his role as lawyer Atticus Finch in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, a performance for which he received his only Oscar. Peck gained considerably more fame for ‘Roman Holiday’, as well as for his signature role as Captain Ahab in ‘Moby Dick.’ During the sixties, Peck campaigned for the rights of African Americans and spoke out against the Vietnam War.

The coins are minted by B.H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt GmbH. Collectors can purchase the issues through specialty dealers.

You can find out more on these coins on the Coin Invest Trust website.