Following on from previous posts of glamorous women hanging out with the sphinxes on London’s Embankment (here and here), here’s a fabulous publicity shot of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, taken to promote the movie Indiscreet (1958). Courtesy of @JohnJJohnson
Tag Archives: sphinx
What is it with sphinxes and beautiful women? Some while back I posted a photo of Sophia Loren sat in front of one of the sphinxes on London’s Embankment (here) and yesterday I find the picture above. It’s the very same sphinx but this time the lady is Nena von Schlebrügge, an American fashion model in the 1950s and 1960s, and mother of actress Uma Thurman. The shot was taken by celebrated English fashion and portrait photographer Norman Parkinson in 1963.
It’s just one of those odd combinations: Louis Armstrong and the Sphinx. But then why not? Everybody who can visits Egypt at some point in their lives, and everyone who visits Egypt visits the Pyramids. Except this was no casual holiday. Armstrong was in Cairo as a player in the Cold War. He was one of a number of Jazz Ambassadors sent out by the US State Department around Africa and the Middle East to counter Soviet propaganda, a programme that also included Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. In 1960-61, Armstrong and the All Stars performed in 27 cities in Africa, including Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan and, as pictured above, Egypt. For more on America’s jazz diplomacy, click here.
I don’t know what the background to this image is, I just chanced on it today while doing some internet research. The only information on the site where I found the photo was that it was taken possibly in 1954. That’s the same year Two Nights with Cleopatra was released with Loren as Cleo, and the year after her first big break, playing the title role in Aida. Hence, probably, the sphinx. What I can add is the location – that’s one of the pair of sphinxes that flank the obelisk on London’s Thames Embankment. I should know, I pass it a couple of times a week heading to or from Waterloo station. So what, you might ask, is the relevance to the grand hotels of Egypt. None at all. It’s just Sophia Loren and a sphinx. Isn’t that reason enough?