The most powerful woman in Hollywood - EOI Castilla y León inglés B2 resuelto

On the morning of 5th September 1932, the Hollywood producer Paul Beern was found dead on the floor of the house he shared with his new wife, the then popular actress Jean Harlow. The housekeeper rang Harlow, one of MGM's most glamorous stars, who was staying with her mother, and her mother. in turn, knew just who to call: not the police, not 311 ambulance. She called Howard Strickling, MGM's head of publicity.
Strickling spoonfed stories to the gossip columnists. When actors were hired at MGM they were immediately sent to Strickling's office, where he would ask, after hearing their life story. 'Are you holding anything back? Is there anything embarrassing in your past that we should know about? If you tell me now. I can make sure anything like that stays out of the press.’ Contractually speaking, the film studios in those days virtually owned the stars who worked for them and stage-managed their lives, and when that wasn't possible, their lives were rewritten with happier endings. Strickling, in the words of his biographer, 'was as likely to arrange a wedding as cover up a death.'
Although film studios no longer own their stars, publicists still wield the power in Hollywood and one of the most powerful is Pat Kingsley. She is feared by the press and revered by her clients. Stories of her techniques are legendary. Believing overexposure to be one of the prime risks of celebrity, she will drastically curb the number of interviews her clients give, she will demand that her stars appear on the cover of magazines or not at all, that they have the right to veto over writers and photographers, that they get copy approval, and often she herself will be present throughout the interview. In short, she will ensure that nothing escapes her control. If she doesn't like what a writer or magazine has done with one of her clients, she is reputed to forbid access to all of her other clients for ever more -- and she represents everyone (or did until recently). In the past 18 months she has been fired by Tom Cruise in favour of his fellow Scientologist sister (resulting in outlandish behaviour that vindicates, to most eyes. Kingsley's conviction in exercising restraint.)
Still, no one who relies on celebrity interviews to keep their circulation up dares to cross Pat Kingsley. If you have ever read an interteriew with say, Al Pacino, or Jodie Foster or, in the past, Nicole Kitdman, Julia Roberts or Tom Cruise, and found it somewhat unrevealing, you have Kingsley to thank. It would he hard to overstate the reach of Kingsley's invisible touch. For instance. many of her clients have come to rely on her opinion so extensively that they ask her advice on scripts they are sent. Another example: the work of Kingsley's company is 30 per cent corporate — they represent big companies like American Express, Reebok, Cadillac, among others, and their aim is to fuse their entertainment contact with their corporate clients. So. for example, their film star clients are driven to the Oscar Awards in Cadillacs; for Tom Cruise's film, Minority Report, Kingsley arranged for it that Cruise would walk into a shopping mall in which the shops and advertisements that were seen all belonged to her corporate clients. Her influence may be subliminal, but that's why it works - on all of us.
When I told one of my Los Angeles friends I was coming to meet Pat Kingsley, she gasped and said: 'Here that's like saying you're coming to meet the Queen.' All this was rather awe-inspiring and with some unease I waited for Kingsley to arrive. She eventually walks into the room. At 73, she has greying ash-blond hair, a well-meaning look in her eye and a leisurely Southern accent that seems in its lilt, conspiratorially sly. Kingsley, of course. plays down her power. She believes that stars can't be manufactured any more and she says that it is all based on the quality of their work, and that is something she is not responsible for. When I suggest that some excellent actors don't get the attention they deserve, meaning that there is more in the publicity aspect than she is letting on, she replies sympathetically, 'That's always been the case and always will be. Some of our best actors still struggle mightily to get work.'

READING COMPREHENSION

Read the following text. For questions 1-5 choose the alternative a, b or c which fits best according to the text.
0. The first person to be informed of Paul Bern’s death was
a) Howard Strickling
b) Jean Harlow
c) Jean Harlow's mother

1. In the 1930s, film studios
a) controlled the public image of film stars
b) made sure that film stars’ lives were made easier.
c) would organise the weddings and funerals of film stars.

2. The reference to Tom Cruise Illustrates that
a) Pat Kingsley is unpopular in Hollywood
b) Pat Kingsley doesn't get enough publicity for her clients.
c) Pat Kingskley’s methods are justified.

3. The secret of Pat Kingsley's success Is that she
a) uses subtle techniques.
b) runs different businesses.
c) controls many companies.

4. At the prospect of meeting Pat Kingsley, the writer feels
a) admiration
b) apprehension
c) excitement

5. The writer is of the opinion that Pat Kingsley
a) al does not take into account how good an actor is.
b) isn't completely honest about the power she holds.
c) underestimates the power of publicity.


 ANSWER KEY

1. A
2. C
3. A
4. B
5. B

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