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Tyrone Power and
Linda Christian Wedding
Time magazine, Feb 7, 1949
Nothing like it had been seen in the majestic shadow of the Roman Forum since Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar on the Ides of March. One hundred yards from the post where Caesar fell, divorced* Tyrone Power married a Hollywood starlet named Linda Christian in the Church of Santa Francesca Romana.
Ever since Power got to Italy last summer to play the leading part in 20th Century-Fox's Prince of Foxes , his appearance in Rome's fashionable, tree-lined Via Veneto had drawn swarms of gasping, pop-eyed Roman girls. His presence also drew some of the Roman aristocracy, anxious to get what it could from free-spending 20th Century-Fox. Before he knew it, handsome Tyrone found himself living in a house turned over to him by gregarious Countess Dorothy di Frasson, nee Dorothy Taylor, of Manhattan, Hollywood and Mexico. Reported rental: $1,000 a month.*Power had been baptized and brought up as a member of the Roman Catholic
Tact & Courtesy. The wedding festivities last week were opened by Countess di Frasso with a dinner and dance at the Whip Club, which steamed along until 7 in the morning. The guests, as one of them put it, were "not only the cream of Roman society, but the cream of the cream." There was Vittoria Caetani, Dowager Duchess of Sermoneta, ex-lady in waiting to the ex-Queen of Italy. Her latest book Sparkle Distant Worlds, is quite sad: "Now we began hearing of the first horrors of war, Poland invaded . . . a British passenger steamer sunk of the Hebrides . . . My last footman was called up and left to join the army." Writing of the day when the Germans took Rome in 1943: ". . . I looked into the courtyard of my old home [Palazzo Colonna]; a shell had struck the wall just over the window of what had been my bedroom as a girl . . . I was told that the porter and the butler had been wounded." On the American occupation of Rome, the Duchess wrote: "I must pay tribute to the tact and courtesy of all Allied officers I met, from those of the highest rank down to the humblest lieutenants . . . not one of them ever made me wince."
For the wedding itself, strict protocol had been laid down. But what was to have been a stately minuet turner into a wild jitterbugging jamboree that will be remembered in Rome for years.
Din & Cries Hours before the wedding, Romans by the thousands began to flock to the church. Unable to enter, they formed a solid, screaming mass from the Colosseum to Piazza Venezia. Invited guests had to push their way through sweating hordes, and became rumpled, bruised and angry. U.S. Ambassador James Clement Dunn nearly lost his coat. One man's finger was broken. Several women fainted.
Tyrone was calm throughout the pushing and hauling that attended his arrival. Thousands of bobby-soxers cried their admiration for Ty il Magnifico. In the crush, one of them left her fur-cuffed sleeve on the running board of Tyrone's car. When Linda arrived half an hour later, the crowds broke through the police lines.
Inside the church, the din and cries were so great that the words of the marriage ceremony could scarcely be heard in the fifth row. Roman oaths flew back & forth between displaced guests and uninvited rabble. The excitement spread to the guests. With sighs of ecstasy, they rose from their seats and pushed out into the aisles. Some of them even struggled with formally clad ushers who tried to push them back. During the ceremony a movie-man, seeking a close-up of the bridge & bridegroom, rudely nudged aside elegant Monsignor William Hemmick, who was officiating.
Power was bitter over what Roman aristocracy and Roman commoners had done to his wedding. But 20th Century-Fox publicity men loved it: they distributed leaflets dubbing the event The Wedding of the Century.
The U.S. was sending more than bread to Italy.
Church which regards his 1939 civil marriage to French Annabella as invalid.