‘Ingrid Bergman and I fancied each other’ confesses co-star 20 years her junior | Films | Entertainment

December 23, 2023
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Hollywood Golden Age star Ingrid Bergman was in her middle age and hadn’t been on a Tinseltown soundstage for two decades when cast in 1969’s Cactus Flower.

The film adaptation of the Broadway show had the Casablanca actress playing Lauren Bacall’s part of Stephanie Dickinson, the dentist’s spinster assistant.

Rick Lenz, who portrayed Igor Sullivan in the production, was cast opposite Bergman in the movie version and both started falling for each other.

Speaking previously with Express.co.uk, he told us: “Even though she was twenty years older than I was, I had a crush on her—I knew it was silly.

“She was a beautiful movie star, already a legend. I was lucky to have my role.”

Lenz continued: “I played the same intimate scene with her that I had with Lauren Bacall on stage. We danced in the scene. My character, Igor, says something about her being a sexy lady. She says, ‘An old sexy lady.’ I say, ‘Good, let’s run away and live on your Social Security.’

“Lauren Bacall had liked me in the role, but Ingrid liked me personally. You can tell these things. Sometimes. We talked for hours during the times Walter Matthau and Goldie Hawn were doing their scenes and while we were learning our dance number for the final nightclub sequence. I guess I thought it was probably kind of a mother thing she felt toward me, but I was extremely flattered that she was interested in me.”

Rick continued: “Then I read a little and found out that she’d had relationships with several of her leading men. It was obvious she wasn’t attracted to Walter Matthau in that way. And then I began to feel that maybe it was more than just a mother thing. She spent more of her off-camera time with me than with anyone else on the film. There was no doubt about it; Ingrid Bergman had a crush on me.

“After we wrapped, the next time I saw her was at the New York premiere several months later. I came down the aisle, spotted her and grinned, “Hi, Ingrid.” She looked into my eyes, searching, then said, “Hi, Nick.”



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