Many of us dream of fame and fortune because we believe that these things are what make life better. But there are people out there who have experienced all these and decided it wasn’t crucial for a fulfilling life. One of them is gorgeous Julie Christie, a stunningly beautiful and talented actress who left Hollywood in her prime.
As she rose to stardom, she decided she had it enough and turned to a more quiet life, and her decision surprised many, but she never regretted it, not once.
Christie, who is considered a British actress was in fact born in India as her father owned a tea plantation there. But as she turned six, she was sent to a boarding school in Britain. She was expelled from several schools and later said, “It would be shocking for you to know how little it took to get expelled in those days.
“Once, it was because I had my school dress tucked in my knickers and was accused of enticing village boys.”
Christie studied in Paris, France, before she returned to England where she attended London’s Central School for Drama. She was just 16 when she made her stage debut as a member of the Frinton Repertory of Essex after which the promising talent began touring with the Royal Shakespeare Company, a love of hers that she would return to once again after leaving Hollywood.
In 1961, Christie had her screen debut in the sci-fi BBC series A for Andromeda. This series helped her attract the attention of renowned directors and producers who saw in her a future star. Then, in 1963, she had her big breakthrough with John Schlesinger’s film Billy Liar. What followed was yet another iconic role, that of the promiscuous model Diana Scott in Darling.
She started making a name for herself, and soon after, another huge hit was on her way. Christie was cast in the iconic 1965 romance Doctor Zhivago, starring alongside Omar Sharif.
However, despite the fame and the status she enjoyed, Christie didn’t find much enjoyment in being a celebrity.
“I didn’t use to want to be a great star. But I must confess it’s becoming quite attractive to me now. However, I’m afraid I might become unbearable. In fact, now I am sometimes downright rude to people,” Julie said.
“I’m beginning to get spoiled. I’m starting to expect things. When people start predicting big things for you, then you really get terribly spoiled.”
She continued: ” I don’t feel I am a celebrity. No one ever recognizes me wherever I go and I’m just as glad. Success is a trap and you get caught up in it. I’m an incredibly selfish and insecure person.”
Her career reached new heights with the films that followed, including Far from the Madding Crowd, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Shampoo, and Heaven Can Wait. In some of those productions, Julie appeared alongside her then-boyfriend Warren Beatty, who was widely known as a womanizer.
Many tried convincing Christie to stay away from him because of his long history with women, but she refused to do so. Beatty dated many Hollywood divas, among which Jane Fonda, Carly Simon, Goldie Hawn, Joni Mitchell, Jackie Onassis, and Madonna.
Director John Schlesinger urged her to leave him and said of him that he “gets through women like a businessman through a dozen oysters.”
The two split eventually but remained very close friends.
“He gave me a political perspective, which I am very grateful for. I loved the way, say, that he would go to baseball matches and stand up in the interval and talk about getting rid of guns,” Christie said of Beatty after the breakup.
“He would be this little tiny figure in this big baseball stadium, and I would be looking down at him, I thought he was wonderfully courageous for doing that.”
“When she and her husband come to Los Angeles, they stay in our guest house. We’re very close and she’s a remarkable person,” Beatty told People in 2016.
In 1977, Christie left her glamorous life behind and returned to England where she lived with a family and their children as she didn’t have a family on her own.
Then, in 1979, she engaged in a relationship with journalist Duncan Campbell with whom she tied the knot.
Years after moving to England, Christie returned to Hollywood and played in Away From Her, portraying an Alzheimer’s patient.
The actress is now 82 and she is as stunning as ever. She admitted undergoing cosmetic surgery and says she has “no connection at all” with her young self. “That person has gone,” she added.
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