Sands Style, US edition (Bethlehem)

Winter 2016


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Page 73 of 115

A n irresistible wave of anticipation courses through the Opaline Theatre at The Venetian Las Vegas. At its source is one man: a living legend, a true Hollywood star, one of the greatest actors of his generation – and tonight he is here to entertain fans and film connoisseurs with stories of his life and his work on stage and screen. The house lights go down and the ovation begins; cue the highlight reel. There he is playing Frank Slade, the blind and ornery retired lieutenant colonel. And Sonny Wortzik, the Vietnam veteran who robs a bank in hopes of securing funds for his boyfriend's sex-change operation. And Arthur Kirkland, the morally challenged lawyer fed up with a corrupt legal system. And Frank Serpico, the temperamental cop fed up with a corrupt law-enforcement system. And Tony Montana, the Cuban drug lord. And, of course, the don, Michael Corleone. When the montage ends, the lights dim again, and everyone in the audience rises to their feet, spontaneously. Now cue the living legend. Dressed in a loose-fitting black suit, white shirt tails hanging out from underneath his vest, hair mussed in trademark fashion, Alfred James Pacino hits his mark center stage. We know Pacino as the gied, incredibly versatile actor who has eight Oscar nominations – and one win – to his credit, along with the aforementioned films: Scent of a Woman (the Oscar win), Dog Day Afternoon, …And Justice for All, Serpico, Scarface and The Godfather respectively. But there is much that even the most devoted Pacino fan doesn't know. And on this October night at The Venetian Las Vegas, the iconic actor famous as much for his strong desire for privacy as for his intense performances on stage and screen is about to let down his guard for several hundred admirers. Sitting in one of o oversize leather chairs – the other occupied by interviewer Ernie Manouse – Pacino reveals his first little-known secret of the evening. "I played baseball when I was little, and I wanted to be a real baseball player," he says. "But I just was nowhere near good enough. What I did do on the field was go aer the ball when it was hit to me, but I'd go a little too much – I would act like I got it even when I didn't." For a young boy growing up poor in the Bronx, New York, the apartment of his maternal grandparents – his mother and father split up when he was two years old – would become a kind of theater. Pacino would occasionally visit the cinema with his mother, Rose. Later, when Rose was away at work and he was looking for ways to entertain himself – "We didn't have television!" – Pacino acted out parts and recited lines from the films he had seen the previous day. Although he acted at home and in some elementary- 72 W I N T E R 2 016 / 17 |

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