Oscar Actors: Harrison, Rex

Audrey Hepburn's choice as presenter of the 1965 Best Actor Oscar turned out to be ironic. Hepburn had not been nominated for “My Fair Lady,” which stirred a scandal, but her co-star Rex Harrison was, and his chances to win were excellent.

“It was a strange evening,” Harrison later reported. “I knew that if I won the Award I would be on the stage with two Fair Ladies. Julie Andrews had been nominated (for “Mary Poppins”); Audrey Hepburn had not, but she was in Hollywood to present the awards to the winners.

“It all happened: I won it and Julie won it and things were fairly hectic backstage, trying to keep the factions in the right place for the photographs and interviews. Recalled Harrison: “The public relations people had a difficult time, but they are well equipped to for this.”

“I have to thank two fair ladies,” Harrison said in his speech. Hugged by Audrey Hepburn, the TV camera caught a close-up of Julie Andrews extremely upset.

In the following year, when Harrison presented the Best Actress Award, another interesting incident happened. The two major contestants were both named Julie, and both were English: Julie Christie for “Darling” and Julie Andrews for “The Sound of Music.” Harrison ripped open the envelope and said with lips pursed, “Julie,” then paused for another second and said, “Christie.”

Christie, who had been trying to sit calmly, ran to the stage crying, clutching to her bosom the Oscar and Harrison at the same time.