Candice Bergen gets her own photo exhibition

Monday, November 3rd 2003, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) _ Candice Bergen's first photography exhibition will feature a candid shot of Arnold Schwarzenegger rubbing himself down with baby oil.

The "Murphy Brown" actress snapped an array of celebrities, from Charlie Chaplin to Paul Newman, while working as a photographer for Esquire, Life and New York magazines early in her career.

More than 25 pictures Bergen shot between 1971 and 1976, including photo essays of Muhammad Ali, the Ku Klux Klan and Black Panther Huey P. Newton, will go on display from Nov. 6 to Jan. 4, 2004, at the George Eastman House, the world's oldest museum of photography.

One is a 1976 portrait of Schwarzenegger, the newly elected California governor, in a bodybuilder pose. Another shows the former Mr. Universe rubbing oil on his arm as he gets ready for Bergen's photo shoot at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

"He was adorable, amazingly confident and cocky," Bergen writes in a caption. "Funny and flirtatious. The piece ran on the `Today' show. I chose Joe Cocker's `You Are So Beautiful' to run under the photo montage. Today I would probably choose 'Hail to the Chief.'"

Each of Bergen's subjects is accompanied by commentary. She photographed Chaplin in 1972 on his return to the United States to receive an honorary Academy Award. Chaplain, a British citizen who lived in California, was an outspoken liberal and supporter of the wartime alliance with the Soviet Union. He came under harsh attack in the McCarthy era and when he went to England in the early 1950s to film "Limelight," his entry permit was revoked and he lived the remainder of his life in Switzerland.

"Chaplin was terribly nervous about his return and overwhelmed by the fuss and frenzy he caused," Bergen wrote. "He was totally childlike in his enthusiasm. 'Oooh, all this for me.' The `Little Genius.' He was utterly charming and unpretentious, unguarded and emotional."

Bergen launched her exhibition during a guest appearance at the recent third annual High Falls Film Festival, which celebrates the work of women in front of, and behind, the camera.

The festival's managing director, Ruth Cowing, came up with the idea of showcasing Bergen's talents as both actress and photographer.

"I first became aware of Bergen's work when I was a photo student," Cowing said. "I distinctly remember being impressed not only with her talent but with how serious she was about her work. Here was someone who could have easily rested on her laurels _ her film work, her father's fame, her beauty _ and instead chose to become very accomplished in several fields."

Bergen, 57, the daughter of legendary ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, won five Emmy Awards for her "Murphy Brown" television series. She has starred in more than 30 films, including "Gandhi," "Rich and Famous," "The Group" and "Carnal Knowledge."

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