Beverly D’Angelo is a celebrity, sort of, but not someone you’d pick out of a crowd. To prove it, she strode leather-clad through the audience at a Rolling Stones concert in L.A. recently, inquiring, “Excuse me, have you ever heard of an actress called Beverly D’Angelo? I’m trying to find her.” Two people in 20 said they knew the name, but neither recognized her.
For an actress with nine movies to her credit, including Every Which Way But Loose, Hair and Coal Miner’s Daughter, such anonymity could be devastating. D’Angelo, however, says she is blessed because it protects her from typecasting. “Every role I’ve done has been different—the character or the look,” she says.
True to form, if not to shape, Beverly ballooned 20 pounds to play a tramp with a lust for men and pancakes in this summer’s Honky Tonk Freeway. Then she stopped disguising herself in character roles and, dumping the flab, signed on as the waitress who bears Burt Reynolds’ child in Paternity. The movie may do nothing to enhance Burt’s reputation, but D’Angelo was delighted with the chance to play opposite him. Impatient when he hesitated in casting the part, she tried to pressure him. “Burt told me I was being hostile,” she recalls. “I thought I’d completely blown it.” Later the same day he called to offer her the role. “He said he saw a lot of himself in me,” she says. She was disappointed when their friendship cooled after nine months of shooting. “He said it wouldn’t,” she reports, “but it did.”
Not to worry. Beverly, 29, is enjoying domestic bliss with Lorenzo Salviati, 24, an Italian duke who is also a USC business student. They secretly married during the Labor Day weekend. “It didn’t occur to us to tell anyone,” says Beverly. “It was something we did for ourselves.” The weekend started as a luxurious lark. The couple and some friends chartered a yacht for a cruise that she describes as “the Poseidon Adventure. We accidentally filled the gas tank with water,” says Beverly. “Then there was a storm, and we got marooned between Catalina and Marina del Rey. It was a nightmare.” By the time they were rescued, however, the conversation somehow had turned to marriage, and the couple flew to a chapel in Las Vegas.
Beverly met her new husband a year ago during a succession of parties where “you carry a spare cocktail dress and get home a day later.” She and Lorenzo left together and have been inseparable ever since. Says the bridegroom, son of wealthy and titled parents: “I love Beverly because she sees life with the eyes of a child but lives it with the heart of a woman.” Currently she does so in a newly rented 12-room house in Pacific Palisades, which she shares with Lorenzo and her juitarist brother, Jeff, 30.
The daughter of a broadcasting executive in Columbus, Ohio, Beverly rebelled early and often. A runaway at 16, she later worked as a cartoon animator in Hollywood, a singer with the Ronnie Hawkins Band in Canada and an actress in a musical comedy repertory company. In 1976 she made her Broadway debut in the musical flop Rockabye Hamlet and then moved on to films. “It’s only in the last two years that I have had an ideal relationship with my parents,” she says.
She’s also stopped burning her candle at both ends, she claims, concentrating on yoga, painting, traveling and cooking pasta for a group of Lorenzo’s Italian friends whom she has dubbed “the Vatican Council.” Professionally, Beverly is focusing now on her singing career, managed by Dolly Parton’s mentor, Sandy Gallin. She is also considering a feature film on the life of country singer Patsy Cline, whom she played in Coal Miner’s Daughter, and a Broadway musical about the late actress Jean Seberg.
On a personal level, her goals are simple. Her marriage and her house overlooking the beach, she says, are her escape “from the Hollywood competition stuff that makes everybody lose their mind and burn out.” In an ideal world, her isolation would be even more dramatic, she says: “I would like to run off to the jungle with Lorenzo and live like an animal.”