Oscar always brings out the glamourous in Hollywood. But this year it wasn’t Robert Redford or Meryl Streep who created the big stir outside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The award for Most Outrageous Entrance and Most Spectacularly Outlandish Appearance by an Artist From Another Medium, Not To Mention Planet, had to go to rock’s reigning raja, the purple maestro himself, Prince Rogers Nelson.
Dropping by to pick up his first Academy Award—Best Original Song Score for last summer’s Purple Rain—the man from Minneapolis arrived in a purple limo escorted by some 20 uniformed security men on motorcycles and proceeded to upstage actress Barbara Carrera, whose words to fans were drowned out by screams heralding Prince. Army Archerd, Daily Variety columnist and official greeter at the Oscars for 23 years, said he’d “never seen anything like it.”
Though wreathed in a hooded and sequined cape (purple, of course) and wearing high-heeled boots, le petit Prince disappeared from the sight of most fans, surrounded as he was by his entourage. After making his royal way into the auditorium, Prince remained just long enough to accept his award, skipping the traditional visit to the pressroom.
Prince’s custom-made getup was cause for endless comment. “Just once,” said A Passage to India’s Victor Banerjee, “I’d like to get away with looking as purple and crazy in three-inch heels as he did.” Barbara Carrera noted that Prince had “livened up” an otherwise dull evening and that the comings and goings of His Royal Badness reminded her of King Farouk.
Sitting in the third row to one side of Prince, his manager and the Revolution band members(Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin, who accompanied him onstage) was Best Supporting Actor Dr. Haing S. Ngor. What the Cambodian doctor thought of such a Prince-ly display is anyone’s guess. Welcome to America, Doc.