Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - Aug. 5, 2004

Heart throb

Before my sister and her girls returned home to Bolivia, I took Katie and Gaila's daughter Larisa on a special trip to the post office. They wanted to mail letters to British movie actor Orlando Bloom, who played Paris in "Troy," Will Turner in "Pirates of the Caribbean," and elf-character Legolas in the "Lord of the Rings" series - LOTR to die-hard fans.

Each girl wrote a letter and included photos of them wearing the black "I love Orlando" T-shirts they got this summer. We had to buy postage to get the packet to his London address and also International Reply Coupons in case he gets around to returning their photos with his autograph stamped on them.

The girls, both 11, got the idea from a $9.95 magazine devoted entirely to Orlando. The cover of the magazine promised tantalizing bits and pieces of the 27-year-old's life - "Life Story: Orlando Bloom, The Making of a Hollywood Legend."

Among headlines were the following: "His childhood ups and downs." "Share his private vacation photos." "The LOTR Gang: Why They're Still So Tight!" "The Family Secret His Mom Reveals." "100s of Photos! Keepsake Posters and Portraits."

Entertainment "news" shows say Orlando is one of the top "hotties" in film land today. Katie and her cousin also like Elijah Wood, who is Frodo, one of the hobbits in the LOTR series, and Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter, but say they're way down the list compared to Orlando.

I told them I preferred 45-year-old Viggo Mortensen, who is Aragorn in the LOTR.

"Ha, ha, I chose the one who ended up the king," I teased the girls.

"That's true," they said, "but he also ended up getting married, and Legolas was still single at the end of the movie."

The girls' crush on Orlando made me think about my heart throbs when I was their age. Troy Donahue came to mind as did Bobby Sherman, who was one of the brothers in "Here Come the Brides" and Michael Landon, who starred in "Bonanza" and "Little House on the Prairie." My family didn't go to many movies, so television shows were my primary means of getting to know male stars, including singers such as Elvis Presley and the Beatles.

As I got older and started going to more movies, I added Sean Connery, Robert Redford, Omar Sharif and Harrison Ford to my list of hunks. I also like Hector Elizondo, although when I bring him up, Katie always says, "Mom, he's so old!"

Some heart throbs such as Paul Newman are able to span several generations, but most seem to be limited to a particular one. My 94-year-old mother-in-law remembers how Rudolph Valentino took the country by storm in the 1920s after starring in the silent movie, "The Sheik."

"When I was a kid in the early '20s, Tom Mix, who was in a lot of silent cowboy pictures, was popular," she said.

She bought "PhotoPlay," a popular magazine of the time, and wrote to stars to get their photos, receiving replies from some of them. The first talkie she saw was "The Jazz Singer," starring Al Jolson. Donna said he was a good entertainer, but wasn't at all what she would consider a heart throb.

As she got older, Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant joined her list. My Mom liked them as well as Jimmy Stewart.

Art seems somewhat clueless about the whole heart throb idea. When he saw Katie wearing her "I Love Orlando" T-shirt, he asked, "When were you in Orlando?"

"It's a first name, Dad," she answered, rolling her eyes.

"I know that," he replied. "Orlando is the first name and Florida is the second!"

Orlando Bloom fans Larisa and Katie.

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