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Zeffirelli saw the play, asked Olivia to be his Juliet and made her a star almost overnight."It all happened so fast, I never had the chance to adapt to the fame.FOR thousands of adoring fans, Olivia Hussey will always be a 16-year-old beauty in a tight bodice who aches with desire in iambic pentameter.Thirty-five years after Franco Zeffirelli chose her to star in his film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, she still receives letters from breathless boys who have seen the film at school and fallen hopelessly in love with her. With her soulful eyes and dark, silky hair framing a perfectly oval face, she is ravishing in the part.
Has time left such a mark on the fair Olivia that she can now play an old nun more convincingly than a young lover?In her teens, she was one of the most promising actresses in the world and was offered big parts opposite John Wayne, Richard Burton and other major stars, all of which she turned down.Instead, her big films have been few and far between, and have included such forgettable pictures as Death on the Nile, a remake of Lost Horizon and, more recently, an appearance as Norman Bates's mother in Psycho IV. "You have to understand that I grew up with the whole world watching.Before she died, I asked for her blessing to portray her and she gave it.I also asked the Pope's blessing and received it."I had forgotten that she has a big following among priests and nuns.