Class and Prestige

Class and Prestige

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Omega Ambassador George Clooney is the thinking man’s style icon who balances art house acting with money-spinning blockbusters By Henrik Kerrn-Jespersen

Everything seems to be humming along nicely for George Clooney, the perfect balance of elegance with a groomed silver mane, open-neck shirt and custom-made suit. Currently he is posing barefoot in his moccasins, discreetly sporting an Omega Seamaster while deftly balancing his afternoon aperitif.

“To me Omega has always been the symbol of class and prestige, so I consider it as an honour to be part of the Omega family, and it’s as if I always have been. My uncle gave me an Omega in 1969; it was my first watch. That was the year that the Apollo 11 crew took Omega with them when they walked on the Moon. I couldn’t have been prouder,” says Clooney, who recently became an international Omega Ambassador worldwide with the exception of the United States and Canada.

Indeed, Clooney is in the same class as Omega, a symbol of class and prestige. Not surprisingly, when a Hollywood director decides to do a remake of North By Northwest, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic thriller with a cliff-hanger ending on Mount Rushmore, who of Hollywood’s suave A-listers would be best suited as Hitchcock’s gentleman hero so impeccably played by Gary Grant in North By Northwest and later equally gallantly portrayed by James Stewart in Vertigo?

How would it have been to be the kind of character who would never leave his cufflinks lying around on the bedside table even with evildoers in hot pursuit? Actors like Grant and Stewart possessed the kind of cultured stoicism that was unique to their generation. With their charm and commanding presence they not only swept Hollywood heroines off their feet, they captivated audiences worldwide as well.

Of course, an actor like Naomi Watts seems an obvious choice for the female lead role, not least due to her appearance in the upcoming remake of Hitchcock’s The Birds, scheduled for release in July 2009. Only one actor can ostensibly match the iconic stature and well groomed looks of the likes of Grant and Stewart. That man is George Timothy Clooney.

Born in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1961, at 46 George Clooney is a more sought-after silver screen actor than ever. This season’s movie releases alone include Ocean’s Thirteen, in which he plays rat-pack kingpin Danny Ocean, and the law flick Michael Gilroy, in which he stars as the eponymous corporate in-house fixer.

Balancing blockbusters with independent art house movies, Clooney enjoys equal red carpet attention in Cannes and LA, although his preferred getaway is his Lake Como villa in Italy. Clooney’s striking good looks and integrity are undoubtedly are the generous gifts of his childhood. His mother Nina Warren Clooney enjoyed success as a pageant beauty queen and his father Nick Clooney was a news anchor and reporter.

As today’s mature Hollywood heartthrob, George Clooney makes the likes of Hollywood honchos Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, Tom Cruise and Matt Damon seem like little more than pre-teen beach bums. Apart from his acting career, George is also an outspoken activist on environmental and other world issues, not least Darfur.

George Clooney’s breakthrough was as paediatrician Doug Ross in the first five seasons of the CBS television hospital drama ER, 1994-99. Surgically avoiding the mainstream tag – with Hollywood blockbusters Batman and Robin in 1997 and Spy Kids in 2001 as supersonic exceptions – the true mark of Clooney’s silver screen success are his movies-with-a-mission that he co-produces with Hollywood’s new vogue of politically inspired directors such as the Coen brothers and Steven Soderbergh. The Oscar nominated Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), which he directed himself, and his stellar performance in Stephen Gagham’s geopolitical thriller Syriana for which he received an Academy Award, are other highlights of an illustrious career.


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A few years ago Clooney reputedly bet co-stars Nicole Kidman and Michelle Pfeiffer 10,000 dollars that he would still be single and childfree when he hit 40. When the big day came they lost and both stars duly paid up. George sent the money back and bet them double-or-nothing that he wouldn’t be married or have kids by the time he turns 50, either.

A four-year marriage with actress Talia Balsam, which ended in divorce in 1993, may be part of the reason for his unfettered marital status. Hailed as one of Hollywood’s 10 most desirable and attractive bachelors, his nuptial availability only adds lustre to his movie star mystique.

Nonetheless, Clooney has enjoyed romantic liaisons with actress Lisa Snowdon and more recently with actress Renee Zeilweger, who is set to co-star with Clooney in the upcoming romantic football drama Leatherheads. Clooney co-wrote the screenplay with Steven Soderbergh, and this kind of brilliant cinematic multi-tasking is ultimately what proves Clooney’s renaissance talent, masterly exhibited with Good Night, and Good Luck.

The Travel Issue No. 1, 2007