September 4, 2015

It's a hit!

Hollywood goes to cricket. You won't find this on TMZ

© Getty Images

Long before the IPL, cricket was favoured by glamorous movie stars. Here's the debonair Cary Grant posing in a cricket sweater. Grant was a member of the Hollywood Cricket Club, founded by actor and Test cricketer Sir Charles Aubrey Smith, and was involved in a charity match to raise funds for British Commandos at the end of World War II.

Terry O'Neill / © Getty Images

Laurence Olivier was another British actor who turned out for the Hollywood Cricket Club. In 1936, when he checked into the Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard, Olivier found a note from Aubrey Smith waiting for him at the hotel: "There will be net practice tomorrow at 4PM. I trust I shall see you there." He did, after Olivier borrowed a pair of boots from Boris Karloff, also an English actor, best known for his roles in the Frankenstein films. In this photo, Olivier plays cricket between shooting scenes for A Bridge Too Far (1977) in Holland.

Terry O'Neill / © Getty Images

A collage of Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney (in tiny trunks) playing cricket on the beach in St Tropez in the 1967 Stanley Donen film Two for the Road. Hepburn, in one shot, chases Finney around with a makeshift bat and sends him splashing into the water. In a still in this collage you can see Donen (dressed in white, third row) wield the bat as well.

Terry O'Neill / © Getty Images

And here's a better look at Hepburn, favouring the bottom hand, with an outside leg stump guard, and a rather large front-foot stride.

Frank Martin / © Getty Images

While shooting for Road to Hong Kong, British actress Joan Collins introduces Bob Hope and Bing Crosby to cricket. Crosby looks like he's got the hang of it - suggesting some cross-seam action with the ball, and helpfully pointing out to Hope that his middle stump is disarranged. Collins, though, looks best dressed to play a match - in whites and with spikes.

© PA Photos

Michael Caine takes a break on the sets of the 1985 film Water in St Lucia. Gary Oldman, who acted with Caine in the Dark Knight Rises, talks about Caine's acting methods: "It's, 'Take one'. He got it. 'Take two', got it. 'Take three', got it. He's just on the money… He doesn't f*** around because he wants to get back to cricket."

© PA Photos

Julie Christie (in hat, facing camera) and Dirk Bogarde (to her right) filmed a scene of their 1965 movie Darling at Lord's. Cricket fans will appreciate the irony of the scene, shot on a sunny day in September, requiring artificial rain - which ended up soaking the continuity sheets. Bogarde, his stand-in Arnold Schulkes, and Ann Skinner (in glasses), the continuity supervisor, ended up getting on to the Lord's turf to dry out the pages, weighing them down with pegs. See that photo here.

Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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