They were very competitive, especially when it came to having the most glamorous women around. Eugenie, Tina’s sister, who was married to Stavros, was an interesting, wonderful woman. She was crazy about him, but Stavros pushed her too far; she became depressed and started taking pills. That’s what killed her. There were rumors that he had murdered her on their island, Spetsopoula, but in fact I think he tried desperately to revive her—that’s why her body had all these marks on it. Here they were, alone on his island. He must have gone crazy.
Another couple I knew very well was Gianni and Marella Agnelli. He was such a rover. She was always in love with this guy who was difficult to hold, so she would sometimes be resentful of his friends, because she thought they were pushing him to stay out late and misbehave. To me, Gianni and Marella were the best example of why a couple should stick it out. In their later years, they really had a life together; they were the most united couple. The reason is, they had so much in common—their background, education, nationality, many things. That’s the problem with some couples, like Ari and Jackie: They had absolutely nothing in common. Ari and Tina should have stayed together.
Most of these people are now gone, of course. Last year, after Pierre Passebon suggested I do an exhibition of my photos at his gallery in Paris, I was very skeptical. I said, “Pierre, you’re not going to sell one picture.” The day he started hanging them, he sold 20.
Preparing for the show, it was interesting to go through my drawers and rediscover the pictures. One of my favorites is of Garbo hanging from a deck on the Christina. She was one of the most natural, unpretentious people I ever met. She never talked about herself or her career. We used to go out to lunch whenever I came to New York, always the same place, Passy, on the East Side. She would have one vodka, maybe two. With two, she was really good.
After Karl Lagerfeld saw my exhibition, he said something to me that I thought was interesting, “There’s no nostalgia in these photos—just the facts.” And I think that’s true. I don’t feel particularly nostalgic about that period, although I like it better than this one. I just feel that I’m lucky to have lived during that time, and really enjoy it.
“Scatti e Scritti,” an exhibition of photos by Marina Cicogna, opens June 3 at the French Academy in Rome at Villa Medici.