WHY ARE THEY FAMOUS? NO 10: BROOKE SHIELDS - Life and Style - The Independent

WHY ARE THEY FAMOUS? NO 10: BROOKE SHIELDS

Main Claim: Unearthly infantile beauty with a soft porn patina. Brooke Shields was the ultimate symbol of American hypocrisy - soft porn starlet and born again virgin, exploited and guarded by her puritanical Rottweiler of a mother. Baby Brooke modelled in ads. Pre-pubescent Brooke was photographed in a bath in nothing on but her make-up. She has been amazingly famous for amazingly little ever since.

Appearance: Brooke was a child with a woman's face, its precocious, astonishing beauty only matched by Elizabeth Taylor's in National Velvet. Brooke grew into a conventionally gorgeous adult with outsized eyebrows and a bit of a weight problem.

Love Match: Rumour has it that Brooke is about to tie the knot with bullet-headed one-time Wimbledon winner Andre Agassi. They both suffered a hothouse childhood; they courted by fax; they have been publicly joined at the hip for a couple of years. Yet they make a curiously asexual couple. Their scrubbed and salubrious courtship seems somewhat spooky. But let us not be churlish. Andre is said to be carrying the marriage papers, just in case the mood hits.

Highbrow: Brooke is as famous for her untamed eyebrows as her acting abilities. She spawned a legion of scowling early Eighties models who gave tips on how to bush up brows with mascara wands. Brooke's luxuriant facial hair even put the thunder-browed Hemingways in the shade.

Baby Woman: Louis Malle's Seventies flick Pretty Baby provided a lifetime of photo captions. Pubescent Brooke played a child prostitute: rouged, nymphic, and thoroughly disturbing. Aged 31 and verging on six foot, Brooke is still haunted by the tag.

Mother Love: Teri Shields makes Joan Crawford look like a sensible mother. She allowed the infamous bath shots, guarded Brooke like the stage mother from hell, drank a lot, and finally had her managerial services disposed of by Brooke. Pretty baby bad grown up.

Consorts: None of Brooke's "boyfriends" was quite convincing. Was Brooke a virgin? In love with her mother? We don't know. We'll probably never know. She was linked with Michael Jackson, Liam Neeson, and some Australian she posed with in Hello! Now she has her ball boy, and God's in his place.

Fame Prospects: After years of posing prettily and rumpling her eyebrows (Endless Love, Blue Lagoon, Wanda Nevada), Brooke has unexpectedly become an actress. She played Rizzo in Grease on Broadway, had a cameo in Friends, and has now secured her own US sitcom role. Cheering at Flushing Meadow provides more photo opportunities. As the Shirley Temple of the Seventies, she was simply too famous to fade away. Now she is famous for being famous, and even quite famous.

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