- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2006

Mia Farrow knows a little something about the travails of the rich and famous.

The waiflike actress, now 61, endured very public relationships — and breakups — with two of the entertainment world’s biggest names, Frank Sinatra and Woody Allen.

So she must seethe over the saturation media coverage of today’s tabloid obsessions like TomKat, Brangelina and Vaughniston, right?

Not exactly.

“I don’t know if it’s any different [from the past],” Miss Farrow says during a phone chat to promote “The Omen,” the just-released remake of the 1976 horror classic.

She recalls sifting through boxes of memorabilia attached to her late mother, screen actress Maureen O’Sullivan (of “Tarzan” fame) and finding a treasure trove of intrusive fan magazines from that era. And her godmother, gossip goddess Louella Parsons, wielded significant power from her Hearst newspaper throne.

“That’s how important it was in those days,” Miss Farrow says of the gossip game.

The actress’s new film isn’t drawing much chatter, beyond its opening this week.

She plays Mrs. Baylock, the nanny who keeps a watchful eye on demonic Damien.

Miss Farrow isn’t nearly as ominous as the original Mrs. Baylock, but the actress says that’s one reason why the remake improves on the source.

“Who’s going to hire a scary nanny these days?” she asks, alluding to Billie Whitelaw’s unsettling visage in the 1976 film.

The new “Omen” casts against Miss Farrow’s physical type, but the supernatural isn’t unfamiliar territory. Her signature role remains the cursed young mother from Roman Polanski’s 1968 horror masterpiece, “Rosemary’s Baby.”

She understands the genre’s allure, as well as its modern implications.

“It’s a human component, the capacity for evil,” says Miss Farrow, whose answers are interrupted by a dainty stammer. “This intrigues us. The enemy is us.”

She’ll see the results of real, live evil up close this weekend when she travels to Sudan to visit survivors of the Darfur atrocities.

“This is Rwanda in slow motion,” she says.

That Miss Farrow is in a position to use her celebrity to draw notice to such travesties is, as she puts it, a matter of luck.

When it came to the roles she took earlier in her career, she says, “I took the best of what was around when I could work. I didn’t really strategize.”

Her greatest stroke of luck, artistically, came when she paired up with Mr. Allen both on-screen and off. The neurotic auteur wrote some of Miss Farrow’s greatest roles, from the busty gun moll in “Broadway Danny Rose” to lonely Cecilia in “The Purple Rose of Cairo.”

That relationship ended disastrously when Mr. Allen began dating Miss Farrow’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn.

Miss Farrow has moved on since the breakup, continuing to spend time with her large brood of biological and adopted children.

She recently took several of her teenaged children to see “The Omen,” and while reviews have been mixed at best, she says, “It knocked their socks off.”

“My stock went way, way up at home,” she says.


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