Hollywood paparazzo pioneer says he has no regrets

Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:19pm EST
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By Edith Honan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Hollywood paparazzo famous for being sued by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and getting his teeth knocked out by Marlon Brando is unapologetic about the guerrilla celebrity photography culture he helped pioneer.

But Ron Galella, who at 77 still has an active press pass, says he has little interest in being part of a celebrity photo industry that now values controversy over glamour.

Galella has a new book titled "No Pictures" that shows famous faces like Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger and actors Sean Penn and Elizabeth Taylor shielding themselves from his lens. He says celebrities who act like they do not want to be photographed are hypocrites who secretly adore the attention.

Galella says the paparazzi business has changed since his heyday.

"When I started it was one to one. Me and Jackie. Me and Liz Taylor," he told Reuters in an interview in his New Jersey home, which is decorated with pictures of just about every major celebrity. "I like glamour. I'm a romantic person.

"The photographers today ... they go for bad pictures, cellulite. I think it's a negative thing," he said.

"No Pictures," published this month by powerHouse Books, is Galella's sixth book and it shows how unpopular his technique often made him with some of his subjects. Penn is shown spitting on him and Jagger sticks up his middle finger.

To Galella it was all an act, especially in Onassis' case.   Continued...

<p>Hollywood paparazzo Ron Galella holds a print of his 1971 image of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis taken in New York City, at his home in Montville, New Jersey, November 6, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>