Campus & Community

Zeta-Jones misses parade

3 min read

But dazzling star catches the Pot after a bit of tolerable cruelty

Hasty Pudding’s Woman of the Year entraps hearts with class act. (Staff photo Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office)

Asked during her press conference if her husband Michael Douglas, Hasty Pudding Man of the Year 1992, had given her any advice about how to comport herself during her own ceremonial ordeal, Catherine Zeta-Jones, the 2005 Woman of the Year, replied: “‘Whatever they do, just give it right back to them, honey.’” And give it back to them she did. The vivacious, raven-tressed star of “The Haunting,” “Traffic,” and “Chicago” handled the challenges presented to her by Pudding officers Mathew Ferrante ’05 and Sam Gale Rosen ’06 with an earthy panache worthy of Elena Montero, the character she played in her breakthrough movie “The Mask of Zorro.”

Zeta-Jones kissed by Hasty
The trademark buss from cross-dressing Harvard students took place on the steps of the Hasty Pudding building when the parade was canceled because of – not traffic – weather. (Staff photo Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office)

Asked if she would be willing to undergo a series of tests to determine whether she was worthy of winning the award, she said, “I’d rather do that in private,” and led Rosen and Ferrante offstage. She returned a few moments later, trailed by the two young men, who looked a bit dazed and disheveled. “Whoo!” Zeta-Jones exclaimed. “I knew you’d be good, but not that good.”

Zeta-Jones was then subjected to a lie detector test, which she failed when she said that her husband was the sexiest man ever to win the Pudding Pot.

Zeta-Jones gestures forbiddingly toward her Hasty
Onstage, the actress turns the table on her roasters, displaying a poise that seems absent in her callow hosts, Mathew Ferrante ’05 (center), president of the theatricals, and Sam Gale Rosen ’06, vice president of the cast. (Staff photo Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard News Office)

“The answer, of course, is James Cagney,” said Ferrante. Cagney won the award in 1982.

Zeta-Jones next had to charm a man in a pink poodle costume, a reference to the film “Intolerable Cruelty,” in which her character’s poodle played a key role in her relationship with George Clooney. Zeta-Jones was told that even though it was a French poodle, she had to speak to him in Welsh, “the real language of love.” The Welsh-born Zeta-Jones fulfilled the request with admirable fluency. “Thank you,” said the poodle in a Pepé Le Pew-like accent. “You are a dog’s best friend.”

Zeta-Jones inside the
Catherine Zeta-Jones takes a look around the venerable Hasty Pudding building as she waits to be introduced to the crowd filling the theater to see the Woman of the Year. (Staff photo Justin Ide/Harvard News Office)

Zeta-Jones next sang a parody of a song from “Chicago,” fought a duel with a masked Zorro (which caused Rosen and Ferrante inexplicably to drop their trousers), and finally navigated through a high-tech laser security grid (a webbed red string on a hockey goal).

Accepting the pot, Zeta-Jones thanked her hosts, then gave them back a final saucy jab: “I’m happy to be here at Harvard. It’s good to know you’re not that bright, and that you don’t have one ounce of class. I’m glad that I’ve been able to sprinkle a little bit of it throughout your Yard.”

Beautiful Catherine Zeta-Jones is given the Hasty Pudding Kiss of the Year by the cross-dressing Ferrante (left) and Rosen. (Staff photo Peter DiCampo/Harvard News Office)