Remembering Alena Prime

by Philip Berk February 15, 2020
Peter Falk with Alena Prime in 1979

Peter Falk with Alena Prime in 1979

HFPA

For most members, Alena Prime was that diminutive presence at meetings, the widow of Marcel Dalio, the French actor best remembered for his roles in Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game and Grand Illusion, two of the greatest movies of all time. He was forced into exile by the Nazis and became a fixture of Hollywood films playing supporting roles most notably in Casablanca.

Alena was a French journalist working in Hollywood when she married Dalio in 1981. She joined the Hollywood Foreign Press in 1979 and for 40 years she wrote for publications in France and later Tahiti. Although small in stature she was a formidable giant at meetings. If she believed a wrong needed to be righted she stood before the members and eloquently pleaded her case.

In the years I was president and after, she demanded to be heard. Not only before the membership. Our current president Lorenzo Soria can attest to the letters she sent to the office, eloquently expressing her disappointment, occasionally her anger, and many times her passionate support.

She was a firebrand to the end, working on a novel which she hoped would get published.

She passed away recently and it is fitting we remember her.

Rest in peace Madeleine, her given name.