The Sandpiper, a 1965 MGM film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, gave Kara the opportunity to create a redwood sculpture in the likeness of Ms. Taylor. The story, directed by Vincente Minnelli and written and produced by Martin Ransohoff, reflects the romance of the rugged Big Sur coast.
The series of black and white photos by accomplished photographer Walter Chappell shows the work in progress on location in Big Sur. Ms.Taylor never sat for Kara, but a life-cast plaster mask was provided. A dear friend of the sculptor, jazz singer Stella Brooks, with whom Kara said shared a similar body type to the actress, posed.
The finished piece was shipped to Paris aboard the Queen Mary. Mr Ransohoff had booked it a first class stateroom with a Burns detective guard to accompany it. Producer Joe Levine had booked Carroll Baker and entourage first class cabins on the same passage to publicize his film. The statue ended up making the crossing in the cargo hold. The official reason had less to do with the competing films’ promotions than with the weight of the sculpture (712 pounds) and the shipping code prohibition of cargo in first class accommodations.
The lifesize nude statue was unveiled with much fanfare in a Paris art gallery by Richard Burton. Press releases from this period complete this series.