The day was Nov. 8, 1956 and Jean Seberg returned to Marshalltown after landing an acting role in the film "Saint Joan." She received a key to the city from Marshalltown Mayor Leonard Grimes in a big public event.
Fast forward 56 years later and Grimes was again at a public event honoring Seberg with the opening of the second annual Jean Seberg International Film Festival Thursday at the Orpheum Theater. In a nod to the past, Grimes gave a key to the city to Mary Ann Seberg Shuey, Jean's sister, during opening ceremonies.
"It is just amazing that after all these years Jean is still revered here," Shuey said.
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Former Marshalltown Mayor Leonard Grimes presents Mary Ann Seberg Shuey with the key to the city Thursday during the opening of the Jean Seberg International Film Festival at the Orpheum Theater. The four-day event runs through midday Sunday at the theater. Also pictured on stage are current Mayor Tommy Thompson, right, and Rep. Mark Smith, D-Marshalltown.
The four-day festival kicked off with a red carpet ceremony and a screening of Seberg's first film, "Saint Joan," followed by an after party as guests looked through this year's Seberg exhibit.
Grimes said he doesn't remember that much specifically about that fateful day in 1956, but he does remember the town's pride in Seberg.
"They thought it was great," Grimes said. "I can't believe it's (been) 56 years."
Seberg was born in Marshalltown in 1938 and died in Paris in 1979, after being featured in dozens of films. Her legacy still lives on, and she remains very popular in Europe.
For the second straight year, Kurt Seberg is attending the festival that honors his sister.
"I think it's very nice that we can be here and honor her memory," Kurt Seberg said. "I had a really nice time last year."
Current Mayor Tommy Thompson joined Grimes on stage for the key ceremony. He believes the festival is a great event for the town.
"It emphasizes the legacy that Jean has contributed to this community," Thompson said. "It's very important to recognize her."
The festival continues through midday Sunday at the Orpheum with nine different films, symposiums, Seberg exhibits and photographs. For event tickets visit the theater box office.