Hugh Grant: Liz Hurley was snubbed by designers before safety-pin dress moment

Actor Hugh Grant, star of 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', arrives for the charity premiere of the film with his girlfriend, ac
Actor Hugh Grant, star of 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', arrives for the charity premiere of the film with his girlfriend, actress Elizabeth Hurley, at the Odeon Cinema in London's Leicester Square. Miss Hurley wears a revealing Versace evening dress. *27/4/99 Hollywood superstar Julia Roberts jetted into Britain to the premiere of her latest movie, Notting Hill, but was upstaged by co-star Hugh Grant's girlfriend Liz Hurley and her dazzling dress. Model Hurley, the face of Estee Lauder, repeated the same trick she pulled off five years ago for the launch of Four Weddings And A Funeral when she wore a stunning Versace frock. For Notting Hill, the follow up to Four Weddings, she turned heads in a sheer and shimmering backless outfit, which was split from ankle to thigh and was again Versace.

Liz Hurley wore her famous Versace safety-pin dress after being snubbed by other top designers, Hugh Grant has revealed.

The actress, 54, shot into the limelight after wearing a gown, apparently held together with gold safety pins, while accompanying then-boyfriend Grant to the Four Weddings And A Funeral premiere in 1994.

Grant, 59, told a new BBC documentary that when Hurley had called up fashion houses asking if she could borrow something to wear for the red carpet, they said that they had not heard of her.

He said: “There was a big premiere and someone told us – we knew nothing then, me and Elizabeth, about how you sort of cope with those things – someone said: ‘Oh you can borrow things from top designers.’

Liz Hurley arriving for the premiere of Four Weddings And A Funeral
Liz Hurley arriving for the premiere of Four Weddings And A Funeral (Michael Stephens/PA)

“Poor Elizabeth rang some top designers and they all said: ‘No, who are you?’ or ‘No, we’re not lending you anything.’

“Then Versace said: ‘Yes, we’ll lend you a dress’, and they just sent one round which is that one with the safety pins.

“So she shoved it on and I raised my eyebrows a fraction and we set off.”

Speaking in the programme about his screen career, Grant also revealed how his 80-year old godfather mistook Julia Roberts for a cloakroom attendant at the Notting Hill premiere.

“It had a huge premiere in Leicester Square,” he said.

“It was my godfather, who lives by himself in Winchester, who came and first of all, gave his coat to Julia Roberts at the party afterwards thinking she was a coat girl, which was stupid because he’d just been watching her in a film.

“Then when she explained very nicely that she was the girl in the film he chatted to her and fell in love with her and asked me afterwards if he could have her phone number to invite her out. He was then about 80.”

Julia Roberts at the Notting Hill world premiere
Julia Roberts at the Notting Hill world premiere (Peter Jordan/PA)

Friends and colleagues, including scriptwriter Richard Curtis, Sandra Bullock and Colin Firth, also appear in the BBC Two documentary.

Curtis said that Grant was nearly not cast in Four Weddings And A Funeral.

“We had auditioned about 60 people for the leading role and none of them were funny,” he said.

“I had such a prejudice against him because he was so posh and so handsome, and I thought that someone that handsome wouldn’t be having that much trouble with girls.”

Hugh Grant: A Life On Screen airs at 9pm on BBC Two on December 23. The show is also repeated at 10pm on Boxing Day and will be on BBC iPlayer after its first broadcast.

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