The engaging photographs, beginning on page 20 of this issue, of celebrities playing golf, were taken by Staff Photographer Tony Triolo, who was considered a natural for the assignment.
Triolo is, by this time, somewhat of a celebrity in his own right. Around the office he is peaceable enough, playing cribbage, having one of his 11 pairs of Gucci loafers shined, or talking to his friends. It is his habit, upon seeing a friend, to approach him cautiously. He will reach him, put a hand on his shoulder and look over his own shoulder once or twice, nervously. Then, when one expects to hear the latest secret, scandal or whatever, Tony will look around once more and put his mouth to your ear. "How are you?" he whispers. "What's happening?"
The answer is nothing compared to what has probably been happening to Tony. Consider:
Gloria Connors, Jimmy Connors' mother, was edgily pacing around Wimbledon's Centre Court. Jimmy was to play a tough semifinal, and she had misplaced her rosary beads. "Here, have mine," Tony said, reaching into his pocket. He was on hand to cover the match which, needless to say, Jimmy won.
Or the British Broadcasting type who arrived late at Indy, just before the 500. He would have to tape an interview immediately to meet a deadline, and in the early morning he was scouring the Speedway Motel, where many of the drivers stay during race week. He finally spotted a large fellow, dressed only in boxer shorts, standing in a doorway. "Are you a driver?" asked the BBC man. "Can I interview you?"
"Come in, old chap," said Triolo graciously, and permitted himself to be interviewed for 15 minutes about his "Kneecap Special." The interview was subsequently sent out over BBC and, presumably, many an English fan is still wondering about the fate of the Kneecap racing team.
Triolo looks like a mixture of a Roman senator, a Mafia capo and a very large pussycat with dueling scars, the latter sustained 18 years ago in an automobile accident at Sebring. Because of the sum of these parts, perhaps, what Tony wants, Tony usually gets. When he glowers at hotel room clerks, nonexistent rooms spring into being, and surly waiters have no more chance than the young Austrian soldier who was dozing peacefully in a military staff car during the 1976 Winter Olympics at Innsbruck. Suddenly an imposing figure loomed outside his window. "I want to buy your parking sticker," Triolo announced. The soldier was shocked. Austrian soldiers are honest. But the sticker changed hands.
Triolo was sneakier with the Russian hockey star on the ice in Montreal. Tony approached him, camera in hand. "Please pose for some pictures," he said. "Nyet," said the Russian. Triolo looked at him evenly. "Your lips tell me nyet nyet" he said, "but there's da da in your eyes." The hockey star meekly complied.
Triolo has talked himself into operating rooms and into Cuba, and has never had to talk himself out of anything. Of all our photographers, it can most truly be said of him that one of his pictures is worth—or at least good for—a thousand words.