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Johansson leads irreverent Harvard parade

Braving freezing weather, actress Scarlett Johansson led a parade of students including young men dressed in drag to receive Harvard University’s irreverent Hasty Pudding Theatricals award Thursday.
/ Source: Reuters

Braving freezing weather, actress Scarlett Johansson led a parade of students including young men dressed in drag to receive Harvard University’s irreverent Hasty Pudding Theatricals award Thursday.

“Everything I ever dreamed of when I was a little girl is happening to me right now,” Johansson joked as two flamboyantly dressed male members of the theatrical troupe kissed her while she rode down Massachusetts Avenue in a Bentley.

The troupe named Johansson, who appeared in films including “Lost in Translation” and Woody Allen’s “Match Point,” its Woman of the Year for her “lasting and impressive achievement to the world of entertainment.”

Actor Ben Stiller, the troupe’s pick for Man of the Year, will be honored next week.

Both honorees receive a golden pudding pot, a tradition that dates to 1795 when 21 Harvard students pledged that each member of their new club would, in alphabetical order, provide ”a pot of hasty pudding” for every meeting.

The annual rite by the amateur acting group, America’s oldest, has for 56 years honored -- and embarrassed -- such stars as Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Katharine Hepburn, Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, Richard Dreyfuss and Alan Alda.

While hundreds of Harvard University students and locals turned out to see the 22-year-old starlet and the annual spectacle, some of the troupe’s dozen members in the parade admitted their skimpy costumes were ill-suited to the freezing conditions.

“I had second thoughts about these heels,” said Brian Polk, 19, of San Diego, who was dressed in a floor-length gown, wig and high-heeled shoes. “I can’t even dance in them, let alone walk on ice.”

Johansson told reporters she admired the actors for going on with the show.

“I wouldn’t be caught dead in a bra and panties on a day like this,” she said. “They were really suffering for their craft.”

The actress, who did not attend college, noted that her mother still pesters her about seeking higher education. “This is the closest I’ll ever get to a Harvard degree, for sure,” she said as she hoisted her pudding pot.