Meredith Berkman
November 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

When they jetted to England to film Hamlet, stars Mel Gibson and Glenn Close took their kids with them for the seven-week shoot. But director Franco Zeffirelli left his family behind in California — seven Jack Russell terriers barred by quarantine laws from entering Great Britain. ”I would call [the dogs] every evening and talk to them,” Zeffirelli says. ”I have a loudspeaker at home that connects to my telephone.” To further demonstrate his devotion, the director sent his dirty laundry back home each week with orders that the pups ”smell my shirts to let them know I was alive.”

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