updated 04/06/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 04/06/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Smith was studying art in Paris on the G.I. Bill in 1951 when he traveled to the South of France to meet Picasso (left) and his family in Vallauris.
"Because he was allowed to play, I became a baseball fan—like many of us, I imagine," says Smith of Robinson (giving a batting lesson to his son Jackie Jr. in 1948), who in 1947 became the first African-American to play on a major league team.
"He liked to be photographed," says an amused Smith of entertainer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (celebrating his 61st birthday in the middle of Broadway in 1939). "Many times, he would let us know what he was going to do, so we could cover him."
Eddie "Rochester" Anderson
"He was on all the time," says Smith of Anderson, Jack Benny's famous sidekick and, in 1940 (right), his costar in the movie Buck Benny Rides Again.
Eartha Kitt and Orson Welles
"The twin-ness of them was the charm," said Kitt (with Welles at Bricktop's club in Paris in 1950) in a documentary about the Smiths. "They were like two people working in one."
The heavyweight champ (at the Cotton Club in the '30s) "was a buddy—a wonderful, wonderful person," Smith says. "When we went to the training camp there were always some girls who wanted to go."