POST HOLIDAY MORTEM, PATTI SMITH, THE NANNY, THE KENNEDY CENTER HONORS...THEN AND NOW
January 11, 2011

Chapter 19 of My Autoblography

What were you hoping?... for the holidays I mean. No kids are allowed to answer or ponder. I’m talking to moderately sophisticated, moderately grown-up persons.

Who wants to start?

How about you?... the woman of an uncertain age in the mismatched designer clothes with the mismatched streaks in your over-blown-out hair. (Women of a certain age is an overused incorrect cliché to describe wink! wink! an older woman. Well, dump it into the New Year’s trash along with cougar. OK? The older you get, the more uncertain you get, and with all the face changing possibilities, the more uncertain you look.)

“You mean me?  Well, I was hoping that I would find a way of feeling... what?... even remotely jolly?... peaceful... generous... connected... oh yes, connected to almost anything or anyone... a part of something... a substance that would fill up the empty balloon that is now being covered by my body.”

Are you having fun yet? Nah, I’m just putting you on... I was practicing for the lower depths reality contest I’m pitching to Oprah.

Truth to tell (Oh!)... I was laid a bit low (totally unintended dirty pun)... Let’s start over. I had a bug during the entire holiday season... so I was in bed. I read Patti Smith’s book Just Kids... it’s mesmerizing, wonderfully written and brings you into her fascinating world.


But as my temperature rose, my attention span declined and I lay there among fiber bars, unsent Xmas cards, and semi-perused sale catalogues. “The Nanny” re-run marathon shouting out of my TV.... I wanted to live in the Nanny’s house.... and I remembered that I had, in a movie “THE BEAUTICIAN AND THE BEAST,” I played Fran Drescher’s mother.  I wasn’t very good in it.
I looked like hell.  My teeth looked like they were stuffed with chopped liver.  I really liked Fran Drescher... a smart, talented woman.


Fran Drescher and Phyllis Newman

The Kennedy Center Honors gave me a real lift as they always do.... I was so happy for one of my oldest friends and colleagues Jerry Herman... But oh that McCartney.... I lay in bed singing along with “Hey Jude” at the top of my lungs.

And then bango... memory pokes through.



1991....We are met at the Washington airport by a lovely woman who introduces herself, she will be taking care of us throughout the weekend. A big limo, one of many, is waiting for us with GREEN and Kennedy Center Honors on a big printed card in the window. I give you all these details which are beyond old hat for everyone now... since every award or unmarried man or woman or housewife or anything that’s not even really reality... pulls up in that fashion. But then, oh my children, it was very glamy to all of us... because the pot at the end of the rainbow was not a weekend in Cabo, BUT.... a coveted artistic honor and part of the great Kennedy Legacy.  To be continued...


Front Row: Robert Shaw, Betty Comden, First Lady Barbara Bush, Adolph Green, Harold Nicholas, Fayard Nicholas, and Roy Acuff
Back Row: President George H.W. Bush and Gregory Peck
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5 comments
I saw you in 'Picnic' and 'Let's Rock' I've alwayed remembered you. I saw you on 'The Tonight Show' and other appearances.
8:35pm 01/26/2011
cindy
I thought you were so funny in "The Beautician and the Beast"!
So did my teenaged nephew, who STILL loves to quote the exchange between your character and Fran's about her pet chicken:

Fran: "Ma, you fed the chicken CHICKEN? This is like Silence of the Chickens"!

You: "Why should I cook special for him?"
11:13am 01/25/2011
Fal
First time reading. It's fun. You left off just as you were about to get into the limo. Yes, I want more...
11:32pm 01/14/2011
Jose
Think of you often. I enjoy reading your writing. It is playful,truthful,open,humorous with much heart.
Hope you are feeling better.
5:18pm 01/14/2011
Marjorie Lipari aka Mudra
Can't be finished yet! What a tease! Enjoyable as ever. Hope you are feeling better

Matt
2:37pm 01/12/2011
Matt Lentz