February 1, 2011

Chapter 20 of My Autoblography

That title is not only not true, but it has nothing to do with this next chapter. Yet if you knew how long and hard I obsess over the best way to communicate with you in this relatively new (to me) form… you would… well… what?  You see, I’ve been used to instant gratification, laughs, applause, flowers thrown at my feet… maybe not…maybe that was Moira Shearer or Margot Fonteyn. Nevertheless, I’ve developed a disease, I call it memoirise. Everything I do or see reminds me of something I did or saw…I am driving my mind crazy, but here goes--grab a bag of Cape Cod Potato Chips (they are really good). Read on!

In the last chapter… I was describing the Kennedy Center Honors from my point of view. I had just seen it on television, and I was so happy for Jerry Herman. We grew up together and started a show biz collaboration in our very early teens. This picture is from a show he wrote and I starred in at the Jersey City “Y,” called Step Right Up.  It was a very long time ago, late '40s, I think.

Phyllis Newman and Jerry Herman

Then I wanted to show you what a zippy, packed weekend it was in Washington… when your hubs is so honored, and you and your daughter get to sing “Make Someone Happy” onstage and for the millions of viewers… good stuff… happy days, happy nights… I’ve told you I throw out nothing and how happy I was to find some of the memorabilia in a Capezio shoe box? And why do I keep asking completely boring rhetorical questions of you… well, that’s how we roll, as too many people are saying now.

Invitations to the Kennedy Center Honors events
Click here to view a large scan of these invitations.

Amanda Green, President George H.W. Bush, and First Lady Barbara Bush

Just a few more “then and now” things. The eminent director Arthur Penn died recently. (I’m sure you know all his groundbreaking movies, including Bonnie and Clyde. Look him up and marvel at his work...) We had an unusual shared experience. He was one of the directors on Sidney Lumet’s show “100 Centre Street.”  I was lucky enough to play Alan Arkin’s wife on this brilliant New York television show.

Phyllis Newman and Alan Arkin

On the dreaded day of 9/11, we were already shooting in Queens when the tragedy started. As we all remember, Manhattan was closed off. Sidney called us all together and asked us to do whatever we chose, some might want to try getting out, and so on. We voted to stay and work as long as we could.  While we were shooting an intimate scene at the dinner table with Alan, me, and Arthur directing, in the next room, a TV was showing the unimaginable.  That was a real “I’ll never forget where I was when…” day.

And now, gentle readers, before you turn into an angry mob… I leave you with a picture of Willie Nelson, the night he was honored… it has nothing to do with nothing, except that I have and continue to have a one-way, nutso crush on him.  I was going to cut my husband out of the picture, so it would look like we were alone, but my children would kill me.

OK, I’m not a very nice person. But Willie would love me if me if he could. 

Adolph Green, Willie Nelson, and Phyllis Newman
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you are as delicious in the blogosphere arena as I remember you on Carson and that is pretty delicious....what a joy for these gods of mine to become so very human....thank you
6:43am 08/04/2011
Aunt Tish
I loved seeing these photos. I miss you!
5:01am 03/04/2011
Martin Gage