No, I wasn’t a topless dancer on 42nd St or anywhere else for that matter. ;]
But, I thought it would be fun to switch it out and tell y’all some things you don’t know about me. Well, some might, but most of you don’t.
I’m the daughter of a shoe salesman
This is my dad’s shoe store in Evansville, Indiana. I used to love to go there and hangout. And, even when I was very young would help with age-appropriate tasks. Some of those shoes look very current, but this was taken in the early 60s probably.
In my childhood…
I was a competitive swimmer
between the ages of 8-11 and swam one mile every morning– in the summer.
At the age of 10, I did Royal Canadian Air Force exercises
in my bedroom because I wanted to be a model and in those days, that’s what models did. BTW, I have a famous model-cousin who was married to a very famous actor. (no names)
I played the flute for several years.
I did gymnastics and was a cheerleader.
And, I used to spend hours doing handsprings in the living room. Thud.
but shortly after this photo was taken, I went to visit my big sis, Holly in Cali and there, was bitten by the ballet bug. Once bitten, one is smitten and it’s for life!
I worked really hard… Really, really hard, but I loved every minute of it!
Below was my first gig at age 16 with the Wisconsin Ballet Company. (now defunct), We were doing an excerpt from The Nutcracker. I was one of three clowns. Imagine that! haha!
Our audience? Those are some of the inmates at Waupun State prison. It was a good place to get my toe shoes wet. When we did the show back home, I was also a snowflake.
A few months later and now just 17 we moved up quite a bit in the world.
Yes, that’s the legendary Rudolph Nureyev and we were taking our bows for the ballet Les Sylphides. It was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life! really cool!
In case you can’t tell, that’s me under the great N’s armpit.
Although I loved classical ballet and still do, bad knees, weak ankles and by the time I was nearly 21 realized it wasn’t going to work out as a career. No problem. I also tried my hand at singing and acting and most other types of dancing.
Here I am in my first musical— West Side Story— at a theater in the round in Milwaukee.
At first, I was an understudy, but when one of the actresses flaked out, the director gave me her part! Yes, I was a verrrrry fair Puerto Rican. It was a lot of fun! But man, check out the nasty dude behind me.
At age 20, I looked like a cross between Tori Spelling and Monica Lewinsky.
A year or two later…after losing some of that baby fat in my face, my pretty sister Holly and I on vacay. We bear little resemblance to each other— except in this one photo.
Early in 1979, I was driving on the freeway in Milwaukee when I somehow got sucked into a 16 wheeler.
Yes, that’s right sucked into a massive truck. My car spun around a few times and it was then that I knew that I was a goner, but miraculously didn’t move an inch. I was okay [well, physically] but my little Toyota wasn’t.
So… I took the insurance $ and packed my bags… and my step dad flew my mom and me to New York City! They stayed for four days and then literally dropped me off in the middle of Greenwich village.
I quickly found my feet and just five weeks later, landed my first gig— on a cruise ship!
Can I tell you how excited I was? This was our New York, New York number. hahahaha! I recall having a horrendous audition, however they hired me anyway, because I was a good physical match for the girl next to me. She seemed to live on pina coladas.
and yes… the costumes are tacky!
Verrrry tacky. It’s like a British Royal Guard in a Bearskin meets Carmen Miranda in a bra and thong. Bizarre!
Now, here’s where it starts to get pretty interesting.
A few months later, after a scary gig in South America that took a bad turn,(That’s another story!) I took another gig in Cairo. Yes, Cairo, Egypt. It was at the brand new Holiday Inn in Giza, right by the pyramids! The hotel did burn to the ground a few years later… However, the Holiday Inn in Egypt was more like a Hilton in the US, but still; it’s a third world country and FILTHY!
My mommie came to visit me! This look is my “don’t listen to that idiot trying to rip you off, Mom!”
She took tons of photos of the performances.
Yes, yes I know! Calm down! I realize that the photo is out of focus. ;]
I guess all of that ballet training came in handy anyhow! haha! Believe me, the Dr. Seuss monstrosity on my head was very hard to walk around in. Make no mistake. I didn’t just parade around wearing practically nothing but a Truffula tree on my head.
There was a lot of real heart-pumpin’ dancin’ and costumes I could move in. I had ELEVEN costume changes in a 50-minute floor show!
Here’s the Footloose number. The theme of this show was Hollywood. For the first three months, we did a Broadway-themed show. Seven nights a week; no days off. Well, okay, there were two. Two nights off.
One was when there was a black-out and the second one was the day my whole body and head blew up in the worst case of hives in recorded history. The elephant man looked like Cary Grant compared to me.
Can you guess? It’s Gone With the Wind! Yes, I know. Gag awful costumes! Most of them really were. But you can see how proud my partner was showing me off to my mom. Poor guy was diagnosed with a serious disease shortly thereafter. He had to go home early as did my bulimic room-mate who had hepatitis. Yellow wasn’t her color. Sorry if all that is TMI, but hey, that’s show biz!
Here’s the whole troupe entertaining ourselves after a show with an Egyptian-style party.
After six months in a country where taxis ignore traffic lights and drive “by sound,” I was sure I was going to die there.
But, as you can see, I didn’t. After returning stateside, I decompressed in Wisconsin for a few weeks before returning to New York. I decided to stay pretty close to home after that experience.
So, I waited on tables and took other odd jobs in Manhattan for seven years… and then, one blessed day, I got my SAG (Screen Actor’s Guild) card.
That opened up an entirely new world of possibility for me..
I did get some very small parts in commercials and films. The first film was The Cotton Club.
Seriously, you MUST watch this! It’s the trailer for The Cotton Club dubbed in German. OMG! It’s an absolute pisher! And YES, I’m in it! You can see me for 3 seconds at 1:33 sitting in a chair “reading.” Francis Ford Coppola directed me to sit there and “read.”
On the first day of shooting, I walked in and Diane Lane who looked to be all of 12, was getting her nails done.
One of the assistant directors came up to me all excited and said, “We want to cut your hair and we’ll give you a featured part.” Not more $, just more screen time. Like an idiot, I said, “okay.” Well, they didn’t cut it. They butchered it into some 1920s weirdtastic gangster’s moll bob. How dumb of me!
And even dumber, I went out and had new head shots taken the following month ’cause I was auditioning for commercials and I needed some new pics.
Oh dear. I look like a nerdy version of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. Not exactly the look for a young P&G (proctor & gamble) “pretty/slight character” Mom.; more like a stoned nutcase on a day pass from Bellvue. Still I stuck the hair behind my ears and managed to book a bunch of commercials because the casting directors liked my “Lysol” look. lol
Ahhh… that’s better. The following summer, hair grown-out and appropriately hi-lighted. The makeup done professionally, this time. And, all prepped out with my Peter-Pan collared camera-ready-plaid-blouse and cardigan sweater from Benetton. (of course.) I’m incredibly proud of being a walking cliche of the eighties! BTW, those acronyms for those who don’t know are the acting unions that I joined for film, TV and stage respectively. The number belonged to my answering service. Remember those?
So, what happened to my brilliant acting/dancing/singing career?
After a brief stint selling art in SoHo, I gave it all up in 1988 and went back to college for three years to study interior design. And well, we all know how that ended up!
Do I ever do any performing these days?
Rarely. But on occasion if someone asks me to do something I’ve been in a few things over the years.
Here I am in 1999 in a production of the opera, The Elixir of Love. The dude selling the elixir needed a ditsy side-kick and a friend of mine, already in the show, immediately thought of me for the part.
What else is there to know about me?
The favorite food that I would be really upset if I could never eat again is popcorn.
However, if I only had weeks or months to live, I would eat nothing but Italian puff pastry squares filled with vanilla custard.
I had one like this two summers ago in Gloucester, MA and it was the most heavenly thing I ever put in my mouth. I forgot to write down the name of the bakery and to my dismay discovered that there are about 4 bakeries in Gloucester. Whatever. It’s definitely the way to go. And BTW, muuuuuuuch better than the North End in Boston.
Well, just a glimpse into my past and present. I hope you enjoyed that and now– back to our regularly scheduled program.
So, I’ll be reporting from there and will continue my post about gray paint, but that might be after I get back.