I'm for hire!
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Noting the end of the actors’ strike, I’m using this archival Friday for a little recap from my acting career. People who don’t know me can skip over personal posts as you stick with me to pay attention to how we are handling ourselves in the world.
All I ever wanted to be was an actress. I was in plays all the time in a high school with a very active drama department, and I went on to be a drama major in college.
My future husband, who was a senior at Syracuse University when I was a freshman, got his first look at me when he came to a play to see Teal Ames, who became a soap opera superstar. She was out that night and I was her understudy. He wrote what Life Magazine called the best varsity show of the year -- Peter Falk had stumbled over to the drama department from the graduate school of political science to see what was going on and ended up with his first acting gig in White Bucks and Tales. My now-ex went on to become a superstar TV comedy writer and then a producer and director. You can google Bill Persky.
I got married to this first serious boyfriend when I graduated – Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude – and I became Mrs. Him as my primary vocation. However, I did get successful making TV commercials that only took me away from home for a day at a time, and I had guest roles on situation comedies that took a manageable few days to shoot. Also, if you ever catch Divorce American Style, watch for me bobbing in and out a few times as Dick van Dyke’s secretary.
Here are two sitcom episodes and a reel of commercials not edited to make it slick but is just one after another in raw form. It’s from when TV was black and white and commercials often were a slow-going minute long. The only time I got a sense of what it would be like to be a star was when I did the Johnson and Johnson floor wax commercial where I needed sunglasses because the floor was so shiny. The production company was casting in New York, where they were shooting, but when they couldn’t find anyone there they came to Hollywood and auditioned every actress willing to be in a commercial (the stars weren’t doing them yet). After three callbacks, I got the job and they brought me to New York on a first-class flight with a high-end hotel accommodation. That I got the part over so many others coast to coast was something special, but, as you’ll see, so was the job. I was bejeweled, draped in white crepe somewhat sexily posed on a shiny floor, when I was a housewife or a comedienne in every other commercial I made. Go figure. I’m not a working SAG member now, but if you send any juicy parts my way I can reactivate!
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