Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Good actors

I’m doing my Friday question post a day early this week because tomorrow I want to do a Valentine’s Day related post (which happens to also be my birthday – thanks in advance for the presents).

Anonymous asks this after Tuesday’s post about Christian Bale:

Who are some of the stars that you have worked with who WEREN'T monsters? The ones filled with grace and dignity? Would love to see that list.

I’ve been incredibly blessed. It’s a long long list. And it’s not complete. I apologize to those other actors I’ve worked with who also deserve to be in this rollcall but whose names have just slipped my mind. I’m too lazy to alphabetize them so here they are in no particular order. My point is that there are many decent actors. There are ways of getting what you want without being a monster. If you're in the industry and have had occasion to work with actors who were menches please share who they are.

Ted Danson
Tom Hanks
Rita Wilson
John Candy
Michael Douglas
Nancy Travis
Alan Alda
Mike Ferrell
Harvey Firestein
Emma Thompson
Harry Connick Jr.
Harry Morgan
Shelley Long
Rhea Perlman
Nick Collasanto
Woody Harrelson
George Wendt
John Ratzenberger
Kirstie Alley
Kelsey Grammer
Steven Webber
Tony Shaloub
Tim Daly
Julie Benz
Crystal Bernard
Amy Yasbech
Adam Arkin
Jane Kaczmarek
Malcolm McDowell
Kurtwood Smith
Kevin Kilner
David Morse
Patrick Breen
Ed Asner
Jennifer Tilly
Wendie Malick
George Segal
David Hyde Pierce
Jon Tenney
Peri Gilpen
Laura Linney
Aaron Eckhart
John Mahoney
Jane Leeves
Patricia Heaton
Ray Romano
Doris Roberts
Peter Boyle
Brad Garrett
Tracey Ullman
Julie Kavner
Dan Castellaneta
Neil Patrick Harris
Yeardly Smith
Nancy Cartwright
Hank Azaria
Harry Shearer
Laura San Giacomo
Chip Zien
James Farentino
David Clennon
Matthew Letscher
John Astin
Katey Sagal
Tony Randall
William Christopher
Jaime Farr
Jane Seymour
Lisa Kudrow
Roz Chao
David Ogden Steirs
Alan Arbus
Loretta Swit
Gary Burghoff
Allison Janney
Paget Brewster
Marcia Wallace
Bob Newhart
John Cleese
Lisa Edelstein
David Spade
David Morse
Enrico Colantoni
Al Franken
Megyn Price
Miquel Ferrer
Kristen Chenowith
Robert Forthworth
Sanaa Latham
James Tolkin
Kat Denning
Jenna Elfman
Hattie Winston
Terry Ferrell
Alex Desert
Shawnee Smith
Beth Armstrong
Thomas Gibson
Willie Garsons
William Ragsdale
Sean O’Bryan
Mark Feuerstein
Bess Meyer
Nathan Lane
Joan Plowright
Joel Murray
Jack Coleman
Brenda Vaccarro
Tea Leoni
Gilbert Godfried
Mimi Kennedy
Alan Rachins
Susan Sullivan
Bob Elliott
Steve Landesburg
Victoria Jackson
Jon Lovitz
Rita Rudner
Avery Schreiber
Ryan Mitchell
Maggie Lawson
Harriet Harris
Lenny Clarke
…and Moose (Eddie on FRASIER)


Anonymous said...

Glad to see so many of my favorite actors on that list! It would make me cry to think of Neil Patrick Harris being a Christian-Bale type actor.

Bill said...

Makes sense that there are more good than bad. We'd all rather work with our friends than someone we don't know. And we'd rather work with someone we don't know than someone we don't like, or who we've heard is tough to work with.

Since I'm sure word gets around about which actors are difficult to work with, I have to assume that kind of behavior will cut your career short unless you're so wildly talented that people can get over it (or so wildly lucky that you're almost never in a bomb).

Jim said...

Man, I always thought David Morse was doubly cool. Good to see you agree with me, Mr. Levine. But I am ashamed to say I don't even recognize several of these names.

Brian Scully said...

The two best actors I've ever worked with are Keith Carradine and Dylan Baker. True artists and damn nice guys.

Jeff Greenstein said...

Jon Cryer. The best.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean Al Rosen was a real SOB?

Anonymous said...

Yes...but who are the MONSTERS????

Alexis said...

William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, Tom Skerritt, Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks are among the most fun folks I've had the pleasure of working with.

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed the work of every actor on this list whose name I recognize. Just amazing that you've worked with them all.

I'm a copyeditor by profession, and although some names are misspelled here, it's clear who most of them are. But there are a few I have to guess at: Do you intend Robert Foxworth rather than "Forthworth"? And Bess Armstrong rather than "Beth"? Please clarify.

Anonymous said...

I worked at Disney on the lot in Burbank for a time in the late '80s. Lucked out into having an office in a trailer up against the side of one of the stages, I could have wound up in a stupid cubicle in the Disney Channel building down the street.

Saw lots of movie stars and movie people. Three times stand out.

1) Just happened to bump into Robert Zemeckis and group as he was arriving with the special Oscar for Roger Rabbit at the HQ building (the old one) to celebrate with Katzenberg and Eisner the day after winning. People were gathering around, congratulating him. He seemed just thrilled, what a happy man. Only time I've ever seen an Oscar in person, too cool.

2) Rounded a corner outside the stage to come face to face with Barbara Hershey one day when Beaches was filming, waiting to be called in. She was in costume and makeup and starts talking to me in character. Too Cool.

3) On December 23, maybe, in 1988, I think it was, just about everybody was gone for the holiday, seemed deserted, except on this big open area of asphalt next to a stage was Tom Hanks, a dog and a trainer, Tom and the dog being put through their paces. Turned out he was going to work on Turner and Hooch a few weeks later. His trailer was right outside our office for like 6 weeks. Got to meet him and say hello, have an occasional chat, such a nice man. Liked to play guitar with his 13 or so year old son, who would grow up to be Colin the actor. They spent a lot of time together.

Some nice experiences to have in that job, I lucked out.

Anonymous said...

Oh and one more special day, one day I pop out of my office and who should be walking right by but the great Pat McCormick, all 6'10" or whatever he was. Got to tell him how much I loved his work, and just as nice as he could be to somebody who couldn't help but be a writer's groupie seeing him, but he in his workplace. I appreciate that.

Anonymous said...

"Bill said...
Makes sense that there are more good than bad."

Who said THAT? I'm assuming that everyone not on the list is, ipso facto, a psychotic jerk, which makes this just a tiny minority of actors. Sure some freaks who are nice, or even sane, slip through once in a while. The system's not perfect.

I don't know about this saying-nice-stuff-about-actors thing. It's a little weird. My whole gig these days is snarking at the evil ones. Pointing out nice actors? It just seems so --- wrong!

All right. I'll try mentioning some actors I've met or worked with who were okay humans or even better, but if I don't like it, I'm getting out of the pool. This is a little too much like that time my dad said, "Just try the Lima Beans. They're good." And that lie my father told me ended in a triple tragedy.

I'm interested that Shelley Long made the list, as I have heard awful things about working with her from persons I've known who worked with her for a single episode here or there. I've never met the lady myself and have no informed opinion about her offscreen (her onscreen work speaks for itself. No question about her talent), so I am interested to see her on this list by someone who has worked with her extensively.

Some menches I have encountered. Okay.

First off, don't laugh, Milton Berle. I know lots and lots of people have hair-curling horror stories about him. His reputation is terrible. But when I worked with him, just once, 35 years ago, when I was 24 and nobody at all, Milton showed me consideration and kindness. I learned what real class was from Milton Berle.

Robert Morse. I could spend an hour telling you what a great, considerate, kind, dear man he is.

Greg Evigan. My closest friend and for years writing partner, a man named John Fugiel, worked a day job in a Hollywood bank. He was a personal banker for a lot of celebrities. In 1987, John died of AIDS, a long, slow, miserable death. Of all the many celebrities he worked with, Greg Evigan was the only one to come visit him at the hospital when he was dying. That gave John tremendous joy at a time when his life was reduced to just pain and waiting-for-death. You don't ever want to say a bad word about Greg Evigan if you're within the swing of my fist.

Carl Reiner is the greatest man who ever lived.

So is Hal Holbrook.

Christopher Reeve was a saint.

Al Lohman was a hell of a great guy, and Gary Owens is pretty cool in his uniquely-Garish way too.

Daws Butler was a joy to be around always.

Barry Humphries has shown me many gratuitous kindnesses.

John Belushi treated me like a friend when I was no one.

Okay, Robert Blake is no menche. He's a murderer who got away with it. But the oddest thing is, on the few occasions I had to work with him, he treated me very well, and he almost-accidentally did me a huge favor.

Ronny Graham, what a guy.

Larry Vincent. Dead 34 years now, and I still miss him every single day.

Martine Beswicke is joy on legs.

I second Malcolm McDowell, who was very kind to me on a number of occasions.

Don't know John Astin myself, but my brother has worked with him a few times, and loves him to death.

Clearly this is not the time nor place for my Loretta Swit tales. (Bad Doug! Only say nice things about actors today!) (But it's SO HARD!)

I had a great set of experiences with Gilbert Gottfried.

Victor Borge was also the greatest human being who ever lived.

Henry Gibson is the nicest man on earth.

Always got on well with Jo Anne Worley.

I worked at some length with Robin Williams, and it was always enjoyable.

My grandfather worked with Lon Chaney (The first one, back in the silents) and he thought Lon was the salt of the earth.

Joan Crawford was insane. (DOUG! STOP IT!) (I'm sorry.)

Jack Lemmon was terrific.

Peter Sellers, Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra. (Just kidding. Wanted to make sure you were all still paying attention.)

I'm sorry. I can't do this any longer. The snark monster is regaining control. Run... FLEE!!!! I have just --- strength enough left --- to --- click --- on --- "publish"!

Anonymous said...

Of course just because they're nice to you doesn't mean they're nice to everyone. I've heard mixed reviews about some of the people on your list. I'd be more impressed if you were a PA, not a writer/producer/director.

My personal favorite to work with is Jack Black; he's a joy to be around and, from what I've seen, gives a 110% to everything he does.

Anonymous said...

Since I haven't been involved in the production of the few produced shows I've written thus far, I haven't had much professional interaction with actors. But I did act in a comedy short for Def Comedy Jam about a year ago opposite Damon Wayans, Jr., who also co-wrote it. He was a real pleasure to work with, low-key, hilarious (he does some mean impressions) and quite patient with his minimally experienced co-star (me). Unfortunately, the short (a commercial parody titled "N.O.D.") was somehow deemed too controversial for the show, so it appears only as an extra on the most recent Def Comedy Jam DVD set, "Hosted by D.L. Hughley." If you see it, that's me typecast in the role of "White Guy."

Re Ken's list: On set that day I met Sanaa Lathan's dad, the great Stan, who produces Def Comedy Jam with Russell Simmons. Even though he was totally cool, I'd rather have met Sanaa. :)

Roger Owen Green said...

Anonymous said: "I'd be more impressed if you were a PA, not a writer/producer/director." Sheesh- it's Ken's blog. It's Ken's experience. To paraphrase a famous sailor, "He is who he is."

But there are more typos than usual; Stiers, for one.

Max Clarke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Max Clarke said...

Good list. Glad to see Malcom McDowell on it. He's so good at the big evil roles, like the murderer on a Monk episode, you never know. And that's why they call it acting.

Dave Mackey said...

I don't see Wayne Rogers on your list... hmmm...

rob! said...

I once had the opportunity to meet Bruce Campbell and help out an at appearance he was making at a screening of Evil Dead 2, and he could not have been a nicer, sweeter guy.

I'm a little surprised to see Victoria Jackson on the list, considering the insane rants she went on during the campaign season...

Anonymous said...

It's Mike Farrell not Mike Ferrell, unless you meant to MASH Mike with Will, who you've probably never worked with and might be a total tool :-)

Brian Phillips said...

I used to work at a bank in Encino, CA. I had no connection to show business, but the bank (since closed), did have a few celebrities come by.

Pat Corley - Very quiet the first time I met him and I closed the transaction saying that I enjoyed his work, which was true, since I watched Murphy Brown and Hill St. Blues. The following days, he was very pleasant, as if I was a buddy of his.

Lois Ayres - Yes, the San Fernando Valley did have it's share of adult film stars and when she came in to cash a check, she struck me as a pleasant, down-to-earth person. For all of you hounds out there, she was not dressed provocatively.

Ted Lange - We shared a love of Warner Bros. cartoons trivia.

Jack Baker - Once again, another nice fellow and not a celebrity of great note. He played "Sticks" on Happy Days and he was "C.C." on "Wonderbug", part of the Krofft Supershow, which is how I knew him. He was pleased that I knew who he was. He too, was in adult films by the time he walked into the bank, but what struck me was the fact that he was wearing a winter coat when he walked in the bank and I could tell that it hid a fairly thin man.

Not long after, he died of cancer.

My memories are not rose-colored; there were stars and semi-stars who were less than pleasant, of course, but I think it's fairly likely if you treats a teller nicely, someone who can't POSSIBLY advance your career, you are more than likely to be nice otherwise.

If anyone has anything bad to say about the above, kindly allow me to cling to my legends.

Anonymous said...


Hey, Ken, sorry to jump the gun, but we share a birthday! I just wondered if your birthday reminiscences will be similar to mine. Isn't Valentines Day a great day to have a birthday? Through all your teenage years all your aunts think it is cute (or hilarious) to send you Valentines cards instead of birthday cards. As soon as your friends get girlfriends you never see them on your birthday ever again. If you DO manage to talk them into coming out for your birthday, the MD at the restaurant will grumble: "But we've split the whole place up into tables for 2! We'll have to push some tables back together again!" even though you've booked in advance for a party of 12. And, when you get a girlfriend of your own, the waiters will spend the entirity of your intimate birthday meal fussing over her and asking you if you want to buy her a single £10 rose...

Mary Stella said...

Early Happy Birthday, Ken.

Thanks for this list. I like seeing that many actors whose work I've enjoyed over the years are good people, too.

I'm not in show business, but sometimes in my day job come in contact with actors. James Avery and his friends were extremely nice to everyone they met here.

Anonymous said...

That's quite a list! I have to ask: does Gilbert Godfried really talk like that in real life? Longtime fan of his but I've never seen him break character -- if indeed that IS a character.

Anonymous said...

"I don't see Wayne Rogers on your list... hmmm..."

In fairness to Mr. Rogers, I believe he left M*A*S*H before the Ken Levine years started.

VP81955 said...

I'm a copyeditor by profession, and although some names are misspelled here, it's clear who most of them are. But there are a few I have to guess at: Do you intend Robert Foxworth rather than "Forthworth"? And Bess Armstrong rather than "Beth"? Please clarify.

Hey, I'm a copy editor too, but I'm not going to get on Ken's case for a few misspellings here and there. It's not as if Kristin Chenoweth is going to storm his office and beat him up for getting her name wrong. (Although it would be fun to see Kristin take on Verne Troyer, one of the few folks in Hollywood who literally has to look up to her.)

wv: "mahskywo" -- early Native American traffic reporter. (Would stand atop a cliff and shout out rush-hour horse jams to those riding below.)

Jon88 said...

I'm also a copy editor, but that's my second gig (and I've long since given up on Ken's spelling). Primarily, I play the piano. At one audition, I had the opportunity to accompany someone who is noticeably absent from Ken's list. And I'm not in the least surprised.

Tom Quigley said...

Great list, Ken -- couple of memories of my own...

One time while working on MAD ABOUT YOU I was headed out a back door from the soundstage with my arms full of a couple of styrofoam trays which contained my dinner, and Jamie Farr, who was guesting in that week's show, was nice enough to hold the door for me... Not much, but a gracious gesture on the part of a well-known actor -- I knew a few who, if they saw me coming like that, would have let it slam in my face...

Handliing audinces on a number of different shows, as well as doing some TV background work myself gave me the chance to meet and work with a lot of people. A few others who always took the time for me whenever I had the chance to talk or work with them, or never came in with an attitude: Lisa Kudrow, Paul Reiser, Louis Zorich, John Pankow, Murray the Dog (really!), Blair Underwood, Ernest Borgnine, Martin Landau, Debbie Reynolds, Neil Patrick Harris, Naomi Watts, Kelsey Grammer, Eric Stoltz, Craig Bierko, Patrica Richardson, Richard Karn, Jennie McCarthy, Shelley Fabares, Ann Meara, Don Rickles, and Anne Bancroft, who had the most angelic smile of anyone I've ever seen...There's more, but these names just come to mind immediately.

WV: disdi -- how someone with a cold pronounces the name of that studio on Buena Vista....

Anonymous said...

This was a wonderful post and set of comments; but, I’m wishing you happy birthday, today. And here’s why. So help me this is exactly as events transpired this morning. Illustrating why “notes” from a spouse, who still happens to be a first grade teacher, like those from perhaps a network executive with a hint of a clue, can be totally in character, yet both encouraging and remedial at the same time. Mine still frequently talks to me like I’m 5. Which, fortunately according to current academic mores, apparently does not necessarily rule out sex. Ewwwwww.

My wife and I met on Valentine’s Day, but I’ve always been better at remembering the approach and significance of a special day than its actual date. Last night I left her Valentine’s Day card and present in the kitchen, so she would be surprised before leaving for school – which is before I have to get up. I decided to go with a Native American theme, however including the expected semi-sarcastic homemade card. The gift was an Indian “broom” skirt and top ordered from the Southwest Indian Foundation in Gallup, NM (catalogue website ), a philanthropy that addresses Native American poverty by selling generally handmade items created by Indians working out of their homes.

The card, hand crafted on office time as a means of addressing the need for nookie in our house, featured a “Valindian’s Day” stamp on the envelope and an Indian warrior shooting cupid in the back with an arrow. “Thanks for Valentine’s Day, and all that other swell stuff you guys brought from Europe.”

This is the sticky note left in reply: “Wow! This is all so nice!! The card is amazing, and even the envelope! And the gift is wonderful – all very clever. Thank you! P.S. today is Feb. 12th." You have to live with the woman to accept this is not being patronizing.

In apology for the length of this self indugence, you get a post-pass on your birthday.

PS: Here's something you'll hardly ever hear one guy say to another. "Say, that's a nice top."

Anonymous said...

Mr. Levine:

You worked with many of these actors before they hit it big. Isn't it possible that they became monsters after you worked with them?

Anonymous said...

OK, so I was perhaps a bit snarky. But I have enjoyed the work of Robert Foxworth (as far back as Gene Roddenberry's The Questor Tapes, with Mike Farrell) and Bess Armstrong (All Is Forgiven) and just wanted to make sure they were the actors our host meant to name.

I wish I were in Hawaii instead of Maryland - haven't been there since 1982, with a girlfriend who 10 years later introduced me to my wife-to-be. Driving the length of the Hana Road on Maui (both ways) in a Toyota Tercel - that was the life. Happy birthday, Ken.

Anonymous said...

That picture of Ted Danson reminds me . . .is he not phenomenal in "Damages"?! Seriously, that could be his best work yet! His character made a comeback last night and his performance was just out standing!

Kirk said...

I've never met a celebrity in my life, but in the 1980s I was working at McDonald's when, all of a sudden (or so it seemed), Milton Berle walks in. I found out later on that the management knew he was coming, and just didn't tell us employees about it. We had a 90 year old guy working there at the time who had been written about in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and had appeared on the local news because, well, because he was a 90 year old guy working at McDonald's. Berle was in town at the time, saw the story on TV, and wanted to meet him. I was on the grill, so didn't get to talk to Berle, but the woman who waited on him told me he seemed bit on the grumpy side. In Berle's defense, I should point out that as soon as he walked in (it was during the noon rush hour) he was immediately swarmed over by the McDonald's clientele. Think Elvis. Think the Beatles. And this was in the 1980s, not exactly the height of his popularity. Grumpiness aside, he did sign a few autographs, had his picture taken with the 90 year old, and then made a hasty retreat.

Come to think of it, I DID meet a celebrity--the 90 year old man! I mean, he was written up in the Plain Dealer, did appear on the local news, and, such was his fame even Milton Berle wanted to meet him. His name, if I remember correctly, was Louis Paye, and he was a really nice guy. No airs about him whatsoever. The only thing is, I was in the break room once, and he came up behind me and put his bony hand on my shoulder to get my attention. It felt like a hawk had just landed on me.

Anonymous said...

Ty Giordano is a sweetheart.

Anonymous said...

I think the true reason Milton Berle showed up at that McDonald's was to show them what some REAL meat looks like.

Dave said...

I just want to add my own encounters. In the 80s, I was an occasional fill-in for a guy who had a dry-cleaning route in Beverly Hills.

Neil Simon: very nice and friendly to me. I've heard other stories since, but our encounters were fine.

Michael Caine: came out of another room in the middle of the day, smoking a cigar and wearing pajamas and robe. His wife was as lovely as advertised, and he just reeked of "movie star." Quite nice.

Walter Matthau: Didn't actually meet him, but I saw him hunched over a bowl of corn flakes like a human question mark.

David Dukes: one of my favorite actors, who gave one of my all-time favorite performances (in Tom Stoppard's "Travesties" at the Taper). I got to meet him and tell him how much I enjoyed that performance not long before he died. He was extremely friendly and gracious.

VW: "impipp" -- the sprite who begged off one day because of a headache and was replaced by the Tooth Fairy.

2nd VW: "hostal" -- unfriendly youth hotel

Alan Coil said...

Anonymous said:

"Isn't it possible that they became monsters after you worked with them?"

I laugh!

A, therefore B?


Scanning the list, I see that most of these actors are from successful shows. My supposition is that many successful shows had nice people working on them, and that maybe good shows prevent actors from becoming monsters.

Anonymous said...

What - no Bebe Neuwirth?

Max Clarke said...

Hmm, Bebe. Also strange is her absence from any of the DVD covers or backs for the season episode collections. Even the final season cover left her out. She was terrific on Cheers, and what a voice. She was in San Francisco last year for a show maybe at the Post Street theater, and her radio interviews were charming.

Joey H said...

Of the celebrities I've interviewed, two stand out and the nicest: Red Skelton and George "Goober" Lindsey.

VW: relyc -- what you do when the envelope won't stay sealed

Anonymous said...

I had an encounter with Sam Waterston that made me decide, then and there, to go into show business just so I could tell him, one day, "You're not the right type."

Oh, and Susan Sullivan is hot.

As you were.

Anonymous said...

"A. Buck Short said...
PS: Here's something you'll hardly ever hear one guy say to another. 'Say, that's a nice top.' "

Actually, in the bars I frequent, that is not at all an unusual thing for one guy to say to another, generally referring to a third guy. Then the guy who it was said to rushes to buy a drink for the guy it was said about, and 20 minutes later, they leave together.

"Anonymous said: I'd be more impressed if you were a PA, not a writer/producer/director.

Well many of the celebs I recounted meeting were ones I met when working at an only-slightly-above-PA level position (And some not recounted certainly treated me like garbage or a servant. Dick Cavett anyone?), and a few, like Malcolm McDowell, I met during a purgatory period in my life when I was working as a bank teller, so these were people who were gratuitously nice. Hell, I met Hal Holbrook & Carl Reiner when I was working as a parking valet, and you'd have thought I was their long-lost offspring from the classy way they treated me. (I got to work with Reiner in a show biz capacity also.) I was little more than a fan with one paid comedy writing gig on my resume when Victor Borge was not only sweet and kind, but took me to lunch!

Loved Tom Quigley's Jamie Farr-held-the-door-for-me story. Odd how something like that stays with you. Visiting the set of LAUGH-IN when I was 18, my gasoline credit card fell out of my pocket onto the studio floor, and Flip Wilson picked it up and handed it back to me. (Disproving everything my Uncle Fred ever said about "all black people") I was 18, and it was my first day on the LAUGH-IN set. I could barely manage to say "Thank you." because I was all "FLIP WILSON TOUCHED MY GAS CARD!!! I'LL NEVER WASH IT AGAIN!" inside. That was 40 years ago, but I have never forgotten it. (It didn't hurt that, in person in 1968, Flip Wilson was God-damned sexy!)

But then, I also will always remember how, when I was working as a parking valet, Karen Black stiffed me on the tip. God, I wish I'd dinged her car.

WV: cytopyro. A one-celled arsonist.

Anonymous said...

Off Topic


You've been spammed. Some jerkoff posted an ad about a D&D game in the comments of your Batman goes Batshit post.

Karen from Mentor said...

Hi Ken,
I thought all the posts would be HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! But nooooo they're all waiting until the actual day.
Well, I will be I want to wish you an early happy valentine's/birthday
day and many returns of the same. (sorry no gift will be arriving on your doorstep anytime soon..starving artist syndrome...)

I love your blog and am very glad that you take the time to write it every day.

No one on your list surprised me. A note on David Hyde Pierce? I think that his work on Frasier was brilliant. He seems like such a nice man. And there was an episode with a heat wave with him in an open necked white dress shirt...Yeah, I know he's gay, but oh my god, who knew that much sex appeal was under those suits that Niles wore? (it's been a long time since I've been on a date, so cut me some slack here, a girl can dream.)
Karen :)

Ricky said...

I was an intern at The Chris Rock Show and Late Night With Conan O'Brien during college. Both Chris Rock and Conan were nice guys. I didn't have a ton of interaction with them, but they treated the interns well.

One time this intern bumped into Conan in the hallway right before he was getting ready to go on stage. Some low-level staffer started yelling at the intern, telling him to be more careful and watch where he's going. Conan thought nothing of it.

The intern felt really bad and wrote Conan an apology note. When Conan was given the note, he asked "What the hell is this?" He had no idea this was even an issue. So he called the intern at his home and told him not to even worry about it. Very cool. He didn't have to do that, but he did.

Anonymous said...

Again, what an encouraging list.

Departing slightly from my vocation, which consists principally of unknowingly providing setups for Doug, I have to say that Lenny Clarke is one of those funniest people on earth, who generally on TV only get the opportunity to show that they are just funny.

That said, I think Doug might agree that Dick Cavett's problem may be that he never quite got over the fact that he's not Joel Grey. At a New England Broadcasters luncheon I attended, they presented him with an inscribed "Revere Bowl" -- one of those pewter or silver plated replicas of a bowl originally designed by Paul Revere. I don't know if he was serious or just droll, but he seemed to think it was The Revere Bowl, actuallly contrived by Revere, and saved for just this occasion.

I'd be interested in you devoting a post sometime to actors who are totally unlike their public images or the parts they get typecast -- good or bad. I found Morgan Fairchild smart, sincere,and delightful, and Sybil Danning equally so. With her hair straight down and little if any makeup, looking lithe,stunning,and half the age of anybody she gets to play -- like Heidi instead of one of those B movie Amazons.

Cap'n Bob said...

You must remember, Doug, that Karen Black probably didn't tip you because she was saving her dimes for Dianetic auditing. This important work far outweighs any earthbound cnsiderations.

Cap'n Bob said...

By the way, I met Joe Garagiola in a men's room. Just a coincidence, not a tryst. He was quite amiable, but considering our reasons for being there I didn't offer to shake hands.

WV: winnes. Things that go Pooh in the night.

Anonymous said...

I was a staff writer on a Mary Tyler Moore special in the 70's. Showed up every day. Went to table readings and rehearsals. But I'm a blend into the background type.
One day my folks in Indiana asked for picture of Mary Tyler Moore. So the next day, I took my camera and asked if I could have a snapshot for my folks.
Mary says "I would feel uncomfortable."
No problem. I could well understand since tabloids were eager to publish stars looking bad photos.
I went out to dinner and when I returned home, there were 2 messages on my phone.
First Mary's assistant. "Mary is so embarrassed and so sorry. She didn't realize you were one of the writers. Of course you can have a photo." The second message was Mary herself, falling over herself!
I felt like a real comedy writer. In fact Rob Petrie because I had Mary Tyler Moore carrying on about me!

Anonymous said...

"Karen from Mentor said...
Yeah, I know he's gay, but oh my god, who knew that much sex appeal was under those suits that Niles wore?"

His boy friend, now his husband, probably knew.

But wow, he could be sexy DESPITE being gay. There's hope for us yet.

Oh and A. buck, you made me laugh.

Anonymous said...



Mate Famber said...

I really don't hate actors, really. But why do they get credit for being nice? Aren't you SUPPOSED to be!

Anonymous said...

With all the gossip about Shelley Long like the other person who commented above I would love to know what she was like to work with and what sort of person she really is. I thought she was brilliant.

Kirk said...

Man, I was disillusioned a couple of weeks ago when I found out Cybil Shepard was a bitch, and now it seems Peter Sellers and Dick Cavitt were a couple of assholes. I wish it were possible to know what somebody's like BEFORE you become a fan of their work.

Anonymous said...

"Kirk Jusko said...
I wish it were possible to know what somebody's like BEFORE you become a fan of their work."

I hear you loud and clear. That's why it's dangerous to meet your heroes. I was a HUGE Steve Allan fan before I had the misfortune to meet him. He ruined him for me forever. Same with Dick Cavett. (although I was not as big a fan of Cavett as I had been of Allan's.)

A close friend of mine was a gigantic fan of Olivia Newton-John, until he worked with her once. Now he can't even listen to her CDs anymore.

But this also answers Mate Famber's query (GREAT name, Mate!): because so many celebs turn out to be utter douchebags, it becomes necessary to point out the ones who aren't, so they aren't tarred by the Celebrity Douchebag Brush.

And I second's request to hear about the offscreen Shelley Long. Love her work, but all I've heard about her as a person has been a turn-off. But it is all just rumor. I would enjoy hearing an informed account of what she was really like to work with.

And if anyone can give a defense of the offscreen Cybill Shepherd, I'd like to hear it too. All I've ever heard is that where she has walked, a weed has grown.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Kirk, Peter Sellers wasn't a mere asshole; he was a raving, toxic, insane monster who ruined lives. Man, read THE SECRET LIFE OF PETER SELLERS, on which the Geoffrey Rush biopic was based. Show biz biography as horror story.

Anonymous said...

A legendary comic figure not mentioned yet -- Peter Cook. I didn't realize he was also a cruel jerk till I saw a great 2004 BBC TV movie "Not Only But Always." It shows how mean he was to Dudley Moore, whose popularity surpassed his. It's the best bio movie I've ever seen for capturing the magic of comic talent.

Kate said...

When I was still working retail, Brad Garrett came into our store on a Sunday and asked me if he could get a personal shopper. It took a ridiculous amount of time to get in touch with somebody who could help him, plus security, and he could not have been more polite. He could have easily pitched a fit or given an attitude, but he waited patiently (for a long ass time) before checking out the Star Wars toys with his kids. What a guy!

I've also been able to speak with Matt Groening twice and it is unbelievable how friendly he is. You'd think someone who's solidified a place for himself in American culture as creator of two of America's best TV shows would be exhausted of people approaching him, but he could not be more chill and accommodating.

And this isn't really TV or movie related, but if you ever need an example of how opera is in no way a place for snobs, look to Placido Domingo. He's not only the best tenor since DiStefano, but he's gracious, down to earth, generous, genuine, and an unbelievable person for somebody so famous and talented. There isn't a scrap of ego on the man and I'm still floored by how wonderful he is to mere mortals like me when we only met briefly, and I can't think of many people with as much passion for the field as he has for music.

Mike Barer said...

Cynthia Geary (0f Northern Exposure) so down to earth that I did not even know show was in the industry.

Anonymous said...

I just realized that Tallulah Morehead is the alter-ego of D McEwan. Maybe this is common knowledge and I'm just a bit slow???

Anonymous said...

Tow of the nicest, friendliest celebrities I've ever had the pleasure of meeting (and I've met a few dozen) are Kenny Rogers and Phil Hartman.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: I reckon it depends on how long you've been reading the blog. If you've been coming here a year and just figured out the Tallulah/Dougie connection, you might want to schedule a checkup. :)

More nice celebrities I've met (but haven't worked with): Armin Shimerman, Kellie Martin, Seth Green, Sam Anderson (Bernard on "Lost"), Paul Le Mat, Kevin Sorbo, Mark Dacascos.

Anonymous said...

lol, drop all the names you want, you're still to old to ever work again

Kirk said...

I always thought Tallulah Morehead starred in the Hitchcock movie LIFEBUOY.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
I just realized that Tallulah Morehead is the alter-ego of D McEwan. Maybe this is common knowledge and I'm just a bit slow???"

A visit to Tallulah's blog page, or her Huffington Post profile reveals the man behind the curtain, as does my name on the cover and title page of her autobiography, MY LUSH LIFE, available on Amazon.

And Kirk, the Hitchcock movie was LIFE PRESERVER. It's making is detailed in MY LUSH LIFE. They also worked together on AMNESIA, a movie everyone seems to have forgotten.

Nice to hear about Flaccido, because some opera stars make Cybil Shepeher look like Ghandi.

Opera diva Kathrine Battle is my all-time favorite example of star insanity. She was riding in a limo in New York. She phoned her manager in Los Angeles, to tell him to call the limo company in New York, to have them phone the chaufeeur WHO WAS DRIVING HER AT THAT MOMENT, to tell him to turn down the air conditioning.

He was four feet away from her, but she called 3000 miles away to have someone else call 3000 miles back, to have a fourth party speak to her driver for her. THAT is a DIVA!

Tallulah Morehead said...

"Anonymous said...
I just realized that Tallulah Morehead is the alter-ego of D McEwan. Maybe this is common knowledge and I'm just a bit slow???"

It's a wicked lie!

Anonymous said...

jbryant: "Anonymous: I reckon it depends on how long you've been reading the blog. If you've been coming here a year and just figured out the Tallulah/Dougie connection, you might want to schedule a checkup."

D. McEwan: "A visit to Tallulah's blog page, or her Huffington Post profile reveals the man behind the curtain, as does my name on the cover and title page of her autobiography, MY LUSH LIFE, available on Amazon."

OK, OK... I feel really stupid. My excuse is that I just started reading this blog 3 days ago, and when the Tallulah-Dougie connection light bulb went off in my head, I hadn't even yet SEEN the cover of "My Lush Life". But now I've visited the links, and I see how obvious this was... DUH!! Although I DO need to schedule a check-up, but for other (more pathetic) reasons.

Anonymous said...

Is it true the day before woody auctioned for cheers he ran into norm at a store and he told george w .he was auditioning for the role of woody