Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Sherilyn (Fenn)!

Ms. Sherilyn

Sherilyn's Mom, Arlene

The Pleasure Seekers, From Left, Arlene Quatro,
Darline Amone, Suzi Quatro, Patti Quatro, &
Pami Benford

Audrey Horne of "Twin Peeks"


Sherilyn & My Mom

"Of Mice and Men"

Happy February everybody! This morning it is my great pleasure to give a happy birthday shout out to one of my favorite actresses, Ms. Sherilyn Fenn!
Sheryl Ann Fenn was born in Detroit, Michigan, where all the cars come from, and had the same first name as my lovely sister, except with an "S" instead of a "C." There are a whole bunch of musicians in her family. Her mother, Arlene Quatro, was a keyboard player for The Pleasure Seekers, a 1960's all female rock band which also featured her two sisters, Suzi and Patti (picture above). Sherilyn's aunt, Suzi Quatro had a very successful solo career, and was influential to other female musicians such as those in The Runaways, and Joan Jett, and appeared on the sitcom "Happy Days," as Leather Tuscadero, Pinky's younger sister. Her dad, Leo Fenn, managed such rock bands as The Pleasure Seekers, Alice Cooper, and The Billion Dollar Babies.
Sherilyn is of Italian, French, Irish, and Hungarian descent.
I once dated a Hungarian girl, who was all Hungarian, because she came from Hungary. She was cute as hell... for a girl.
Anyway, when Sherilyn was 17 she and her mom, and two brothers settled right here in Los Angeles, back in 1982, when I was getting out of the navy. Headstrong girl that she is, Sherilyn opted not to start in a new high school, but choose to enroll at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in West Hollywood, as many do who do not wish to continue high school.
After working for 2 months as a Playboy bunny in L.A., she began getting parts in low budget films such as "The Wild Life," with Chris Penn (it is rumored they had an affair), Sean's brother. She appeared on an episode of one of my favorite sitcoms, "Cheers," before appearing in "Thrashin,'" with Josh Brolin in 1986, and "The Wraith," with Charley Sheen (and which her character has the same name as my lovely niece, Keri J). The next year she appeared on an episode of "21 Jump Street," with Johnny Depp (it is rumored they had an affair, for 3 1/2 years), and of course who can forget 1987's "Zombie High," with Virginia Madsen. I certainly can't.
The next year she got her first starring role in the erotic thriller, "Two Moon Junction" (as a blonde) in which it is said she got fully unclothed... fully. I don't know for sure because I have never seen the movie. However, I am downloading it as I write this to view later, just so this post will remain technically accurate.
It's important to be technically accurate if one can.
Sherilyn has said she wanted to hide for a year after making that film. "I was so embarrassed about how it turned out that I went into a cocoon for a year afterwards," she said. "A lot of people said some really bad things about me for doing such a sexy movie. But I decided to do it because I wasn't comfortable with the material. I didn't want to make choices that would always put me in a place that was comfortable and secure. I thought interesting things would happen and I would grow. Interesting things did happen. I cried at the end of all my love scenes."
1990 proved to be a busy and pivotal year for Sherilyn. She won her most famous role after the surrealist director David Lynch cast her in "Twin Peaks," a television drama that aired for just over a year, from 1990 to 1991, but has grown into a cult hit. Sherilyn played Audrey Horne, a "high school femme fatal," who could do wonderful things with cherry stems.
"Audrey is a woman-child who dresses like the girls in the '50s and shows her body", said Fenn. "But she's daddy's little girl at the same time."
"Audrey’s been great for me. She has brought out a side of me that’s more mischievous and fun that I had suppressed, trying to be an adult. She has made it OK to use the power one has as a woman to be manipulative at times, to be precocious. She goes after what she wants vehemently and she takes it. I think that’s really admirable. I love that about her."
Here's a piece Entertainment Tonight did on the women of "Twin Peaks," featuring Sherilyn:
I watched and loved this show because I was big fan of David Lynch. Still am. But this is also where I first became aware of Sherilyn, who was very popular for some reason with the shows fans... and me. One reason I was intrigued by this wonderful actress is that she resembled my mother a bit (picture above), not as I knew my mom when she was older, but how I imagined her when she was younger.
Not that I was ever attracted to my mother in any weird way. Come on, get real! How sick of you to suggest such a thing.
My mom was very pretty though... for a girl.
Anyway, this is what David Lynch said of Sherilyn, "Five feet of heaven in a ponytail." Now I've read that description a long time ago and it's always stuck with me for some reason. And I have to say David, I agree wholeheartedly.
He also said this, "She's a mysterious girl and I think that actresses like her who have a mystery - where there's something hiding beneath the surface - are the really interesting ones."
After the pilot episode of "Twin Peaks," was shot Lynch hired her for a small but affecting part in his "Wild at Heart," starring Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern. She played a girl they come across on the open road who had just been in a severe auto accident. This is the entire scene:
And it makes me sad.
As was mentioned in the ET piece Sherilyn appeared in a Playboy pictorial in December of 1990. That particular issue had a fascinating article on nanodisk gene therapy in it, so I happened to see the layout. Very tastefully done, very glamorous.
After "Twin Peaks," Sherilyn refused to be typecast when approaching other roles, turning down a Audrey Horne spinoff series of her own, and declining to appear in the "Twin Peaks," feature film prequel, "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me." She was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her work on the series.
Next she appeared in "Diary of a Hitman," with Sharon Stone and Forest Whitaker, and "Ruby," with Danny Aiello, concerning Jack Ruby, the man who shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald.
In 1992 she was cast as Curley's wife, in the Gary Sinise version of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men," with Sinise playing George, John Malkovich as Lennie, and Ray Walston. Now Steinbeck is my favorite author, and "Of Mice and Men," one of his most famous creations and another favorite of mine, and I have to say I loved this film, Sinise directed it beautifully, and all of the actors were wonderful. Here's a taste of Sherilyn who was lonely and just wanted to talk:
The next year Sherilyn got probably her strangest part, that of a seductress who a doctor played by Julian Sands becomes obsessed with, and who subsequently amputates her arms and legs so he can keep her around, in "Boxing Helena," directed by David Lynch's daughter (of course), Jennifer Chambers Lynch. She certainly was fulfilling her desire not to become typecast.
I have not yet seen this movie, but am downloading it. I look forward to becoming disturbed.
She then stared in Carl Reiner's "Fatal Instinct," a parody of noir films like "Chinatown." She played opposite Armand Assante, in the only comedic role I've ever seen him in.
In 1995 she played Humphrey Bogart's lover, in a "Tales from the Crypt," episode entitled "You, Murderer." The episode also starred John Lithgow and Isabella Rossellini (who also had been in "Wild at Heart"). It was directed by "Forrest Gump," director, Richard Zemeckis, who got Bogart to appear via CGI effects. It was quite an interesting and entertaining episode.
Sherilyn then got married and had a son, Myles Maximillian, before being chosen over 100 other actresses to play Elizabeth Taylor in the TV movie, "Liz, the Elizabeth Taylor Story."
In the late 1990's she began to become disappointed in the parts offered to her, and what she was required to do to get them. She took off for Europe and appeared in "Darkness Falls," with Ray Winstone, before returning to the states and starring in her own Showtime television series "Rude Awakening," as an out of work alcoholic ex-soap opera actress. The show ran for 3 seasons from 1998 to 2001, with 55 episodes.
Since then Sherilyn has made many guest appearances on televisions shows. Here's some of them: "The Outer Limits," "Dawson's Creek," "Law & Order SVU," a TV movie of "Mr. Ed," "Boston Public," "CSI Miami," a recurring role on "Gilmore Girls," "In Plain Sight," and just last year, "Psych."
In 2007 she had another son, Christian.
"I wanted to be a marine biologist, then I wanted to be a stewardess. Then I met this lady that was really neat, and she cut my hair once; so then I wanted to cut hair! But by far my biggest dream when I was young was to have the perfect home and the picket fence, and babies crawling around, and I'd be cooking food in the kitchen."
It seems she has realized her biggest dream.
Sherilyn lives in L.A., practices Kundalini yoga and likes cold and rainy weather, as do I.
And like myself she has a blog, though she needs to be a tad more active in it.
And everybody here at Joyce's Take wish her continued good health and happiness, and a very happy birthday!
Happy birthday Sherilyn!

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