Thursday, June 2, 2016
“I always wanted to be an actress. My mother told me to get a job as an elevator operator - because Dorothy Lamour was discovered that way.”
1. Ms Kellerman
2. Long Beach, California
3. Fourth grader
4. The Queen Mary
5. Another view of Ms Kellerman
6. The Spruce Goose
7. More Sally
9. Ozzie, Harriet, David, and little Ricky Nelson
10. Yvette Mimieux
11. The Four Preps
12. Jeff Corey
13. With classmate Jack Nicholson
14. The Unbridled Fury of Animala
15. Poster for “Reform School Girl”
16. Irish McCalla
17. With Bill Cosby on “I Spy”
18. Sally as Dr. Elizabeth Dehner
19. The Enterprise approaches the mysterious galactic barrier
20. Lieutenant Commander Mitchell and Dehner transformed
21. Sally and Marlo
22. Sally and Robert Loggia at “T.H.E. Cat” reunion
23. On “Tarzan” with Ron Ely
24. Giving Roy Thinnes the What For, on “The Invaders," with Ed Begley
25. With Tony Curtis in “The Boston Strangler”
27. On “It Takes a Thief”
29. Major Margaret J Houlihan arrives
30. Talking with Hawkeye
31. The scene that earned Sally an Academy Award nomination
32. Sally with fiance Rick Edelstein
33. George C Scott as “Patton”
34. With Harold... er, I mean Bud Cort in “Brewster McCloud”
35. McCloud fountain scene
37. Sally in “Lost Horizon”
38. “The Big Bus”
39. Sally sings
40. Relaxing with Keith Carradine in “Welcome to L.A.”
41. In “Centennial”
42. In “A Little Romance”
43. With Jodie Foster in “Foxes”
44. Cherie Currie
45. Sally, husband Jonathan Krane, and children Jack and Hannah
46. 2009 album “Sally”
47. With Rodney Dangerfield in “Back to School”
48. With Rodney off the set
49. Kurt Vonnegut Jr in “Back to School”
50. Sexy ghost in “Meatballs III, Summer Job”
51. On “The Young and the Restless”
52. Maron’s mom
53. “Read My Lips”
54. McKayla & Shana interview
It is my great honor and pleasure to give a great big happy birthday shout out to one of my favorite actresses and singers, Ms Sally Kellerman!
Like some of us, Sally Claire Kellerman was born as a tiny female infant, at a very early age, in Long Beach, California (33° 46′ 6″ N, 118° 11′ 44″ W), which is about an hour away (by car... a lot longer if you’re walking), south, from where I’m writing this in downtown Los Angeles. 23.3 miles to be more succinct.
As any fourth grader knows Long Beach is the 36th-largest city in the United States and the 7th-largest in California. 462,257.4 people lived there six years ago. There’s probably more now. The median age in Long Beach for both sexes is 33. There’s more women in Long Beach than there are men. 235,737 ladies to 226,520.4 dudes. The average household contains 2 people.
Long Beach is the second largest city in the Greater Los Angeles Area (after L. A. itself) and a principal city of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
I spent about a week in a military brig in Long Beach once, when the navy used to have a base there. And I have attended numerous musical concerts at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium, which no longer exists. Led Zeppelin and Santana were some of the acts I’ve seen in Long Beach.
There’s a big port in Long Beach, the city being so close to the mighty Pacific and all, and it happens to be the second busiest container port in the country, the first being the adjoining Port of Los Angeles, in San Pedro Bay (it’s the 20th busiest in the world, the Port of Shanghai, in China, being the first). It’s the 21st largest shipping port in the world.
There’s no shame in that. As far as shipping ports go, 21st isn’t too bad. Still, perhaps it will get bigger sometime soon.
Unfortunately the city also maintains a large oil industry with wells located both underground and offshore. Any and all extraction of fossil fuels based in carbon is bad news for the planet... well, actually for those of us who live on the planet’s surface. The planet will do just fine whatever happens, whether we’re here or not. The Earth did just fine for billions of years before we showed up.
So we need to stop all of this extraction of carbon as fast as possible, and move on to other renewable forms of energy, which we have the technology to do right now... but I digress.
Aircraft, car parts, electronic and audiovisual equipment, and home furnishings, are also made and sold in Long Beach, which is good I guess. At least we’re still making something in this country.
The retired ocean liner RMS Queen Mary is permanently moored as a tourist attraction, hotel, museum, and facility for events in Long Beach. I’ve been on it. There’s a special room that you can go into that takes you out over the water and you can see one of the attached propellers. It was the second biggest propellor I’ve ever seen!
My father came back from Europe on the Queen Mary after World War II ended. The army got him to the war zone pretty fast, and took they’re sweet time getting him back home. I’m sure he enjoyed the trip though.
The Queen Mary’s haunted by the way. The Ghost Hunters have proven it.
From 1983 to 1992, Howard Hughes' plane the Hughes H-4 Hercules (also known as the "Spruce Goose"), was located in a large dome nearby.
Critics of the plane, intended as a transatlantic flight transport for use during World War II, gave it the nickname “Spruce Goose,” just like “Psycho Donald,” The republican nominee for President, who appears not to have graduated kindergarten yet, gives his opponents nicknames. Only children, or morons with a learning disability would give others nicknames.
“Dickless Donald.” He doesn’t have a dick!
Ha, ha, ha, ha!
But the joke was on those critics as the plane was almost entirely made of birch, which is a whole different kind of wood than spruce.
He, he, he ,he!
The Hercules is the largest flying boat ever built and has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in history (320 ft 11 in.).
The war was over by the time the prototype was completed, and the airplane made only one brief flight on November 2nd, 1947. Here’s some actual footage of that flight.
Who knew that Bilbo Baggins was on the fateful flight along with Howard Hughes? I certainly didn’t!
Walt Disney bought the plane in 1988 and moved it to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, 1,055 miles from Long Beach. It arrived there on February 27th, 1993. You can go there right now and see it if you want to.
Be that as it may, Sally’s mom, Edith Baine, a Christian Scientist from Portland, Arkansas, was a piano teacher, and her dad, John "Jack" Helm Kellerman, from St. Louis, Missouri, was a Shell Oil Company executive, and thereby responsible for global warming.
Ha, ha, ha, just kidding. He was only partly responsible.
Unfortunately he passed away in 1971, and Edith in 1998.
Sally has an older sister, Diana Dean Kellerman; and her younger sister, Victoria Vaughn (Vicky) Kellerman, died in infancy.
When Sally was in the fifth grade, the whole family moved to San Fernando, California, in the northeast section of the famous San Fernando Valley.
I know San Fernando very well. My mother and step dad used to live in Sylmar, which is just next door.
I assume she attended nearby schools, like San Fernando High School, which could have been in either San Fernando or nearby Pacoima where the school moved to in 1952, when Sally was 15. It doesn’t really matter because during her 2nd year the family moved again, out of the valley, to what is described as Park La Brea, Los Angeles, which I can’t find anywhere, but judging from the name, it was more than likely close to the world famous La Brea Tar Pits, where many poor,animals would get stuck in the tar and die. The tar was and is covered with a layer of water making it look safe to wade into.
It wasn’t safe. Far from it.
The La Brea Tar Pits are in the Miracle Mile section of Los Angeles, along the world famous Wilshire Bl., about 7.4 miles west from where I’m sitting right now.
Sally would attend Hollywood High School, located at the intersection of North Highland Avenue and West Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.
Surprisingly a lot of people who would become relatively “famous” attended Hollywood High. Meredith Ann Baxter (actress & producer), Lon Chaney, Jr. (actor), Judy Garland (singer, actress, and vaudevillian), Linda Evans (actress), Norman Chandler (publisher of The Los Angeles Times from 1945 to 1960), Robert and Keith Carradine (actors), Frank Darabont (film director, screenwriter and producer), Carole Lombard (actress), Bozo (clown), Karl Hubenthal (cartoonist), Chuck Jones (animator), Nanette Fabray (actress, dancer and singer), (Henry P. Caulfield, Jr. (political scientist, college professor, son of Holden Caulfield, protagonist and narrator of J. D. Salinger's “The Catcher in the Rye”), Valerie Bertinelli (actress, rock whore), John Archer (actor, father of Sterling), Anthony Anderson (actor, comedian, writer, father of Thomas Anderson, AKA Neo), Lisa Coleman (musician and composer), Jill St. John (actress, presumed distant relative of John the Apostle, author of the Fourth Gospel), Sharon Tate (actress), Catherine Share (member of Charles Manson's "Family"), Vincent Bugliosi (attorney)Lana Turner (actress), Beatrice Wood (potter), Leighton Meester (actress, singer), Gloria Grahame (actress), Marguerite Empey (model, actress, and dancer), Laurence Fishburne (actor, friend of Neo), Warren Christopher (U.S. Secretary of State), Carol Burnett (actress, comedian), James Garner (actor, producer, singer, voice artist, and comedian), Mimsy Farmer (actress), Mitzi Gaynor (actress), Barbara Hershey (actress, Entity survivor), John Huston (film director, screenwriter and actor), Kermit (frog), Horacio Gutiérrez (virtuoso classical pianist), Gigi Levangie Grazer (novelist, screenwriter, and producer), The Four Preps (musical male quartet), Johnny Crawford (actor, Rifleman’s son), Mike Farrell (actor), Alan Hale Jr. (skipper), Swoosie Kurtz, (actress), Alan Ladd (actor, film and television producer), Ruta Lee (actress and dancer), Richard Long (actor), Stefanie Powers (actress, founder and president of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation and a director of the Mount Kenya Game Ranch and Wildlife Conservancy), David and Ricky Nelson (actors, sons of the Ozzie and Harriet), John Ritter (actor, polygamy advocate), Jason Robards (actor, Pearl Harbor witness), Alfred E Newman (cognitive scientist, Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University), Susan Peters (actress), Lisa Coleman (musician, worked with Prince), Edward Dmytryk (film director, one of the Hollywood 10, who refused to to testify to the House Un-American Activities Committee. He changed his mind later on and ratted everybody out), Miguel Delwicki (motivational garbologist), Gloria Grahame (actress), and Sally’s friend and future actress, Yvette Mimieux (“The Time Machine,” “Toys in the Attic,” “Monkeys, Go Home!” etc.), to name just a few.
There were many other people who have attended Hollywood High School. Some of them weren’t even “famous.”
Sally was very shy while in high school, so I’m told, making few close friends, and apparently her shyness affected her academic performance somehow as she received below average grades except in choir and physical education.
Sally was attracted to the performing arts though after seeing Marlon Brando in the 1952 film “Viva Zapata!”
I was shy in high school as well. We have that in common, Sally and I. She dealt with her shyness by overcoming it and acting in a school musical production of “Meet Me in St. Louis,” based on... I’m not sure what it was based on. I do know that a school alumni, Judy Garland, starred in the 1944 film, “Meet Me in St. Louis,” which was based on a series of short stories by Sally Benson, so there really wasn’t a play version for many years. Maybe Sally’s play was based on the film, who knows?! Perhaps Ms Kellerman will provide a comment and clear up this important matter.
I dealt with my shyness by ingesting massive quantities of various mind altering chemicals.
In the movie Ms Garland sang my favorite Christmas song ever. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
The little girl in the above clip, played by a six year old Margaret O'Brien (still with us, and living in San Diego), is obviously suffering from PTSD.
Ms Garland would meet her future husband, Vincente Minnelli, while making this film, as he was the director. The result of their union was a little baby girl they named Liza.
While in high school, she and friend Yvette Mimieux sang with the all-male quartet, The Four Preps, which undermined their innocence, the one thing they had going for them, making them a co-ed sextet.
Upon graduating from Hollywood High Sally enrolled at Los Angeles City College, where I once almost enrolled, but left after a year when the acting bug bit her again, and she began taking classes to learn her craft with the popular actor, and teacher, Jeff Corey, whom I’m almost positive you’ll recognize from his myriad appearances in film and television.
Within a year of attending classes, she appeared in a production of John Osborne's “Look Back in Anger” directed by Corey and featuring classmates Shirley Knight, Jack Nicholson, Dean Stockwell and Robert Blake.
Sally was, and is, a singer, and she submitted a recording demo to the founder and head of jazz oriented Verve Records, Norman Granz. She got lucky and her talent was recognized in the form of a contract offer. She got cold feet though I guess, and walked away from it all, concentrating on her acting.
Towards the end of the 1950s, and in her early 20s, Sally joined the newly opened Actors Studio West, an offshoot of the famous Actors Studio in Manhattan, which is in New York, 2,801 miles from where I’m writing this.
Boy, if you thought Hollywood High had a lot of famous people associated with it, you should take a look at the Actors Studio. I’m not even going to try and list them there’s so many. See for yourself.
To pay her tuition, Sally worked as a waitress at Chez Paulette, which was a coffee house on the Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip, in Hollywood actually, where they make all the movies. People like Jack Nicholson, Marlene Dietrich, Dennis Hopper, Warren Oates, Harry Dean Stanton, Marlon Brando and numerous writers, directors and flamenco guitarists hung out there... drinking coffee.
Most actors and actresses (I refuse to call actresses actors. Women have had too many things taken away from them... no need to add gender differentiation among them) start their careers in small parts in commercials and television shows, before advancing to larger projects. Benita Robledo, Camille Chen, Rachel Grate, Erin Law, Sasha Grey, Bruno Amato, Mariel Booth, and the lovely Jennifer Blaire of Animala fame (Jennifer has had the added burden of being somewhat typecast after appearing as Animala in two successful features (“The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra” and “The Lost Skeleton Returns Again”). Every time a beautiful and alluring composite of four forest animals is called for, casting agents consistently seek Jennifer), being some of my Facebook friends who have gotten into show business this way (please hire them! They’re all wonderful). But Sally... oh no. She would take a different path, and after losing a bid for the lead in Otto Preminger's 1957 “Saint Joan,” to the upstart Jean Seberg, she won a integral part in the classic film “Reform School Girl,” the epic and shocking true story of good girls gone bad. If you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, here’s the whole damn movie, by golly! It’s truly a film you don’t mind having invested your time watching, and it will live with you forever, and I really mean that.
The year was 1957, Sally was 20 years old, the world was hers for the taking. Parts were being offered to her left and right... after a few years. Like her next job playing a waitress on TVs “Bachelor Father,” in 1960, which proved to be a pivotal exchange for both Sally (who would go on to appear in such classics as “Lock Up,” with Macdonald Carey, “Surfside 6,” with Van Williams, who himself would go on to star with Bruce Lee in “The Green Hornet,” the 1962 horror classic, “Hands of a Stranger,” with Irish McCalla, she played marriage bait for Clint Walker on his show “Cheyenne,” she starred with future Academy Award winner Robert Duvall in a 1963 episode of “The Twilight Zone.” The original, none of the reprise crap. She played Margo Carlyle in an episode of “I'm Dickens, He's Fenster,” with the comic duo of John Astin and Marty Ingels. She worked with that jokester “Looks like I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue,” Lloyd Bridges on “The Llyod Bridges Show,” and with her fellow Hollywood High student, David Nelson, on “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet.” She’s irresistibly attracted to Gilligan on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” She’s in a threesome with Fred MacMurray and his son, Don Grady, on “My Three Sons.” She appears twice on the original “The Outer Limits,” one of my favorite shows during my formative years, a 1963 episode entitled “The Human factor,” involving a lot of mind switching in Greenland, and a 1964 episode, “The Bellero Shield,” with Marty Landau and Commissioner Gordon, Neil Hamilton, in which Sally plays Lady Macbeth... sort of. And who can forget “The Movie Maker,” written by “The Twilight Zones’”Rod Serling, starring Dabney Coleman, Robert Culp, and Sally. Something about an immigrant becoming a movie mogul I believe. Then of course we have “The Greatest Show on Earth,” with bad boy Jack Palance, “Slattery's People,” with Richard Crenna, two 1964 episodes of “Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre,” two, count’em, two episodes of “12 O’Clock High,” with Robert Lansing. She played a skittish bride on “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour,” with the eldest Carradine brother, David, another “hands” movie (gee, if I had a nickel...), “Connery's Hands,” with doomed spaceman Gary Lockwood on “Kraft Suspense Theatre,” with Lockwood again on “Seaway,” two episodes of the popular medical program “Ben Casey,” playing different people (or are they really the same person? I’ll never tell), with Vince Edwards and Gunga Din/original Prof. Barnhardt, Sam Jaffe. She pioneered the use of transgender characters playing Phil Bartlett on “A Man Called Shenandoah,” a fugitive spy on “I Spy,” with Robert Culp and Bill Cosby (watch out Sally! Don’t drink that tea!)), and later for John Forsythe, the star of “Bachelor Father,” who would go on to play the disembodied voice of Charles Townsend, or Charlie, on “Charlie’s Angels.”
Harrison Ford built her a deck when he supported himself as a carpenter around this time.
"Don't you understand? A mutated superior man could also be a wonderful thing!"
In February of 1965 the original pilot of “Star Trek,” entitled "The Cage," was rejected by NBC suits (executives). The show had been sold to them by the shows creator, Gene Roddenberry, as a "Wagon Train to the stars," and they thought the first pilot did not match the adventure format they had been promised and was "too cerebral" for the general audience, because, as demonstrated by the rise of Donald Trump, a vast percentage of the general audience are dumb as rocks. However, NBC, having been persuaded by Desilu management (and reportedly by Lucille Ball herself), maintained sufficient interest in the format to order a second pilot episode in March of 1965.
“Where No Man Has Gone Before," written by the western novelist Samuel A. Peeples, was selected over two other scripts up for consideration.
Casting took place in June. Jeffrey Hunter, the actor who portrayed Captain Christopher Pike in “The Cage,” was unwilling to reprise his role. Good old Lloyd Bridges, and Jack Lord (“Hawaii Five-O”) were considered, but William Shatner was finally cast as Pike's replacement, Captain James T Kirk. A female second-in-command, was dropped on the insistence of the NBC network, because, well, you know how women are, and Science Officer Spock was given the position as second in command. NBC was worried about Leonard Nimoy's "satanic" appearance and pressured for his removal, but Leonard just wouldn’t leave.
This episode introduced two other regular characters to the show: James Doohan as the Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, and George Takei as the Ship's Physicist Sulu, who would later be demoted to helmsman. I don’t know why.
Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura and DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard McCoy would join the show later.
Freaking Gary Lockwood was cast with Sally again, a couple of years before he would play another space wanderer, Dr. Frank Poole in a little movie called “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
Lockwood was given the part of the Enterprise’s navigator, Lt. Cmdr. Gary Mitchell, and Sally the part of ship’s psychiatrist, Dr. Elizabeth Dehner.
The gist of the episode being the Enterprise is set to explore outside of the Milky Way galaxy, our galaxy, but is hindered in it’s efforts by a mysterious space barrier, which upon entering, kills nine crewmembers, while Mitchell and Dehner are knocked unconscious by the barrier's deleterious barrier effects. When he awakens, Mitchell's eyes are glowing with a silverish tint, and he begins to display remarkable psychic powers, like telepathy and telekinesis, just like Stephen King’s Carrie.
Mitchell let’s all of this go to his head, and begins to associate himself with god, or gods. Dehner, after a while (because women, you know, are slower), begins to display the same abilities.
Mitchell becomes increasingly arrogant and hostile toward the the crew, so obviously he must be dealt with, and that dealing with constitutes pretty much the rest of the show. I don’t want to be a spoiler here, but in the end, things don’t work out well for Mitchell and Dehner.
“Where No Man has Gone Before," was eventually broadcast third in sequence on September 22nd, 1966. The suits at NBC were pleased with the episode and decided that “Star Trek” would be a weekly television series. Gene Roddenberry said that, like "The Cage", "Where No Man Has Gone Before" still had a lot of science fiction elements in it, but that it was the barbaric WWE like fight between Kirk and Mitchell that sold NBC on the show.
“Violence, violence, is the only thing that will make you see sense.” -Mott the Hoople
The episode re-aired on April 20th, 1967, and on July 12th, 1969, it became the first episode to be shown in the United Kingdom by the BBC. And from that point on, “Star Trek” infected the entire world.
And you can thank Sally Kellerman for that.
The success of the “Star Trek” show enabled Sally to pursue and win other, more challenging roles on television and in films, such as portraying Sandy Stafford on the 1966 “Break a Leg,” episode of “That Girl,” with the National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Marlo Thomas, and as mind reader Maya Leandro, on “T.H.E. (Thomas Hewitt Edward) Cat,” with Robert Loggia as Cat...
"Out of the night comes a man who saves lives at the risk of his own. Once a circus performer, an aerialist who refused the net. Once a cat burglar, a master among jewel thieves. Now a professional bodyguard. Primitive... savage... in love with danger. The Cat!"
...and as the beautiful blond Kathleen Walker, in the “A Dollar's Worth of Trouble,” episode of “Bonanza.”
Sally also worked as a circus owner on “Tarzan,” with Ron Ely, and on one of my favorite shows, based on a true story of illegal immigration, “The Invaders,” with Roy Thinnes.
1968 saw Sally getting strangled in Boston by Tony Curtis in the film, “The Boston Strangler.”
“I was also the romantic lead in ‘The Boston Strangler’ - I was the only one that lived to tell the story - so I called myself the romantic lead.”
I always thought Tony was a bit odd, and “Lobsterman From Mars,” proved it.
Sally played Robert Wagner’s ex-girlfriend in a 1969 episode of “It Takes a Thief,” a potential murderess on “Hawaii Five-0,” and Mike Connors ex-girlfriend in the “The Solid Gold Web,” episode of “Mannix.”
Sally worked with one of my favorite actors, Jack Lemmon, along with Catherine Deneuve, Peter Lawford, Jack Weston, Charles Boyer, and Myrna Loy in “The April Fools.”
Sally turned down a part in Paul Mazursky’s “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” presumably that of either Carol or Alice. I don’t know why she did that.
Then in 1969 something wonderful happened.
“Soon after “The April Fools” (1969) my agent called me about an audition. I didn't know anything about the director or who, if anyone, had already been cast. The only thing my agent said was that I was reading for the part of Lt. Dish (later played by Jo Ann Pflug), so I thought that I had better put on some red lipstick to look more "dish-y". The audition room was full of men, scattered about, none of whom I recognized. I didn't even know which one was the director. I guess I did well because, all of a sudden, one of the men--he had the longest fingers I've ever seen, like birds about to take flight--said, "I'll give you the best role in the picture: Hot Lips." "Really?" I said. I was so excited. Finally! The best role in something. I thanked the long-fingered man, took the script, and rushed outside. I didn't even want to get home before I cracked open the script to get a better look at this "best" role in the picture. Leaning against the building, I began thumbing through the pages looking for my part. And looking. And still looking. Nothing. On page forty, maybe I found a single line. Later I found a few more. Fourteen years in Hollywood and my "best role" is the nine-line part of a soldier named Hot Lips? I staggered home, angry and bitter, and I called my agent, indignant. "There's nothing to this part!" I told him. "This guy is supposed to be really talented," he said, trying to calm me down. "I really think you should do it." I later learned that fifteen directors had said no to this film before Robert Altman had said yes. So I read the script again and then agreed to take another meeting with Altman, it was just the two of us this time, and I arrived in a huff. I didn't know him from Adam, but I hated him for thinking he could fool me. Hot Lips was a memory before the script was even halfway over. But as long I had come this far, I was going to tell him what I thought. "Why does she have to leave in the middle of the film?" I began. I had spent years playing roles on TV. I was already thirty-one years old. I didn't want a career playing hard-bitten drunks in Chanel suits who get slapped by their husbands. This movie was supposed to be a comedy. Hell. I'd done two episodes of Bonanza just to prove I could be funny. I was capable of so much more than a few lines. I was capable of a "best" role--and so was my character. "I'm not just some WAC--I'm a woman!" "So why can't she do this? And why can't she do that?" I shouted at Altman. I was ranting. When I finally came up for air, Bob just casually leaned back in his chair. He said, simply, "Why couldn't she? You could end up with something or nothing. Why not take a chance?". The minute he said that, something in [me] shifted. Here I was having a tantrum in his office, and there he was leaning back in his chair, smiling. Everything about him was comfortable and relaxed. So sure. So it was settled. The role of Hot Lips O'Houlihan was mine. The movie was “MASH.”
“MASH” (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) opened on January 25th, 1970, to generally positive reviews. It was directed by Robert Altman and written by Ring Lardner, Jr., based on Richard Hooker's novel “MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors.” Besides Sally the film also starred Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould, Tom Skerritt, Robert Duvall, René Auberjonois, Roger Bowen, Gary Burghoff, Fred Williamson, Jo Ann Pflug, and a whole bunch of other people. The film is episodic in nature, telling the tale, in episodes, of medical and support personnel stationed close to the front lines during the Korean War (June 25, 1950 – July 27, 1953). It is considered a black comedy, a comic work that makes light of serious, disturbing and/or taboo subject matter. War, and the consequences thereof, were the backdrop for this movie. The characters involved provided the comedy. “MASH” cost $3.5 million to produce in 1969, which would equal approximately $21,400,000 in 2015 relative dollars. It made $81,600,000 in it’s initial run, $494,000,000 in today’s dollars. “MASH” was a huge financial success, to say the least, and in two years would generate an acclaimed television show.
The late film critic Roger Ebert said this about “MASH.”
“One of the reasons "MASH" is so funny is that it's so desperate. It is set in a surgical hospital just behind the front lines in Korea, and it is drenched in blood. The surgeons work rapidly and with a gory detachment, sawing off legs and tying up arteries, and making their work possible by pretending they don't care. And when they are at last out of the operating tent, they devote their lives to remaining sane.
The way they do that, in "MASH," is to be almost metaphysically cruel. There is something about war that inspires practical jokes and the heroes (Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, and cronies) are inspired and utterly heartless. They sneak a microphone under the bed of Major "Hot Lips" Hoolihan, and broadcast her lovemaking to the entire camp. They drug a general and photograph him in a brothel...
I think perhaps that's what the movie is about. Gould and Sutherland and the members of their merry band of pranksters are offended because the Army regulars don't feel deeply enough. "Hot Lips" is concerned with protocol, but not with war. And so the surgeons, dancing on the brink of crack-ups, dedicate themselves to making her feel something. Her façade offends them; no one could be unaffected by the work of this hospital, but she is. And so if they can crack her defenses and reduce her to their own level of dedicated cynicism, the number of suffering human beings in the camp will go up by one. And even if they fail, they can have a hell of a lot of fun trying. Also, of course, it's a distraction.”
Some critics didn’t like it as much as Roger. Screw’em.
I couldn’t find a clip, but here is a paraphrased (and I say paraphrased due to the fact that Mr. Lardner’s script was not strictly adhered to, a fact that upset Mr. Lardner to no end) scene (depicted in picture 30 above) between Hawkeye and soon to be Hot Lips, played of course, by Sally Kellerman.
I've noticed that both nurses and
enlisted men address you as 'Hawkeye.'
It's my name. Maybe that sounds
silly to you but...
That kind of familiarity is
inconsistent with maximum efficiency
in a military organization.
Okay, Major, honey.
(pushes back his
Now you’ve done it. You’ve
completely ruined my appetite
and put me off. Im’ going to go
now to my bunk and drink the
better part of a bottle of scotch,
and I'd normally ask you to join
me, and you very well might have,
but you’ve really turned me off.
(stands up to go)
See you around.
(icily, and to no one in particular,
thinking out loud)
I wonder how a degenerated person
like that could have reached a
position of responsibility in the
Army Medical Corps.
(who is sitting nearby and over
He was drafted.
And this scene (picture 31) which takes place right after the shower debacle, and which I believe had a great deal to do with Sally getting an Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
INT. HENRY'S TENT – DAY
Hot Lips, in her robe, her hair still wet from the shower,
carrying her towel and shower cap, is expressing her wrath
forcefully to Henry, ignoring the facts that he is in bed
and that Leslie is in bed with him, which explains why we
have never seen anybody make a pass at her.
This isn't a hospital, it's an insane
asylum! And it's your fault because
you don't do anything to discourage
What do you expect me to do?
Put them under arrest! See what a
courtmartial thinks of their drunken
hooliganism. It started with their
calling me Hot Lips and your letting
them get away with it. You let them
get away with everything! And if you
don't turn them over to the MPs now,
I'm going to resign my commission
Oh, g-g-goddamit, Hot Lips, resign
your ggodam c-commission!
“It may sound like a cliché when someone who's up for an Academy Award says, "It's an honor just to be nominated," but it really is an incredible honor. Yes, it's true that the coolest thing is doing the work, being on the set, having a part you can sink your teeth into, and 5 am burritos and doughnuts at craft services or hanging out in the makeup trailer. But being nominated is amazing because it's your peers' acknowledgment of your work. That's humbling!”
Sally lost to Helen Hayes for “Airport,” which quite frankly, I thought was a rather bland performance.
1971 was the year that Goldie Hawn got so freaked out announcing that George C Scott won Best Actor for “Patton,” after he famously refused to accept it, citing a dislike of the voting process and the concept of acting competitions. (He was the first actor to refuse the Academy Award for Best Actor, having warned the academy months in advance that he would refuse it on philosophical grounds (if he won). Scott believed that every dramatic performance was unique and could not be compared to others. "The whole thing is a goddamn meat parade. I don't want any part of it." is how he put it at one point).
They gave it to him anyway.
“MASH” won the Palme d'Or at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival. It was nominated for Best Picture (lost to Patton), Best Director (lost to Patton), Best Supporting Actress, and Best Film Editing (lost to Patton), and won the Oscar for its screenplay.
The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) in 1971.
“MASH" was the 38th film to be released to the home video market when 20th Century Fox licensed fifty motion pictures from their library to Magnetic Video.
In 1996, “MASH” was deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
It is #17 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies" and #54 on AFI's list of the top 100 American movies of all time.
And you can thank, in a large part, Sally Kellerman for that.
After Sally finished work on MASH, and it was released in January, and after a brief return to Bonanza, Sally married “Starsky & Hutch” producer Rick Edelstein on December 17th, 1970.
Next she went on to make “Brewster McCloud,” another Altman film, starring MASH alumni Bud Cort (who the following year would go on to make the classic Hal Ashby film “Harold and Maude”) and Shelley Duvall. The movie concerns a young recluse (Bud) who lives in a fallout shelter in the Houston Astrodome, where he is building a pair of wings so he can fly. He is aided by his sexy "fairy godmother," played by Sally.
"I think he just made up my part because he wanted to work together. I loved it. He gave me wing scars and let me sing 'Rock-a-bye Baby' to Bud. I stopped people on the road to tell them about Bob and how I loved Bob and how I’d do anything for Bob. And of course he took full advantage and he put me sitting naked in the fountain. To his credit it was a long lens and there was nobody in the streets and I was this bird, this fairy godmother. Why I did those things…"
Next up, 1972‘s “Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” written by Neil Simon and directed by Gene Saks. The film stars Sally as the love interest of Alan Arkin, with Paula Prentiss and Renée Taylor as his other love interests, and Sandy Balson as his wife. The film was not well received.
Except for Sally. She was wonderful. Here, let me prove it.
It turns out that she and Edelstein didn’t get along very well, and they divorced on March 6th, 1972, citing irreconcilable differences.
After the divorce Sally adopted her niece, Claire. Claire was the daughter of Kellerman's sister, Diana. When Diana moved to southern France, she left Claire in Sally’s care and that of Claire's father. When Claire's father died, Sally received full custody.
Sally also turned down a part in “The Poseidon Adventure,” that year. I don’t know why. Perhaps she has something against upside down ships.
I know I do.
Fresh off his stint as Sonny Corleone in “The Godfather,” James Caan starred with Sally, Louise Lasser, and Peter Boyle in “Slither,” with Howard Zieff making his directorial debut. With a plot similar to “It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World,” “Slither,” is about the hunt for stolen cash that takes it’s protagonists across, or up and down the country. Sally plays a free spirt/psychotic girl... the best kind.
1973 also saw Sally in the magical musical “Lost Horizon.” The film also stars Howard Beale, er, I mean Peter Finch, along with John Gielgud, Liv Ullmann, Michael York, George Kennedy, Olivia Hussey, James Shigeta and Charles Boyer.
Here Sally talks to Johnny Carson about “Lost Horizon,” and “Slither.”
To be perfectly honest, “Lost Horizon,” didn’t do very well. It was selected for inclusion in the book “The Fifty Worst Films of All Time,” and is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book “The Official Razzie Movie Guide” as one of The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.
Except for Sally. She was wonderful. Here’s a clip.
I’ve been told that the film’s musical directors, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, didn’t talk to each other for years after “Lost Horizon," was released.
But Sally was great.
Sally turned down a part in Altman’s “Nashville,” in 1975. I don’t know why. Perhaps she has something against country and gospel music. I really know that I do.
In 1976 Sally appeared in the ultimate disaster movie, “The Big Bus,” along with Stockard Channing, Joseph Bologna, “MASH” co-star René Auberjonois, future “Back to School,” co-star Ned Beatty, Padishah Emperor José Ferrer, the other half of “Harold and Maude,” Ruth Gordon, Harold Gould, Larry “Jeannie Slaver" Hagman, Howard “Johnny Fever” Hesseman, Richard “Soap/Gen Custer” Mulligan, Lynn Redgrave, and Vic Tayback, in a story of the world’s first nuclear bus, and those who would wish to see it fail.
Here’s a scene featuring Sally.
76 also saw Sally playing a lonely real estate agent in “Welcome to L.A.”
And Sally sings, here in a 1977 performance.
She appeared in 12 episodes of “Centennial,” a television mini-series that aired on NBC from October of 1978 to February of 1979. It was based on the novel of the same name by James A. Michener. The series was one of the longest (26½ hours, including commercials) and most ambitious television projects ever attempted. The show had something to do with Colorado, I believe.
Here’s a clip (you can go ahead and scoot on up to the 7:20 mark for Sally).
In 1979 Sally played mother to a very young Diane Lane (who was like 13 or 14 when this was made, her first movie. Boy, did she grow up well. Now she’s Superman’s mom) in a film I just recently discovered, much to my delight, “A Little Romance,” a George Roy Hill (“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Sting”) joint, also starring Highway Patroller Broderick Crawford, Arthur Hill, and Sir Laurence Olivier, who was 72 at the time. “A Little Romance” was sandwiched in between his “The Boys from Brazil,” and “Dracula.”
February of 1980 saw the release of “Foxes,” with Sally playing the mother of teen Jodie Foster. The film told the tale of teenage sex and drugs and... well, enough said.
“God help us if many American teen-agers are like the ones in this movie but God love them, for that matter, for surviving in the teen-age subculture of Los Angeles. “Foxes” is a movie about four teen-age girls who live in the San Fernando Valley, who come from broken or unhappy homes, who are surrounded by a teen-age subculture of sex, dope, booze, and rock and roll ... and who aren't bad kids, not really... The movie's a rare attempt to provide a portrait of the way teenagers really do live today in some suburban cultures.” Roger Ebert
“Foxes,” marks the debut of both the director, Adrian Lyne, who would go on to make movies like “Fatal Attraction,” “9 1/2 Weeks,” “Flashdance,” “Indecent Proposal,” “Jacob's Ladder,” and “Unfaithful,” and Runaway front woman Cherie Currie in her first cinematic performance. Plus, there’s the release of Donna Summer’s hit “On the Radio,” in this film.
It is said that Jodie took a little break from her burgeoning career after “Foxes,” for four years to study animal husbandry at Yale University, specializing in young sheep. And that’s true if you don’t count “Carny” (1980), “O'Hara's Wife” (1982), and “Svengali” (1983).
On May 11th, 1980, Kellerman married movie producer Jonathan D. Krane in a private ceremony at actress Jennifer Jones' Malibu home. I was in the navy at the time, in the middle of the mighty Pacific, and therefore not invited.
In 1989, they adopted newborn twins Jack and Hannah.
Speaking of the eighties, Sally starred with stand up comic Rodney “I don’t get no respect” Dangerfield, in 1985‘s “Back to School.”
Sally denigrates herself by summing up her career in two movies, saying in interviews (here she is promoting her 2009 jazz and blues album, “Sally") that “MASH,” and “Back to School,” were her only real successes. Well, that’s just wrong. As we’ve discovered, Sally has participated in literally hundreds of worthwhile and praiseworthy projects throughout her entire working life. As a matter of fact she is one of the rare actresses (or actors) who by simply being in a film makes it better.
“Back to School,” concerns itself with a wealthy but uneducated father (Rodney) who goes to college to show support his discouraged son who wants to drop out. Rodney wins over a lovely English professor, (Sally) on the way to learning that money can't buy everything.
I just watched this movie again the other night, and had forgotten Robert Downy Jr, fresh off of an unsuccessful stint on “Saturday Night Live,” is in the cast. And one of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., makes a cameo appearance as Rodney’s tutor, teaching him about Kurt Vonnegut, which is just wonderful.
(Rodney on the phone,
after his Vonnegut paper
gets an “F")
And another thing, Vonnegut.
I'm going to stop payment
on the check.
What's that? Fuck me?
Kurt, do you read lips?
“Back to School,” was a financial and critical success, making $91,258,274.23 in it’s initial run ($41,948,000 in rentals), on a budget of $11 million. That’s pretty good... for a movie.
Sally followed up 'Back to School,” with “Meatballs III, Summer Job,” playing the ghost of a porn star denied entrance into the afterlife, and given the task of helping Patrick Dempsey lose his virginity.
Is she successful? You’ll have to see the movie!
Sally has continuously worked in television and film since, including “Three for the Road,” with Charley Sheen (1987), and “All's Fair,” with George Segal (1989). 1992 saw the fourth collaboration between Sally and Altman in “The Player,” where she appeared as herself. “Doppelganger,” with Drew Barrymore in 1993, “Murder, She Wrote,” with Angela Lansbury (1993). She was reunited with Donald Sutherland, along with Lolita Davidovich and Brendan Fraser in 1993's “Younger and Younger,” with Robert Altman again in “Ready to Wear” (1994), “The Naked Truth,” with Téa Leoni (1996), “Gun,” with Daryl Hannah, Jennifer Tilly, and Sean Young (1997), twice on “Diagnosis Murder,” playing two different people (she must have a thing for Dick Van Dyke, but then, who doesn’t), “Columbo,” with Peter Falk (1998), “Boynton Beach Club,” with Alice, er, I mean, Dyan Cannon, and Sally’s Big Bus friend, Joseph Bologna (2005). She appeared with my friend Ernest Borgnine, and Micky Rooney in 2011's “Night Club.” Her performance as a woman with Alzheimer's disease living in a retirement home won an Accolade Competition Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Of course she appeared on, “Law and Order LA” (2011), everybody does. (I’ve even been on it, and I’m not an actor!) “Workaholics,” (2013), 10 episodes of “The Young and the Restless,” earning her a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Special Guest Performer in a Drama Series.
Most recently she’s been on five episodes of “Maron,” the last one, “Episode #4.5,” aired just last May... the 25th to be exact. She has the thankless task of playing Marc Maron’s mother, Toni.
In 2013 Sally published “Read My Lips: Stories of a Hollywood Life.” It may be autobiographical in nature. I invite you to buy a copy as Sally worked really hard on it.
No piece on Ms Kellerman, or anybody else for that matter, would be complete with an interview by McKayla & Shana.
That said... Sally’s name in elvish is Eldárwen Elensar, which is good to know.
Here is a link to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Walk of Fame Committee, so you can write to them and gently suggest that Sally get her own star. Something like this perhaps: “Get your lazy freaking Hollywood asses and acts together and give Ms Kellerman her own God damn star as fast as possible, if not sooner, because she richly deserves it.” Something along those lines.
It’s too late for this year, but perhaps in 2017 we can get this process started and done with.
Lastly, everyone here at Joyce’s Take, and all of her fans across this country and around the world, wish Sally a wonderful birthday, and continued success and feelings of contentment for many years to come.
Happy Birthday Sally!
“It hasn't been smooth or delightful every minute, there were lean years and rough years, but it's been exciting and good and I'm thrilled to be an actress and a singer and to have spent my life this way.”
“I hope to have some more cracks at some wonderful roles before I go to the Great Beyond.”
So do I Sally. So do I.