Thursday, April 15, 2010

Remembering Peter Haskell

I worked closely with Peter on Ryan’s Hope. He was the sort of performer you love to be around, kind, generous and so damn smart. Nobody needs me to go on about what a terrific actor Peter was, all you had to do was turn on the TV and you’d know that.

What I remember most was that mind of his -- he was really, really brilliant. His interests ranged over anything and everything. So many actors are really focused on themselves, but Peter studied his interests, everything from dog training to politics. I remember there was a time when he wanted to go back to law school so he could do pro bono work for people who needed legal representation and just because he wanted to exercise that terrific brain of his. He was fascinated by so many different topics, I mean, it was amazing how much he knew.

He’d had a lot of success by the time I knew him, but he really didn’t like to talk about all of that. His favorite topic was Crickett and his kids. Just mention them and you’d watch his eyes light up. They’re dealing with loss right now, and I don’t know if it will comfort them to know that they made him so very happy – I really hope it does.

You'd have to go some distance in self absorbed show business to find a family man like Peter. And all of that I think was what made him the actor he was. Because you can fake a lot if you're talented, but you can't fake humanity -- Peter had that, big time.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Goodbye Dixie Carter

Every once in a while you work with someone who really makes an impression on you. Dixie Carter was one of those people. She was already playing a wildly popular character -- Brandy -- on Edge Of Night when I showed up to do my year long stint.

Dixie was the kind of actress who not only welcomed a newcomer, she showed you where the ladies room was -- a serious consideration when you were doing a show that was still being broadcast live. Like most people I was charmed by her, she was earthy, glamorous, incredibly smart and totally feminine -- a combo I still think southern women can pull off better than anyone else.

And now I'm going to admit to something, Dixie had a signature perfume in those days, it was called Bal A Versailles, and it was romantic, lovely, and as she used to say, just a little bit "loud." After she introduced me to it, I wore that stuff for years.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Damn Circle of Life

Okay, there's been something going on in my house that I haven't really wanted to talk about because I needed to kind of accept it myself. And to be honest, there were times when I felt like I had Swiss Cheese Heart because there were a bunch of holes in it. I know I told you all about our cat, Martha, leaving. What I didn't mention was, we've lost several cats since last summer -- five to be exact. It hasn't been unexpected, Roger and I took in a lot of strays when we lived in Georgia. My stepson Colin was working for a vet down there and since the local shelter was not exactly well funded -- or functional -- animal lovers who found strays would bring them to Dr Schwitalla -- Mike- who would do his best to patch them up and find homes for them . But inevitably the day would come when a cat or a dog had been in the back cages at his clinic for too long and Mike would tell Colin that the only humane thing to do was let him or her go, and Colin would put in a call to Roger who would race down to the clinic and we would have another pet. Fortunately for us, Colin only worked there for a little while, but it was long enough for us to acquire many dogs and many, many cats. All of whom hit old age at once. We've been losing them for a couple of years now, and from time to time I've written about it. But our present vet has been warning us that we would probably face a fall, and winter like the one we've just had where many of them would go at once. So, our last old timer died on Monday, his name was Albert and he was the big gorgeous long haired alpha of our crowd who used to cuddle up to the others when they were sick and loved all of his fellow felines -- dogs were okay too -- and managed to be incredibly fond of his humans. It happened really quickly for him and I think it was a deliberate choice on his part. I have a real problem with the whole circle of life concept -- basically, I hate it and I think someone should work out something else, damn it -- and he wasn't going to take any chances on me trying heroic measures on him. Like I said, Albert was an alpha.
Roger and I are okay with all of this -- well, sort of, I still want an explanation for the damn circle of life -- and we will always have pets. We've got two dogs right now who are a constant source of sunshine -- and the occasional perfect storm of disaster, but who's counting -- in the house. I've posted some pictures of them, and I'm hoping maybe if some of you out there have some pictures of your pets and a story or two that you'd like to share, maybe you'll post them. I just feel like celebrating these guys -- you know?