Tuesday, August 9, 2011
I LOVED LUCY and Rose Marie/2011 Television Critics Association Award
I hope this finds you well. How did you spend your Monday night? I spent mine with Lucille Ball...and Lee Tannen. I don't think there is a person in the world who does not know Lucille Ball. Perhaps you do not know Lee Tannen. Lee was related to Lucille Ball by her marriage to Gary Morton. Lucy collector Glen Charlow and Diane J. Findlay as Lucille Ball)
Lee first met Lucille Ball when he was 9 years old at a family party in the Bronx. In the spring of 1960, Lee was 9 and Lucy was 49. She had recently divorced Desi Arnaz and wanted a complete break from Beverly Hills and Hollywood.
Lucy had taken her mother, Didi, and Lucie and Desi. Jr and moved to The Imperial House in New York.
Lee was in such awe when he met Lucille Ball, that he couldn't even speak. He was meeting Lucy Ricardo whom he idolized. Even at 9, he could recite almost every line of I LOVE LUCY. Years later, in 1984, when Lucille Ball was 72 and Lee was 32, fresh from a divorce and having just "come out", Lee met "LUCILLE BALL", the woman behind Lucy. At this point in her life, she was for the most part, idle in her career. Her life consisted of openings and an occasional appearance or television special. AND parlor games with a very few select friends. As a matter of fact, that meeting that night started an on again off again backgammon game that would continue for the next five years. According to Lee, Gary, for the most part was mostly AWOL(on the golf course), the children were away, and Lucy spent very little time with very few friends. Lee became Lucy's best friend, her confidante, and frequent escort in the remaining years of Lucy's life.
(Lucille Ball Died on April 26, 1989)
In 2001, 2 years after Lucy's death, Lee put pen to paper and wrote of his friendship with Lucille Ball. Lee's memoir concentrates on Lucy's frustration at being denied one of the great joys of her life: her work because of bad health and poor decisions. Gary's apparent bad career advice leads Ball into two late-in-life disasters: a TV movie (1985's Stone Pillow), which ruined her health, and the poorly conceived TV series Life with Lucy (1986), which, when canceled, convinced her that she no longer had a career or fans who wanted to see her.
Tannen believes that this led Lucy to lose enthusiasm for life. This affectionate and intimate but by no means rose-colored portrait presents Ball as a demanding taskmaster at a loss during her twilight years.
Lucille Ball will always be remembered as Lucy Ricardo, the wacky redhead who was forever getting herself into hilarious situations.
The queen of comedy was a very different person in her private life.
This book is not a biography but a memoir of those years.
Tannen spent many hours playing backgammon with Lucy, going on ski trips, accompanying her to awards ceremonies, and traveling anywhere else Lucy wanted to go.
The only fault here is Tannen's flexibility with chronology; it would have been easier to follow had he kept the time line more focused.
Otherwise, this is a great book about one of the great Hollywood legends. Lucy fans will not be disappointed. Recommended for larger libraries. Rosalind Dayen, Broward Cty. South Regional Lib., Pembroke Pines, FL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --
Now adapted for the stage, this funny, bitter-sweet, tender portrait examines the real woman versus the television persona that propelled her to super-stardom. Directed by Todd Weeks, I Loved Lucy adds vibrant color to the legendary actress we all thought we knew so well. It premiered at The Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach, California on October 5th of last year.
I sort of expected this show to be some tabloidish tale, an exploitive expose' about The Queen Of Television Comedy. I was completely wrong and am ashamed to admit that. "I Loved Lucy" was incredible! Lee Tannen made the audience fall in love with Lucy as much as he was.
Of course NO ONE could be exactly like Lucille Ball on stage.
The very gifted actress Diane Findlay has made the wise move to evoke Lucy's essence rather than a dead-on impersonation. You will walk away feeling that you've spent an evening with the "real" Lucy!
"I Loved Lucy" is a rich portrait of the real Lucille Ball, revealing how she differed from her zany screen persona and yet in many ways also matched it precisely. Lucy was warm and funny, yet autocratic and mercurial, an intimate confidante and a generous companion.
Jeffry Denman does a superb job as Lee Tannen!
Last night,The Transport Group presented a one-night-only performance of the Laguna Playhouse production at the Duke on 42nd Street.
Tannen dishes a lot of dirt here, but it's nothing that Lucy would necessarily be mad at him for revealing. His words give Lucy fans a complete idea of what Lucy's last years were like. In the book, there arestories about how Lucy desperately wanted to make the movie "Driving Miss Daisy" (Lee says she would have been all wrong for it, and he's right); her disastrous last two projects (the TV movie "The Stone Pillow", and the failed ABC sitcom "Life With Lucy"); her obsession with backgammon and game shows (she loved Vanna White of "Wheel Of Fortune"), plus a lot of other stories let us in on a Lucy we never really knew.
Tannen's adventures with the world's most famous redhead ranged from gala tributes in New York to intimate "just family" ski weekends in Snowmass, Colorado; from a night at the White House to long afternoons spent playing backgammon and reminiscing about Desi in her Beverly Hills and Palm Springs homes. (Photo was taken at State Department Dinner for 1986 Kennedy Center Honorees. Gary sat to Lucy's right, Lee to her left.)
Lee told me today that they are searching for venues to keep this show going. I hope they succeed! It is a great night of theatre!
THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW was been selected as a 2011 Television Critics Association Award winner. The series was the top vote getter in the category of "Heritage Award." The TCA presents this prestigious award to one long-standing program that has culturally or socially impacted society. Carol Reiner, Larry Mathews and he first Lady of Las Vegas, Rose Marie, were on hand to accept the honor. "Sheldon Leonard told me that if you want the best, to get Rose Marie," recalled Carl Reiner. Ms. Marie said, "When they first approached me about being part of The Dick Van Dyke Show, I said "What's a Dick Van Dyke?"
One of entertainment's longest and most fascinating careers began at the age of 3 and was billed as Baby Rose Marie. She starred in several of the earliest talking films, beginning with a 1929 short, Baby Rose Marie the Child Wonder, which was screened in theaters before feature films such as “The Jazz Singer.” In 1946, when Las Vegas opened its first big-time casino hotel, The Flamingo, Rose Marie was hired by Benjamin “Bugsy” Segal as one of the headliners, along with Jimmy Durante and Xavier Cugat. She had a brief Broadway career in Top Banana with Phil Silvers and in 1960, she accepted her first regular role on “My Sister Eileen.” The next year, “The Dick Van Dyke Show” premiered and Rose Marie became a household name. After five seasons, she moved to “The Doris Day Show.” She is the only original member of the hit game show “Hollywood Squares” to have worked on all of its reincarnations and its hosts. She toured extensively with Rosemary Clooney, Helen O'Connell & Margaret Whiting in 4 Girls 4 and has released her best selling memoirs “Hold The Roses.” In 2009, a selection of items from Rose Marie's career was inducted into the Smithsonian Institutes first permanent Entertainment Exhibit -
The Television Critics Association has been recognizing outstanding television programming, honoring both actor and producers for more than 26 years. The TCA’s annual awards show is a non-televised and invitation-only event that only features the winners of each category and not the finalists.
The TCA Awards were Saturday, August 6 in the ballroom at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, California).
The TCA is a non-profit organization. The Television Critics Association represents more than 220 journalists writing about television for print and on line outlets in the United States and Canada. Membership in the Television Critics Association is open to full-time TV writers at newspapers, magazines, trade publications, news wire services, news syndicates, and text-based Internet news organizations. The Television Critics Association exists to serve its membership of full-time TV critics, most of whom do not live near the entertainment capitals of Los Angeles and New York. The twice-yearly TCA press tour, then, represents an unparalleled opportunity to gain access to the people who make television. The reporting our members do at press tour creates story material year-round as well as valuable face-to-face contacts with network executives, producers and actors. As such, we limit membership in the TCA to those journalists who can be served by this primary.
CREDITS: (SOURCE: HARLAN BOLL, Artwork by Glen Hanson)
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