A few years ago, I appeared in a one woman show called VIVIEN LEIGH A PORTRAIT. The play was written by Meade Roberts and friend and associate of Tennessee Williams, based on the life of the wonderful actress Vivien Leigh. It all takes place on the last night of her life and many of her reminiscences are about her waning career and how hard it is to look back and remember one’s younger, lovelier and more successful self. I can relate to that. It is hard when you have to face the fact that things have changed and you are not the glorious creature, people said you were. I think that this had a lot to do with the terrible tragedy of OJ Simpson…he just could not face the loss of a glittering career and his own part in it and it all went terribly wrong.
I have had a wonderful career, for which I am very grateful and I had some extraordinary parts in works written by truly great writers: George Orwell, David Mercer, Robert Muller, Arnold Wesker, not mention old man Shakespeare. As the work got more commercial with appearing in series like “The Saint”, “The Prisoner”, “Danger Man”, “The Incredible Hulk”, The Six Million Dollar Man”, “Mission Impossible”, etc, etc…the writing and the parts were less exciting. I am sure that many of the excellent writers who wrote for the shows had talent, in many cases equal to those early writers I mentioned, but the demands on them were different and they had to write more to a formula. So now it is a happy rarity when a great part comes along, written by an outstanding writer.
Such is the terrific script of REUNION, the play written by John Caine, which I now have under option and which I want and am trying to get funded as a feature film. Not an easy task, I hasten to add, but one to which I am deeply committed…anyone know someone with deep pockets who wants to do a little film investing?? Some of the best films started life as plays in the theatre, this year saw the terrific “Fences” come to life as a film….”August, Osage County“,”Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” The Madness of King George,” “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “The Miracle Worker,” “Glengarry Glen Ross“,”Amadeus” and “A Bronx Tale”are a few that spring to mind, not to mention a film close to my heart “The Lion in Winter“. It all starts with the writing. So I will push on with this, until it happens…I am nothing if not determined. Wish me well friends, we need all the help and good will we can get!
You were never ‘lovelier’ than you are now, Jane 🙂
But I do understand how those whose ‘face is their fortune’ … to some extent … might find it difficult to see their previous selves, especially if they are insecure, and cannot ‘live in the moment’.
Fortunately, you have the level-headednesstalent and drive to keep you going into your more mature years !
Thank you for your kind words Roger…cheered my spirit!
Dear Ms Merrow,
Goodness, you are still a beauty. I know you only from your role in The Lion In Winter. I sought your website because of it.
You may not realize that your Lion performance was on a par with those of Mr O’Toole and Ms Hepburn (and better than those of the other performers).
Your excellent work as a defenseless pawn, was done with realistic sentiment – a performance crucial to the success of the film.
Although Ms Hepburn received much praise, she merely recited her lines well, lines which seemed too complicated for her.
You, on the other hand, were genuinely alive in your role. Had you not brought to life such a vulnerable and sympathetic character, the audience would have had to endure only wickedness (from the other characters).
I envy your profession and your career. Film is one of the few ways in which one can live forever. Thanks again.
Dear Philip……thank you for your kind and generous comments. I too love film and my profession and feel privileged to have been able to maintain a career in it. I do appreciate hearing your thoughts.