Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What Would Mary Ann Do?

This past weekend, I was excited to have the opportunity to interview Dawn Wells -- aka Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island -- about her role on the classic comedy, and her new book What Would Mary Ann Do? A Guide to Life.  For nearly an hour on stage at the Santa Monica Public Library in California, Dawn and I spoke about her life, her career, and the pieces of wisdom she's picked up along the way.

For a big Gilligan fan like me, the afternoon was a dream come true, and Dawn did not disappoint, speaking to the crowd with wit and charm -- and looking gorgeous.  Gilligan's Island just celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in September -- and if you do the math, that makes Dawn now an incredibly youthful 76 (!)  One of just two surviving cast members (the other being Tina Louise, aka Ginger), Dawn reminisced about her now-departed co-stars, and told some fun tales from behind the scenes.  You can check it out in the video below.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

RIP Mrs. Wolowitz

Carol Ann Susi, 1952-2014
I was so sad this afternoon to hear about the death at age 62 
of Carol Ann Susi, the actress who voiced the unseen character of Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg)'s harridan mom on The Big Bang Theory.  I've long been a fan of Carol Ann's, and was thrilled a few years back when I got the chance to interview her for a CBS Watch! magazine story about the secretaries of Murphy Brown.

With a long resume in both TV and film, Carol Ann was one of those character actresses with such perfect comic timing, you knew the moment you spotted her in something you'd be in for a laugh.  She was Michael J. Fox's secretary Jean in The Secret to My Succe$s, and a psychiatric patient in Death Becomes Her.  She made her TV debut with three episodes of Kolchak:  The Night Stalker in 1974, and never stopped working since, popping up in all my favorite comedies of the last few decades.  I still laugh out loud when I think back to her hilarious appearance as Maya's (Laura San Giacomo) crazy neighbor Mrs. Boukidis on a 1998 episode of Just Shoot Me.

I had the pleasure of running into Carol Ann quite a few times since my move to LA last fall, including just a few months ago, immediately following a live taping of Big Bang on the Warner Brothers lot.  Her death comes as a shock to all of us who loved her work, including her millions of Big Bang devotees around the world.