Tuesday, September 17, 2013

On Marilyn Monroe: A Sexy Scent

This week, I may get some word on our project.  Last year, I co-hosted a TV pilot for a new weekly show.  True, the concept of movie reviews and celebrity interviews is not a new one.  However, ours is original because it has two black people discussing new and classic films, doing interviews and our show's two producers are African-American women.  THAT is a fresh approach.  It could kick open a door for more needed diversity.  As I've written before, we are over a decade into the 21st century and the only two black film reviewers that most white TV viewers can name are the two characters from the "Men on Film" sketches in the 1990s Fox comedy series, In Living Color.

I've combined new and vintage clips here to show you the kind of film-related program I'd love to do and what I would bring to it.  Movies are my passion.  This blog piece reveals how sexy and dramatically strong Marilyn Monroe was in Actors Studio classes in New York City.  I find out in Hollywood from Oscar winner Lou Gossett, Jr., one of Marilyn's classmates.  I'll take you into the historic Atlanta home of a woman whose novel was turned into a top Hollywood Oscar-winning classic and box office champ.  You'll also see me with Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Paul McCartney and Madonna.                                                                   

From last year's TV pilot shoot, Gene Seymour and I discuss a new romantic comedy starring Chris Rock and Julie Delpy.  The French actress also wrote and directed 2 Days in New York in which they played a couple dealing with a visit from her loopy family.

From New York City, let's travel down to Atlanta.  Margaret Mitchell wrote the bestselling novel that millions of readers eagerly awaited to see turned into a major motion picture.  The 1939 Hollywood classic made box office and Oscar history.  Vivien Leigh won Best Actress for her memorable performance as the iron-willed Southern belle, Scarlett O'Hara.  Clark Gable was nominated for the most famous role of his long film career, Rhett Butler.  Hattie McDaniel was the first black person nominated for an Oscar and the first one to win.  She was voted Best Supporting Actress.  In another TV pilot, I had the sheer joy to co-host with Widdi Turner.  We visited the home of the woman who wrote Gone With The Wind.

Clark Gable's final film was 1961's The Misfits, a dramatic modern western with an original screenplay by famed Death of  a Salesman playwright, Arthur Miller.  Gable's leading lady in The Misfits was Arthur Miller's wife, screen legend Marilyn Monroe.

Actor Lou Gossett, Jr. was in classes at the Actors Studio with Marilyn Monroe when she was seeing Arthur Miller.  Mr. Gossett graciously invited me into his Hollywood home to shoot an interview for our pilot.  I asked him about being in classes with Hollywood's top sex symbol.  He started by telling me how the scent of Lifebuoy soap used to affect him like a hit of Viagra.  Guess what superstar glamour girl smelled of Lifebuoy soap?
Hollywood's Blonde Bombshell certainly got the attention of her fellow student who'd win Hollywood gold as Best Supporting Actor for An Officer and a Gentleman (1982).

In these two parts, Lou Gossett tells us about a Marilyn Monroe we never saw.

Off-camera, Mr. Gossett told me specifically that Monroe did the Blanche DuBois role in scenes for class.  Wow. If only video footage with audio of Marilyn Monroe's work in her Actors Studio classes existed today.  The actress was serious about her craft.    
Lou Gossett, Jr. was in the original A Raisin in the Sun cast on Broadway.  He joined Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee and Diana Sands when they recreated their 1959 stage roles in the 1961 film adaptation of the classic Lorraine Hansberry play.
From VH1 to WNBC to WNYW/Fox 5 and Manhattan cable, I have network and local New York City credits as a talk show host and entertainment news contributor.
I can also handle live network television, which I did as Entertainment Editor on Lifetime Live.  This was an ABC News/Lifetime Television joint production.

Wish me luck with the pilot.  I'd love to return to the television workforce.

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