Udana Talks About Her TV and Movie Career, Pt. 4

In this interview (which was conducted late Summer/early Fall, 2014), Bill Murphy (BM) focuses on Udana Power’s (UP) career in commercials (print and television), as well as her appearances on stage. Thank you, Udana, for your time – and for providing all of the photos.

BM: Tell me about General Hospital. What was it like getting that gig? What were your impressions of being in it? What did you like about it? What did you not like about it?

Udana-1980sUP: I loved it because it was a steady job. And I got to be acting for a living. At that time, daytime TV was not as hip as it is now. Even so, that was about the time that some stars were springing out of daytime TV to go further in their careers, to become major careers. We were heading into a strike, and to have a semi-recurring in anything was wonderful. I got to work regularly. I would show up a couple of times a week for General Hospital. I played a character named Fran Woods…and in every script they had her breaking down sobbing. I looked at the scripts and said, “Oh my God! I have to do that every day I’m there!”

BM: [laughs]

UP: [laughs] Jeez, you can’t fake that. I have to prime myself so that I really break down sobbing.

BM: Your character looked like she was constantly emotionally on edge. What was going on at the time? What was that plot about?

GeneralHospitalUP: My husband or my lover, the man I was living with had disappeared, and we figured the Mob had killed him. They found his watch and one of his shoes in the river. And I was like a really nice ’50s housewife who never asked any questions, and I’d never met any of his friends. It was kind of like an alcoholic marriage, the very strange, dysfunctional marriage where I just stayed home and raised the kids. I didn’t know where the money came from, I didn’t know anything about his friends. He was a traveling salesman and did something with restaurant supplies. So all of a sudden he didn’t show up, and then I go to Anna to start investigating it and find out where could he be. Anna says, “Oh my gosh, they found this. Do you recognize this watch?” It was a watch I’d given him for Christmas. So I break down in tears and sob, “Oh my God, he’s dead, he’s dead.” Then they find his shoe. And then somebody’s sending me money, and then they’re starting to cut down sending me money, so there’s all this trauma going on. And I have children to support.

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 8.35.54 PMI actually don’t remember much more of it. What I do remember is having to break down and sob almost every show, because it said in the script, “She breaks down and sobs.” So I was kind of on edge. And you can’t make that stuff up – you have to really go there. It was…I think the word could be “turgid.” [laughs]

I would come in early to prepare, learn all my lines, make sure I knew where to stand and didn’t bump into the furniture. I would record everyone else’s lines on a tape recorder while leaving room for my own lines and go over it again, and again, and again, and again, because that way I could have the cue in my ear – I could hear it, I could feel it, and bounce back with the line. It would start becoming automatic. It wasn’t just reading it on the page and then hoping I’d hit the cue when the actor threw it at me. I didn’t have someone to rehearse my lines with, so I had this little cassette tape recorder… Do you believe it? Today I’d be using my iPhone. I would just put everybody else’s lines on it, with room enough for mine, and stay in character as I practiced. That’s how I learned my lines for daily shows. So when I got on the set with these really emotional scenes, I was pretty well prepared. I would prepare the night before and make sure I was at a place where that raw emotion was juicing. Sometimes I wouldn’t do my own scenes till late in the afternoon. Those were long days!

I remember one day I was getting ready for my scene and just trying to be quiet and stay focused. I found a place on the set to be quite and do my inner preparation while the crew worked somewhere else. One of the guys in the crew, I don’t know whether he was teasing me, whether he was flirting with me, whether he was just being an asshole, but he brought over a tennis ball and started bouncing it off the wall over my head right. I was sitting there on a couch working my scene in my head, focusing, trying to keep the emotion primed and he’s batting the stupid yellow tennis ball right over me. [laughs] I was such a naïve and sweet girl…I didn’t have the nerve to say, “What are you doing, asshole?”

BM: [laughs]

UP: I was not a diva. It would have probably stood well for me, but I just stayed concentrating. I have no idea what he was doing. But those are some of the kind of things you’re dealing with on a sound stage where the crew was bored to tears day after day after day. So they’re often in a sound stage 12 hours a day.

Finola Hughes was fabulous. What an amazing woman. I did most of my scenes with her, we became friends. I just loved her. She’s just an amazing woman. And everything about it was wonderful.

I got cast by a man who loved theatre and gosh, I’ve gotta go find his name. We’re gonna have to go find it and look at it because he was such a fan. He came down and saw Gone with the Wind (at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles.) He followed my career because he was such a theatre buff. And, God love him, he called me in to read for the role and I got it.

I’m amazed to see footage of it. Somewhere out there on YouTube is some footage of me singing at a luncheon for General Hospital Fans. I sang a funny song called “The French Song” – which is all Franglais…kind of French gobbled-gook – and “Being Alive” from Stephen Sondheim’s “Company.” There’s footage out there that someone did with a hand-held camera. It’s hard to see anything clearly. That’s why I was thinking about putting some of those songs up on line, just for the fun of it – the French song, and Being Alive. I have a recording that a friend did of my One Woman Show.

BM: A couple of questions about that. Those scenes where you’re breaking down and sobbing, it looks like you do that almost in all four of those clips we put up. What did you do to get yourself to do that? How does an actor break down like that on camera?

Udana and Bhagwan-b - 10-14-1979UP: That’s a really good question, because I found that you can’t fake it. You just literally have to go there. I’m not really a method actor where you think of your dog dying or something like that and then start crying and start playing the scene. What would happen for me, when I would think of love, when I would think of Osho in particular, I’d fill up with so much love and so much transcendence and so much eternal energy, something happened. I would have almost an unlimited resource. It was like again, putting my finger in the socket. When I was doing something like General Hospital it was more difficult than doing it on stage with something like Gone with the Wind or with Applause. When I did Eve in Applause for the San Bernardino Civic Light Opera or when I did Tuptim, in The King and I at the St. Louis Municipal Opera — it was easier to do it there, because there was something exalting about the way the art form was put together itself. There was an energy in it and then I could — it’s hard to explain. I had to do it several times for my own TV show, The Life And Times of Eddie Roberts. I had to be really emotional…so I would just fill up with how much love I had for Osho…and then connect how precious life is and something just always fills me up and takes me to the brink. Somehow I plug into that. That fills me and then overflows.

Sometimes that’s hard to do because we live these mundane lives, with all kinds of worry and ambition. But that whole God aspect of it takes the work somewhere else that is not me. It’s, again, living with my finger in the socket. It just comes through. So I know that doesn’t give you a bare-bones technical here’s-how-it-happens…but it’s just a wave I ride and that takes me – when I’m lucky to hit it.

BM: Great response. What about the format itself? A lot of people used to scoff, kind of, at daytime soap opera TV, until they did it and realized, there’s a lot of lines, there’s a lot of stuff that happens day after day after day after day. Was that challenging at all?

UP: That was interesting, because when I did The Life And Times of Eddie Roberts, we did a half-hour sitcom every day for 13 weeks. In General Hospital, I only did a recurring. General Hospital was a lot easier. There were still a lot of lines to learn and perform within a day.

The amazing thing about the audiences of the soaps like General Hospital or Young and Restless, was that the audiences believe that those are those are real characters. It’s the most bizarre thing. You run into someone in the world who stops you and says, “Why did you do that? Why did you hurt her? Oh, my gosh, you’re such a terrible person! Ann, are you ok? Where’s your husband?” I mean, they think that we are that character we play. And I knew actors who were on soaps who would literally answer as the person. I can’t recall the stories, but there was one guy, he was just, “Oh yeah, but I loved her, but I had to leave her.” [laughs]

BM: [laughs]

UP: He was in character. So that’s kind of a special, unique animal. A lot of major actors have come out of, not a lot of them, but some of them have come out of soaps, and some have made phenomenal careers being actors in soap operas. Here in Hollywood, less than 3% of the people in the Screen Actor’s Guild are making a living at acting. So to get a regular job like that, we all take whatever we can get and throw our heart and soul into it.

The difference between in acting in soap operas (those are dramas) and doing a daily sitcom like The Life And Times of Eddie Roberts is enormous. On a daily drama like General Hospital, you can have somebody with cue cards somewhere off camera on the edge of your set, where you can just glance away and take a look and come back and say the line. You could have very large, white cue cards.

The Life And Times of Eddie Roberts was a full half hour sitcom five days a week. It was created by the people who created Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. We would get camera blocking, and we were trying to get the timing going and the blocking for what we were doing, and there was something going on in the corner of my eyes, this huge thing kept flashing and flashing and flashing. “What’s going on?” And this guy was flashing cue cards. He’d made big cue cards and he was flipping them up in the air just really trying to help. But I couldn’t concentrate. I hope I didn’t lose that guy a job. I said, “Gee, I can’t concentrate.” And that’s when I realized that the timing in comedy is about energy. That’s when I realized that I had to learn every line of every show. I couldn’t go in and fake it. And I didn’t have a week to do it, I had overnight to do it. That was a challenge, but we rose to the challenge. It was actually really fun. It was different than a regular soap opera, because then you could lounge around a little bit more in the scenes.

BM: We’ve talked before about most of your appearances on TV and film on your IMDB profile, all your career stops along the way up to a certain point. But there were other things going on in your career. You weren’t just appearing in TV shows and movies. You were doing a lot of commercials and stage work. Tell me about that.

UP: Well, the miracle was, first of all, when I first got started, a friend of mine who was managing me at the time, he made a big chart and put it on the wall, and it was at the beginning of the year. And he says, “By the end of the year, you’re going to be starring on Broadway.” And I just kept seeing that “starring on Broadway by the end of the year.” And I thought, “Oh well, pfft, I don’t know how that’s going to happen!” So basically, we just went to work and I started auditioning. I was terrified of auditions, so he made me audition for everything. You’re afraid of auditions? Great. We’re going to go audition every day of the week. If they open a Laundromat down the street, you’re going to sing at the opening. [laughs] It was basically like that. I became the Audition Queen. It was very funny. My brother, Zavier, and his friend, John Malpezzi, would accompany me on guitar. We called ourselves “Udana and the Two Far Outs.” And we sang and auditioned for little clubs like Pietro’s in Westwood, and different little places where everyone was auditioning and singing. I went on auditions for Dames at Sea. That’s where Bernadette Peters got her start. I just sang wherever I could do an audition. We were working on music all the time, learning new songs, I was making lead sheets of my material. This activity put the foundation into place.

At 18, my brother Zavier became a studio guitarist. He was a genius. And what a sweet soul. He could play anything. He played on the album by the 5th Dimension, The Age of Aquarius. You can see his name on the back of that album. I was so proud of him. At 18 he was working with the best musicians in the world. They all congregate here in Hollywood…he was playing right alongside the best of the best. Laurindo Almeida, a famous guitarist, loved Zav. He would take Zav on tour with him.

Sometimes I’d show up at an audition with Zav and another singer had forgotten their music and he would say, “Hum it…” and they would start singing and he would play right along with them, and then go into the audition and accompany them. He had a heart of gold. And was a total genius.

There was this big event at the Hollywood Bowl called The Battle of the Bands. He and John Malpezzi decided to compete. They wanted to wear monks’ outfits and play acoustic guitar. So we went out and got some fabric and I made them these monk outfits.

During the show all these bands showed up and put on a big event… and then out walks these two guys barefoot in their monk outfits playing acoustic guitar. It was surreal. And, guess what? They won! [laughs]

BM: Oh, wow.

UP: They won number one in the battle of the bands, so they were really fabulous musicians.

Udana-1971-Finians RainbowI started auditioning for theatre – about that time there was a lot of “theater in the round” here in Southern California. I was taking singing lessons, and I did a little show called Finian’s Rainbow for an Equity Waiver production – which means the actors don’t get paid. An Equity Waiver production is done in a theater – or make-shift theater – of 99-seats or less. Here in Los Angeles there are little teeny theatres all over. At 100 seats or more, you have to pay the actors. So actors will do anything for a break or to get seen and I did. I signed on to do Sharon in Finian’s Rainbow.

It was one of those millions of auditions I did with Zavier and John. One day I showed up at my singing class and the girl before me was yabbering on and on about how they were re-auditioning for the ingenue lead in Coco on Broadway. Now, that was the BIG show that was going on the boards in November. That was an audition that I literally couldn’t get an audition for, it was so elite. So when my manager, Ron, heard that they were now going to replace the girl who was originally cast, he decided to find out how to get me an audition. He said, “I’m gonna make that happen.”

So he tracked down somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody else who knew Alan Jay Lerner’s secretary at Paramount Studios. Someone got her to come see me in Finian’s Rainbow in South LA. The theater was so small that the audience was sitting on folding chairs. But it was a really sweet thing. I don’t know whether you know the musical, but it’s a wonderful musical.

Alan_Jay_LernerAlan Jay Lerner is an icon in the American Musical world. He wrote lyrics for My Fair Lady, Gigi, Brigadoon, Camelot, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever – just to name a few. His career goes on and on and on. I get goosebumps when I think of it. He’s an amazing artist. So Alan’s secretary says to him, “Alan, you’ve gotta see this girl, you’ve gotta see her.” So they make an appointment for me to go over to Paramount Studios to sing for Alan at his office. I went with my brother, Zavier. I can’t remember whether John Malpazie was with us or not, but I sang the things that I had rehearsed which were, God Bless the Child, and Greensleeves in French. It was just about as non-Broadway as you could get.

Alan Jay Lerner said later that when I sang he thought he was watching another Judy Garland. He immediately flew me to New York to meet Katharine Hepburn and the producers. He wanted me to be the new ingenue. I felt like I was on a run-away horse and was just holding on for dear life and doing my best to stay centered.

I remember meeting Katharine for the first time. Alan got me settled at the Algonquin Hotel, which is this famous, wonderful hotel in New York. Then he picked me up in his blue, convertible, chauffeured Rolls Royce and we went to Katharine’s singing teacher’s apartment. I had never seen apartments like this. I walked in the front door and looked right down a long, long, long hall which led to the apartment itself. I tentatively started to walk in wondering why in the world there would be such a long hall, and as I started walking a woman – this icon – stepped into the hall and started walking towards me. There is Katharine Hepburn… looking just like she does in the magazines… a scarf, turtle neck shirt under a men’s shirt and tan trousers. She walks up and holds out her hand and says in her distinct accent, “Hello, how are you?”

I noticed that her head was wobbling just a little bit – I guess it was the early symptoms of Parkinson’s. I was in shock. I was literally “uh, uh, uh.” [laughs] I couldn’t talk. I can hardly remember what happened next, somehow we all convened in the singing teacher’s apartment.

The singing teacher was pretty good, but she had everyone belting right through the middle, rather than blending their voice. She had me pushing what they call an E, which was too hard on the vocal cords. You can’t push your voice that much night after night after night and keep your voice. I didn’t know that then…I just had a strong middle in my voice and could do practically anything. She didn’t understand how to blend the middle of your voice and how important it is. It’s the key to a healthy voice – without a break and without a wobble. I took one or two classes from her…fortunately not a lot. After I returned to Hollywood I found some amazing teachers who transformed my vocal technique and many years later I became a Master Singing Teacher.

Anyway, I remember the day that Alan walked me into the Mark Hellenger Theatre, that huge, amazing, vast theatre with vaulted ceilings. It was an afternoon when the lobby was completely empty. He held my hand as we walked in. He had on white gloves – he used to wear them to try and keep from biting his fingernails. His nails were bitten down to the quick. He was so kind and so caring. I felt totally protected and like I was walking into my own dream.

BM: [laughs]

UP: I have been told that he was a patient of Dr. Feelgood. Dr. Feelgood was giving lots of celebrities vitamin B shots with amphetamines in them. So actually everyone was feeling really, really good and didn’t realize that it was a really, really dangerous thing to do. Anyway, Alan was holding my hand as we walked in, and I remember walking through the empty foyer in the front and into the lobby, and it was one of those high, arched ceilings, those old, ornate things, and I felt like I was literally walking into my own dream. And then I walked into the theatre…to me it was like walking into a cathedral. I had rehearsed with the accompanist the day before, so I knew he knew my music. There were a few men standing around…people I didn’t know. One was Freddie Hebert, who was the producer, and another one was Andre Previn. Now Andre Previn I had been a fan of ever since I was a kid, I was listening to Andre Previn play My Fair Lady, with Shelley Mann. It was one of my favorite albums. I played over and over and over and over as a teenager. Looking back, Andre Previn has been a theme and musical influence in my whole life. I didn’t recognize that until a few years ago. I was laying in bed listening to a recording of Andre playing the Great American Songbook again and again… and I finally cognited. Wow! I have loved Andre Previn’s music all of my life. Listening to him play is like listening to a miracle. He does these impossibly beautiful things… just pulls them out of the air and plays them on the piano. At the time I was walking into the Mark Hellinger Theater I couldn’t even look right or left. I was just praying that I could connect with that divine flow that I would connect with. If I did that, I felt safe. If I got distracted, then I would get nervous.

Exif_JPEG_PICTURESo Andre Previn was there, and I can’t remember who else. Perhaps the director and Michael Bennett, the choreographer. (This was before Michael did A Chorus Line and Dreamgirls.) All I could think of was I had to stay focused.

When I sang, I called it a YAHWH, meaning the word for God. I would be an opening and let God do it through me. So I went up on stage and I just sang God Bless the Child and Greensleeves. And they gave me the job. And that’s what happened.

We did not open out of town, we opened directly at the Mark Hellinger Theatre, because the set was too complicated. They had built these big carousels in the stage that were too big to transport. They literally built it all into the stage itself. And for a scene change the center circle of the stage would turn to the right and the outer ring of the circle would turn to the left. It was quite ingenious.

There were some amazing actors in the show, including Rene Auberjenois, a man whom you might know from television.

He played the gay designer who was a threat to Coco Chanel.

CocoLogoThe original show [Coco] was about two women – Coco Chanel and a young woman named Noelle who breaks up with her boyfriend, Georges, and ended up modeling for Coco and becoming a dear friend. Coco cared for her so deeply that she wanted to groom Noelle to take over her business. It was a struggle for Noelle, who finally turns to Coco and says, “I must go back to Georges, Coco. I don’t have genius inside of me like you do. I must have a man whom I love in my life.”

Andre wrote two new songs for me, one called “A Brand New Dress” and another entitled “Let’s Go Home” which was a duet with David Holiday. David had just come off doing The Man of La Mancha. He had an amazing voice and was a wonderful actor. The girls in the chorus who included Ann Reinking (Bob Fosse’s girlfriend), Pamela Serpie and Sandhal Bergman told me later that they would all line up in the hallway outside of our rehearsal room and sob as David and I rehearsed. It was a song about two lovers wanting to go home and make love. (Sings) – “Let’s go home, let’s go home, lets go home. I want you more my love, I cannot play with you. Or stroll the queue with you, where lovers should go…No my love, I want much more tonight…dah dah dah dah da-dah…” Anyway, it was really beautiful. The melody was lovely.

At the end of the show Noelle goes back to Georges and Coco is left with her genius and her gowns…Cecil Beaton designed an incredible fashion show of only red gowns. The audience was so moved that men in tuxedos were rushing down the aisles to the stage cheering at the end of the show. It was quite wonderful.

1975-Kate Hepburn-NoteDuring previews, Kate had the plot changed. She didn’t want it to be about two women, she decided that she wanted it to be about Coco’s triumphant return to designing and her competition with a gay designer…that role was played by Rene. I rehearsed in five or six weeks of rehearsals and played two weeks of previews at the Mark Hellinger and then was fired. It was heart-stopping. Kate would tell me, “I can feel you up here, but they tell me they can’t feel you out there.” Alan and the Producers would tell me, “We can feel you out here, but Kate says that she can’t feel you up there.” It was very confusing to me. I just could only focus and do the best I could do. Obviously, something else was going on, but I was too naïve to know what it was.

BM: Let’s save those interesting stories for your autobiography. [laughs]

UP: There was a lot of controversy about why I got fired, and it wasn’t all fair, but it didn’t matter, bingo, I was gone. They put the original girl they had fired before back in. She didn’t sing on key, it was kind of flat. So they took out two songs and only left her with one. David sang “Let’s Go Home” by himself and Rene swished around the stage outrageously, Kate walked down the circular steps at the end of Act I and exclaimed, “Merde!” and the chorus girls wore those amazing red dresses in the finale and the show went on without me.

That was the end of my Broadway career. There wasn’t much for me to do there in New York, so I just left my apartment with all the furniture I had bought in it for someone else and came home.

Udana-72-Commercial-WooliteBM: [laughs] How about the commercials? You did a lot of print ads and TV spots, didn’t you, for various companies?

UP: Yes. I counted them once. There were 250 of them.

BM: How did you get those?

UP: Well, I came back to Los Angeles, that was home base was. I had been born and raised in Los Angeles. I didn’t know anyone in New York. I had to re-orient. I started going on auditions for commercials, because I had a very commercial face. And I also auditioned for a play called Jimmy Shine that was going up at the Stage Society Theater on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. Right near Doheny Avenue. I got the role of Constance Frye and just buried myself in the play. I was actually shocked when I got a review in the Daily Variety that said, “…Udana Power is the best thing that’s hit the stage since Sarah Siddons.” I didn’t even know who Sarah Siddons was (we didn’t have Google at the time.) She was a famous, Welsh actress/tragedienne during the 18th century. It was quite a compliment and helped to make up for being fired from Coco. It also stirred up a lot of controversy an speculation…all of which I just ignored and went on looking for work and working.

Udana-1975-Print Ad-Dole BananaI started doing commercials. It was the heyday of commercials – in the early ’80s. We were still doing a few 60-second commercials, and were transferring to 30-second commercials. About 35 of us went out on each interview and at the end of the interview they would have 3 of us stand outside the door for what we called “sudden death.” That’s when the people inside would choose the actress they wanted for the commercial and then everyone else would go home. Casting directors were not videotaping at the time. The casting director would just say, “Okay, you three wait out here, we’re going to do sudden death.” She would go back in for a few minutes, then come back out and say, “Okay, you’ve got the job.” The rest of us would laugh, congratulate the girl who got it and go home to ready ourselves for the next day’s commercial auditions. It was fun and very easy.

BM: [laughs]

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 9.08.21 PMUP: We’d all show up the next day at another audition. So I was booking about 15, 17, 18 commercials a year, and that’s a lot of commercials, because they were being played nationally, and they would play for long periods of time. They would get re-edited and play some more for another year. The first commercial I did was for, was for Honda car. Then I did one for Gravy Train Dog Food. It was a really hot day, and the dogs were listless and panting. The whole crew was sitting around as we tried to get the dogs to do their job. It was very expensive to have a whole, paid crew just waiting around for the dogs to get excited. My job was to look at the camera, pour some dry cereal into a big bowl and say, “This is new Gravy Train…” and hopefully my pet dog would jump up and enthusiastically start chomping down food. Not. The dogs just weren’t cutting it. Really hot and really listless. Then that one magic take happened…I poured the cereal into a bowl, looked into the camera and started to talk and the dog jumped up and started chomping the food I was pouring. I was literally taken aback and said, “This is new Gwavy Twain Dog Food…!” And that was the take they used. [laughs] That was the only one they had. Baby talk and all. [laughs]

Volkswagon in front of my house-1Anyway, it was a wonderful career. I got to go traveling all over, I was shooting commercials all the time, and the beauty of it was they would just send me money. I didn’t really know where it came from. Every 13 weeks was considered a “cycle.” At the beginning of every cycle they would pay me the original amount for shooting the commercial, a SAG contract which, at that time, was about $500. It’s probably six or $700 a day now. And then they would pay residual income when they aired the commercial on TV. The payment per airing would get smaller and smaller during the 13 week cycle and then, if it was picked up again, they would start all over at the SAG day rate and scale down again. I had commercials that literally ran for years. I had one for Sure Deodorant that kept being edited into different commercials and played for years and years and years. I was a cop directing traffic in downtown Los Angeles. I would wave at the camera and at the end of the commercial they showed the Statue of Liberty in New York and the caption would read: “Raise your hand if you’re Sure.” That commercial literally played for years. It really saved my butt in the late ’80s when I got so sick that I couldn’t work. It was the gift that kept on giving.

I did this for years and that’s how I made a really good living. I had a beautiful 14th floor condominium on Doheny Drive halfway between Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard overlooking the flatlands of Beverly Hills. Every room in my apartment had full sliding glass doors and a long balcony that went the length of the apartment. The sunsets were spectacular. On a clear day I could see Catalina Island. My apartment was directly under the Producer Mike Frankovich and his wife, who owned the Penthouse directly above me. It was a spectacular place. Posh.

I painted a big rainbow in the bathroom. Before I moved out I took photos…I have a photo of a bunch of us standing in the bathtub with the rainbow going over three walls behind us. It was an amazing time. A beautiful lifestyle.

Volkswagon and me - 1979 - Casting callI had a little Volkswagen that had flowers all over it. The Condo association “Doheny Towers”, now known as “Plaza Towers,” had valet parking. People like Sylvester Stallone visited there often because his manager lived in one of the apartments. Red Button’s ex-wife was the woman who sat at the front desk and answered all the phones and routed them to our apartments. The concierge downstairs was fancy-schmancy. And my goofy little 1972 Volkswagen with the flowers painted all over it had the best parking space in a garage full of fancy, expensive cars, including Jaguars, Mercedes, Rolls Royces, and a Lamborghini now and then. I was the first stall, right outside the lobby door in the garage. Looking back, I think I must have been considered to be a novelty of sorts.

BM: Awesome.

UP: I think you have a picture of it, if not, I’ll send you the picture of it.

Udana-73-Camay Soap Commercial-6-1BM: [laughs] Well, let’s pick up next time we chat, I’ll talk about what’s upcoming, because right now this is about an hour. We’ll pick it up next time and start right where we left off about what’s going on now. And what’s in the future.

UP: Wonderful! Looking forward to it.

(Special thanks to Beth Murphy for transcribing this delightful interview.)

Leave a Reply