She only became a Broadway star in Michael Bennett''s TWIGS when she was well into her middle-aged forties, after creating the role of the monstrous mother in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds off-Broadway. %0D\
I remember hearing stories of how she''d be greeted at the stage door post-performance by autograph seekers and then head directly for the 8th Avenue bus stop bound for her long anaonymous ride home to her non-pro husband and Queens apartment.
With Pamela Payton-Wright as Tilly
I remember her on "Family." She was an incredibly talented actress. %0D\
I didn''t find her "icy" on that show. Her acting was intelligent and understated. %0D\
I thought she never got the accolades she should have received.%0D\
Hmmm, will Kristy McNichol attend her funeral?
Her character Kate on Family was based on Pat Loud from the show ''An American Family''
OP, Lucille Lortel is spinning and she will get you!
Didn''t know she lived.
Oh, come on! Her character on FAMILY was supposed to be an icy sort of bitch.
Family...wow...there sure were a lotta lesbos on that show! Who knew?
Saw her once on a TV production of SKIN OF OUR TEETH as Mrs Antrobus, and she was great-
I was thinking about buying Family on DVD. Kate reminds me so much of my mother. Others may have seen her as icy, but she was just reserved and aloof sometimes, not big on emotional displays but would if warranted.%0D\
[quote]She was great in "Family." I wonder how many DLers even remember that show.%0D\
Considering it went off the air 31 years ago, that would rule out a good many.
"Considering it went off the air 31 years ago, that would rule out a good many."%0D\
There are probably plenty of people here who remember that show. Not everybody on Datalounge is a dumb twink.
I vaguely remember her on Family as the mother who look annoyed whenever her children had problems that interrupted her coffee sipping and magazine reading.
I remember the show but never found her to be a "warm" mom on Family. Wonderful actress but I always thought she was rather cold as that mother, something was "off." She wasn''t at all like MY mom (who was another kind of crazy, to be sure, but full of life and love and humor) or like my friend''s moms. Perhaps that is simply a testament to her talent. Sada created, on that TV show, a different kind of mother who had never been portrayed on television before. Or, really, since. \
I was glad that I did NOT have that kind of mom, though. Still am. No WONDER Buddy (Kristy McNichol) and the eldest daughter (Meredith Baxter) became screwed up dykes! LOL\
RIP, Miss Thompson. You were a shining theatrical light! And left an imprint!
When she was working on "Family" I used to see her all the time at the Santa Monica Public Library. She loved biographies. She was so low-key that no one knew who she was. She had little star quality or charisma in person and on "Family" I was surprised with how little she moved her face.
Yes, R19, and I''m one (a geezer, not a twink), but even with the demographics of DataLounge, wondering how many people remember a show that went off air in 1980 doesn''t much apply to those under 40 or so.
There have been several threads about Family over the years. None maxed out but they still got a reasonable amount of participation. Most recently it came up in reference to Meredith Baxter.
Meredith Baxter wrote in her book that every year after the hiatus Sada Thompson would have screaming matches with the costume designer, accusing her of shrinking her costumes on purpose. So she she couldn''t fit in any of the costumes from the previous seasons. She would storm off furious at the costume designer.\
Meredith also wrote that Sada was cold to her off-screen, which made it hard to develop a rapport with her.
[quote]Everyone keeps referring to her at the definitive "mother"...but I found her incredibly ICY in "Family"...\
Those two statements don''t contradict each other.
[quote]Meredith also wrote that Sada was cold to her off-screen, which made it hard to develop a rapport with her.\
I would be cold to that Meredith to were I on that set. Meredith was singularly untalented--she owed her whole early career to her blonde prettiness.
"You were kissing her---like a MAN!"
Sada as the icy mom in ''My Two Loves''.
For me, what some are calling her "iciness" was just her acting style which was very low-key and unactressy. What made her special on Family was that you didn''t feel like you were watching an actress, just a real person. She was apparently like that on stage, too....just a very simple and direct maner.
I always liked her no-nonsense attitude.%0D\
Coincidence that Family and Brothers & Sisters are both set in Pasadena?
I loved that show - I thought Kate was very reserved and rather dowdy, but a no-nonsense mom who would always know how to handle anything that came up. Sada Thompson gave Kate a lot of depth. You were never sure of everything the character was thinking because she did not play it all on the surface.
I don''t think her character was, or was supposed to be, an icy bitch. She had standards, she was judgmental, her husband had hurt her with an affair, her kids disappointedher sometimes, but she was also loving and generous and usually right. She adored Buddy and was less patient with Nancy, who often was a bitch and always had her father''s support and was gorgeous. I thought Sada Thomson was pretty great in the role in large part because she wasn''t afraid for her character to come off as unsympathetic occasionally. A friend of mine used to watch Family while eating pot brownies and said that Kate came off as completely manipulative. But to me, not under the influence, she seemed sensible and warm.
I wanted her to be my mom and my life to be based in Pasadena. She was amazing on that show and left an indelible mark on my childhood. She always reminded me of my best friend in childhood''s mom. \
Sad that she passed. Very unique person and actress.
I loved that show "family". I think Sada portrayed a mother from the era very well.
My favorite FAMILY episode was when Kate did jury duty. We didn''t need reminding that Kate was the moral compass of the show but this was still a wonderful episode.%0D\
I wonder if Sada T ever fucked up during a take and called McNichol''s Buddy "Lezzy Tush" rather than "Tizzy Lish."
[quote] She was great in "Family." I wonder how many DLers even remember that show.\
I remember it not only in first run but also it''s various syndication runs.
[quote] I wanted her to be my mom and my life to be based in Pasadena.\
Pasadena was very smoggy in those days...
Did she have a sister called Hyacinth?
Yes, Sada was very understated on FAMILY, but there were times she could rip into a scene like a tornado. Watch her storm around slamming refrigerator doors here -- and listen to her line reading of "Sometimes women just want out." It''s rare to see that kind of seething rage captured so perfectly on the small screen.
Nancy Marchand came off as a major bitch! As she "grasped" for names, she thanked everyone but her Emmy competitor Linda Kelsey.%0D\
But it was a pleasure to see all the ladies dressed in Macy''s best dresses.
One of my favorites is Andre''s Mother with Richard Thomas and Sylvia Sydney.
r39 Thanks for posting that wonderful scene. So refreshing to revisit "real" actors and great writing. What a cesspool entertainment has become...%0D\
Also, just realized that the father in that show was Matthew Broderick''s dad!
"My favorite FAMILY episode was when Kate did jury duty. We didn''t need reminding that Kate was the moral compass of the show but this was still a wonderful episode."%0D\
Amen. That monologue of Kate''s about ''reasonable doubt'' is simply wonderful, especially that little pause she takes at the end: ''reasonable...doubt.'' Brilliant. %0D\
"OMG, thanks for posting that [R39]. That''s an amazing scene -- both the writing and the acting."%0D\
Absolutely. That''s why the show was so fantastic. Sure, sometimes an episode here or there took a nosedive into predictable ''problem drama tv'' but there are so many moments of life-affirming beauty, poetry and truth: Kate''s recounting of her young son''s death; her pregnancy; the episode with the clairvoyant; the gay friend of Willie''s (the heartbreaking ''strawberries'' speech)...I could go on and on but the tears are streaming down my face and I need a child to hold. %0D\
Oh my gosh, R48, I thought I was the only one who remembered the "reasonable doubt" speech with that pause in the middle! %0D\
Sada always had such class on television that it''s still hard for me to imagine her playing the slatternly, down-on-her-luck, nasty (she kills her epileptic daugher''s pet bunny!) Betty-the-Loon in The Effect of Gamma Rays -- the part that made really cemented her stardom on stage. I wish I''d been able to see that play! She never did a characterizaiion of that type on screen.
I have trouble imagining it as well. Woodward did a good job for the film version.
R49, try to get your hands on Sada''s villainous Christine in the audio recording (only available on vinyl) of MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA (her "I LOVE ADAM BRANT!" still chills) or her turn as the alcoholic neighbor in the film DESPERATE CHARACTERS.
After her Broadway success in TWIGS, she was hired to play Archie''s co-worker on ALL IN THE FAMILY.%0D\
After taping one episode, Carroll O''Conner hated Sada and said "No way."%0D\
I don''t think the episode ever aired. The part was eventually given to Betty Garrett who played it in he usual gumbah style.
She was GREAT in "The Queen of the Stardust Ballroom."\
Awesome in fact!
I must be the only person who never watched that show.
r53, that was Maureen Stapleton, dumbass.
"For the love of God, somebody please shit in my mouth!"
I always wonder why set designers deign to use filth around cabinet doors, door knobs etc. as highlighted in the YT vid @r39.\
My God, Kate, scrub your filthy kitchen.
Gingham curtains and filthy kitchens do not mix.
Thank you, R39. I remember seeing that scene when the show aired and I never forgot it. Her acting was that memorable. %0D
Another scene I remember is one where Kate and Doug are discussing their selfish, unfocused daughter Nancy. Nancy has found out her husband has had an affair, and being a Daddy's girl, runs crying to Doug. He says get your things and come home with me, as though she was still his little girl and not a grown woman who should be able to deal with her own problems. Kate isn't buying it; she has it out with Doug. She lights into Nancy, saying she "wants EVERYTHING", she "snatched up" her husband like he was a toy, she goes back to school and "now she's playing hookey from school" and that she's basically a spoiled brat. Doug is offended that Kate is so harsh on Nancy and says, referring to her husband's infidelity, how much "humiliation" is Nancy supposed to take? And Kate look him straight in the eye and says "the same kind I took from you." Seems Doug cheated on Kate years ago. He says to her that was long ago, and Kate says yes it was, but that it still hurts sometimes.%0D
That exchange is just as amazing as the "sometimes women just want OUT" scene. I wish someone would put that one up here, too.
I have incomplete recollections of an episode where Nancy''s mother in law comes to visit, played by the underrated Barbara Cason. She''s an awful snob, looking down her nose at Kate with backhanded compliments like, "Kate your new wallpaper is so charming. It reminds me of my favorite restaurant."
Great scene R39, but what''s the deal with her bearing THREE children??
Because Kate''s kitchen was filthy, r60.
re: R39''s clip...\
I keep thinks she''s going to say:\
"And anybody who tries to push Nancy around had better be wearing protective panties!"
I liked the Down''s Syndrome kid.
Actually, R61, that scene is from the pilot, which was filmed a whole year before any more episodes were taped. (ABC almost let the show go before picking up five more episodes which they aired after Rich Man Poor Man ended in the sping of 1977.) When the actors reconvened to film the additional five episodes, one of the new stories dealt with the original Timmy, who drowned in boating accident earlier. I guess this character was not conceived of when they filmed the pilot a year earplier.
I found her cold and lifeless.
R65, thanks for the clarification. \
Funny enough in Meredith Baxter''s book she describes Willie as Kate and Doug''s ''only son.''\
I guess she was going off the pilot, too!\
And she wasn''t even in it!
"Doug, I''m worried about Willie..." %0D\
"Doug, I''m worried about Buddy..."%0D\
"Doug, Nancy''s a bitch!"
Oh please R64. I wanted to kill myself whenever Quinn Cummings was on screen.
There was an episode with Linda Lavin as the guest star. She has the hots for Doug and propositions him. She knows he''s a family man who wouldn''t want to get tangled in an affair so she tells him she wants to make love with him one time and then they''ll part and she''ll remember him "dearly." He spends some time with her one day, without telling Kate. She gets wind of it from a dimwit secretary and confronts him. He says yeah, they went out to eat (or something); what about it? And Kate counters with the flippant remark; "what about it?" Meaning what the hell are you doing sneaking behind my back to be with Linda Lavin. That was another scene where Sada Thompson was far from "icy."
Kate had an actress friend played by Rachel Roberts, I think; she came to town and at the top of the show Doug was hiding trinkets around the house; I think Annie said why?%0D\
Doug said she always sees things she likes and Kate gives them to her.%0D\
Then the actress wants to cast Buddy in some play.%0D\
Kate says, "You always take things -- this time it''s Buddy."%0D\
And then in the final confrontation, Kate tells the actress, who had her say, "Now it''s time for Act 3." %0D\
And then she tells her off. Great stuff.
I remember that episode, R70. It was a good example of how the network didn''t do enough to promote FAMILY. At the time, Linda Lavin was starring on ALICE, a very popular show. It was very unusual back then (and maybe today as well) for the star of one series to appear on a different show. I remember being surprised that ABC didn''t run promotional pieces about this episode, maybe run some interviews with Linda Lavin talking about taking a break from ALICE to show the TV audience she could do drama, etc. But ABC never publicized this casting coup. %0D\
FAMILY also had Henry Fonda as guest star in an episode hosted by Joanne Woodward and barely promoted that either.
I just loved the episode where Buddy crossed the threshhold. I was majorly excited for weeks (and majorly wet to boot).
What is R59 talking about? Isn''t that the clip that R39 has posted? R59 thanks R39 and then "recalls" another scene verbatim which is the exact scene in the clip? What a fuckin'' phoney.
My favourite episode was the one when Kate had details of a psychic premonition and by episode''s end avoided running over the kid who was chasing his basketball.
My mother always disliked Sada in that series, saying she was cold and tough. I never considered her to be icy, but I thought her husband and older daughter taught her to be tough.\
Can you imagine standing there listening to your husband talk about needing to rescue Nancy because Nancy''s husband was doing the same thing your husband had done to you? I would have taken a rolling pin to that self-righteous jerk.
I seriously wished she was my mother. I thought she was wonderful.
Wasn''t she on Brothers and Sisters, oh, I''m sorry , I mean ''The Sally Field Program''?\
(Please, Webmistress don''t ban me for that transgression.)
This is exactly what I mean by DL''s violent misogyny, and if you don''t intervene against it, you are acting in favor of it:\
"Ann Coulter is responsible for that horrible stench that emanates from her dried up gash wherever she goes."\
Your violence against women helps kill queer teens.\
Ann Coulter''s stupidity has nothing to do with her body parts.\
Stop the violence.\
Stop the hate.\
It''s killing us.
Do you mean to suggest that it was our misogyny that killed Sada Thompson?
R80, she''s posting the same post in every thread in this forum. Over and over endlessly. For almost an hour now, dreging up even really old dead threads. Blindly. %0D\
I loved, loved Gary Frank back then. So wanted Willie to be gay - he seemed so gay. I remember an ep where Ryan''s Hope star Ilene Kristen appeared as a rock star friend of Willie''s named LOTUS. She was totally doing a Stevie Nicks thing for the time. They should have called her Nicki Stevens.
Is she still dead?
I went to school with Sada, we called her Sadie but she was big and fat and such a bitch even back then.
She was the type of kid, who did this, and she did this. Just before Christmas break she raised her hand and said, "Teacher, don't forget to give us our reading assignment for the holidays so we'll have something to do." What a cunt.
Then once she said, "Teacher, can I read my report now." When the teacher explained the book reports weren't due for two weeks, she says "I know, but I want to read mine now, to show everyone what an "A" paper sounds like. That way they'll all have time to make their papers better and have no excuses for getting a lesser grade.
Then there was the time she the teacher came in at 9:05am and class started at 9:00. She walked up to the teacher with a list of names of the kids that had been talking and says "I told them just because the teacher isn't in the room doesn't give you the right to talk. Here's a list of all the children you should punish."
She was always getting her ass kicked.
r39: I remembered Sada Thompson as being a much more special actress. In that clip, she's a cross between Annie Wilkes in Misery and Ethel Merman, in well, anything.
Sada Thompson was actually engaged to Louis Edmonds (Langley AMC) they went to acting school together.
Even after the engagement was over and Louis came out, he and Sada were close friends until his death.
I loved Family, especially that house and Nancy's guest house. She was cold in that series but could whip ass when needed.
R84 really expects people to believe that he/she "went to school" with Sada Thompson? All the crap about her being a tattletale and "getting her ass kicked"...this shit has "troll" written all over it. It's sad that there are people so pathetic they have to get their jollies from making up silly stories that are so transparently fake.
I thought Willie seemed gay, too.
In the first season they had an eppy where a friend of Willie's needs to be bailed out because he had a fight, in a gay bar.
Willie then cannot handle his friend being gay. But Buddy seemed okay with it.
Wonder why Buddy and not Willie would be fine with it.
btw Willie had a GREAT hairy chest
She always looked like she was constipated, with those pursed lips and that strained expression. (Same for Peggy Lee.)
Loathed her in Family.
You beat me to it R91.
Have always loved her (saw her in a play in the mid 90s with Peter Frechette and Justin Kirk in which she was amazing), but it's much easier to appreciate Sada Thompson as an actress than it is to "like" her character on "Family". That's one of the things that made her a great actress; she didn't go in for cheap sentimentality (on a show that was sometimes highly sentimental).
I think people had a strong reaction to her character because she reminded me (and others I know) of that slightly superior woman who judged everyone else in the neighborhood yet couldn't keep a clean house herself.
There's an episode where Barbara Cason (who played Meredith Baxter's mother-in-law Slyvia) wrenches her back and has to stay at the Lawrence house. To watch Kate be forced to deal with someone even more uptight than she is - genius, and often without dialogue.
The ep also contains one of the great exchanges in 70s television:
Sylvia: "Oh, and that's your new wallpaper! It's... adorable."
Sylvia: "Whenever I see it in restaurants, I always admire it so..."
Long closeup on a withered Thompson.
R94 meet R60
Oh, and R85, the scene you're referring to is from the very first episode, when "Family" was just a 6-part miniseries and was conceived to be in the vein of a scripted "Loud Family". Her acting (as well as a lot of the writing) became much more subtle as the show developed.
The most surprising thing about "Family" is that it was an Aaron Spelling show. Most of his shows were just drek, but "Family" was definitely the jewel in the otherwise tarnished crown.
Did Tori ever have a cameo?
[quote] but "Family" was definitely the jewel in the otherwise tarnished crown.
Remember the opening credits to that show
"A Mike Nichols Production"
That is why this show was so superb
But credit should also go to a great writing staff David Jacobs (Knots Landing), Carroll Newman and Nigel and Carol Evan McKeand
I heard Sada Thompson played the oboe in this theme btw
If that story about 9:05 is really true, I think she's tremendous!
Good riddance, hated that ice queen.
You were a snitch in school and got your ass kicked for the same type of behavior. LOL
Me - SADA....
I want more seasons on DVD!
Take the fact that there isn't more seasons on dvd as a hint.
We loved that show! My mother would never miss it.
R98, Pauline Kael once said that the opening of "Family", with it's dramatic "A Mike Nichols Production" was all you needed to know about how dreary it was going to be.
Kristy McNichol's Buddy did seem out of another family. She was lively, funny and sensitive, the polar opposite to the other women in the family, although that was more McNichol, not the character. If Gwenyth Paltrow were the right age, she should have done it.
I agree r108, Kristy was great, everything else about it sucked. Luckily she was the star, even if they hadn't initially planned it that way, she was the breakout star.