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BREAKING! Ann Jillian wants to star in Gypsy and also loves gays
In the 1962 film, the role is played by Rosalind Russell, with Natalie Wood as Louise/Gypsy and Karl Malden as Rose’s sometime love interest, Herbie. One of the few surviving performers from the movie is Ann Jillian, who played Dainty June and spoke with The Advocate about the experience of making the film.
“I started it on my 12th birthday,” recalls Jillian, who went on to transition from child star to successful adult actress, appearing in the 1980s TV sitcom It’s a Living and many other television shows, movies, and stage productions. The pressure was big for a 12-year-old, she notes, but the desire to do the job was bigger. Russell, Wood, and Malden were major stars, and she respected them without being intimidated by their fame. “I looked at it as we’re all going in to do a job,” she says.
She remembers Russell as “professional and regal,” Wood as “fragile, beautiful, talented, and very warm,” and Malden as “very warm” as well. “They were all very lovely people, and I was very lucky at my age to be working with them,” Jillian says. “I learned an awful lot from them, and it was such a valuable school for me to be in.”
Some critics were upset that Merman was not cast as Mama Rose in the film, and Jillian had seen Merman play the role onstage, but she thinks Russell gave an equally fine performance, with some nuances more suited to film’s intimacy than to the stage. “Even then, I appreciated the difference,” she says. “Both were equally as valid, and Rosalind Russell did a beautiful job.”
Director-producer Mervyn LeRoy, working from Leonard Spigelgass’s adaptation of Laurent’s Broadway script, had a vision of the story and characters as bigger than life, Jillian recalls, but she and Wood worked together to incorporate small but vital touches in their scenes. That bigger-than-life quality may, however, be one of the factors that makes Gypsy, on the stage or on film, appealing to gay audiences.
“There’s a drama about it, of course,” Jillian says when asked about Gypsy’s gay appeal. “Relationship drama, a variety of characters. I’m sure [gay viewers] loved Rosalind. I know without a doubt they loved Natalie.” As everyone seemed to, and the feeling was mutual; Jillian notes that Wood gave her a bracelet engraved with “Dainty June” and “To Ann. Love, Natalie.”
Jillian says she has always had a good relationship with LGBT audiences too, and she counts many gay men and lesbians among her friends. She recalls one night appearing on Broadway in Sugar Babies, an homage to burlesque, in a scene that involved doves perching on her head — and one of them had, well, an accident. The audience that night included many gay men who had come into the city from Fire Island, and they joined Jillian in finding humor in the incident. “They just so enjoyed my enjoyment of the absurdity of the moment,” she says.
Jillian confirms a story circulated online that her husband, former Chicago police officer Andy Murcia, pretended to be gay when they first met so she wouldn’t think he was trying to pick her up. “That is true, and I embraced him and I loved him,” she says. The ruse didn’t last long, the love took on a new dimension, and they have been married since 1977. Their family includes their college-age son, Andrew, and Murcia’s daughter from a previous marriage, Denise.
Murcia has been by Jillian’s side through major life events, including her bout with breast cancer, for which she underwent a double mastectomy in 1985. Jillian, who now spends much time as a motivational speaker, has advice for people with life-threatening conditions such as cancer or AIDS.
“You have to have faith,” she says. “You have to believe in yourself and in the doctors that you choose,” and if your doctor isn’t right for you, make a change. And even if you think you’re healthy, get checked out: “Early detection is still your very best protection.”
If you are diagnosed with a serious illness, your loved ones can make a big difference, she adds. “That comfort does an awful lot to help in recovery,” she says. “The power of a shared tear with someone you love is extremely healthy.”
She also emphasizes that there are more and better treatments for diseases these days and there are “legions” of cancer survivors who, like her, “have gone on to have happy, healthy lives.” And active ones: When told that Barbra Streisand is planning to play Mama Rose in a projected film remake of Gypsy, Jillian quips, “She and I both!”
While some observers have said that Streisand, at 70, is too old to play the mother of young June and Louise, Jillian thinks Babs would be great for the role. “I think she would do a lovely job,” Jillian says. “She still has that voice, and she’s got the guts.”
So while Jillian, who knows something about guts, wouldn’t mind a turn as Rose, it’s fine with her if it’s Barbra’s turn to take on the role. In the meantime, the Blu-ray release will allow you to enjoy Russell, Wood, Malden, and Jillian in the 1962 version, along with some deleted scenes and a theatrical trailer. Sit back and let them entertain you!
- Ann Jillian, wow that's a name from the past. I haven't thought of her in years.
- So mention of why she was billed in the movie as "Ann Jilliann"? (Not to mention that Baby June, Morgan Brittany, was still being billed as "Suzanne Cupito.")
- When Susan Sullivan left IAL, Annie got top billing.
- I think the time is ripe for an AJ comeback. I'm all for it.
- They wanted me to be play Baby AND Dainty June, but Natalie Wood was too old for it to work out.
- She looks good in the photo that accompanied the article. I like that hairstyle on her, especially compared to that awful bowl cut she used to sport.
Her current looks sort of reminds me of middle-aged news anchor.
- Morgan, aka Suzi, you're a gun-loving homophobic republican, so go post elsewhere. Your kind isn't wanted here.
- Well, she's young enough to be Babs daughter. If you're going to mock the thing by casting a septuagenarian as a 35 year old, then I say go the whole hog.
- She's over 60. Merman was 50.
Jillian is married to a super FUG:
- Thank you, OP, for posting this interview. GYPSY is one of my favorite movie musicals.
- I remember her from her days playing the teenaged secretary of Mr. Baxter's real estate brother on "Hazel". The Baxters had supposedly gone to the Middle East for an extended period supposedly for Mr. B's work, so Hazel and Harold went to live with the stuttering ninny younger Baxter brother. In actuality both Don DeFore and Whitney Blake had been fired from the show.
- Jillian has got to be in her sixties by now, and she wants to play the mother of young children.
What is wrong with these women?
- She looks Debra Monkish these days.
- Ann Jillian now looks like Maureen Reagan. She'll have to lose about 50 pounds.
- Ugh, keep that fattie off the screen.
- She should talk about "It's a Living" and nothing else for the rest of her life.
What I want to know is, how did they get away with putting the waitresses in bathing suit tops during the first season? And why would the sophisticated Susan Sullivan debase herself in such a manner, even bending over and baring the tops of her bazongas in the first 20 seconds of the intro?
- god that theme song! MAKE IT STOOOOOOP!
- [quote]And why would the sophisticated Susan Sullivan debase herself in such a manner, even bending over and baring the tops of her bazongas in the first 20 seconds of the intro?
Susan Sullivan worked as a cocktail waitress at the Playboy clubs in the 60's. A bathing suit top was nothing compared to the bunny suit she had to wear.
- And I am sure she will get to play it at the very glamorous and prestigious Sacramento Playhouse, making her the talk of the entire Inland Valley!
No, when Susan Sullivan left, Louise Lasser got top billing. And the show peaked with her as the star.
Louise is one of those people, like Madeline Kahn who should have been a lot, and I mean a LOT more famous than they are/were.
- I wonder about the totally unnecessary title change between seasons 1 and 2. What was the network's rationale?
"The only thing that's holding this show back from top-10 success is the word 'It's'!"
- Wasn't Louise Lasser, like Madeline Kahn, a coked-out hellcat who derailed her career in the late '70s?
- WEHT to Barrie Youngfellow?
- The Bonaventure Hotel should've received top billing.
- [quote] I wonder about the totally unnecessary title change between seasons 1 and 2. What was the network's rationale?
Like many other sitcoms that aired during the 1980-81 television season, It's a Living felt the effects of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists strike that occurred in 1980. This caused the show to have a short abbreviated first season and thus it was not a success. The series was retooled extensively, with two of the five waitresses from the first season, actresses Susan Sullivan and Wendy Schaal who played waitresses Lois Adams and Vicki Allen respectively, being replaced with actress Louise Lasser who portrayed waitress Maggie McBurney. Airing in 1981 under the name Making a Living, this incarnation did not catch on either, and the show was canceled after two seasons. In syndication, the second season airs under the title It's a Living.
Of all the cast, only Gail Edwards (Dot Higgins); Marian Mercer (Nancy Beebe); Barrie Youngfellow (Jan Hoffmeyer Gray) and Paul Kreppel (Sonny Mann) lasted all the way through the show's network and syndicated runs. Ann Jillian (Cassie Cranston) appeared during the network run and the first year of syndication.
- "Barrie Youngfellow's Pivoting Head" needs to be added to the Datalounge Music Festival lineup.
- I think Streisand should offer Ann a role: as Mazeppa! Bump it with a trumpet, baby!
- I remember the syndicated 'It's A Living' from back then and Marian Mercer was the only good thing about it. She also played Dabney Coleman's delightfully clueless wife in 9 to 5 and passed away not too long ago.
- Season 3 opening credits.
- And season 4
- It's a Living has one of the most underrated theme songs of any TV show, ever.
- There are very few female has-beens who don't "love the gays". Who else pays attention to them?
- It's not a great big bed of roses!
It's not like show biz!
But the main thing, I s'pose is!
- Even as a 10 year-old, I thought those waitress outfits were fucking hideous and needed a total re-design.
- my god, what a horrible theme and tacky looking show
- [quote]She looks good in the photo that accompanied the article.
She looks like Shelley Winters who just rolled out of bed
- Ann had one of the worst hairstyles of the 80s, and that's really saying something.
- I remember her on Broadway with Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller in Sugar Babies. She did some scene with a lot of doves or pigeons. Did they disrobe her? Don't remember at this point. I never thought very much of her.
- A few years ago I had to stay at the Westin Bonaventure, and I started singing the theme song in the hotel lobby/atrium near the check-in desk. One of the guests behind me started laughing and said, "I've been unable to get that damn song out of my head since I came here!" The desk clerk said, "Yeah, we hear people singing that song around here all the time even still."
- Love that theme song.
Jillian is such a classy woman.
- Maybe Ann should pursue a bio-pic of Maureen Reagan.
- It's A Living got positive reviews but was on Tuesdays which was already problematic as ABC was considered "Too Jiggle" oriented, with shows like Charlies Angels and Three's Company.
If you remember the very skimpy waitress costumes were gone by the second season. In order to distance themselves, they hired Louise for comic effect and reduced the cast.
Wendy Schaal (Rhoda's stepdaughter) was let go as her character was considered redundant to Dot. And Sullivan's was considered a blend of the Jan and Nancy character.
They changed the title to "Living it Up," at first but that was the name of a old but popular Jerry Lewis / Dean Martin movie. So they changed it again.
- I liked her on Hazel and of course when she was Ilse, Ilse on Twilight Zone.
- Susan Sullivan later said if she wasn't let go, she wouldn't be able to do Falcon Crest.
And It's A Living wound up cancelled.
So it worked out for the best
- [quote] In actuality both Don DeFore and Whitney Blake had been fired from the show.
No that's not true.
Hazel was cancelled by NBC. Declining rating and Shirley Booth's health factored into it.
But CBS picked it up and Don Defore was not available any longer and the producers went another direction.
CBS actually tried to renew it another year but Shirley declined due to health problems. In the last year she had a private nurse on the set with her. She lived a long time after that, but Hazel could've went on one more year, though it was best she bowed out when she did.
- I wonder if Susan Sullivan stole Barrie Youngfellow's pivoting-head move for the opening credits of Falcon Crest.
Some journalist get on this ASAP!
- Why did Barrie Youngfellow get the
and Barrie Youngfellow
ending credit the first three years. And then got top billing the last three years.
It is not like she is a big star or anything.
- They changed the name from It's a Living to Making a Living, after research showed that "It's a Living" vaguely implied that they were hookers. Totally true.
- ...and then I perfected the head pivot in my final opening credits.
Connie McCashin, MD, MBA, MS, FAACP
- [quote] research showed that "It's a Living" vaguely implied that they were hookers.
But in the first run syndication version, the title was changed back to "It's a Living"
- Jillian did her own stage show back in the '80s and appeared at The Fox Theatre in St. Louis. Someone gave me tickets or I never would have gone. I came away a fan. She did a great job and came across as a very genuine person.
- By all accounts Jillian is pure class and always is well spoke of. She receives decent reviews as well.
As for Barrie Youngfellow, she was one of those people that ABC was trying to build into a star for years. She was on every ABC show from Barney Miller to Three's Company and so forth. But she never made it, but if you look at her IMDB or think back ABC was trying to make her into a star.
They never did.
Contrast to Crystal Bernard, who seemed to walk right into role after role.
- Speaking of Youngfellow, was that Three's Company episode where she played Jack's gf who was living with two guys supposed to be stealth pilot for a spinoff? I remember thinking that the actors who played her roommates were really cute. I think they had one parading around shirtless.
- Barrie Youngfellow is more of a theater actress. After It's a Living she went back east to do more theater.
She is married to actor Sam Freed (Kate & Allie) and they frequently do theater together. They are both based on the East Coast
- [quote]Barrie Youngfellow is more of a theater actress.
OMG I may never stop laughing.
- r55=Gail Edwards
- CBS tried to do that with Bernadette Peters, make her a star. Didn't work, she wound up on Broadway too.
So did Lucie Arnaz...Says something about Broadway huh?
- [quote]Maybe Ann should pursue a bio-pic of Maureen Reagan.
Yeah, that's something that everyone's been clamoring for.
- When I was a kid I thought the Bonaventure hotel looked SO glamorous whenever I saw it on tv, which was a lot in the 80s.
Then as an adult when I visited LA for the first time, I went around the downtown LA area where the Bonaventure is located and was quite surprised to find it's really boring and there's nothing to do.
- r59, it's also really ugly inside. It's like staying in the Death Star, except everything's made of concrete.
- Barrie Youngfellow is a terrible name for an actor, male or female.
- What about the elevator going up? Is it the same? And what about that long hallway the gals walk down?
- Now it can be told: I was Paul Kreppel's fuck buddy.
He produces now as well as acts, and produced Jay Johnson (the ventriloquist from SOAP)'s one man show. We met when it "tried out" at an off-Broadway theater in Chelsea in 2005. And we were fbs on and off for about 3 years while the show played off and then on Broadway.
Nice guy, very funny, furry chest, very oral. Nice cut cock about 7" and versatile. Great hot Jewish lover, esp. since was in his late 50s when we were fbs.
I asked him about the tv series (since I remembered him from it) and he said he had a great time doing it, but he was very much a second-tier cast member - the women were far more catered to.
- [quote] Barrie Youngfellow is a terrible name for an actor, male or female.
I completely agree!
- [quote]Barrie Youngfellow is a terrible name for an actor, male or female.
I don't know, I kind of like the way it sounds.
- Danne Devito in a promo for IALs series premiere.
- This thread is amazing for the "It's A Living" content alone.
LOVE it, girls!
- Season 2 intro
- I can't believe Louise Lasser was part of this, though - it seems so not her speed.
Paul Kreppel was hot.....I could see that hot daddy furriness!
- Holy shit, R63!
More details! Did you talk about "It's a Living" before or after sex?
- R70 -maybe she was really desperate.
- Cocaine costs, R70, and LL had probably blown all the Mary Hartman money up her ass by '81.
- Speed and Louise Lasser are two concepts that have not been introduced to each other.
Speedballs, on the other hand...
- You sound like an early-'80s TV insider, R42. Speak to us! Reveal all!
- R71 Probably during.
- Thanks for sharing, R63. Was his ass furry also?
- Meanwhile, I so agree with R52. Barrie was in everything for a while.
As soon as I saw her again in the opening I could think of at least three different things she'd been in, including a dreadful WKRP episode where we were all supposed to buy her as this great beauty and a Stevie Nicks-type to boot....
She was so damn bland and boooooring.....
- No mention yet of "Jennifer Slept Here," the 80's sitcom that starred Ann Jillian as a ghost? Are the eldergays all asleep?
- Louise Lasser rocked that sitcom. It was a thousand percent better with her. Why wouldn't she do a sitcom she was hysterical and talented.
- No one's mentioning that I got shit-canned after S1 as well. I'll come clean - it was because they caught me bending Barrie over the waitresses station in a moment of sheer passion.
- Ann Jillian was all over TV in the 80s - every time you turned the tv on, there she was in a sitcom, an interview, a tv movie or one of those fucking awful Bob Hope specials. And then she just disappeared in the 90s.
- She made a career out of cancer. Of course the fact that she got huge didn't help her any.
When she returned all blimped out for the syndicated version of It's A Living, it was pathetic.
- I remember People magazine was particularly fond of Ann - she was often on the cover or in one of the features for no discernible reason. Maybe she was friends with the publisher or something.
- R80 Louise Lasser is known to be extremely difficult to work with. She burnt alot of bridges.
- R84/82, that's because Ann's publicist pushed her - she, like all other stars, paid for the publicity. That's how it works.
- This thread has left me searching the net for all things Ann Jillian! (I know, Mary!)
Anyhow... there was a post about her on AfterEllen and they mentioned her website wasn't so good and offered to redo it. Um, next thing you know, her husband/manager commented and took up the author on the offer. LOL
So awesome. Anyhow, I thought that was funny. And awesome if the author really did fix her website for her.
I'm going back to watch all the various It's a Living intros now. Maybe I'll fit in some Ann Jillian Show and Jennifer Slept Here too!
- 9quote0Ann Jillian was all over TV in the 80s - every time you turned the tv on, there she was in a sitcom, an interview, a tv movie or one of those fucking awful Bob Hope specials. And then she just disappeared in the 90s.
Yes. When I was a kid I remember changing channels and always seeing that blonde wig everywhere. I'm sure Ann is nice and all but her career was built around that gaudy hair and shows the power of hair.
- Another mystery: How did Howard the cook prepare the restaurant's classy fare in such a small kitchen? The salad bar was bigger.
- J'adore this thread. As a young gayling I used to march down the hallway in our house and imagine I was in the It's a Living opening credits.
- [quote] As a young gayling I used to march down the hallway in our house and imagine I was in the It's a Living opening credits.
- So when the title was "Making a Living," did they still use the same theme song, which had "It's a living" in the lyrics?
- R90 I'm embarrassed to say, but I just informed my friends that for my bday this year, we will be going to the Bonaventure in LA and recreate the opening and then have dinner in the restaurant.
Hell, maybe I can get Ann Jillian to join us!
- Ann Jillian is so likable. I remember a made-for-tv she did about Mae West. I think James Brolin might have been in it, but am too lazy to look it up. That was in the mid-80s when there were a slew of made-for-tvs about movie stars from the 30s and 40s played by television "personalities" (star would be too strong a word) such as Lynda Carter as Rita Hayworth, Loni Anderson as Jayne Mansfield, Catherine Hicks as Monroe.
- Ann Jillian was to 1982 what Loni Anderson was to 1979.
- Ann had a lotttttt of abortions before she met the right guy. She calls the kid she finally had "The One Who Lived."
- That's true. Ann's had more children pulled out of her than a burning orphanage.
- Did anyone ever see "The Ann Jillian Story" about Ann's battle with cancer starring herself as herself? Her husband was played by Tony Lobianco, I never saw the movie but I remember the commercial for it which seemed to be playing nonstop.
- Ann also had a self-titled sitcom in the late 80s, early 90s in which she played a single mother who ran a bakery. The show also starred Lisa Rieffel as her daughter, Rieffel would go on to play the third never-before-seen daughter on "Empty Nest" when Kristy McNichol left the show because of her menatal illness.
- Lisa Rieffel was the Barrie Youngfellow of the early '90s. NBC kept trying to make her happen.
- Delta Burke was the Ann Jillian of 1986.
- Didn't Carol Channing have Ann Jillian's signature do before Jillian did?
- No, r92, they redid that part of the song too.
- I was the African-American Ann Jillian!
- I don't think this can be an OFFICIAL Ann Jillian thread without a clip of her performing on Battle of the Network Stars.
"CONTROVERSY ENSUES when Ann's paddle breaks during the kayak relay race..."
Ann's troubles begin at the 3:25 mark. Perhaps of more interest to DL are some nice shots of ex-cokehead Gregory Harrison filling out his speedo nicely, at the 4:25 and 5:15 marks.
I wouldn't doubt it, but it doesn't change the fact Louise Lasser ROCKED. She was hysterical in everything she did.
Does anyone remember when she played a bank supervisor on Mary Tyler Moore? She totally flustered and stole the scene from MTM.
- Life's not the French Riviera, believe me, life's not, a charity ball.
It isn't all a great big bed of roses, it's not like showbiz, but the main thing I suppose is…
We're not the people you envy, believe me, we know we're doing okay.
OK we may be less than wealthy, but better yet, we're young and healthy,
and anyone who's young and healthy knows that that's the way the traffic flows.
We're making a living.
- Okay..... Let's look at the facts:
Ann Jillian was in Gypsy in 1962.
The Midler woman was in Gypsy (on tv no less) in 1993.
Ann Jillian sang Wind Beneath My Wings in 1984.
That Midler woman sang Wind Beneath My Wings in 1988.
Ann Jillian travelled with Bob Hope doing USO shows in the 1980s.
That Midler woman ripped off Martha Raye's story in the 1990s and did a movie about doing USO shows.
That Midler woman is the POOR MAN's Ann Jillian!
- I'll be in LA next week and I want to get my friends together, go downtown to the Bonaventure, and do a shot-by-shot re-enactment of the opening credits. It will be the gayest thing ever posted on Youtube!
- I love this thread.
- Thanks R109, but Bette was around long before Ann.
- Prior to 1962, R109. Um..... no.
Ann Jillian is actually supportive of the gays too..... Bette, not so much.
- Oops, I meant R112.
Not to mention Ann's first role on tv was on Leave it to Beaver in 1960.
Bette was still porking out on Spam in Honolulu while Miss Jillian was getting a paycheck for being fabulous.
- And lots of gays have her pageboy, platinium blonde hair cut too.
- Where else on the Internet can you find a thread on Ann Fucking Jillian that's 6 pages long? This is why I love Datalounge.
Is Ann Jillian...
Welcome to DL
- You know her name was actually Frances Billonich
Her agent shortened it to Fran Billion
Than it was mispelled as An Billion
Then became Ann Billion
Then Ann Jillion
Now it's Ann Jillian
But she's fake name
- She goes way out of her way to hide her "pollack" roots.
She claims to be from Lithuania, which is just Poland Junior. But so what, she's still a dumb pollack.
- While I'm sure Miss Jillian would be happy to have fans even if they are a bit, well shall we be generous and say "off," I'm sure she would not appreciate the blue tone this topic has taken.
Please keep it clean and on topic. Thanks
- No mention of her red-headed turn as Michael Keaton's object of lust in "Mr. Mom"? I like the hair even though it looks wrong.
- Interesting to watch the Battle of the Network Stars clip. It was 1980, which I think was before her breast cancer scare. And yet, in her bathing suit, Ms. Jillian's bazooms seem perfectly average in size. I always remember her as being large breasted, hence the nickname we used for her while growing up, Ann Jigglin'. Perhaps it was just the cut of the waitresses' uniforms in "It's a Living"?
- [quote]Where else on the Internet can you find a thread on Ann Fucking Jillian that's 6 pages long?
Mine is only one page long. It's all in the settings you choose, dear. But I agree that this is probably the only internet forum that is now at 123 posts on the subject.
In the theme song, what are they singing in the counterpoint of "we're not the people you envy" (right after "but the main thing I suppose is…")? I have never been able to figure that out.
- Life's not the French Riviera, believe me, life's not, a charity ball.
It isn't all a great big bed of roses, it's not like showbiz, but the main thing I suppose is…
We're not the people you envy, believe me, we know we're doing okay.
We may be less than wealthy, but better yet, we're young and healthy,
and anyone who's young and healthy knows that that's the way the traffic flows.
We've no misgivings, It's a living.
- I think R123 is asking about the line being sung at the same time as "We're not the people you envy, believe me, we know we're doing okay". There's something being sung in the background but I've never been able to make it out,
- I also want to know why all the waitresses walked into work together arm-in-arm. Can you imagine doing that with your co-workers?
- I want to know why they all work the same shift. That place is open at least six days a week. Same thing with Alice. Mel's was open six days a week too.
I guess Above the Top could be only open six hours a day.
- That is what I'm asking, R125. Unlike R124, I've read the rest of the thread and seen that the lyrics have already been provided.
- ??? Hot Daddy ???
- I remember her on that horrible ghost show with the gay guy from One Day At A Time. Peeee yewww
was that show stanky.
- No one brought up Mae West!
Annie got an Emmy nomination for that!
- All this IAL talk and no mention of the fabulous Marian Mercer?!? She was wonderful as the owner/hostess. I saw her do "Stop the World" in stage with Sammy Davis Jr in the late 70's and she was amazing. There's a cat album out there somewhere. And as Missy in "9 to 5", she was wonderfully ditzy and clueless.
- Ann as Mae West was, um, interesting.
- Another mystery:
ABC canceled "Making a Living" in '82. The show was revived for syndication in '85. But the set was exactly the same.
Did they painstakingly recreate Above the Top from the original blueprints in '85? Or were the sets just sitting around on ice for three years?
- Why didn't they just call the show "Above the Top"? Would've been kind of cute. More clever than "[Whatever] a Living" in any case.
- Susan Harris, we summon you to DL! Please get up off your king-size bed made of syndication money and answer our obscure questions and calls for gossip about Ann Jillian!
We know you technically didn't produce It's a Living, but since Tony Thomas is your husband, we know you have the answers!
Oh Susan Harris we love you get up
- Anyone remember a thread from a few years back in which Ann channeled Mae West is discussing her breast cancer. One of the lines was hysterical. It was something like "So Andy and me went to the doctor and he said 'Annie, you got bad tits and we gotta chop em off'". Please tell me I'm not the only one who recalls that.
- [quote] All this IAL talk and no mention of the fabulous Marian Mercer?!? She was wonderful as the owner/hostess. I saw her do "Stop the World" in stage with Sammy Davis Jr in the late 70's and she was amazing. There's a cat album out there somewhere. And as Missy in "9 to 5", she was wonderfully ditzy and clueless
Don't forget that she won a Tony for playing Marge MacDougall in "Promises, Promises."
- Susan Harris has the strain of chronic faitgue syndrome that doesn't disappear after one episode, so cut her some slack.
Dr. Budd's toupee
- Ann Jillian used to show up on Merv Griffin and do interviews in her "Cassie" character. And people dump on Anne Hathaway for trying too hard.
- One of writers (I believe his name is Marc Sotkin) has a website where he dished a little and said Lasser was a real "pain in the ass" and had a "very complicated process that drove the other actors crazy".
- I don't have anything to add here so I just want to type Gail fucking Edwards.
- ugh Marc Sotkin was a hack. He came up in the Garry Marshall sitcom factory, first working on Laverne and Shirley. Inexplicably, he was made EP of Golden Girls its three inferior final seasons.
- When Louise Lasser host SNL the ENTIRE cast hated her.
At one point an hour before show time, Louise locked herself in her dressing room and refused to come out.
The cast didn't care and at that point had enough of her, and started to divide up her parts amongst themselves.
But eventually Louise left her dressing room and did the show.
Louise has also received offers of big bucks to do a biography, but ex-hubby Woody Allen has always intervened and talked Louise out of it.
- On Gail Edwards' website (!), she says It's a Living will never be released on DVD due to music clearance issues. In every episode, that lounge singer played and sang at least two or three famous songs. And there's not enough demand for the show to make up for the potential cost of clearing the music.
- Some answers and questions:
The counterpoint lyric is: "We are not fakin' it, we are gonna make it." And the main lyric above is slightly wrong--it's not "better yet" it's "but then again".
Paul Kreppel does produce, but last I heard he was on tour with WICKED. I know he was married to a woman at one point--is he married now? And is the FB upthread (I'm assuming) male?
You can take acting class from Louise Lasser at HB Studio in New York every Tuesday from 12:45 - 3:15 pm.
I love that the Waitress' Lounge where their lockers are and they are off duty is so large, well-furnished, well-lit, and clean.
I too am fascinated by the changes in cast and billing and the shots used in the theme through the years. All those variations of Barrie turning around at the locker. Who knows how much went on back and forth between agents about that billing!
Love Ann's website. There's a photo of her chatting with Jonas Salk.
- Those pics on Ann's website have to be 20 years old, at least!
- And I mean the press photo headshots lol!
- The fact remains Louise Lasser was one of the funniest women EVER. She was brilliant.
She probably was a pain, during the SNL time she was heavily into drugs. So was the rest of the cast.
But she still was hysterical. If you ever can catch IAL in reruns you can see the season she was in, was so far above the rest of the seasons, including the first.
She was hysterically funny and steals every scene she is in.
She is like Madeline Kahn, brilliantly talented and unappreciated.
She probably was difficult or impossible, but you can't deny she's funny.
- When Ann came back from her double mastectomy I remember her waitress costume was altered with white lace inserts where the cleavage or chest was usually bared before. None of the other cast had the same outfit and it only drew attention to Ann's health woes.
- Double? She lost both tits? I'm glad to see Susan Sullivan had the last laugh with her spin on Falcon Crest. It is the spin to end all spins.
- Is that Ann singing the solo in the theme song? ("Okay, we may be less than wealthy, but then again, we're young and healthy.")
What did she and Jonas Salk talk about? I've been thinking about that all day since I discovered that picture.
- I agree the season with Louise was the funniest; difficult or not you can't deny her comedic talent. It's a shame about the music rights. I can't believe in a 500-channel universe this show isn't running SOMEWHERE so it can be DVD-Rd and circulated around the trading circuit.
- I love that Gail Edwards has a website.
- Ann was nominated for three Emmy awards. She even got a nomination for playing herself.
Did I get a nom for playing myself?
- [quote]What did she and Jonas Salk talk about? I've been thinking about that all day since I discovered that picture.
"Twenty years on polio, and you couldn't spare six months on breast cancer?"
- Paul Kreppel tweets a photo of himself, Joey McIntyre, and Joe Mantegna and his daughter at "Paul Feig's Taco Party."
- Why didn't Louise Lasser come back for the syndicated version? It's not like she had anything else going on.
- Crystal Bernard was hired, because it was decided she should be cast in everything.
- I think Crystal hit her stride in Wings.
- I used to see Ann Jillian at church every week. She and her husband usually sat not far behind me. She'd smile at me. Seemed like a nice woman.
- So is Crystal Bernard gay?
- Yes, r163.
- She got to kiss Tyne Daly's brother.
- Crystal Bernard is a registered Republican.
- If I could kiss Tim Daley I'd vote for Hitler.
- If I could kiss Hitler, I'd vote for Tim Daly.
- Can I say it again? Gail fucking Edwards.
- Can I say it, Tim Daley should've been shirtless and on every episode of IAL, then it wouldn't have been cancelled ever.
- Ann Jillian had an ego when I met her. She was at a diner in Chicago and she came in and tried to impress me with her "acting" resume, which consisted of a twice failed sitcom, relegated to syndication and Hazel, being a fifth rated character on a series cancelled by NBC.
Then she tried to push her way in line by saying her husband was a former police officer.
I told that white haired bitch to shut up.
- all of this crap about Ann's supposed abortions.
She wrote in People magazine that she had never been pregnant before she conceived her child with Murcia.
- [quote]Ann Jillian used to show up on Merv Griffin and do interviews in her "Cassie" character. And people dump on Anne Hathaway for trying too hard.
This may be the most DL-est comment I've ever seen. It just encapsulates... everything.
- She's too old.
- Anyone remember Barrie Youngfellow in that TV movie about the search for an actress to play Scarlett O'Hara? BY was Joan Crawford, and Sharon Gless was Carole Lombard. The show was a hoot, scenery chewing par excellence.
- She was no Marian Mercer.
- I miss her tits.
- The Scarlet O'Hara Wars! Was part of a mini series about old Hollywood.
- she would have been better than Bette in the role.
stronger set of pipes.
- Thank YOU, r178 I'm gonna' see if there's any of it on You Tube. They made use of several other actress impersonations, Tallulah, IIRC, and Paulette Goddard? Off I go.
- Glad I could help. I enjoyed watching it and have my mom explain why she did or didn't like the particular actors who were being portrayed in it.
- "Did anyone ever see "The Ann Jillian Story" about Ann's battle with cancer starring herself as herself? Her husband was played by Tony Lobianco, I never saw the movie but I remember the commercial for it which seemed to be playing nonstop."
I was a kid at the time, and I didn't see it but I too remember it being heavily promoted. I knew who Ann was because she had played the Red Queen in an Alice in Wonderland miniseries that I had taped and watched a lot (the one where Carol Channing played the White Queen). I assumed that an actress who was important enough to have a movie made about her life called "The Ann Jillian Story" must be a real A-list superstar; I was under the impression that Ann was about on an equivalent stardom level with Elizabeth Taylor.
- If there can be a Joyce DeHalfwit Gypsy, there should be an Ann Jillian Gypsy. With Morgan Brittany as Tessie Tura.
- Love this from her Wikipedia page:
"Jennifer Slept Here ended in 1984, enabling her to take a role in the miniseries Ellis Island, co-starring opposite Richard Burton, Faye Dunaway, Ben Vereen and Liam Neeson. Dunaway and Vereen were nominated for Golden Globes and Jillian and Burton were nominated for Emmys."
I think Ann made this edit herself, subtly rubbing Miss Dunaway's face in the fact that she (Ann) was nominated for the more prestigious award!
- r175, the miniseries was called Movieola. The second segment of it was The Scarlett O'Hara Wars. I wish it was on DVD.
- Her face looks amazing, hair is a bit frau-ish.