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Celebrities with bad stage fright

Barbra, goes without saying. But who else in the entertainment biz has crippling stage fright?

Carly Simon has it. She had a meltdown on stage in 1980. It got so bad that she had audience members come up on stage to rub her hands and feet to try and calm her down.

Joan Crawford also had it. Supposedly, that was the real reason why she didn't go to the Oscars the year she won.

by Anonymousreply 4601/31/2013

Rod Stewart.

by Anonymousreply 101/30/2013

Lady Gaga suffers from stage fright. She's known to cry before she starts her show.

by Anonymousreply 201/30/2013

Ricky Martin.

by Anonymousreply 301/30/2013

The Band

by Anonymousreply 401/30/2013

I remember an interview Kim Bassinger did saying she was/is paralyzed with fear and anxiety going on stage. It'd been a life long thing she's had to deal with.

I long time ago I remember Al Pacino being a guest on Rosie O'Donnel but only on the condition that the studio audience was cleared out due to stage fright.

But, I think I've seen him in interviews since in front of audience so I dunno if it's something he worked through or...

by Anonymousreply 501/30/2013

Liz Phair and Tori Amos have had on stage episodes of stage fright.

by Anonymousreply 601/30/2013

Barbara Harris's career was cut short because she had to be locked into her dressing room to keep her in the theater. And Judy Holiday owed her career to Jean Arthur's stage fright, but for which Arthur would have been the only slightly superannuated star of Born Yesterday.

Incidentally, before anyone starts hissing "eldergay" at me, this all happened before I was born. But yes, I am indeed old enough not to know nothing.

by Anonymousreply 701/30/2013

Your magical incantation does not preclude the 'hiss', dear. Knowing so much about some chick named Barbara Harris might actually be worse than knowing nothing.

by Anonymousreply 801/30/2013

Judy, of course!

by Anonymousreply 901/30/2013

The all but forgotten Mary Livingstone.

by Anonymousreply 1001/30/2013

R8. Actually knowing nothing about ABarbara Harris would mean not knowing she was one of the most intesting, radiant, and complicated actresses of the last fifty years.

by Anonymousreply 1101/30/2013

Olivier suddenly developed stage fright late in his career but eventually overcame it. So did Ian Holm.

by Anonymousreply 1201/30/2013

Michael Ball left Les Miserables very early into its run because of terrible panic attacks associated with stage fright.

by Anonymousreply 1301/30/2013

Why choose a career on stage if you suffer stage fright? Serious question.

by Anonymousreply 1401/30/2013

[quote]Joan Crawford also had it. Supposedly, that was the real reason why she didn't go to the Oscars the year she won.

Joan Crawford once auditioned for Josh Logan for a role in a stage musical. To Logan's great surprise, she sang passably well. (She had taken formal singing lessons while married to Franchot Tone.)

Just as he was getting excited at the prospect of an actual Joan Crawford musical, she announced that she could never take a part in a live play due to her intense stage fright. She had merely wanted to see if she could survive an audition. All Logan could do was fume at this perfectly frustrating waste of his time.

by Anonymousreply 1501/30/2013

Ethel Merman may have been the only person who never had even one second of stage fright, or so she always said.

by Anonymousreply 1601/30/2013

But youtube is filled with many fascinating clips of interviews with a very lively and engaged Joan Crawford from the 1960s and 1970s. Wouldn't that be akin to being on stage? So perhaps she just wasn't interested in stage acting and long runs?

by Anonymousreply 1701/30/2013

Surprising how people like Streisand and Pacino suffer from stage fright when they got their start on the New York stage. It must've been hell to go through such anxiety each night before going on stage. Makes me wonder why bother. Find another profession.

by Anonymousreply 1801/30/2013

Going out on stage and playing yourself giving an interview in front of a crowd of worshipful fans is different than assuming a character and going out there to act in front of a bunch of critics and seasoned theater-goers, R17.

by Anonymousreply 1901/30/2013

I heard that Patty Duke before she has to go on stage throws up. Not sure if this is true any more.

by Anonymousreply 2001/30/2013

It's true, r20. Also, Skater Nancy Kerrigan would throw-up, before every competition.

by Anonymousreply 2101/30/2013

Joan had no trouble accepting Anne Bancroft's Oscar in 1963. She famously asked Bette Davis to move out of the way as both were backstage at the time and Bette was up for Baby Jane. Joan was ever the cunt.

Didn't Daniel Day Lewis freak out on stage doing Hamlet, causing him never to appear in a stageplay again?

by Anonymousreply 2201/30/2013

Stephen Fry

by Anonymousreply 2301/30/2013

R22, In DDL's case, it wasn't stage fright but a freak out nonetheless. He was performing Hamlet with Dame Judi Dench. During one of the ghost scenes, he got so carried away in the moment that he hallucinated conversing with his father's ghost. DDL claimed the incident left him depleted and an empty vessel, so he walked off, never to return to the stage again.

Sir Ian Holm famously froze on stage during a performance of The Iceman Cometh. He walked off and wouldn't return to live theater for another 17 years.

by Anonymousreply 2401/31/2013

Good interview with Ian Holm which includes his stage fright interlude.

The role was Hickey in The Iceman Cometh. It's a difficult role. But oddly enough it was something I was really looking forward to tackling. I got into my first preview, which I just managed to get through.

Then in the second preview, on the following night, I just walked off the stage and into the dressing room and said, "I'm not going back. I cannot go back." And they had to put the understudy on. My doctor said, "The Iceman goeth." Something just snapped...

by Anonymousreply 2501/31/2013

Meryl Streep said she had it badly when she started out on stage and at least once said it's the reason she prefers working on film.

She still talks about it even for film though. Google Meryl Streep stage fright and you'll see quite a few references...


by Anonymousreply 2601/31/2013

Cat Power owns this thread. I saw her life and it was unbelievable.

by Anonymousreply 2701/31/2013

There's more to the DDL story than that.

He really struggled with the role. He didn't have the vocal guts to work the Olivier, and critics noted it. He seemed lost on stage, really uncomfortable.

The ghost story sounds like something he'd say, but I doubt it was the reason he had so much trouble.

Speaking of DDL, let's all stop to remember that while Jeremy Northam as the understudy first took over for DDL, it was Ian Charleson took over as the star when Hamlet was brought back in the fall that year, suffering from surgery to stop the swelling in his face from AIDS, and gave the such a brave, tortured performance that it is now considered one of the best ever done. Northam came back again to finish for Charleson too, but of the three, it's Charleson's that was history-making.

by Anonymousreply 2801/31/2013

Catherine Deneuve. That's the reason she never did theater so far.

by Anonymousreply 2901/31/2013

Does stage fright include having trouble memorizing lines? I don't know how actors do that!

by Anonymousreply 3001/31/2013

Joan Baez suffered from terrible stage fright esrly in her career.

Many performers (like Judy Garland) get over stage fright once on stage, not Baez

by Anonymousreply 3101/31/2013

Jean Arthur's attempts at Broadway were cut short by her stage fright.

by Anonymousreply 3201/31/2013

MOST performers of all kinds of talents and stripes ate fundamentally insecure people. It's usually why they go into sho-biz in the first place to combat it

by Anonymousreply 3301/31/2013

R28 How interesting. Can you tell us something more about that? Did you work on the same play?

by Anonymousreply 3401/31/2013

I own this thread, R27.

by Anonymousreply 3501/31/2013

Thanks R28. Glad to hear that Charleson achieved something so fine before he passed away.

It's interesting that DDL took over for Rupert Everett in the original stage production of ANOTHER COUNTRY in London and, based on Everett's book RED CARPETS & OTHER BANANA SKINS, got better reviews than Everett. Not hard to believe actually, though I did see Everett and he was fine.

Nevertheless, R28's story is another example of why all the "DDL is the greatest actor of his generation" crap is so misguided.

by Anonymousreply 3601/31/2013

[quote]Barbara Harris's career was cut short because she had to be locked into her dressing room to keep her in the theater. And Judy Holiday owed her career to Jean Arthur's stage fright, but for which Arthur would have been the only slightly superannuated star of Born Yesterday.

Incidentally, before anyone starts hissing "eldergay" at me, this all happened before I was born. But yes, I am indeed old enough not to know nothing.

No one in this corner hissing at you. Elder here who was a teen when I saw Ms. Harris in THE APPLE TREE. She was brilliant although from all reports, a very complicated soul. When I saw the show, Phyllis Newman had signed on to play the Wed. Sat. matinees. I have posted this before.. there was one performance where Barbara completed Act One of THE APPLE TREE. At end of this act, she rushed off stage and told the stage manager that she couldn't continue. Her understudy Carmen Alvarez did Act Two "The Lady or the Tiger." It just so happened that Phyllis Newman, who had not started performances, was in the audience doing some research by watching Harris. She felt confident enough to go in cold even though she wasn't scheduled to start performances for a few weeks. Newman went backstage and told the stage manager that she would like to finish the show that evening. Sure enough she did perform Act Three,"Passionella." What a performance that must have been. Harris, Alvarez and Newman on the same bill.

by Anonymousreply 3701/31/2013

Joan Baez has been very open about how bad her stage fright is. She says that the tremulous soprano that critics adore comes from the fact that she vomits before almost every stage performance.

Then again, Joan has been honest about just about everything in her amazing life.

by Anonymousreply 3801/31/2013

Not stage fright per se, but Marilyn had crippling performance anxiety and frequently had to be cajoled and begged and threatened before she'd come out of her trailer.

by Anonymousreply 3901/31/2013

[quote] Barbra, goes without saying.

I don't think it goes without saying, because the real reason she never gave concerts is she didn't want people to hear what she sounds like live. I don't think that's really stage fright, it's believing your own hype and wanting everyone else to too. And she admitted as much, saying had to eventually accept that her live singing is the best that she could do at the time.

The same is also probably true of Simon. "Stage fright" is certainly a convenient excuse for a singer to not have to prove themselves live.

by Anonymousreply 4001/31/2013

Well, I'd rather have seen Barbara Harris do all 3 acts of The Apple Tree

by Anonymousreply 4101/31/2013

R41-I didn't see that performance, just heard about it.. Harris was in all three acts when I saw THE APPLE TREE and she was amazing. It was a fun time to see musicals. CABARET, I DO!I DO!, HALLELUJAH, BABY!

by Anonymousreply 4201/31/2013

Dame Sybil Thorndike, a stage actress her whole life, was doing a play when she was about 70 years old. After a rather successful opening night, she could not bring herself to do the play again the next evening, her stage fright had become so intense. She never performed again.

by Anonymousreply 4301/31/2013

r14, I'm sure if they had stage fright BEFORE they started their careers they never would have gone into show business in the first place. These are all people who started having panic attacks after establishing successful careers as performers. Olivier and Streisand were able to develop workarounds: Olivier found that having someone on stage with him helped him ride out his panic attacks, and Streisand just avoided live performances for years.

by Anonymousreply 4401/31/2013

Stage fright must be complicated. Mary Martin developed stage fright late in life. Yet she appeared subsequently on the road in "Legends!" for more than a year, even though she often had to be given her lines.

At age 73/74, following a very serious auto accident, Martin could have easily pulled out of "Legends!," but decided to stay with the play, but not take it to London or Broadway.

Too bad she did not live long enough to discuss her experience in detail in public.

by Anonymousreply 4501/31/2013

I'm certain that the reason actors develop stage fright late in their careers is fear of not remembering their lines or stage business.

That kind of memorization does not come easy after a certain age.

by Anonymousreply 4601/31/2013
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