Whitney Houston’s passing got me thinking big time!  OMG – would I love to be able to sing like she could and to write some of the songs she sang!

  • Well…maybe some of my songs are as “good” as the ones she sang. Cabaret audiences seem to like them. When I wrote with “Spector” we won some Billboard County Music awards and a NYC MAC Award as Comedy Duo. But that’s not, quite the same as winning 5 Grammies on National TV! That’s not like having every bite of food you take or every dress you put on written about in the tabloids.

“Famous!”-  This is a toughie. It sounds delightful; but so many “famous” people lived lives I wouldn’t call ideal.  There are a few who are strong enough to handle the attention and don’t seem to give the press the opening to use them as fodder for sales. Lovely ladies like Meryl Streep and gentleman like Hugh Jackman (who’s had his press battles to deal with)  seem to have found a way to live in the spotlight without getting blinded by it.

Then there are stars who had no control over what occurred in their lives. We always have a choice, but when you were thrown into madness as a young child it’s more difficult to choose wisely.  Judy Garland was given Ritalin as a child to keep her alert for performing and she had drug problems throughout her 48-year life.  I had a relationship with a brilliant songwriter, who wrote a few of the songs Ms. Garland sang  – including the last song she sang on the Johnny Carson show. Judy Garland lived with John  *and his parents* for a few months during the last year of her life! He was, in his twenties and, understandably, infatuated with the talented and very famous and wonderful “Garland”.

Marilyn Monroe died at age 36! The cause of her death has been debated for years. Did she try to commit suicide by taking a drug overdose? Was she murdered?  Doris Day escaped Hollywood and devotes her life to helping animals. I used to resent her because she had the look of the “fashion” of the day – the “sweet” look of the 50s, that developed when the men came home from WWII. The kids in Bensonhurst didn’t look like her.  But when my friend, journalist David Kaufman, got the rights to and wrote her official biography my heart went out to her.  She did not have an easy time of it in Hollywood.

Tab Hunter had to leave stardom if he wanted to live a fulfilling life in the 50s, when being gay was still problematic.  He did leave Hollywood and did live a loving wonderful life and wrote a book about it. I was fortunate to meet him at The Players Club at his book signing. We forget that it was even worse to be gay when Oscar Wilde was writing. We recognize his greatness today, but how many young people know of his tragic end. To think that someone of his talent had to go through what he went through is frightening to me. I wonder if the events leading to his imprisonment would have occurred today – probably not.   And  –  Think about this! A talent like Ernest Hemingway felt he needed to end his own life.  This flips me out!

Even though we are (hopefully) becoming more tolerant of people’s differences, being in the public eye can be a toughie. I’m going to risk my position in terms of getting press by saying that many publications seem to think they need articles about famous people going “off the beam” in order to sell news. Even the voiceovers for some of the news stations have taken on a less than cuddly tone – so they can attract more listeners. I wonder if this does attract more viewers. I guess it must.  I’m glad to say the press reps I know and have met haven’t been of that ilk.

Okay – Are there “goodies” for us in all this? I think that the goodies, when thinking about fame are:

  1. You can be assured that famous people don’t, necessarily, have better or worse lives (mentally, at least) than you do.
  2. IF YOU’RE READING THIS AND YOU ARE FAMOUS, I’m sure you can understand what I’m saying and you can cuddle yourself and be kind to yourself.  You deserve to hear your own kind words to yourself. You don’t have to let what others say affect you at all. If the critique helps you change certain things and grow, that’s great. However, you don’t have to fall into their game.  I know this can be easier said than done – and, that said – you do have the choice of how to look at things.
  3. What makes fame can change. Negatives seem to get people into the news today. I urge you to join me write into stations and/or papers etc and ask for positivity. A couple of friends I’ve met and I get together about once a month to cheer each other on. We call ourselves “The Positivos!”  Most Here Women Talk readers are Positivos! We can all be Positivos.

I’m sure there are many more goodies for you get. There are goodies in any situation.