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Women in Film oral history interview, 2006 October 13 : Piper Laurie

Author: Piper Laurie; Ilene Kahn; Women in Film (Organization); Women in Film Foundation.
Edition/Format:   Film : Film   Visual material : English
Publication:Women in Film Foundation Legacy Series.
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Piper Laurie (1932-) begins by discussing her childhood in Detroit, Michigan, where she lived for the first five years of her life. She then talks about how her younger sister became ill with asthma and hay fever, and the decision her parents made to send both daughters to the mountains in Tujunga, California where there was a rest home for children. She then talks about her parents moving out to California  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Oral history
Interviews
Named Person: Piper Laurie; Millie Gusse; Rock Hudson; Ronald Reagan; Donald O'Connor; Tyrone Power; Douglas Sirk; Joseph L Mankiewicz; Sidney Lumet; Sydney Pollack; John Frankenheimer; Maurice Evans; Paul Newman; Robert Rossen; Joe Morgenstern; Brian De Palma; Randa Haines; Dario Argento
Material Type: Film
Document Type: Visual material
All Authors / Contributors: Piper Laurie; Ilene Kahn; Women in Film (Organization); Women in Film Foundation.
OCLC Number: 423640230
Notes: Interview completed under the auspices of the Women in Film Foundation.
Materials not viewed. Summary based on transcript.
Responsibility: interviewer, Ilene Kahn Power.

Abstract:

Piper Laurie (1932-) begins by discussing her childhood in Detroit, Michigan, where she lived for the first five years of her life. She then talks about how her younger sister became ill with asthma and hay fever, and the decision her parents made to send both daughters to the mountains in Tujunga, California where there was a rest home for children. She then talks about her parents moving out to California permanently when she was nine years of age, and how the family struggled to make ends meet. She continues with how her mother encouraged the two sisters to pursue their interest in performing and how during World War II, the two girls traveled around to different hospitals to entertain the patients. Laurie continues by mentioning Millie Gusse (1910-2001), a mentor and casting director who placed Laurie in a screen test opposite Rock Hudson (1925-1985), which led to her first screen role opposite Ronald Reagan (1911-2004). She continues by talking about the couple of dates she had with Reagan, her early career as a contract player at Universal, changing her birth name, Rosetta Jacobs, to her screen name, Piper Laurie, and living at home until she was 23 years of age. She continues with ways the studio promoted her by orchestrating who she dated, what she wore, and her discomfort at being labeled as a glamour girl. She continues with her friendship with Donald O'Connor (1925-2003), dissatisfaction with the parts she was given, and her desire for more substantial roles. She continues with how she was let out of her contract with Universal at the age of 23, her decision to move to New York City, working with Tyrone Power (1914-1958) in the film, The Mississippi gambler (1953), and working with the director, Douglas Sirk (1897-1987). She continues with traveling as part of the USO tours to Korea, which she began when she was 18 years of age, and how the experience became the catalyst for wanting to move away from the trivial movies she was doing at the time. She continues with the initial work she did while in New York, starting with a General Electric Theater production of The road that led afar (originally broadcast on November 25, 1956), hosted by Ronald Reagan, the live television work she did as part of Robert Montgomery presents titled Quality town (orginally broadcast on December 19, 1955), and her delight at having Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1909-1993) comment positively on her performance. She then discusses the role she initially won in the Broadway production of The days of wine and roses, being fired from the production, and moving on to perform in more live television, including the Playhouse 90 production of The days of wine and roses (originally broadcast on CBS, October 28, 1958), directed by John Frankenheimer. She continues with her role in the Hallmark hall of fame live television production of Shakepeare's Twelfth night (originally broadcast on NBC, December 15, 1957) and working with Maurice Evans (1901-1989). She then talks about her role as Sarah in the motion picture, The hustler (1961), and working opposite Paul Newman (1925-) and with director, Robert Rossen (1908-1966). She continues with her Academy Award nominations, meeting her husband Joe Morgenstern (1932-), whom she married in 1962, and the two live television dramas she acted in, The deaf heart (originally broadcast on October 21, 1957 as part of the anthology series, Studio one), directed by Sidney Lumet (1924-), and The changing ways of love (originally broadcast on November 3, 1957 as part of the anthology series, Seven lively arts), directed by Sydney Pollack (1934-). She continues with her interest in art, attending classes at the Otis Institute in Los Angeles when she was 12 years of age, and studying at the Art Students League after moving to New York City. She continues with her role on Broadway as Laura in the 1965 production of the Glass menagerie, and then moving up to Woodstock, New York to continue her interest in stone carving and raising her adopted daughter, Anne (1971-). She continues with the first movie role she accepted after being away from the screen for 15 years, Carrie (1976), directed by Brian De Palma (1940-), which was followed by work with director Randa Haines (1945-) on Children of a lesser god (1986). She continues with her role in the horror film, Trauma (1993), directed by Dario Argento (1940-), and her transition from leading leady to character roles. She continues with her 1981 divorce from husband Joe Morgenstern and her move back to California. She concludes with providing a few words of wisdom--don't let others define who you are, rather make your name stand for how you want to be perceived.

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