December 31, 1991
Whew! Another year of interviews with the great, not-so-great and people who just think they’re great is winding down. RememberingÂ 1991 brings back a torrent of impressions of the famous people I’ve interviewed. Some had changed. Like Mel Gibson, who is a different person from the man I first met in 1981.
Sober now, and more assured of his career (“Hamlet ” did wonders for him) Gibson is much easier with himself. Still someone who’dÂ rather whoop it up with the boys than play at “movie-star,” he’s no longer a tongue-tied oaf about himself.
Some other memorable people of 1991:
â€¢ Joan Rivers, who went through the agony of being fired from her national TV show, suffored an estrangemont with herÂ only child and survived the suicide of her husband. A courageous, brutally honest woman, who still finds something to laugh about.
Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker, “L.A. Law’s” odd-couple. He’s a mighty mite, aggressive and insistent; she’s a refined and delicate lady with the courage of her convictions.
â€¢ Michael Keaton, an ordinary Joe who still doesn’t know what all the fuss is about.
â€¢ Julia Roberts, who started out as a genuinely warm human being and has turned into a petulant prima donna.
â€¢ Warren Beatty, more full of himself than ever, and Annette Bening, quick-wittcd and cultured, a woman who deserves someone better.
â€¢ Scott Glenn, still one of the most forthright actors around, who has never been given the credit he deserves either as an actor or as a man.
â€¢ Roseanne Arnold, a shattered woman who is picking up the pieces left from a tortuous childhood and stepping on anyone who gets in her way.
â€¢ Madonna, a marketing genius who could probably have saved Orion if they’d had the money to hire her. Savagely focused and so-o-o-o smart. A sweet, young thing she’s not.
â€¢ Julie Andrews, a real “lady” Â in every sense of the word,Â though she’d like to think otherwise.
â€¢ Robin Williams, who has theÂ mind of an assault rifle â€¢ whimsical,Â inventive, diffuse. It’s impossibleÂ to write an interviewÂ with him beause he moves soÂ quickly between personas, soundÂ effects, groans and whistles. AÂ comic genius who’s always a fewÂ inches off the ground.
â€¢ Robert De Niro, catatonic inÂ an interview. When he doesÂ open his mouth, he has Â nothingÂ worth saying.
â€¢ EllenÂ Barkin, refreshinglyÂ opinionated, articulate, with a firm grasp on what’s importantÂ in life.
â€¢ Steven Spielberg; he reallyÂ IS Peter Pan, a 10-year-old kid inÂ wire-rim glasses who still believesÂ in fairies. The “business”Â hasn’t ruined him yet, but it’sÂ trying hard.
â€¢ Robert Wise, a film directorpar excellence who has beenÂ downtrodden by the industry.
He’s relegated to sporadic independentÂ ventures while minorÂ talents like Renny Harlin keepÂ catching the big ones.
â€¢ Whoopi Goldberg: SheÂ knows what she wants and sheÂ goes after it. Like strong, black
coffee she’s an acquired taste.
â€¢ Bette Midler, wary, chary,Â and cautious beyond endurance.Â Her boop-boop-a-doop persona isÂ strictly a pose. One has the feelingÂ that there is a fascinatingÂ woman secreted somewhere inÂ there, but she’s so guarded thatÂ all you see is the facade.
â€¢ L.L. Cool J, a sweet kid withÂ strong Christian convictions. TheÂ kind of guy who could give rap aÂ good name.
â€¢ Scan Connery, still shy afterÂ all these years.
â€¢ Jeff and Beau Bridges, twoÂ movie brats who grew up in theÂ industry and managed to turnÂ out whole in spite of it. JefTs theÂ handsome one. Beau’s the considerateÂ one. There’s probablyÂ not a more kindly gentleman in the business than Beau Bridges,Â except maybe his father, Lloyd.
â€¢ Danny Glover, Mr. Affable.Â Easy-going, earnest and a strongÂ family man. Nobody doesn’t likeÂ Danny Glover.
â€¢ James Woods is colorful,Â quixotic and passionate. EnergeticÂ and frenetic, no one can
keep up with him. A stimulatingÂ and challenging interview andÂ human being, but get on his
wrong side and he’s a formidableÂ adversary.
â€¢ Kevin Costner, lacklusterÂ actor celebrated way beyond hisÂ capabilities, who peppers everyÂ sentence with four-letter words.
â€¢ Glenn Close â€¢ Miss IcebergÂ of 1991.
â€¢ Michelle PfeifTer, a coolÂ blonde with a warm heart.
â€¢ Suzanne Pleshette, brittle beyond belief.
â€¢ Arnold Schwarzenegger, underestimatingÂ this behemothÂ muscle man has been Hollywood’sÂ biggest mistake. BehindÂ the bar-bells is a mind as calculatingÂ as a Held marshal’s.
â€¢ Bob Newhart, unassuming,Â reticent wit who is being badlyÂ served by poor representation.Â One of the few comedians of theÂ ’50s (Jonathan Winters is another)
who translates into theÂ ’90s.
â€¢ Harold Bobbins is a manÂ who has everything in the worldÂ he could want, except good
health. A man of simple truthsÂ and little vision.
â€¢ Carl Weathers, savvy andÂ smart with a mind to match thatÂ peerless body.