BetteBack June 16, 1974: Rex Reed’s ‘People Are Crazy Here’

Suburbanite Economist
June 16, 1974


Rex Reed, that international critic, has just written a book called “People Are Crazy Here”.

The book is a compilation of many of his best interviews with well known personalities.

He broke into the business after he attended the Venice Film festival in 1955 and wrangled an interview with Groucho’Marx and sold it to the New York Times.

Outside of the fact that Rex possesses a lot of chutzpah and a sleepy eyed Valentino kind of look, it was this story that launched his role as critic and a writer.

Well known for his sarcastic tongue, he managed to cut down a few people as he spoke to us in the Pump Room at the monthly Book Brunch.

About Raquel Welsh, he said she has the attention span of a cocker spaniel and is a manufactured person who finally has decided she wants to be taken seriously. Few really worthy directors will do it so she ends up fighting with everyone in sight.

He is most proud of his interview with Tennessee Williams because of Williams’ peculiar speech patterns. When he interviewed Ava Gardner he spent the entire night running back and forth to the bathroom because Ava does not allow a reporter to have a tape recorder or pen and paper when she is interviewed. Rex kept leaving the room to jot down what she said.

Rex believes all is fair in love, war and journalism.

He is a graduate of the U of Louisianna with a degree in journalism . When he was growing up his family moved 13 times so all he enjoyed doing was going to the movies since he never was in any one place long enough to make friends and get settled.

Of all the people Reed has interviewed singer Bette Midler and actor George Sanders were the most difficult. “I thought Sanders was a bit mad and shortly after our interview he committed suicide,” Rex said.

He added that during the entire interview Sanders lay in bed dress in a tuxedo and was fully made up. He told Reed that he was just waiting to die. Bette Midler spent her interview in the bathroom so that was where Rex spoke to her.

The idea of getting a story from George C. Scott terrified Reed and he had heard some wild stories about the talented actor. It turned out well and the two spent the night at Scott’s farm drinking brandy while George C. got mellower and more talkative with each sip.

One of the critics favorite actresses, Kim Stanley, has virtually destroyed herself. She has gone up to more than 300 pounds and is in a mental hospital. She was in the movie The Goddess and may not be well remembered by too many people.

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