WEIRDLAND: Rose Marie, Jerry Lewis, Lou Reed

Friday, November 10, 2017

Rose Marie, Jerry Lewis, Lou Reed

A new study in Evolutionary Psychological Science found that men were more likely to think of an opposite-sex friend as “a member of the opposite sex to whom I am attracted and would pursue given the opportunity” while women were more likely to think of them as simply “a friend of the opposite sex.” New research from the University of Guelph and Nipissing University shows that people who help others are more desirable to the opposite sex, have more sexual partners and more frequent sex. The study was published recently in the British Journal of Psychology. "This study is the first to show that altruism may translate into real mating success in Western populations, that altruists have more mates than non-altruists," said Pat Barclay, a psychology professor who worked on the study with lead author Prof. Steven Arnocky from Nipissing. Arnocky added: "It appears that altruism evolved in our species, in part, because it serves as a signal of other underlying desirable qualities, which helps individuals reproduce." However, "it's a more effective signal for men than for women," Barclay said. The study found that while altruism is a desirable quality among both genders, it affects men's lifetime dating and sex partners more than women's. "Also, given the importance we place on attractiveness, resources and intelligence, it would be worthwhile to explore how individuals 'trade-off' altruism against other desirable qualities," Arnocky said. Source:

Rose Marie "left them laughing" (and applauding) for nine decades, having traversed through every 20th century entertainment medium that ever was, as a singer and brilliant comedienne. With "The Dick Van Dyke Show," she was part of the cast of one of the most iconic television shows of the 1960s and what's more, she played a lady TV writer who held her own with the boys, thus, planting the seed in the minds of viewers, that girls could grow up to have interesting and creative jobs too! She professes to still go over her act in her head, since at age 94, she isn't booking tours anymore...

WAIT FOR YOUR LAUGH tells the story of the longest active career in entertainment, but it also looks at what it was like to be a female performer in the 20th century (she has opinions on the casting couch mentality), to work through periods of extreme personal heartbreak and it also casts an eye on how Rose Marie and her fellow nonagenarians Dick Van Dyke, Carl Reiner and Peter Marshall, still have the drive to create today. The film contains amazing behind-the-scenes color footage from Rose Marie's personal collection, chronicling what went on backstage on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and other sets.

Far more than just sassy Sally Rogers on "The Dick Van Dyke Show," and the top center square on "Hollywood Squares," Rose Marie worked in every facet of showbiz. She was "the darling of the airwaves" at the age of four and went on to work in vaudeville, Vegas, Broadway, movies, television, theatre, concert halls and nightclubs. Along the way she was known as "the kid" by the mob. Though unlikely to reach nearly as broad an audience, this film will be warmly received by the TCM crowd. Sounding a bit like that network's late, beloved host Robert Osborne, narrator Peter Marshall (host of long-running game show The Hollywood Squares) begins with what will be news to most viewers younger than, say, 75: Before Shirley Temple was even born, Rose Marie was a comparable child-star sensation, touring the country singing with a grown-up voice under the moniker Baby Rose Marie. Belting tunes out in a style like that of "Last of the Red Hot Mamas" Sophie Tucker, she was a hit on the radio, with listeners demanding to see her in person to prove she was actually a child. It didn't hurt that she was adorable, with bobbed dark hair and easy poise.

As far as her personal life goes, Wise is most interested in her apparently blissful marriage to Bobby Guy, a stout trumpeter who was a standout in Bing Crosby's band. Vintage film and photos of the two capture a truly charming couple, but Guy contracted an unexplained blood disease and died in 1964. Even today, Rose Marie weeps when she tells the story. Her friends include the best show business has to offer: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Johnny Mercer, Jerry Lewis, Johnny Carson, Jimmy Durante, Milton Berle, Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, Margaret Whiting and Bing Crosby to name a few!! Unbeknownst to fans, the woman always looking for a man was actually married for almost 20 years to the love of her life, Bobby Guy, one of the best trumpeters in the business. His untimely passing and its impact on "the one who makes you laugh" is recounted by her friends Peter Marshall, Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke, and Tim Conway. Source:

Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie's costar in The Dick Van Dyke Show, phoned Jerry Lewis to inform about Bobby Guy's doctor prognosis. Rose Marie got on the phone and Lewis was very supporting, not trusting the diagnosis of cancer of the liver given to his husband. Lewis sent his personal doctor Marvin Levy to the hospital in Santa Monica Boulevard and asked Rose Marie if she needed money. Jerry said: 'If you need money and don't tell me, I'll never talk to you again.' Rose Marie, appreciating his kind gesture, started to cry and thanked her friend. Dr. Levy examined Rose Marie's husband and made arrangements to move him to Cedars Sinai hospital, where Jerry Lewis called and visited Bobby frequently. Dr. Levy figured it was an overpowering blood infection. Lewis kept in touch daily with Dr. Levy and asked him to get in touch with all the specialists in the country, offering to pay for all the bills. Finally, Levy operated Bobby Guy, removing his spleen, but he couldn't save him. 

"Jerry Lewis was an angel to me. Loved him & will never forget what he did for me during one of the worst times in my life. RIP, Love Roe," tweeted Rose Marie when Jerry Lewis died. "A lot of people only saw the ego & harshness that he used as a defense to push people away due to his fears," replied one of her followers. "I hear people talk ill of Jerry. I don't care what anyone says to me. I will never forget his kindness and thoughtfulness at the most horrible time of my life. I will be grateful to him forever. He is truly one of my special angels," she had written previously in her memoir Hold the Roses (2003).

"I’d never been what you’d call a ladies’ man—all the more so since I had married at 18," Jerry Lewis wrote in his autobiography. Esther Calonico had been married to singer/band leader Jimmy DiPalma (Jimmy Palmer) in the early 1940s. Esther entered into a singing career using the stage name Patti Palmer. A fledgling comedian (Jerry Lewis), who was working the East Coast Vaudeville circuit with his "record mime" act, met the divorcee Patti in 1944; and after a short romance, they got married. In September 1980, thirty-six years after they first met in Detroit, Patti filed for divorce in California Superior Court, asking for $450,000 a year in alimony, custody of and support for sixteen-year-old Joseph, and half of their community property. These demands would have been hard enough for Jerry to meet, but he was also facing a mid-October trial date in Los Angeles Federal Court stemming from bankruptcy. His entire life’s earnings were in jeopardy. His checking account just contained $140,000. 

Patti claimed she had written her book I Laffed Till I Cried to help support herself. But there was clearly a measure of revenge involved; the book may even have begun after Patti heard the news that Jerry and SanDee had adopted a baby girl. Jerry never said a word about the book in public. And Patti determinedly tried to maintain an air of dignity. Publishers Weekly reviewed I Laffed Till I Cried in 1993, calling it "this shapeless script, presumably a history of Patti's marriage to Jerry Lewis, provides too few details of the story promised." In 1983 Patti Lewis was forced to put the Bel Air house on the market. Asking $7.5 million for a house in less than pristine condition, she had to wait nearly three years before she sold it, afterward buying a smaller home in nearby Westwood and filling it with the mementoes she and Jerry had accumulated on St. Cloud Drive. Patti Lewis lives now in an assisted living facility, and has occasional visits from family members. 

Americans had never seen a grown man behave this way before. Jerry Lewis created a number of comic masterpieces, most notably The Nutty Professor and The Patsy. Even his worst films have their moments of redeeming comic brilliance. No wonder then that Jerry has influenced the very shape of modern comedy. Comedians from Robin Williams to Woody Allen to that vile epigone Jim Carrey have drawn inspiration from the free-form id-driven comic style Lewis created. By his late 20s, despite a nasty split with Martin, Lewis was the most popular entertainer in America. Twenty years later, he was a ridiculed has-been. Lewis accused Martin of being aloof. Dean Martin saw Jerry Lewis sometimes as a hostile guy with a big temper. But Lewis was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic. The scrim of individual identity keeps the essential Jerry at an impassable distance. —"King of Comedy: The Life and Art of Jerry Lewis" (1997) by Shawn Levy

During his early years in Syracuse, Lou Reed's mannerisms came from his idols Dion, James Dean, Jerry Lewis, and Lenny Bruce. 'Who else but Lou Reed,' Lester Bangs wrote for Creem magazine in 1975, 'would look like a bizarre crossbread of Jerry Lewis and a monkey on cantharides?' Born Lewis Allan Reed on March 2, 1942, at Beth El Hospital in Brooklyn, Lou Reed's problems began with his complicated and antagonistic relationship towards his parents, Sidney Joseph and Toby Reed. Sidney was a smart ambitious accountant, and Toby a housewife whose beauty was remarked upon by all who knew her. She had been chosen “Queen of the Stenographers” at one of the many local beauty pageants in New York at that time. Her photo ran in the Brooklyn Eagle, and she was crowned queen at the Stenographers Ball held at the Manhattan Center. Sidney Reed was an opinionated man who despised organized religion. He was something of a loner, and the family did not have many close friends. And when Sidney Reed was offered the job of treasurer at Cellu-Craft, a Long Island firm that, in the true spirit of The Graduate, manufactured plastics, it seemed as if the Reeds were finally getting their shot at the American dream. So in 1952, the Reed family moved to Freeport, Long Island. The Reeds’ home was an undistinguished three-bedroom ranch-style house at 35 Oakfield Avenue. Reed’s gay posturing in his parents’ and others’ presence was a defiant, conscious provocation, and, along with his mood swings and general recalcitrance, it elicited a crushing response. 

Allan Hyman described Reed’s affect during and immediately after the electroshock treatments. “When I saw him during the holidays, he was very withdrawn,” he said. “He was never a friendly, outgoing type, but he was totally hostile and more sarcastic than ever. He was dark. He had always had this rebellious side to him, but that was kind of comical. It was fun. Now he had a nasty edge to him that he had never had before. Very cynical.” Lou Reed's first girlfriend Shelley Albin said about his sexuality: "I think by nature he was more driven to women because of his relationship with his mother. That’s what he thought was normal. It was comfortable.” Reed, Shelley said, was “a romantic. He could be very sweet. He’s probably the only person who ever literally gave me a heart-shaped box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. But he wasn’t happy unless he made somebody more miserable than he was. Misery made for his best work, whether it came from me or somebody else. He wasn’t anybody I wanted to live with and put up with. It wasn’t worth it. It was too much grief.” As for his reputation as a sexual player, that, too, was something of an image. “I got the impression that he never really had a girlfriend in high school,” she said. “I think he put on an aura later of being a ladies’ man. Hardly at all. That didn’t fit with the guy I met. He didn’t do as much in college as he pretended later. I met him after he’d been at college for a year. He was awkward. Boys I went out with in high school were smoother.” 

What drew her to Reed was his sensibility. “I liked his brain,” Shelley said. “We could talk for hours and hours, days and days. We connected. He was an incredible romantic. So we connected on that level. It was very much a creative-mind thing. I was crazy about him. He was a great kisser and well coordinated. His appeal was of a very sexy boy/man. Lou was very insecure, and he needed a nurturer. Like many men are, Lou was basically looking for a replacement for his mother with a little sex thrown in.”  Lou's deep, passionate love of doo-wop and that kind of adolescent swept-away-on-the-wings-of-love, it was a very essential emotion for him. But he definitely enjoyed getting under particularly his father's skin—he was acting out almost in performative terms. There was an incredible level of fear of abandonment and terror and that's what motivated his violence—coming out of a kind of desperation, it was less about hostility than about a kind of self-hatred and fear. As Lester Bangs wrote: "I never met a hero I didn´t like. But then, I never met a hero. But then, maybe I wasn´t looking for one."

At the time of its release, the box set Between Thought and Expression (1992) did not make much of an impression, either commercially or critically. Before the release of the box set, Reed had delivered a book of his lyrics, titled Between Thought and Expression: Selected Lyrics of Lou Reed. Published by Hyperion in 1991, perhaps the most striking aspect of the book is its dedication: “For Sid, Toby, Bunny / And most of all / For Sylvia.” Including his family in a book devoted to his most prized vision of himself—that is, as a writer—suggests an ongoing effort on Reed’s part to come to terms with his upbringing and his past. Bill Bentley, who handled Reed’s publicity at Sire, accompanied him to a book signing for Between Thought and Expression at Book Soup in Los Angeles. “Lou built a real toughness around himself,” Bentley said. “He would be polite, sign everything. He could be rude but he wasn’t a hard person. At that signing, one lady said, ‘My sister had cancer, and Magic and Loss really got me through it.’ Lou would never show a whole lot. But afterwards he went into a private room in the back of the store, and just sat down, fell into Sylvia’s arms, and started to weep. That image has always stuck with me. He’d been so touched by what people said. These were his words: 'I’ll never forget that.' I remember looking at him and thinking, ‘That’s a Lou Reed that very few people have ever seen.’ I would always think of that when another side of him would come out. It made me really appreciate the depth of his feeling for other people. Lou Reed was no fool.” —Sources: "Transformer: The Complete Lou Reed Story" (2014) by Steve Bockris and Fresh Air Podcast (NPR Music) by Terry Gross

Jerry Lewis: “I do comedic shtick, but the French call it Art." In The Comic Mind: Comedy and the Movies (1979), film historian Gerald Mast explained: "Where American critics and audiences see Jerry Lewis as banal, for the European critic, Lewis's comic strength is the comically accurate depiction of the American mentality, its brash overzealousness." During the disastrous production of the Broadway show “Hellzapoppin” (1976) wich teamed unsucessfully Jerry Lewis with Lynn Redgrave, several backstagers were witnesses of how often Jerry Lewis displayed symptoms of profound exhaustion and grief, being seen while weeping openly at least fifty times offstage. The “Hellzapoppin” stage play was modeled on the 1941 film version directed by H.C. Potter, following the story written by the comedy team of John Olsen & Harold Johnson about a millionaire pretending to be poor so a girl will love him for himself. Kevin Kelly wrote in the Boston Globe in 1977, “The evening’s beckoning, wide open, gap tooth smile finally is revealed as a mock tic paralyzed in place,” commenting on the disconnection of Jerry Lewis from his audience. As Victor Hugo pondered in his novel The Man Who Laughs (1889) of Gwynplaine whose mouth has been mutilated into a perpetual grin, “What a weight for the shoulders of a man, an everlasting laugh!” —"King of Comedy: The Life and Art of Jerry Lewis" (1997) by Shawn Levy

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