When I was 11, when I first told my parents I wanted to be an actor or a disc jockey (both of which I later became), I was told the entertainment industry was ‘off limits’ and to confine my career ambitions to the scholarly, economic, medical or legal professions. I was only a kid then, so I didn’t know what antisemitism was.
I ended up at Stanford on a volleyball scholarship, and met the late Bobby Frankel, a horse trainer so connected he got me an audition for a Coca Cola Commercial, which got me that coveted Screen Actor’s Guild Card.
At 19, I dropped out to conquer Hollywood. The first #metoo was a friend of my father, a ‘has been’ producer working on the MGM lot, which was known for Lorimar Studio’s Dallas and Knott’s Landing. He asked me out to lunch, which seemed innocent enough. He told me he’d made Angie Dickenson of “Police Woman” a star by putting her up in an apartment, paying for her acting lessons, etc., and that I should do the same. I was apalled, stood up from the table and fled.
I was doing TV commercials, but wanted to break into ‘theatrical.’ To do that, I needed a SAG franchised agent, so I sent out pictures to agents. This was in the early 80’s. There were less roles for women than there are now.
I got a phone call for a general interview with Billy something or other….I’ve forgotten his name, but he told me I had a pretty, heart-shaped mouth and it would look good wrapped around one of his friend’s c#@k. He wanted to take me to a party that night that he said was well attended by producers and directors. I realized he was a pimp more than an agent and filed a complaint with SAG, who never did anything about it.
A little later, some friends of mine set me up with a superagent from Creative Artist’s Agency, the agency who represents producers, directors, screenwriters, writers and actors. CAA ‘packages’ products and can often get a young actor in a project along with their A-listers. After dinner, this guy put the moves on me. I resisted and he started yelling at me for wasting his time. He told me I was stupid and this was how things got ‘done’ in Hollywood.
This happened quite a few more times before I finally surrendered my dream and moved away. During my years in LA, I managed to land 8 TV commercials and quite a bit of union voiceover work for video games, but could never ‘crack’ TV and Film.
Now I know why. Harvey Weinstein was right.