Showing posts with label jill clayburgh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jill clayburgh. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lily Rabe To Play Mary Pickford

lily, daughter of jill clayburgh, will play miss pickford in an upcoming film. i can see it. miss rabe has made quite an impression on broadway and recently showed tv audiences her chops on 'american horror story' she will return next season also.

ms. pickford

she will be seen in her own right by me any day now but alas anytime i can keep her mom jill's memory alive i will.

i miss you jill

Monday, December 6, 2010

Qualities of Mercy and Strength

“THE only thing that matters is the theater!”

That passionate declaration was made not by Katharine Cornell, Ethel Barrymore or some other grande dame of the stage. It was spit out midtantrum with a stomp of her foot by a 5-year-old Lily Rabe during a petulant exchange with her mother, Jill Clayburgh.

“It was one of her favorite stories to embarrass me with,” Ms. Rabe said, explaining that her baby-diva moment came during a vacation after her mother’s peace offerings — a beach walk, sandwiches, swimming, a trip to town — had all been rejected. “She remembered exactly the dress I was wearing and the little brown sandals when she would tell the story.”

Acknowledging that her proclamation was probably something she had heard around the dinner table, Ms. Rabe, now 28, added, “Wherever I picked it up, I must have known it was a powerful statement to make.”

And not a completely surprising one given the environment in which she grew up. Her mother was among the most influential actresses of her generation, and her father, David Rabe, is a playwright whose work brought a distinctive new voice to the American theater. “There was a lot of theater, and a lot of talk about theater,” Ms. Rabe said over lunch at Maialino, in the Gramercy Park Hotel.

The past weeks have been emotionally turbulent for Ms. Rabe. On Nov. 5 her mother died after living, very privately, with chronic leukemia for 21 years. The next day Ms. Rabe bravely resumed preview performances as Portia, with Al Pacino as Shylock, in the Broadway production of “The Merchant of Venice,” the opening of which was delayed a few days to accommodate her brief absence.

“It was very hard to leave her side during those weeks when things were happening so quickly with her health,” she said. “And yet I had to keep going back to the show. I was with her on the Monday, on my day off, and I knew I couldn’t leave her again. On Thursday she wanted to go home from the hospital. We got her home, and she died on Friday morning. I was with her every second.”

Ms. Rabe spoke with moving candor about her family’s loss, pausing often to maintain her composure. While her sorrow was clearly visible, even more touching was the deep gratitude that surfaced whenever the conversation returned to her parents: “I think the experience of those two weeks is something we’re all going to be processing our whole lives. I didn’t know that I could feel closer to my brothers, or to my father, or even to my mother.”

That bond between mother and daughter was known to everyone who encountered them. The two even shared a Manhattan apartment briefly when Ms. Rabe was fresh out of Northwestern University’s theater studies program and first making her mark on New York stages, a period that coincided with a burst of renewed theater activity for Ms. Clayburgh.

“One of my mother’s friends said to me, ‘Your ex-boyfriends didn’t stand a chance with you and your mother,’ ” Ms. Rabe said. “And I think I probably was unfair to them because she was the first person and the last person I called about every single thing. Sorry, ex-boyfriends.”

While it’s a common notion that being immersed in work can provide insulation from grief, Ms. Rabe said returning immediately after her mother’s death to “Merchant” was her only choice.

“She would have wanted me to do it, and she would have done the same thing,” she said. “In a moment of tremendous struggle, making that decision on Saturday morning wasn’t a struggle. I knew it was what I had to do. And it was also a way to feel close to her.”

That Ms. Rabe should be mourning while experiencing professional acclaim in a performance critics have called a breakthrough seems oddly fitting for an actress with an uncommon ability to balance vulnerability and strength.

“She’s a quivering reed, and she can blow the house down,” the playwright Richard Greenberg said. “There’s nothing her technique won’t allow her to do as an actor. It’s boundless.”

Mr. Greenberg worked with Ms. Rabe on the 2009 Broadway staging of “The American Plan,” and with her mother four years earlier on “A Naked Girl on the Appian Way.” The duality he described has been present in every one of Ms. Rabe’s stage appearances since her Broadway debut five years ago.

Whether playing jittery Southern women in “Steel Magnolias” and “Crimes of the Heart,” or porcelain beauties from another era in “Heartbreak House,” “The American Plan” and now “Merchant,” she can combine gossamer fragility with absolute self-possession.

Daniel Sullivan, who directed “Merchant,” said, “That seeming contradiction is what makes her performances so hypnotic — that those two things exist at the same time.”

In her few short years on New York stages Ms. Rabe has specialized in playing young women who are cloistered, whether by wealth, privilege, over-protective families or by their own dreamy detachment from the real world. Yet they all assert themselves in unexpected ways.

Slide Show
Stage Scenes: Lily Rabe
This is especially true of her subtly nuanced take on Portia. The Public Theater production was first seen in Central Park this summer before transferring to Broadway to become one of the few undisputed high points of the fall season.

“Ms. Rabe locates a troubled intensity and impetuosity in Portia,” Ben Brantley wrote in his review in The New York Times. “And the tragedy of Shylock’s ultimate humiliation, which she brings about, is echoed by her own dismayed discovery of the world that she must now live in.”

Ms. Rabe said her parents were in the audience night after night during early previews of “Merchant” in Central Park: “I remember, after the first one — and I had never had this experience before — they both just sort of looked at me and had nothing to say. They were really blissed out by the production.”

She described doing the “quality of mercy” speech on one of those nights, with arms outstretched under a mist of gentle rain, as a magical moment that she was happy her mother got to witness.

“I’d never seen Lily do Shakespeare and certainly nobody at the Public had ever seen her do Shakespeare, but she was the only person that I ever even thought of for the role,” Mr. Sullivan said. “It just seemed uniquely hers.”

There’s a poetic sense of continuity between Ms. Rabe’s characterization as Portia and the emotional empowerment of her mother’s most emblematic role.

Just as Ms. Clayburgh’s suddenly single Erica in “An Unmarried Woman” gradually learns that she doesn’t have to define herself through her relationship with a man, so does the orphaned heiress Portia become her own person in spite of her marriage. The difference is that her self-knowledge carries the sting of solitude more than emancipation.

Ms. Rabe’s film career is just beginning, but playing almost the opposite of the resilient women she has inhabited onstage, she gives an assured performance in the current release “All Good Things.” In a handful of incisive scenes she charts the steep downward trajectory of a smart-set party girl whose life unravels thanks to drugs, money problems and shady connections.

While she was at college, Ms. Rabe appeared alongside her mother in summer productions of plays by Israel Horovitz and Frank Pugliese at the Gloucester Stage Company. She has not yet worked with her father, though they hope to do so soon, possibly on an early play with which Mr. Rabe is tinkering.

“And I’ve always wanted to do ‘In the Boom Boom Room,’ but I don’t know if he’ll let me,” Ms. Rabe said with a laugh, about her father’s 1972 drama about a Philadelphia go-go dancer. “It’s a rough play.”

“For a long time I was cautious of working with my parents because I wanted to feel separate from them in the community,” she added. “Now there’s no more wasting time.”

*reprinted from the nytimes

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jill Clayburgh: Memories V: 1981-1983

jill had three more major releases that showcased her star quality if not her declining box office success between 1981 and 1983.

1981 gave us 'first monday in october'. based on the broadway play jill played the first woman appointed as a supreme court justice. jill was perfect for the role as the intelligent, independent woman that she embodied. the plotline after her selection to the court declined into a silly unrealistic 'mystery'. jill was as good as ever but caught in an underwhelming and inferior script.

1982 gave us 'i'm dancing as fast as i can'. it was a 'rushed' job as another hollywood strike was looming. jill later said she believed this real life drama about valium withdrawal may have been served better as a tv film. perhaps she was correct. it bombed at the box office and left even me wishing her talent had not been wasted on it. 

1983's 'hannah k' more or less put the proverbial nail in jill's star power and film career. she wanted to work with costa-kravas and considering he was the director and she was the star this should have been a hit. so what went wrong? it's politics went wrong. jill portrayed an attorney in this pro palestinian drama. it was a good film but theater owners refused to show it. so much for free speech. i'll say this as a jew...should we not be able to see two sides of the story? guess not! 

if you can find it see it. it's better than we'd be led to believe.

jill's era came to an end in 1983. she would go on to star and costar in films and tv movies until her untimely death. she concentrated more on motherhood thru the 80's and 90's. she returned to the stage where her talent was better utilized and appreciated.

i truly believe had she lived the screen would have seen her 'rise' again much like julie christie has after her 'icon' period ended. like julie she would have returned in good and meaty roles later in life and would have been a welcome relief from 'the flavor of the year' actresses. we'll never really know but i know that i am correct.

rest in peace friend jill. you are sorely missed but have left a nice body of work for us to revisit. thank you for your talent, your grace and your beauty.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jill Clayburgh: Memories IV

before 'an unmarried woman' there were three notable  jill films, some films worth forgetting, some tv appearances and two very notable tv movies. 'husting' (1976) and 'griffin and phoenix: a love story" (1976) were career boosts for jill. 'hustling' earned her an emmy nom portraying wanda a street smart prostitute helping reporter fran morrison (lee remick) expose the underbelly of the street trade.

1976 also brought jill to the big screen in 'gable and lombard' i love this film. it showed a wise, funny jill as the zany carole lombard bucking the hollywood system. the movie was better than it was received. i recommend it.

'silver streak' was also released in 1976. it was really the first big movie hit that jill costarred in. it was a funny, breezy cross country train romp. it holds up today. jill shined in it.

1977 saw jill in what was basically a menage with burt reynolds and kris kristofferson in 'semi-tough'. it was a year before 'an unmarried woman' and jill's star was on the ascendant.

to be continued

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jill Clayburgh: Memories III

after 'an unmarried woman' there were four films that kept jill in the spotlight but her dominance in film as the iconic 70's woman was about to end. jill made some strange choices during this period. but she wanted to work with great directors like bertolucci and costa- kravas. these turned out to be great personal choices but bad career moves. remember in hollywood actors, particularly women, are only as good as their last film or should i say the gross income of their last film. the following did not make money. jill's star power was fading. i always considered this a great loss for film.

first there was 'luna' prior to 'starting over'. jill wanted to work with bernardo bertolucci and she did in this film. the topic bordered on the strange often bizarre and bordered on the incestuous. it was rough to watch for many. jill was amazing in it. the audience was not ready for it. yet it is a good film and deserves a shot. if you are squeamish by-pass it. otherwise take a risk and decide for yourself.

the opening scene of 'luna'. the cameraman on this filmed loved jill. it is so apparent. she has never looked so beautiful on screen.

to be continued

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Loving Jill


my tribute to jill.

the songs are from the musical 'pippin'. jill does the vocals with john rubenstein on the duet.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Jill Clayburgh: Memories II

1979's 'starting over' gave jill her second and final oscar nom. there was no chance at all as sally field was the deserved front runner and winner for 'norma rae'. i've often wondered what jill was thinking when sally's name was announced as jill had turned down the role as did jane fonda who was also nominated for 'the china syndrome'.

it was a cute movie but a minor follow-up to 'an unmarried woman'. actually candice bergman stole the film in a supporting nominated role. candice lost to meryl streep in 'kramer vs kramer' but i digress.

one of the rare moments in 'starting over' that allowed jill to shine

1980 brought 'it's my turn'. i love this breezy romantic comedy that teamed jill with michael douglas. charles grodin costarred. it's a charmer. my only question is: why the hell has this not been released on dvd? luckily itunes has it available for download.

spoiler alert: the following are the beginning and the end.

the beginning

the end

that's a wrap

(to be continued)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jill Clayburgh: Memories

for me it all began with the musical 'pippin'. jill played catherine. she had three songs. at that moment she had me forever. jill had two solos and one duet with john rubenstein portraying pippin. these songs will appear in my 'loving jill' video over the weekend and on my ipod forever.

the tv film 'hustling', 'gable and lombard' and 'silver streak'  came next. but more on them later except to say that as carole lombard in the aforementioned 'gable and lombard' my love affair truly began.

and then in 1978....

the deal was cemented with her first major role as erica in 'an unmarried woman'. jill became the toast of the cannes film festival after it's premiere. she won best actress at that festival. the oscar money was on jill to win best actress in 1978. the oscar, heaven help us, went unwisely to jane fonda in the mediocre 'coming home'. another oscar crime.

i believe jill was too 'new york' for the mostly hollywood voter. it was this prejudice that cost her the oscar win. they just did not get jill or her character erica benton with their upper west side sensibilities.

about four minutes into the following scene you will see why she was at least oscar nominated. yes and why she should have won.

the following scene early in the film shows the dreams of the married woman. it's a charming and delightful scene that we have all imagined in some way or another. then dreams are shattered for awhile as she becomes an unmarried woman. erica benton as her portrayer would not let the bad permanently halt the future.

'an unmarried woman' began a string of roles for jill that showed smart,capable, independent women with a touch of the neurotic. hell that means she portrayed a real person. we all have our own nuerosis though try and hide them we might.

meet erica benton

to be continued

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Broadway to Dim Lights in Memory of Jill

NEW YORK – Broadway theater marquees will be dimmed in memory of Jill Clayburgh, who appeared in Tony Award-winning musicals and plays in her five-decade career.
Clayburgh died Friday after battling leukemia for over two decades. She was 66.
The marquees will go dark Tuesday at 7 p.m. for one minute.

Clayburgh's Broadway credits include Noel Coward's "Design for Living," the original production of Tom Stoppard's "Jumpers," and the musicals "Pippin" and "The Rothschilds."

The New York native also appeared in movies such as "An Unmarried Woman," "I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can," "Silver Streak" and "Running With Scissors."

Song of the Day: 'Eternally'

'eternally' was written by charlie chaplin for the film 'limelight' and was recorded by petula clark at his request as she had already had a hit recording with his 'love this is my song' from his film 'a countess of hong kong'.

'Limelight' is a 1952 comedy-drama film written, directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin, co-starring Claire Bloom, with an appearance by Buster Keaton.  it's film score was composed by Chaplin as well as this theme song.

The film was released with much scandal, as it was while touring to support the film that Chaplin was refused re-admittance to the United States, which was in its intolerant McCarthyist phase. The film was subsequently passed over by many theaters. In 1972, the film was given a wide U.S. release and honored at the Academy Awards.

today i dedicate the song to jill clayburgh. it is a fitting and personal tribute to her from me her biggest fan

Monday, November 8, 2010

R.I.P. Jill

i have been away from home and computer access. i would never have not acknowledged the passing of the amazingly talented and mostly underutilized jill clayburgh.  jill and my partner ed, who passed in 1990, had a special relationship that was formed out of my sheer idolatry of her and her talent. it was ed who basically 'stalked' her to get me access. she loved it and was amused by it actually. i am deeply saddened by the news of her passing. knowing her though i am not at all surprised by the privacy she kept regarding her health. you have been taken from us much too soon. rest in peace my lovely friend.

more on this wonderful woman and actress to come.`