Please click on the menus above to browse through our site!
PLEASE CLICK TO DONATE TO OUR SITE!!!!
(Best viewed in IE or Netscape 6 and above)
This is just an unofficial fan page, we have no connection to the show
Star: MIMI KENNEDY
Current Role: Eleanor Alexander, SAVANNAH
Birthday: September 25
Hometown: Rochester, NY
TV Roles: Rich witch Ruth Sloan on HOMEFRONT
Stockard Channing's sister on JUST FRIENDS
Lar Park Lincoln's mother on KNOTS LANDING
Pat Lawford Kennedy in ROBERT KENNEDY AND HIS
Family Ties: Husband, Larry Dilg; children, Molly and Cisco
Between Gigs: She became a Story Editor for KNOTS LANDING
Kindred Spirit: AMC's Ruth Warrick (Phoebe) is her cousin by
THE BOOK OF RUTHS
In her heartwarming, new autobiography, TV's favorite Snooty
Matriarch, Mimi Kennedy, talks about her cult role of RUTH Sloan ...
her famous Cousin RUTHIE ... and how to stay happily married in
Hollywood without becoming totally RUTHless!
If you're a fan of actress/writer Mimi Kennedy, then her new book -
"Taken to the Stage: The Education of an Actress" (Smith and Kraus,
$24.95) -- is must-reading. Badger your local librarian till you're
blue in the face, if you have to. Kennedy's anecdotes about her
encounters with Ruth Warrick (Phoebe, AMC) and the late William
Roerick (Henry, GL) are truly magical -- plus there's loads of dish
on all the Hollywood bigwigs who've crossed her path. Best of all,
Kennedy's 20-year-plus love story with hubby Larry Dilg is a
wonderful hoot! We caught up with the SAVANNAH Viper Laureate for a
DIGEST ONLINE: What prompted you to write the book?
KENNEDY: When I was nursing my first child, I remember seeing
this Ingmar Bergman movie, "Fanny and Alexander." [In the film] an
actor who's dying says, "Why was I acting?" and then dies. And I
thought, "Oh, God, I'm asking that same question," and he didn't look
happy to be trying to figure it out in the face of eternity. So I
thought I wanted an answer to that question. My career had slowed
down, and I was auditioning for things that were depressing me a lot,
and I wanted to pass something on to the next generation. I had this
real feeling that I had loved acting and show business more than any
other human being I ever knew, just about. I mean, all actors feel
that way. I passionately loved my calling, my vocation, but I had
doubts about it.
DIGEST ONLINE: You have such a wonderful narrative style. Did the
book take long to write?
KENNEDY: Two years. It was very anguished over.
DIGEST ONLINE: Are you a disciplined writer, or do you have to start
with, "First I make the coffee, then I sharpen the pencils, then I
turn my computer on, then I check on the kids?"
KENNEDY: No, I was disciplined. I was driven by the anxiety of
financial ruin and excitement about prose. The first draft took a
year, and I polished as I went. I re-wrote some of those paragraphs
150 times, playing around with the flow of nouns and verbs and
syntax, because I consider prose like poetry, and I was adamant about
DIGEST ONLINE: In the book, you talk about meeting "Cousin Ruth" and
how she inspired you to become an actress, and later helped you when
you came to New York. You know, she also penned her autobiography
["Confessions of Phoebe Tyler"]. So you have that common....
KENNEDY: I know, and it was completely coincidental. As a matter of
fact, today I have as my project that I finally must write and tell
her of this book.
DIGEST ONLINE: In some ways HOMEFRONT's Ruth Sloan and ALL MY
CHILDREN's Phoebe Tyler are similar characters. They're both rich,
snobbish, and controlling. Phoebe's really just a much earlier
version. Did that thought ever strike you?
KENNEDY: Yes, absolutely. [In writing the book] I realized that
Ruth and I were bonded by many similarities that had not occurred to
me until I was 47 -- or 46, when I began the book -- and writing it
down. The irony is tremendous, and I am so glad that you and other
readers who will appreciate it. Ruth once told my father that Orson
Welles [had called her] "the only real lady in Hollywood." It occurs
to me now that the reason she was popular in daytime soaps -- and
the reason I enjoyed success as Ruth Sloan -- was because there's so
little use for real ladies in Hollywood, they have some great
employment as bitches on soap operas.
DIGEST ONLINE: One of your first TV breaks was playing Stockard
Channing's wisecracking sister on the short-lived 1979 sitcom, JUST
FRIENDS. Why do you think the show failed?
KENNEDY: It was a very wild time in Hollywood. I think that the
production aspect of that show suffered from a lot of rash decision-
making. The set was wonderful and [so was] Stockard. I would give
anything to go back to that time and to have a long run as Stockard's
sister. I really loved her. She was funny, and we got each other's
jokes, and I was much younger and less experienced than she. It was
a great, great cast, and it was a very smart show. Isn't Brooke
Shields out now with a show now called "Suddenly Susan"? And Susan
was Stockard's character's name. I just think, well, it's cycling
back around, the idea of those kinds of smart, vaguely WASPy women.
DIGEST ONLINE: Let's talk about HOMEFRONT for a minute. In the book,
you mentioned that you originally audtioned for the role of Anne
Metcalfe. Anne was a devout Catholic, devoted homemaker, and the
total antithesis of snooty Ruth. Ultimately, Wendy Phillips got the
role of Anne. Was there a sense of gladitorial competition between
you and Wendy
KENNEDY: When you split hairs over who could present Anne Metcalf
[best] to the public, Wendy Phillips won hands down. I could never
have done Anne, have portrayed her as Wendy did, and it was very
hard for Bernard Lechowick and Lynn Latham [HOMEFRONT's creators]
to tell me that. They said, "The reading that Wendy Phillips gave
for Anne was the only rival to yours," and I knew they were
basically saying, "It's her, not you; please come in for Mrs.
Sloan." Actually, Wendy and I have become friends."
DIGEST ONLINE: And you both wound up on SAVANNAH. Wasn't she already
playing the Burton housekeeper, Lucille, when you signed on as Eleanor?
KENNEDY: Yes, she was. Now, here's another gladiator-actor story.
When Wendy got the role last year, she was so happy, and I was a
little envious. I hadn't finished my book and I worried, "Will I
ever work again?" And then my friends [executive producers Jim and
Diane Stanley, who'd been writers at KNOTS LANDING] asked me to
come on SAVANNAH, but at that point Wendy wasn't sure what her
future would be with SAVANNAH. I thought, "Oh my God, am I going to
be in the position of ending up on SAVANNAH when Wendy's not there?"
All I wanted to do was act with her again. And then she got her own
role on a CBS show, a spinoff of TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL. She needed
this badly, because it was on a higher economic scale. Everything that
she needed for her family and her daughter was totally fulfilled by
getting that role on a network show. So we two friends could be
happy for each other's good fortune, instead of being quite torn,
emotionally, about whether our good fortune was coming at the
expense of someone else.
DIGEST ONLINE: Do you keep in touch with Ken Jenkins, who played
your husband on HOMEFRONT?
KENNEDY I went over to Lynn Latham and Bernard Lechowick's house the
other night just to sit around with them for a while. It was the first time I
n two years, and they showed me some clips from HOMEFRONT. Ken was
in one of them and I burst into tears. I miss him very much. [I
feel like] he's an old husband of mine. He's very close to my heart,
but I haven't spoken to him in a long time. We tend not to call
each other because, to reiterate how it was the best show we've ever
done, makes it difficult to go on with our present lives.
DIGEST ONLINE: HOMEFRONT was such a beautifully written, beautifully
acted show, unlike anything else that was on TV at the time. Why do
you think it didn't have a longer shelf life?
KENNEDY: The short answer is because the economics of entertainment
don't always pay homage to the artistry of entertainment; there were
many economic changes at Warner Brothers at that time, and at ABC.
Lynn and Bernard are profoundly original producers, and they're not
in a web of favors owed. You know what I mean? They try to keep
themselved *not* enmeshed in a web of favors, so that they can be
free to write the truth, and [say] this is the truth about 1945. I
think for both Lynn and Bernard, [HOMEFRONT] was a paean to their
parents and the love they had for their parents, despite a lot of
difficulties, of course. It was a love-note to their parents.
DIGEST ONLINE: We've sometimes wondered if HOMEFRONT should have
started as a long-arc show instead of a soap opera. Maybe if the
producers had tried self-contained episodes for the first few
months-- the way DALLAS and FALCON CREST did -- HOMEFRONT would
have built an audience. If you missed a show, you wouldn't have
felt totally in the dark when you tuned back in...
KENNEDY: I don't know how much that would have been [Lynn and
Bernard's] choice. They're very smart, and I never heard them
discuss whether or not to do that. my sense was that the network
kept asking them for emphasis here, then emphasis there, so they
may have been juggling a lot of stories to satisfy [network
executives] -- you know, "We want to see more of her, less of her."
I don't know. I never heard them talk about it. I do know one thing:
They were made to take the [Mike Sloan Jr.] funeral episode off
[the schedule as] the second episode. Mike's funeral, my son's
funeral, was [supposed to be] the second episode, and it was so
powerful. I thought it was shattering. It became the lost episode.
The network said, "No, no. We're not going to do a funeral when
everybody tunes in for the second episode. It's too depressing." So
[Lynn and Bernard] had to move on to show three. Now, there were
aspects of show two that introduced every single person in the town
at the wake held in the Sloans' home. That went a long way in an
hour to introducing you to River Run, Ohio. And that might have
something to do with your perception of playing catch-up [with the
DIGEST ONLINE: What do you think the future holds for SAVANNAH?
KENNEDY: I think SAVANNAH is going to do very well on the terms
required of it from Warner Brothers. Aaron Spelling is, I think, an
impresario on the order of Sol Hurok. [fyi: the great theater and
ballet producer.] If they were a star somewhere in the world, Sol
got a hold of them and said, "Here's a contract." Aaron Spelling
has some of that sort of grand showmanship thing. If he wants to
sheperd this project, he can do for Warner Brothers network what
MELROSE and 90210 did for Fox.
DIGEST ONLINE: Do you commute to Atlanta from L.A. to do the show?
KENNEDY: Yes, I fly to Atlanta and then I fly home. I used to be
terrified of flying. Now I'm happy enough to suppress my phobia.
DIGEST ONLINE: You've been happily married to the same man for
nearly 20 years, raised two children and carved out an acting and
writing resume that's extremely impressive. I think everyone wants
to know your secret....
KENNEDY: My next book, actually, is going to be about marriage.
I married a man who came from a very different family structure
[from my Irish Catholic background], not dysfunctional, not
tortured, but different. Methodist. You know, no dancing, no
alcohol. And he too was a rebel -- he played rock and roll, when I
met him. Our marriage, 18 years now, has not been what I would
have had, had I married a nice Irish Catholic prince. I really like
intimacy and marriage. I was wild and I knew I had to get married
or I would have been crazy; and my religious self would not have
allowed for that kind of loss of anchor. And Larry and I seemed
destined, quite frankly. Our relationship wasn't [easy]. I just
didn't fall into this happy, sofas and upper-middle-class palace.
I had to work and I've had to do a lot of the child-care work. He's
a dedicated teacher with a strain of "the man gets to do his job,
come home, have dinner, do some more of his job, come upstairs
and play for an hour and go to sleep." Wait a minute, wait a
minute, wait a minute! I wanted cocktails at five and... but, on
the other hand, I didn't want to have two martinis and then make
my children do whatever. Our lives are very different from the
life that I grew up in, and it's made me constantly challenge
myself. I just really believe that in some lifetimes you just -
I don't know if we have more than one, I really don't -- but some
lives are really passionately opening up all the time. You just
have to use everything you've got. I think that's why I'm an
actress who finally confessed to having other aspects of my life,
which were more important and which fed into my career. It's
nothing to be excessively proud about. In fact, it has resulted in
a lot of humbling situations. I do know, Teri Garr said something
interesting to me. She read the book and then she said, "You know,
Mimi, you found a way to be happy." And that's what actors look
for. We're looking for a way to be happy, and when we are lionized
and made into celebrities, boy, are we happy. But it doesn't go on
for 40 years straight, so then we have to become unhappy. We are
made unhappy by the very people who told us that we were the cat's
meow. It's not like [producers and casting people] say, "Now I
never want anything to do with you." They say, "Now would you
please take the supporting role? It's a great supporting role?" But
you want to say, "Wait a minute, I was the toast of the -- I was
the lead, I was the one making the most money." And then we're
not happy, because we feel like the not-favored child. Actors
always have known that feeling.
MIMI KENNEDY'S CAREER AT A GLANCE...
"Savannah" (1995) TV Series .... Eleanor Alexander
We don't read the guestbook very often, so please don't
post QUESTIONS, only COMMENTS, if you want an answer. Feel free to email us
with your questions by clicking on the Feedback link above! PLEASE SIGN-->