Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pamela muses on Life, Love, Career, Dueling Personalities and the state of Teen-Agers.







An interview with Pamela Tiffin by syndicated columnist John Springer, circa 1966:


If someone in England asks you to tiffin, they are asking you to high tea. In America, however, Tiffin is a person – and a very personable person too. Born in Oklahoma, Pamela started modeling at 11 and has been in movies since she was 17 (“Summer and Smoke,” “One, Two, Three,” etc.). Married to magazine editor Clay Felker, living in New York, she starred on Broadway in “Dinner at Eight” – and, greeting anyone in her apartment, is inclined to flop down exhausted in a chair and say:

            “I want everything. I want to be a great actress. I want to be a good wife. I want to finish the book I’m reading. If you want a lot out of life, you have to put a lot in. So sometimes, you’re tired. That’s the price you pay. Take today. Usually I get up a 2:30 in the afternoon. Today I got  up at 12:30, but I could have slept until 8 tonight. The obligations of performing enervate you. You forget about yourself, which is very good for you. But you also get all charged up. I got charged up during the fight scene in ‘Dinner’ – like anybody would in a fight in real life. Yet we theater people always look like such bums of the working world. A photographer just called. “It’s only a picture’, he said. “It’ll only take a minute.” “Listen,” I told him, “my hair takes 45 minutes just to beat down.”

            “I was an only child, and I still am. I’m accustomed to being alone. I like a lot of solitude. It’s sort of incongruous wanting to be an actress. You have to put out so much. Not like in some of those stupid movies I did – those young girl parts. I mean in a part like in “Harper” or being Mastroianni’s wife in my new one, “Paranoia”.

            There are really two completely opposite me’s.  I grew up in Illinois – with all the Puritanical things that represents. My father’s parents were Slavs, but my mother is Anglo-Saxon, so that’s two people too. I was smart, I was in college at 16, and I wanted to be a teacher of Latin poetry, But the other half of me wanted to be a stripper at Minsky’s – so I collected calendar girls.

            “I’m different inside than out. That’s probably why my career is so crazy. In Harold Clurman’s class, I was doing Yelena in “Uncle Vanya”, and at the same time being the showgirl in “Dinner”. It’s hard to change from both and it’s hard to live with me. But I think reality is important too. It’s important to stop short from whatever snowball you’re on.

            “That fabled creature, the teen-ager, doesn’t really exist. People try to romanticize marriage, but they’re really just adults in miniature. The world needs grace and it needs beauty but it doesn’t need to romanticize untruths. Maybe romantic teen-agers existed before World War II and biology and paperbacks, but now they want to get in the water and mud, too. I was older and more sophisticated than I am now. Children are nice. Then that puberty comes and everything gets confused. When you get to be about 20, you have to unlearn everything. And you have to go back to being nice, too."

1 comment:

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