Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Suzanne Pleshette 1937 -- 2008

I hadn't planned to post anything today -- typing with one finger isn't easy -- but that was before I heard the sad news about Suzanne Pleshette.

Suzanne Pleshette died yesterday, finally succumbing to a long battle with lung cancer. Nearing the end of her long and colorful career, she took a recurring role as a worldly and decidedly randy grandmother on the sit-com “Good Morning, Miami” (2002-2003), filmed on Stage 16 at CBS Radford. I worked on the set lighting crew for that show.

I’ve met a lot of actresses in the past thirty years, but never one so gracious as Suzanne. She always came on set with a big smile and that wonderful whiskey-soaked laugh, greeting all of us – PA’s, grips, juicers, camera, set dressing, props, sound, hair and make-up, and the drivers – with a warm and generous respect that came straight from her big heart. She could be bodaciously bawdy one moment, dropping good-natured, perfectly timed F-bombs on the delighted live audience -- then turn slyly and sweetly demure the next: but always, there was that wonderful laugh, that big beaming smile.

Her husband, Tom Poston, used to drop by from time to time (and eventually did a few guest spots), while Bob Newhart -- a living legend on the Radford lot -- came on stage to say hello to her and the crew. Suzanne Pleshette was television royalty.

For reasons I’ll never understand, she wasn’t invited back for the second (and final) season of “Good Morning, Miami.” I thought that was big mistake – the audience loved her as much as we did – but the giant brains upstairs work in their own mysterious ways. Still, she made a point of coming back onto Stage 16 every now and then, cruising through the sets like a queen, smiling, laughing, and hugging us all, one by one.

What a great, classy lady. She was one very sexy broad who loved her life and the people in it – and everybody who had the pleasure to meet her loved her back. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

Thanks for the memories, Suzanne. We'll miss you.


D said...

Sorry to hear that. I always had a little thing for her from the "Bob Newhart" days. I'm glad to hear she was a fun and gracious lady, which unfortunately in this age of Paris and Britney is not seen often. I type with one finger all the time. Don't let it stop you.
Get well soon.

ZaZa said...

Aw, I'm so sorry to hear that. I loved Suzanne Pleshette. She was so real, and it came through in everything she did. I'm a total industry outsider and really don't follow the business, but I'd have been very surprised to hear other than praise for her as a person.

suzyq2 said...

I met her when I was 19 (39 years ago) when I was a receptionist at a large advertising agency in L.A. She had come in to discuss doing a voiceover for a commercial. As a lowly receptionist I was used to being treated as if I was barely there by all the "important" people who passed through the large, beautifully appointed lobby but Suzanne acted as if I was an equal. When I mentioned my name was Suzanne too, she told me a funny story about when she was a young girl at a camp wearing a tee shirt with her name on it above her right breast and how some guys would ask what the other one was called. And then she laughed that wonderful laugh. Yes, in my very brief encounter with her I can say too she was gracious, kind and bawdy. I have always thought warmly of her since then and am saddened at her passing too. I'm glad there is a place to write about my memory of her, thanks.

BigPirate said...

It kills me when they eliminate the best characters from shows. Thanks for the remembrance.