Defend Your Celebs
I have found a possible misstatement in Angela Phipps Towle's fine "Host Story" article (BSW, 11/30/00). In mentioning Oprah Winfrey, she writes: "Although some hosts are also actors or standup comics (note Rosie O'Donnell or even Oprah Winfrey, whom we saw first in The Color Purple)…" Ms. Winfrey was a talk-show host (first locally in Baltimore and then nationally out of Chicago, I believe) long before her acting breakthrough in The Color Purple. The exact meaning of Ms. Towle's wording seems unclear to me. Does she mean that Ms. Winfrey was an actor first (before she hosted her well-known show) or that Ms. Winfrey does acting jobs while not giving up her "day job" of hosting? Thank you for your time.
P.S. About Rosie O'Donnell, I think she could probably be categorized as someone who went from standup to acting and hosting. I am not aware that she has been doing any standup comedy since she adopted her children and took on hosting her own show.
Mary Agnes Shearon
via the Internet
I'd wager that most high school news reporters exhibit more journalistic integrity than your reviewer Brad Schreiber in his critique of Marilyn's Murder (BSW, 11/30/00). Just because Back Stage West isn't a traditional newspaper doesn't excuse the total lack of standards shown in this piece.
Schreiber boldly asserts of Miss Monroe, "By now, we know of her liaisons with John and Robert Kennedy…" Schreiber presents these "liaisons" not only as possibilities or likely occurrences or hypotheses, but as indisputable facts entered into the public consciousness. He then makes the even bolder claim that the play left out "pertinent facts" like a secret diary in which Marilyn recorded government secrets, thus helping to "seal her doom." That such a diary has never been found doesn't trouble Mr. Schreiber. That its existence depends solely on the word of profiteering "friends" whose real connection to Marilyn Monroe is dubious at best never gives him pause. That the Marilyn Monroe case was reviewed by authorities several times who never found any criminal involvement in her death isn't even worth a mention.
I can accept that the Stella Adler Theatre can produce an alternate "theory" on the tragic death of Miss Monroe, even if I disagree with it. What I can't accept is so-called journalists presenting half-baked theories as fact in print. All those wild stories about what might have happened to Marilyn Monroe are just theories. In a review, even one tucked away at the back end of a slender publication, they deserve to be treated as theories, not fact.
And the sin is particularly bad since these theories make Marilyn Monroe, our talented, beautiful fellow performer, appear more tawdry than she really was. Do the dead get no respect?
Shame on you, Back Stage West.
Hunter Lee Hughes
Los Angeles, Calif.