My Most Embarrassing Moment Number 5284

Categories: Celebs

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Sometime in the 1990s, I was brought over to meet Shelley Winters at a publicity party.

She was the onetime bombshell who'd method-acted her way into two Oscars as she turned into a first-rate character actress adept at blowsy supporting roles.

I was introduced, naturally, as being from The Village Voice.

With that, Shelley started going for her third Oscar.

"The Village Voice?" she whinnied. "Someone from that paper trashed my last book!"

"Well," I interjected, getting nervous, "I'm so sorry about that, Ms. Winters, but don't hold me responsible for every word in the paper. I'm a fan!"

"They wrote something bad about it," she went on. "It wasn't a very nice review. It was in the literary supplement or something -- not in the actual paper."

"Oh, the literary supplement?" I stammered. "Well, yes, they run a lot of reviews there and some of them aren't nice. But I write the gossip page in the front of the book. You know, the actual paper! That's a whole different section!"

"It wasn't a very favorable review," Shelley repeated, clearly obsessed. "I felt it was a little sarcastic. I thought, 'What does The Village Voice have against me?'"

"I'm so sorry, Ms. Winters," I reiterated. "The literary supplement can be so bitchy. I didn't even read that review! I missed that whole section! By the way, I loved you in Poseidon Adventure."

And with that, she calmed down and we set about our little interview.

I was so glad I had garnered Shelley's trust -- and even gladder she never caught on that I'd written that review!



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18 comments
Barkley
Barkley

Tony Curtis hated her, he fancied himself an artist (he sucked) and was drawing in between takes.  Enter Shelley who barked "What are you doing standing around doodling?  Shouldn't you be studying your lines?"  Score one for Shel.

slobone
slobone

If you're talking about her second volume of memoirs, I agree with you. It was very disappointing. The first volume was a fabulous tell-all gossip fest. The second one was a tell-not-so-much. Of course during the period covered she probably didn't have nearly as much to tell. 

Davesocha
Davesocha

I met her in LA at a benefit- she did not RSVP- showed up dressed inappropriately- sat her fat ass at the head table (displacing the honoree) and then stole the centerpiece before the event was over! Not impressed!

Auntie Roo
Auntie Roo

No reference to one of her finest later performances--with Debbie Reynolds and Agnes Moorehead in "What's the Matter with Helen?"?  Her final piano solo of "Goody, Goody" should have earned her a nomination in and of itself.

Allan
Allan

Are you sure she wasn't fucking with you, and actually knew that you wrote the review? She seems the type that might have gotten a kick out of seeing you get nervous that she might recall it was you that wrote it. After all if she remembered the review, I'm pretty sure she would remember who wrote it. 

guest
guest

Any truth that Lina Wertmüller initially asked her to play the repulsive Nazi female prison commandant  in 'Pasqualino Sette Bellezze' (English title Seven Beauties, 1975) the part that went to Shirley Stoler, who coincidentally is also Jewish.

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

Troofire is absolutely correct. Shelley Winters' Charlotte Haze is a beyond brilliant performance; the American mother as Culture Vulture rampant.  The first scene of the film, where she shows James Mason (Humbert Humbert) around her house is a tour-de-force in itself.

People complained that director Stanley Kubrick watered down Nabokov's novel, but given the era, it is absolutely AMAZING the stuff he got in.

Sample: After Charlotte has married  her "Hum," she tells him, "When I think of you, I grow as limp as a noodle."

Replies Humbert/ Mason -- who's having some difficulty "rising" to the occasion --"I know the feeling."

Anne Thrax
Anne Thrax

She should have won an Oscar for "Cleopatra Jones"

Barkley
Barkley

I like her in a film that's rarely shown and not on dvd, Paul Mazursky's "Next Stop, Greenwich Village."

Ynnocence
Ynnocence

Why you sneaky whiny double-faced manipulator of helplessly desperate celebrity types you. I'm officially envious - congratulations, but more such stories, please! Now!

gcndc
gcndc

I remember Michael Cain saying that she was sipping straigh vodka at 9 am on the set of a movie they were shooting. 

Troofire
Troofire

Her second Oscar was for the wrong film, A Patch of Blue.  She deserved it for Lolita.

Mogul
Mogul

Shelley was a notorious c word. Every memoir I've ever read said she was a narcissistic nightmare to work with. But you're right, she developed into a great character actress--until even that turned to camp fairy dust.

Vim
Vim

I love these celebrity stories. More, more!

Ynnocence
Ynnocence

OMG - Shirley Stoler's a big fave (in more ways than one) of mine! Her only leading role was in her 1st film, Honeymoon Killers - which was also supposed to be Martin Scorsese's directing debut, but still! It's probably a good thing that a non-stylist director took charge instead, so the lead actors were able to dominate with strong, twisted, yet genuinely caring personalities. Time to look this one over, people: a couple pretending to be siblings hunt down elderly "lonelyhearts" women in the classifieds section back when newspapers still mattered, so the guy (played by the boyishly handsome Tony Lo Bianco) could marry the woman then invite his "sister" who's also a nurse to move in with them. After killing off the victim they'd hunt down the next one, but the beauty gap between them begins to take a toll on their relationship.... Even when you know how it ends, Shirley and Tony make you feel like it was worth it, just because of the love they had between them.

Barkley
Barkley

Shirley Stoler (r.i.p.) lived in Chelsea and befriended a close buddy of mine (also dead) when he worked at Video Blitz, she used to come in and rent all the time.  Great lady, really miss her. Just saw her in a bit part in "Klute"  - anyhoo, "Next Stop Greenwich Village" IS on dvd and it's cheap!

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