A: Not really. I was fortunate enough to start in a very important movie. It was a stunning lesson in how to work in the movie medium for a young actress who was trained to be able to characterize, to become somebody other than myself. And I was working with the best — Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten, Dame May Whitty — here I was surrounded by such nice, warm, encouraging, helpful actors and a great director, George Cukor.
Q: Did it seem like MGM didn't really know what to do you with you since they never gave you the star buildup?
A: They didn't know what to do with me. I defied being slotted as a performer for my entire career. I was able to do too many different things. At the base of it was that I was a young character actress from a very young age. I didn't want to play myself. I didn't really know who I was at that point, I was much too young to rely on me as a character. So I had to become another character to be successful, so that's what I did and that's what I've done to this day. The only time I think I played fairly close to myself was in "Murder, She Wrote," which turned out to be the most successful thing I've done. (Laughs.)
Q: How was she most like you?
A: I didn't try to be some other person. I just was Angela playing Jessica Fletcher, but she was a woman on a level emotionally and mentally with me, although she's a lot smarter and cattier and more interested in crime than I am.
Q: I'm so glad when you brought up the character you thought was closest to you, you didn't say the mother from "The Manchurian Candidate."
A: (Laughs.) Oh, are you kidding? That was a character that I had years to live down, but I managed to, since I went and did "Mame" right afterward, so there you are.
Q: You still do films occasionally, but most of your work has been on Broadway. Is that because the theater provides a better variety of interesting roles?
A: Oh, unquestionably. Unquestionably. You must understand, I'm 86, I'm still working full blast in the theater. You can't say I would ever be given that opportunity in movies, would I? What parts? There aren't any that I would want to play. The theater is a wonderful, wonderful platform for actors of all ages. So there's no limit to how long I can continue acting if I work in the theater.
- Disney reportedly pulls new 'Brave' image of...
- Disney's 'Brave' makeover sparks fury from...
- A crash course in 'Star Trek' for non-Trekkies
- Doug's Take: 'Star Trek Into Darkness' is a...
- Utahn, castaway Dawn Meehan reflects on...
- Book review: 'Joseph: A Stalwart Witness' is...
- A look back at the Star Trek film franchise
- Is the Wii U already becoming outdated?
- Disney reportedly pulls new 'Brave'... 9
- Linda & Richard Eyre: Once in a while,... 5
- A look back at the Star Trek film... 3
- Prince Harry to see NJ storm damage,... 1
- 'Into Darkness' is missing that 'Star... 1
- OJ back in court; Day 4 of bid for new... 1
- Former lawyer says OJ Simpson knew... 1
- Turning the corner? E-book revenue... 1