The First Person Market was a venue for artists and craftspeople to sell their wares, hopefully raising some money for First Person, I imagine. There were four storytellers (myself among them) who charged a dollar apiece to tell one of three personal stories to whoever sat down at the table opposite them. Among mine was one I called "The Cookie Whore" (for reasons which will be obvious). It was quite popular -- so I thought I'd share it with you here:
|No, not me... Suzanne Pleshette|
Back in the late 80's and early 90's I was living in Los Angeles, whence I'd moved to be a screen writer. I even went so far as to take a class in screenwriting at the American Film Institute. I finally came to the conclusion that my real passion was acting, so I set out on a years-long search for parts, an agent, a Screen Actor's Guild card. In between, of course, I had to earn a living, so I did temp work. I sold crafts.
And I became a cater waiter, working for a staffing outfit that sent only the best waiters to only the best events. I wound up working often for a client in Beverly Hills, a woman who worked tirelessly year-round for a major charity, and who threw numerous parties, dinners, banquets and bashes, all culminating in a yearly event so big it took several days and involved the proverbial Who's Who of Hollywood royalty. Her husband had been head of a major studio and now was just a billionaire. In their fabulous (and I don't use the word lightly) Beverly Hill mansion I served the likes of Sean Connery and Michael Caine, passed shrimp puffs to Shirley MacLaine and Frank Sinatra, heard Streisand sing and... met The Cookie Whore.
It was a luncheon for fashion designer Arnold Scaasi (whose archives and 100 of whose designs were acquired by the Boston Museum of Fine Art), attended by a bevy of big-name Hollywood ladies, among them one of my favorites, Suzanne Pleshette. She had starred in "The Bob Newhart Show", got pecked to death in Hitchcock's "The Birds" and was romanced in "Rome Adventiure" by Troy Donahue who was, frankly, prettier than she was. Most recently, before her death a few years ago, she brought her smoke-and-whiskey voice to "Will and Grace" as Karen's mother.
So I was cleaning up in the dining room after the luncheon. Everyone else had moved into another part of the house and I was in the dining room, clearing up the remaining odd dishes, napkins and platters of food, among which were about a dozen cookies, left on a large silver tray. There were chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin and they looked really, really good. As I picked up the tray and started for the kitchen I heard that unmistakable voice behind me: "Can I have another cookie?"
I turned and it was Suzanne, looking gorgeous in a summer-weight suit and heels. I said (to myself) "Of course, Suzanne Pleshette, you can have anything you want." "Sure," I said -- to her --and proffered the tray. She took one, then two, then a third. She looked at me and without blinking said "I'm such a cookie whore!" Then she thanked me and walked away.
Nor surprisingly I've never forgotten that. And even now, almost two decades later, I can still hear that voice: "I'm such a cookie whore..." And whenever I bite into an especially good oatmeal-raisin cookie, I hold it up in a kind of toast and say "This is for you, Suzanne Pleshette!"