Thanks to the fun and funny Norman Lear
Lear ... like the play, Norman was all-encompassing, authoritarian, lovable, irascible, but always human, funny, fun and of course brilliant ["Norman Lear on Families He's Known, Book Review, Oct. 19]. As an actor I always dreamed of being a regular on one of his shows. Didn't happen, but I loved watching his comedic/dramatic genius at work and even wrote TV and films with his hand on my shoulder. Thanks, Norman, for all the memories.
I was married to Bud Yorkin during the years of "All In the Family," "Sanford and Son," "Maude" and other shows, produced by Yorkin and Lear. How Norman can totally write Bud out of the picture in his press interviews and the excerpts from his new "autobiography" is mind-boggling. Does he think that no one is around who remembers the facts? Well, maybe there aren't many left, but I was there for all of it. Bud and I have been divorced for 30 years, so I have no personal ax to grind.
Bud and Norman were partners for at least 25 years. In fact, Norman called me a few years ago about his book, reminding me that I was the one who suggested he and Bud become partners. Bud was then an Emmy Award-winning director. Norman was writing comedy with Ed Simmons. Before becoming Tandem Productions, the company was originally called "Yorkin/Lear."
I remember when Bud first saw "Til Death Do Us Part," the British show that became "All in the Family," and told Norman about it. Bud and Norman both developed the show. Bud actually directed the pilot that was produced (they had competing versions).
Perhaps the most painful aspect in all of this is that this letter is a long time in coming. I actually fought with Bud about getting his own publicist when Norman said he was hiring a firm (way back when). Bud wouldn't have it. He was sure the record would speak for itself, and now he can't even speak for the record, as he is hospitalized with profound dementia.
As a realist who is 87, I felt it was time for someone to speak up for the man, even though he never allowed anyone to do so when he was lucid.
President, The Feminist Majority
Candid views of Rene Russo
Having worked with Rene Russo in New York in the 1980s, Rene was ever-refreshing and honest back then and still is ["A Reluctant Movie Star," Oct. 19]. Rare to hear an actress share her true feelings, insecurities and foibles in a candid interview — in Sunday Calendar no less.
Poor Rene Russo has to be dragged by her hair, kicking and screaming to yet another location to film her next blockbuster. No one in a civilized world should suffer such abuse! Really? All of the talented, passionate, trained actors waiting in the wings, willing to give their nail beds for any one of her roles, and we're insulted with this arrogance.
Panetta shows his disloyalty
Really bad form. Leon Panetta had plenty of opportunity to voice his opinion while in the administration ["Panetta Passes Judgment, Book Review, Oct. 19]. Now, while the Obama administration is in the middle of mopping up G.W. Bush's wars of folly, Panetta piles on. Shame on him for such disloyalty overlaid with unbridled greed. And I used to have a modicum of respect for him. What a back stabber.
Katha Pollitt informs us that "abortion really is a family issue" [Oct. 12] but appears oblivious to the fact that in her view two key members of the family, the father and the unborn child, have no rights whatsoever.
She and the interviewer lament the apparent weakening of their motto, "Abortion on Demand Without Apology," but do not mention that abortion on demand is a radical, extremist position; Gallup polls consistently show approximately 80% of Americans are against it. Ms. Pollitt concludes with these chilling words: "The more abortion can be put back in the context of normal healthcare, that's really good."
Really? Abortion on demand is abortion for any reason, at any time, by any method. Is not adoption, rather than abortion, the humane course?
Richard M. Coleman