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Livening Up ‘Bernie’s’

“It heavily involves a dead body--who’s heavily dead,” says Catherine Mary Stewart of “Weekend at Bernie’s,” a comedy farce in which she stars with Jonathan Silverman, Andrew McCarthy and Terry Kiser as the late, unlamented Bernie.

“The body does stay intact,” she says. “But it gets involved in all kinds of situations. And since Jonathan is responsible for the body--trying to hide it as well as hide the fact that it’s dead--it sort of comes between our romance.”

“Bernie’s” is one of a string of movies the Canadian-born actress has recently completed. “ ‘World Gone Wild,’ ‘Dudes’ and ‘Riding the Edge'--they all came and left around the same time,” she says cheerfully. “They actually played for a weekend at least, maybe even two.”

She tries not to let it get her down: “Whether or not a movie is successful is so unpredictable. I can’t spend my life sitting around wondering if the next one is going to make me a movie star.”

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As for the three-name syndrome, that’s pretty much out of her hands too: “Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio--it sounds like a bunch of Catholic girls running around Hollywood, doesn’t it? My real last name is Nursall, but in the first movie I did, the director hated my name and said, ‘You’ve got to change it.’ So I took my mother’s maiden name, Stewart.” Because there was another Cathy Stewart in Equity, she tacked on her middle name, Mary. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Stewart, whose TV credits include “Hollywood Wives” and “Passion and Paradise,” is also the veteran of some interesting casting--like playing the young Joan Collins character in the 1986 miniseries “Sins.”

“What a match, huh?,” she says, giggling. “I did have my hair dyed black, so that helped. The funny thing was, Joan, my younger brother and I all spoke with an English accent--but our sister spoke with a French accent, and so did our mother. It was a real international potpourri.”


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