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Fan Chat December 8, 1998

December 8th 1998



    Michele Lee: Hi! Let's have some fun! Feel free to ask me anything
    about Jacqueline Susann, Knot's Landing or anything!

    Marty2634: Michele, why do you think Knott's Landing was such a
    popular show?

    Lee: ME! (Laughter...) But seriously, we had an incredible cast
and the
    creator, David Jacobs, was able to tell stories that reflected the
minds of
    middle-class America and reflected the changing times.

    Marty2634: Hello, Michele. Do you still keep in touch with any of
the
    cast of Knott's Landing?

    Lee: Last week or two weeks ago, I received a star on the
Hollywood
    Walk of Fame! Donna Mills, Joan Van Ark, Kevin Dobson and Ted
    Shackleford all came to support me, and in fact, Donna and Joan
even
    wrote a song and sang it. Now THAT'S real friendship especially
    when they can't sing! We really do keep in touch and I think,
after 14
    seasons, we really are a family.

    LosAngguy24: On Knott's Landing, what was your most challenging
    storyline? How about the storyline that was the most fun?

    Lee: Oooh, gosh... I always had a lot of fun doing my scenes with
Val
    because we got to a point where we could finish each other's
sentences
    (as actresses). And Kevin (Mack) and I always had great fun doing
our
    comedic scenes.

    leather25: Any chances of a Knott's Landing reunion?

    Lee: Write CBS, because so many people ask me that, whether I'm
    walking on the street or in interviews. We had so much fun doing
the last
    one, the audiences probably loved it as much as we loved it!

    buckeyesaddle: What similarities are there between Karen of
Knott's
    Landing and Jacqueline?

    Lee: Oooh, that's interesting ! Karen was a real persistent
creature:
    When she wanted something she went after it. She wouldn't take no
for
    an answer. Jackie was certainly the same in her demeanor. I think
the
    theme to Scandalous Me is her perseverance. Both of them said
    whatever was on their minds the only difference is that Karen
would
    go sometimes too far, but Jackie would go that far and then some!
Some
    people thought that Jackie was a little too vocal, and described
her as
    rude, crude, and in your face all of the things I love in a
good, juicy
    character. Also, both had great legs! They both had some hot bods!

    wildangel: Hello, Michele. Why The Jacqueline Susann Story?

    Lee: Interesting. How did you mean "Why"? The outrageous
character,
    and what is in some respects the quintessential American story, in
that
    finding one's talent and persevering need to succeed. She was a
highly
    complicated character who had many hidden secrets and was well
    before her time!

    Mic0: Did you have a celeb idol that you adored as a child (or
later
    on?)

    Lee: I had many! The singers that I loved were Johnny Mathis and
my
    father loved Lena Horne. He would take me every time she was
around
    to see her. I still adore her. Judy Garland and I guess I mostly
identify
    with the performers because I started initially as a singer and a
performer.
    Later I became an actress.

    bookemdano98: Hi, Ms. Lee! My fave movie is How To Succeed.
    Can't wait to see your new TV movie. Do you prefer acting or
singing?

    Lee: Oh WOW! That's great. The closest thing I came to heaven was
    doing the movie for CBS a few years ago on the life of Dottie
West. The
    reason I loved it so, was it was again the story of an incredible
woman
    who lived high drama. But I got a chance to sing. I didn't give
myself
    credit for it on screen, but that was my own voice.

    Mic0: Were you ever trained to be a singer or is it a natural
gift?

    Lee: Both. My mother said that I was singing in the crib, and I
would ooh
    and aaah in various musical notes, totally enamored with myself.
When I
    got a little older, I studied singing, probably when I was 12.

    tkolodin: Mrs. Lee, what is your secret to be able to do so many
types of
    roles and pull them off so well? Example: The Dottie West Story.
What a
    great movie. I have seen it about a million times.

    Lee: AWWWW!!!! Thank you very much! One of the things I try to do
are
    movies that are really atypical for TV. The roles that I choose
and the
    stories that I decide to tell are characters who not only are very
diverse
    from each other, but have something I feel is important to say.
Just today,
    I was talking to my manager and asking how the hell was I gonna
top this
    one? I appreciate people seeing what I'm trying to do.

    popcorn47129: Is Jacqueline Susann still alive?

    Lee: No, Jackie died in 1974. The interesting thing about her were
her
    secrets, and just as she kept her son a secret, she also never let
anyone
    know when she was diagnosed with cancer. She lived her last 10
years
    under that death sentence, writing three consecutive No. 1 novels
on the
    New York Times bestseller list! The thing I strove to do in
Scandalous Me
    was not tell a story about her disease.

    wildangel: What part of Jacqueline Susann's life will be
covered
    in this movie?

    Lee: I didn't want it to be just about the illness, or a mother
who lost her
    son to an institution due to mental illness. I wanted to show all
the pieces
    of the puzzle to show how intricate her life was. The movie starts
early in
    her life and ends two weeks before her death.

royalewithcheeze: What's the significance of the necklace Jackie
always wore?

Lee: It's called an ankh. It's the Egyptian symbol of everlasting
life. I'm
glad you asked. We have so many wonderful costumes and costumes
from Valley of the Dolls. We have 6 wigs! I wore much of Jackie's
jewelry,
including her ankh, in all the present-day scenes. I'm wearing it
right now,
by the way! The ankh was a symbol in the '60s and the '70s for our
society we'd wear it everywhere. I remember seeing it on Warhol's
pinkie finger and it was on the cover of The Love Machine. She
popularized it at the time.

davidplace: Whatta crush I had on you way back when, Michelle. You
cut a record in the '60s, called L. David Sloane. I bought it too!
What year
was that?

Lee: Let's see... I think it was around '67. Thank you for
remembering!

Mic0: Any chance of you ever singing again? (I really love "I Didn't
Come to NY to Meet a Guy From My Hometown.")
Lee: HA!!!! Oh, God. Hopefully, I'll be singing in one of my new
movies!
I'm looking at a musical for TV, but I'd like to return to Broadway
soon!

LatteNE1: Will Michele Lee do another series? And I think she looks
amazing.

Lee: Ohhh, gee... I'd like to do another series now, either a comedy
or a
drama. I'm looking... 

slimfurryguy: Hi, Michele. Have been a fan of yours forever, it seems
like. What was it like after your divorce and making two films with
your
ex-husband, James Farentino?

Lee: Hmmmm... interesting one, Slim. First of all, people are always
amazed to hear that I'm working with Jim. The best thing about our
marriage was our respect for each other as actors. I also believe that
you
don't cross people out of your life. You're part of all the lives of
people you
know, and vice versa. I asked Jim to do the role of Jackie's
publisher, and
he said, "Anything for you!" We have great affection for each other.
If I had
any doubt, he wouldn't be working with me. He's a very gifted actor.
People are always amazed to see the affection between the two of us,
but
you have to remember, we have a son between us.

gewing: Were the homes that were featured on Knott's Landing real,
functioning homes, and if so, did the homeowners have to be paid for
their use?

Lee: Yes, and yes. The exterior homes were actually on the cul de sac
that you see on the air. The owners were paid per episode and became
friends of ours! The interior scenes were shot on the studio lot. They
were
built and stored, so that hopefully, we can do another one soon!!!

dravloucoula: Where do you hail from? What institution, school or
what?

Lee: Are you saying that I should be in an institution!? I was born in
Los
Angeles, however I was conceived in NYC go figure! I went to school
in LA, and today am bicoastal. We have a house in LA, and an apartment
in NYC.

OhioDec91997: How did you and Donna Mills do such a great job
pretending to despise each other?

Lee: Well, it's like anything else we're actors. She's sooo gorgeous

to die gorgeous, that I wish I could hate her!

Marty2634: Hello, Michele. When he was on Knott's Landing, did you
have any idea that Alec Baldwin would become a big movie star?

Lee: Ummm... you're gonna be glad you asked! One, I had the sense that
yes, he was gonna go off and do some wonderful things, and two, here's
something interesting: I was just with him this past weekend. (Don't
tell
his wife!) We were in Washington for the Kennedy Center Honors this
past Sunday. We had breakfast, talked. He just spent some time with
Kim
in Africa, where she's filming a movie. One of the things they know
there
on TV is Knott's Landing! We went to a reception at the White House
honoring the honorees, and it was great!

Mic0: Do you get a lot of worldwide recognition?

Lee: It's wonderful that Knott's Landing was an international success,
and we have fans all over the world. It's always fun to go to a
different
country and see a rerun, where you're speaking in their language! When
I
was in France, I was literally in another room when I heard what I
thought
was my voice speaking in French! I ran into the other room and there I
was, but my voice was copied by a French actress, who was using all my
vocal mannerisms and really had me down. She sounded like me! My
husband almost ran off with her, but I guess I have Alec.... (jes'
kidding).

Libdarnit: What was your first role in a TV show or movie?

Lee: Oh, gosh... that's a complicated answer because when I was very,
very young, Danny Kaye introduced me on his show. Someone just gave
me that tape. The first movie I ever did was How to Succeed in
Business
Without Really Trying, with Robert Morse (who was also at the Walk of
Fame for me).



    Mic0: Is it true that you got an award from the ADL?

    Lee: Yes, I did! It's really flattering that people know so much
about me!

     TIARAPAIGE: Are you allowed to send your fans an autographed
    picture of yourself?

    Lee: Yes, I'm allowed, and I'll give you info about my fan club on
the Net
    in a wee bit. 

    wildangel: Did Jacqueline Susan's Valley of the Dolls
represent
    Susann's real-life story?

    Lee: In many ways it did. She paralleled her life in many respects
in the
    storytelling, as well as parts of her psychology in the various
characters. If
    you watch tomorrow night, on USA, you will see us parallel Valley
through
    her friends and her enemies because you get a chance to see her at
    home with her family as well as in the business world. 

     wildangel: On what network will it air?

    Lee: Scandalous Me, starring Peter Riegert (from Animal House and
    Crossing Delancey) plays my husband, Irving Mansfield, James
    Farentino, my former husband, plays my publisher, and Barbara
Parkins,
    who was Anne Wells (the primary character in Valley), played
Jackie's
    agent. It will be airing tomorrow night, Wed., Dec. 9, on the USA
Network.
    My e-mail address for the fan club is: MLFclub@aol.com, with text
marked
    subscribe.

    TVGEN: It's been a pleasure chatting with you, Michele Lee, and
please
    come back and chat again with us soon.

    Lee: Thanks so much for being here for me I really enjoyed this.
Please watch, if you can!



Copyrighted by Erika Longo 2002. No Duplicating.