AUDREY TOTTER INTERVIEW

Audrey Totter as Miss Fromsett in LADY IN THE LAKE

Miss Fromsett smiling? That’s a one-off.

Until recently  I didn’t know anything about public-access TV in America. Apparently every local community served by cable TV companies can collect a fee to fund public access  cable channels. The cable Tv companies must make public, educational and govt access  channels available to distribute local programming.

In practice, this means that practically anyone can go in to one of these    Studios and have the use of basic equipment to record a program which will then be broadcast.

SKIP E. LOWE (1929- 2014) hosted his half hourly show, “Skip Lowe Looks at Hollywood”, for over 30 years. Commercial free, it aired in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. And many of his interviews can be seen on You Tube. I’d love to know what his viewing figures were.

The setting is very basic – this isn’t a commercial TV studio  – Skip sits opposite his guest and the camera work is minimal. There are no film clips.

But what is amazing is the number of Hollywood stars whom he interviewed  in the 1970s and 80s – TURHAN BEY, SIGNE HASSO, ROBERT MITCHUM , DANE CLARK, MYRNA DELL, SHELLEY  WINTERS, ANN SAVAGE, CORNEL  WILDE, ROBERT CUMMINGS, JOAN CAULFIELD and many others.

Was he a good interviewer? Not really, but occasionally the guests did get to reveal something interesting about their careers.

Like many of the stars, AUDREY TOTTER was happy to talk about her career. But I doubt Robert Osborne or Leonard Maltin would have asked, ” Did you have a good time in High School ?”!

 

Audrey with Spencer Tracy at the MGM 25 th anniversary party.

Audrey made it clear that the 42 years she was married to Dr. Leo Fred were the most important in her life.

Talking about her start in films, Audrey  said,

” Everybody said go with MGM – it’s the Tiffany. And they were right – I was very happy there.”

“It was still to me the golden era – I played with giants – Clark Gable, Robert Montgomery, Robert Taylor.”

“The only trouble at the studio – you had no control.”

 

Audrey with Richard Basehart in TENSION.

On LADY IN THE LAKE, she said: ” I had to look into the camera all the time. They apparently tested many actresses. It turned out because I had done so much radio, I was used to working with just an object – the other actresses would keep looking away – I would look right at the camera. It was a wonderful part.”

A skilled interviewer would have asked lots more about Lady in the Lake. There was no mention of TENSION or ALIAS NICK BEAL, or the westerns Audrey made.

 

With Ray Milland in ALIAS NICK BEAL

THE SET UP did get a mention:

” One of Bob Wise’s first films – a marvellous director. An excellent film.”

Again, no follow up questions about this classic.

Some  of the other questions from Mr. Lowe included:

“Did you go to a lot of parties ?”

“Have you done any musicals”  ( Answer, ‘No.’)

“”Are you spiritual.?”

“You  did a lot of films with Brian Donlevy.” ( Answer, ‘No, only 2’) !

” What has been the hardest for Audrey Totter?” ( Answer, ‘What do you mean?’)

From left field, Lowe said, ” Tell me about Judy Garland.” Audrey pointed out they never worked together but that Judy was a very talented young lady.

 

Audrey was asked what her favourite films were and she said, THE SET UP and LADY IN THE LAKE.

Asked to describe herself in three words, Audrey’s reply was ,”Very good wife.”

She also said, “I still get a lot of fan mail – some from behind the Iron Curtain. I get a lot from England, Spain and Italy.”

 

With Alexis Smith and Clark Gable in ANY NUMBER CAN PLAY.

 

Audrey came across as someone who had enjoyed her time in Hollywood but acting became less important after her marriage.

 

With Robert Ryan in The Set Up

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