Bonnie Franklin, who died the other day, was a nice woman. I sat next to her at the table read for my first television show as an actor.
I only had a small part, playing an office boy, but the comic moment was pretty much mine and I worked with Franklin, Richard Erdman and John Hillerman, not bad for a frosh.
At the table, I whispered ideas to her, both to impress and to introduce my notions without risking visible rejection. She repeated one or more of them to the others, just as Carl Reiner did Neil Simon’s whispered constructs during Caesar sessions in the ’50s. (Don’t think I’m comparing myself to Neil Simon, although I am.)
She didn’t blink an eye as I changed my lines every day to make them fresher and funnier (and less hokey), not even when I even ad libbed in front of a live…
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