Diva wrangler

Gloria Monty, the TV producer who helmed General Hospital during the golden “Luke and Laura” years, died on April 4. She was 84. Perhaps Ms. Monty’s greatest claim to fame was the stunt casting of a 60-something Joan Crawford as an emergency substitute for daughter Christina Crawford on the soap Secret Storm. As Bob Thomas tells the story in Joan Crawford: A Biography:

Joan’s adopted daughter Christina was hospitalized for an abdominal operation and could not perform. Joan contacted Gloria Monty, director and offered to step in for her. Gloria accepted, delighting Fred Silverman, chief of daytime programming at CBS. He cleared the use of a studio for rehearsals. On the night before rehearsal, Gloria visited Joan at her apartment; Joan was excited about the role she was to play, comparing it to “Mildred Pierce.” Joan asked that no publicity be issued for her appearance but the network couldn’t resist the temptation . . . . On the day of taping, Joan brought a Pepsi-Cola cooler of vodka. Monty attempted to keep her away from the alcohol during taping but Joan’s performance was poor . . . . When asked to comment, Christina said “I couldn’t exactly jump and down in bed about it, but it was fantastic she would care that much.”

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15 Responses to “Diva wrangler”

  1. julienned Says:

    Those were the days…It’s sad, isn’t it. Who can we look forward to now? Who is going to move into hagdom with that special embarrassment that only our most beloved, camp stars are capable of?

    For a while I had hopes for Fay Dunaway, but someone must have gotten to her and told her to knock it off…some busybody press agent, I suppose. I’ll just have to watch “Wicked Stepmother” and be content with that.

    Sigh…..

  2. La Cieca Says:

    Keep your eye on Sharon Stone.

  3. julienned Says:

    Huh…hadn’t thought of her. You give me reason to hope…and then there might be a comeback by Raquel Welsh…yes?

  4. julienned Says:

    and God knows where Melanie Griffith is going!

  5. Maury D'annato Says:

    I’d put a certain sum down on Kathleen Turner if I were a bettin’ man.

  6. julienned Says:

    Ok, this is a serious question…

    Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwick—they all had a larger than life quality (before they became so desperate to remain in the public eye that they’d do anything). Do Sharon Stone and Raquel Welsh and Kathleen Turner (who may have already gone there…I didn’t see The Graduate, but from what I heard it was like King Kong without hair)…Do these actresses have the standing to become true legendary camp hags?

    Would Charles Pierce (God rest his soul) put them in his act?

    …maybe Kathleen Turner

  7. Just Another Tenor Says:

    And here I was, assuming Kathleen Turner was one of Charles Busch’s creations…

  8. Mommy Dearest should be made into an opera. The wire hanger scene could be so a la Lucia Mad Scene.

  9. BelleDVedremo Says:

    Which inspires me to post that it would be a hoot to have an opera version of All About Eve.

    Yes, I know that’s Bette Davis.

    Call it “free association.”

  10. Leontyneluvr Says:

    I have always dreamed of writing an opera( if I could compose) on “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” and Tennessee Williams “Suddenly Last Summer”- that would be some mad scene

  11. julienned Says:

    Who would you cast as Baby Jane?

    …and what would you make into the arias?

    …”But, you are, Blanche”

    or, “All right, Blanche Hudson, Miss Big Fat Movie Star!”

  12. julienned Says:

    Oh, I just thought of the perfect person for Baby Jane.

    Eleanor Steber

  13. Leontyneluvr Says:

    I think Steber would be an inspired bit of casting- but since I don’t think she will be available- I think it would be poignant to have Kat Battle make a comeback in the piece. There would definitely have to be some type of fantasia on the “I’ve written a letter to daddy” section. Somebody wrote a musical theatre version that was premeired or workshopped in Houston but I am not sure who the stars were.

  14. julienned Says:

    I refuse to believe that Eleanor is gone. I fully expect her to show up some night at The Monster with a glass of Fresca and vodka singing Italian Street Song.

    …but, to be realistic, Kathy Battle is a good choice. And she could probably use the work.

    Who could we cast for Blanche?

    And, is there a part for Kitty Carlyle Hart?

  15. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Many years ago during a telecast intermission the unforgettable Bob Jacobson dreamed about Verdi writing “Gone with the Wind” and suggested Scotto for Scarlett, Milnes for Rett, Lorengar for Melanie, Kraus for Ashley, and Dunn for Belle. I could just hear Scotto closing the second act with the cabaletta “I’ll never be hungry again.”

    We could also have Norman for Mammie and Battle for the “I know nothing about birthing babies” girl.

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