Mamie Van Doren: The Untamed Youth of Hollywood’s Blonde Bombshell

In 1950s America there were two famous women named Mamie. One, of course,was the First Lady, Mamie Eisenhower.

The other was blonde bombshell Mamie Van Doren, whose career put her in the same stratosphere as Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield.

And Mamie was not shy about her sexiness. She had many male acquaintances, shall we call them.

Joan Lucille Olander was born in 1931 in South Dakota. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was 11. And, one thing leading to another, she married for the first time at age 17, in a union that ended quickly.

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By age 19 she had a movie contract, launching the career that catapulted her to star status. In the ‘50s and ‘60s she was rarely out of work.

In 1987 Mamie wrote her autobiography, Playing the Field. That’s when I met her and interviewed her – and then we talked again a year later when the book came out in softcover.

So here now, from 1988,. Mamie Van Doren.

Mamie Van Doren.is 93 now, having outlived Marilyn, Jayne, Suzanne, and Farrah.

Charlie Murphy: From ‘Chappelle’s Show’ to Stand-Up Guy

Photo by Timothy M. Moore

If you were a fan of the Comedy Central series “Chappelle’s Show,” you know Charlie Murphy.

The multi-talented actor, comedian, and writer was a popular cast member, especially known for his “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” segments.

His acting career began in the 1980s, but Charlie was something of a latecomer to the world of standup comedy – where his younger brother Eddie was already a major star.

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As it turned out, Charlie Murphy had a terrific talent for standup. And in 2009 he wrote a book called The Making of a Stand-Up Guy. And that’s when I met him.

So here now, from 2009, Charlie Murphy.

Charlie Murphy died in 2017. He was 57.

Laughing Through Layoffs: Annabelle Gurwitch’s Hilarious Take on Getting Fired

No matter where you work, no matter what you do, no matter how long you’ve done it, there’s a good chance you’ll be fired someday. Especially in today’s economy as employers don’t seem to have any loyalty to employees anymore.

Sometimes, though, the situation is so comical, the only way you can get through it is to laugh at it.

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Actress and writer Annabelle Gurwitch has been fired. And she knows lots and lots of other people who have been fired. So she gathered their stories in a book called Fired!

And if you’ve ever been fired, or you are about to be fired, you’ve got to listen to this interview.

So here now from 2006, Annabelle Gurwitch.

Annabelle Gurwitch is 62 now. She lives in Los Angeles.

Amber Tamblyn on Her Poetry, Her Family, and Her Creative Journey

Photo by Jerry Avenaim

Some might say that Amber Tamblyn was born to be an entertainer.

Her father is veteran actor-dancer Russ Tambllyn. Her mother is a singer and a teacher, and her grandfather was in vaudeville.

From the age of 12, when she joined the cast of TV’s “General Hospital,” Amber Tamblyn’s talent has made her a popular and award-winning actress. But she is also well known for her writing, especially her poetry.

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She has actually published seven books, including the 2009 collection Bang Ditto. It was while she was on tour promoting that book that i had a chance to meet her – and to hear what really matters to her in her creative life.

Amber Tamblyn will be 41 in May. Her latest movie role was in “You Hurt My Feelings” in 2023.

So here now, from 2009, Amber Tamblyn.

Comedy, Red Hats, and Inspiration: Damon Wayans’ Debut Novel

Photo by Brian Solis

Some inspirational words from Lionel Richie, and a chance encounter with a group of ladies with red hats, led to the first novel by actor, comedian, and writer Damon Wayans.

From his early years in movies (as the banana man in “Beverly Hills Cop”) to his days on TV’s “In Living Color,” as characters like Homey D. Clown, Wayans has proven his comedic abilities in many ways. And his novel Red Hats demonstrated his keen ability to create memorable, if sometimes irascible, characters.

Our conversation about his book was a little more sedate than his TV sketches.

So here now, from 2010, Damon Wayans.

Damon Wayans is 63 now, and is reportedly working on a new project with ABC.


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A Valentine’s Day Special: Carl Reiner’s ‘All Kinds of Love

Photo: John Mathew Smith

Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s a day of romance, relationships, maybe even marriage, but most especially it’s a day of love. All kinds of love.

In fact, All Kinds of Love was the title of actor writer Carl Reiner’s 1993 novel. It featured a delightful cast of characters dealing with a variety of romantic situations, with a good deal of comedy thrown in, as we would expect no less from the man who created TV’s iconic Dick Van Dyke show.

So here now, from 1993, Carl Reiner.

Carl Reiner was 98 when he died in 2020.


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How Martin Luther King Jr. Transformed Nichelle Nichols and Star Trek

Nichelle Nichols was cast in the role of Communications Officer Uhura on the original TV series “Star Trek” in 1966. But a routine casting decision it was not, as Nichols overnight became an icon and role model. But it took a chance meeting with a powerful and charismatic man to convince her of her own stature.

Photo by Alan Light

Nichols was a show business veteran by the time Gene Roddenberry selected her for “Star Trek.” So just one year into her journey where “no man had gone before,” Nichols was anxious to try something else new.

Then she met a fan who changed her mind and changed her life.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day in the U.S., so today, the story of how Dr. King changed Nichelle Nichols’s life and career, and even the very direction that “Star Trek” took. It’s a story Nichols told in her 1994 memoir Beyond Uhura. That’s when I met her.

So here now, from 1994, Nichelle Nichols.

Nichelle Nichol cied in 2022 at age 89.


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From Hollywood Glamour to Metaphysical Wisdom: Shirley MacLaine’s Fascinating Evolution

She was considered one of America’s brightest young stars almost from the moment she entered show business in the mid 1950s.

And over the next few decades, Shirley MacLaine fulfilled that promise in a big way. She has won, or been nominated for, dozens of awards, including an Oscar, and Emmy, and several Golden globes.

She was also associated with the famous rat pack, which included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr.

And then in the mid-1980s, Shirley MacLaine acquired a whole new kind of fame, when she became a well-known authority on the metaphysical, and past lives and reincarnation

For some her pronouncements became father for ridicule, but many people accepted her beliefs and embraced them.

Her 1987 book. It’s All In The Playing was a candid active self-reflection and a deeper exploration of her metaphysical beliefs.

As she shepherded me carefully through my sometimes awkward questions, MacLaine helped us all better understand

So here now, from 1987, shirley McClain.

Shirley MacLaine will be 90 in April./


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The Power of Christmas Memories: Deborah Raffin’s Sharing Christmas

Everyone has memories of the Christmas season Some of those memories are warm and loving, others are troubled or sad

But all have stories to tell. And in 1990, TV and film actress Deborah Raffin published a collection of Christmas memories from a variety of celebrities and noted personalities.

Her book Sharing Christmas reveals that good, bad, or sad, everyone has powerful Christmas memories.

So here now, from 1990, Deborah Raffin.

Deborah Raffin died in 2012 from cancer period she was 59Deborah raffin died in 2012 from cancer. She was 59.


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The Many Talents of Alex Karras: Athlete, Actor, Author

Alex karras was a star on the field for the Detroit Lions in the 1960s.

And then he tackled a new career challenge: acting. One of his most iconic roles was in 1974’s “Blazing Saddles.” He was, of course, Mongo.

And when I spoke with him about it, he almost sounded surprised at his own success as a writer.

Later Alex karras starred in the ABC sitcom “Webster,” and along the way he also joined the Monday Night Football broadcast crew. And that’s kind of where he got the idea for his 1991 novel called Tuesday Night Football.

So here now from 1991 Alex karras

Alex karras died in 2012. He was 77.


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