All Episodes

December 28, 2023 162 mins

Writer for "Rolling Stone" and executive producer for "The Sopranos" Robin Green wrote a great memoir, "The Only Girl." We discuss just that, being the only girl on the masthead at "Rolling Stone," and her path from Rhode Island to Hollywood and more

See for privacy information.

Mark as Played

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:08):
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome back to the Bob Leftst Podcast. My
guest today is Robin Greene, an executive producer of The Sopranos,
a writer for Rolling Stone, an author of the book
The Only Girl.

Speaker 2 (00:24):
Why was the book called The Only Girl? Robin?

Speaker 3 (00:28):
I seem to be chronically the only girl. I was
the only girl at Rolling Stone, not working there, but
on the masthead with eight boys, you know, with Hunter
and the Tim's you know, Tim k Hill, Tim Krause
and all those, and David Felton and me. You know,
there were like eleven guys and me on the masthead,
just purely by accident, but there it was. And then,

you know, I was the only girl on the on
the paper at Brown too. I went to Brown University
of Pembroke then, and they were all men there except me.
I was the only female editor. Girls were just you know,
they were meeting husbands, they weren't necessarily writing anything or
anything like that. So I just seemed to find myself

in that position. And it's also when a Sopranos too,
it was mostly there were some girls that came through women,
you know. Tony calem came on, wrote a script and
a few other women later, but first, for years I
was the only girl, so that it was a natural.

Speaker 2 (01:31):
Okay, is that more a comment on you or the
other girls?

Speaker 3 (01:35):
Both? And probably me? You know, I don't I've never
had like a real me too moment, you know, so
maybe I just don't notice or something that that I'm
a girl. I don't know. That's not really true, but

I don't know. It's a good question.

Speaker 2 (01:58):
Well, growing up, were you always a guy's girl? Were
you friends with the boys or friends with the girls?
How did it work out?

Speaker 3 (02:06):
Girls? Definitely? Yeah, No, I was a teeny bopper and
I had a girlfriends. I had three close girlfriends in Providence,
Rhode Island. You know, the music was just starting to happen,
so you know, there was dancing on the board walk
at Scarborough and you know, sort of disgraceful bathing suits
for the time and stuff like that. But I was

definitely I had girlfriends. I did have girlfriends, and then yeah,
I guess I started hanging out with guys, but not
without the girls, you know.

Speaker 2 (02:38):
Okay. You know one thing that's clear in the book,
which is your autobiography, is you make left field choices
all the time, whereas today's kids seem to know what
they're going to do, and I'm going by road. From
a very young age, they see college as a trade school.
They go to work for the bank, they go to
work for Google. What'd your parents say about you? Constantly

sing we have an ivy leave education, but I'm going
with my boyfriend to Canada. You know I'm doing this.

Speaker 3 (03:07):
They were horror horrified because, excuse me, I have a
little frog in my throat allergies from the autumn in
the country. But I got out of Pembroke and I
went immediately to Martha's Vineyard with a boyfriend, you know.
With my college it which my Ivy League education. You know,
I was the first generation to go to college. My

grandparents were immigrants and they lived upstairs. It was their
house we had. They owned the house. We went to
the downstairs flat. But my parents didn't go to college
for various reasons. They were very bright and funny. But I,
you know, me and me and my brother were the
ones that first went. It was very important for them
for me to go to an Ivy League school because

I had I had a free ride at full ride
at Risdie. You know that is an art.

Speaker 2 (03:57):
School, Yeah, Road Island School Design.

Speaker 3 (03:59):
So I got my Yes, so I got my because
I was a talented artist as a child, you know, girl.
But they wanted and also they didn't think I could
earn a living that way, and I had to take
typing and things like that because that's what girls did.
This was, you know, nineteen sixty three when I went
to college, so you know, the expectations and girls and

now they're like women are all my doctors practically, do
you know what I mean? Then it just wasn't so
at all. But anyway, I graduated and I went with
a boyfriend this sort of day class, a Greek American
from Providence, and we went to Martha's Vineyard and my waitress,

you know. So my parents were horrified whether that they
they they never withdrew their love. You know, they were
entertained by me. I brought home Jimmy Cliff's album and
showed them the dance and took them. I think they
took them to the movie Harder They Fall on, you know,

Providence on Fair Street, and they dug it, you know,
because so they were alive, you know, they used to
go down to New York and see plays and things.
So they sort of dug what happened to me, and
they were tolerant, although they'd make fun of me a
lot to their friend.

Speaker 2 (05:21):
Made fun of you. Tell us more about that, well.

Speaker 3 (05:24):
I mean they would say, Robin's looking for herself. She
thinks now she's in California. Stuff like that, you know.
Or once I had I had knitted. I was a
knitter one winter and I knitted this scarf that I
wore as a shawl in Berkeley. And it was the
days in Berkeley dressing.

Speaker 2 (05:44):
You know.

Speaker 3 (05:44):
I had this maddress floor length Indian dress was stunning,
wraparound really and I looked great. You know, I had
such a good figure as a girl. I didn't know it,
but I did, And so I wore the you know,
I was back in Providence visiting my family, and I
wore the white nick shawl, and my mother took my

grandmother's afghan that she had a crochet or something, you know,
this white big afghan and mocking me war it to
the cookout at the Barad's house. Do you understand, just
making me?

Speaker 2 (06:21):
I understand?

Speaker 3 (06:22):
Okay, Well, she was making fun of the hippie look
and pearl Barad Ronnie's mother said to my mother, you're
making yourself look bad. Robin looks beautiful. But so my
mother was, Yeah, my mother was undermining my father was.
You know, he would just light up when I came
in the room, and she did too. Really they were great.

Speaker 2 (06:46):
Okay, let's go sideways for a second. What did your
brother do in his life?

Speaker 3 (06:51):
Oh God, thank God for Ronnie. He was two and
a half, two years four months older, and he was
kind of a real nerd. You know, I was the
talented one, and he had no rhythm. You know, he
wasn't good at piano hour. He was short, and then
he kind of blossomed in college. He didn't get into

hyvy league school. He went to u URI, you know.

Speaker 2 (07:17):
U Uri University of Island.

Speaker 3 (07:20):
It was an ivy league. He ended up by the well.
So he ended up by the way teaching a medicine
of all things. He's a neuroscientist, and he taught medicine
at Dartmouth his entire life. So he had this ivy
League experience. But the thing about him was he met
his wife while he was just coming into himself in

college in the biology lab. A friend of his parked
or with him, because you know, while he had to
go someplace on some weekend and you know, some kind
of homecoming weekend or something. But he parked his girlfriend,
Sue with Ronnie because he didn't consider Ronnie a threat.
Ronnie ended up marrying her and they've been married since

they were children, you know, and they have children. So
my brother had this. He was a doctor, which was
like god in the Jewish community, you know, you know,
we were all sort of all of the people in Providence,
especially in the Jewish community. I can't really speak for
any others. It was kind of an upscale Jewish part

of town. You know. The wasp fled when we moved
in in the fifties. They fled out to Barrington and
Bristol and stuff like that. But we were pawns in
their game, as Dylan I guest said, you know, and
so you know, it was important for you to be
a doctor or go to an Ivy League school just

to be in the sweepstakes, you know what I.

Speaker 2 (08:50):
Mean, amplify pawns in their game.

Speaker 3 (08:54):
Oh, isn't there like we were only pawns in their game.

Speaker 2 (08:57):
No, that's definitely a Dylan line, but that it applied
to you in Providence because because.

Speaker 3 (09:02):
You know, well, my daughter's going to Pembroke, my daughter,
my son is teaching at Dartmouth. Oh and where does
your girl go? Oh? Well, should be you? Oh that's
too bad, you know that sort of thing. There was
a contest and we won, My brother I won. We
were you know, we were the house. We didn't have
as much money as everybody else in that house. But

it was the smallest house in a good neighborhood, like
in like Who's the Who's the writer, you know, Jane
Austen or something novel, The smallest house in the nice neighborhood.
And we lived there. But it was to our house
that people came for fun. That's where the cocktails were happening,
do you know what I mean, That's where they were.

Speaker 2 (09:45):
I grew up. I'm a little younger than you. But
it's amazing the life our parents led relative to ours.
It was like a floating party. They had a million friends.
They weren't looking to become famous, but the lifestyle was
pretty good.

Speaker 3 (09:58):
Oh that's interesting. Where are you from.

Speaker 2 (10:01):
I'm from Connecticut. I'm from Fairfield, Connecticut, which is fifteen
weeks from New York City. The most important thing that's
you know New York media. But I have an older
sister and a younger sister. We talk about it all
the time. They had a million friends. They were having
theme parties. How did your family end up in Providence?

Speaker 3 (10:19):
Well, my grandmother it's like the Bayflowership. She actually was
born there, but no one else. Yeah, well that was one,
but the others were you know. You know, my grandfather
actually came from Russia. He was avoiding the draft, right,
Nicholas right, right? Yeah, So he's a Russian immigrant nineteen

seventeen draft dodger, and he came to Newark, Newark, New Jersey.
It was a butcher and I think that he killed
somebody there. Something happened and he had to get out,
and he came up to Providence. I guess, you know
Jewish people. That's how my grandmother came from Hungary and

she came to Providence because somebody else had come to Providence,
do you know what I mean? And she came illegally.

Speaker 2 (11:09):
Wait wait too them, I know because all my mother's
family came to the Boston area. How did she come illegally?

Speaker 3 (11:16):
Oh? She said she was someone's daughter and she wasn't
you know, I have actually she came with her with
her comforter, her down comforter, you know, Hungarian down, Hungarian down, Yeah,
a ghost down or something. My mother put it in
her couch, the goost down, and then I have it

in something here. I can't remember what exactly, but we
kept that down going, you know. But she came. She
had that's all she had. She has had a straw
hamper with this down down comforter in it, and she
was gorgeous. She was like six feet tall. My grandfather
was this little crude Jewish barrel chested criminal. Really he

was a bootlegger and he was a gangster. He was,
you know, he had I think he had a gun,
but you know there. I didn't put it together then,
but later in life when I worked for Sopranos, I
could see that's what he was, and I talked to
my mother about it, and for sure, you know, they

because she would live in many many places in Wickford,
for instance, because that the boats would come in from Canada.
So my grandfather, my little Jewish grandfather would go down
there with his men and his gun and receive the
barrels and protect the booze from you know, other gangsters.
I guess they would try to take it and then

they would actually make They had Gordon's gin labels and
so they would bottle the illegal gin in this you know,
these Gordon and put the Gordon and I drank Gordon's
gin to this day, and so did my parents did
so did your parents have cocktails and things?

Speaker 2 (13:08):
My father owned a liquor store. That's how he earned
his living for a long time.

Speaker 3 (13:11):
That's what Grandpa did. After proefficient ended, he had a
liquor store left to trade pictures, right.

Speaker 2 (13:19):
What about the other side of your family.

Speaker 3 (13:22):
Oh, they were kind of Jewish, you know, like Grandpa.
They were both named Morris, but that Grandpa Morris green Grenawskamshire.
At some point he was an immigrant, tall, handsome. He
had a cap factory and they had cars and they

were doing very well. And then my father's older brother
got epilepsy. He had a grandma seizure. But he was
giving the valedictorian speech at his high school and it
was there was no Ti Lanton then, and so he
was at Brown, which was very unusual for jew in

those days. It was the twenties, I think, and he
had to stop going to Brown because Brown University this
is where I went because it was freaking everybody out.
These seizures were so grotesque and scary. So he went
home and the family kind of failed after that. So

Dad stepped in. My charming, funny father, very talented performer,
and he supported the family however he could. Oh, then
he wanted to be in a stock market, but it
was nineteen twenty nine. But still he was the funniest.
You know. He loved people. He looked at people and

he appreciated them, and he ended up his life in
a happy job. He became a sales representative so he
could go in his car and charm people with his
sample cases. He was Willy Lowman, but without the Dan Draft.
You know.

Speaker 2 (15:06):
Okay, you're in Providence.

Speaker 3 (15:08):
We live in going.

Speaker 2 (15:10):
No, it is perfect, perfect, you're in.

Speaker 3 (15:14):
I get going. I don't shut up or something.

Speaker 2 (15:16):
No, no, perfect, keep rolling all right. There are fifty
states in America. There are many institutions of higher learning.
Your brother and your yourself just end up in Providence.
You don't think, well, maybe I'll go to New York City,
I'll go to New Haven, I'll go somewhere else.

Speaker 3 (15:36):
I means for college. Yeah, well no, I was scared
and uh, number one and number two I didn't get
into brandeis those pricks.

Speaker 2 (15:47):
It's kind of interesting to get especially by today's standards,
because it's certainly reversed. Okay, many people there. The line
of demarcation is when the Beatles hit basically January of
sixty four. You were into music before that. For a
lot of people are unaware of what it was like.

Tell me about your interest in music then before the Beatles.

Speaker 3 (16:12):
Oh, man, well, definitely, you know, I guess the first
thing I evers stole was Elvis Presley forty five, right,
Elvis Presley must have been thirteen. And my friend Ronnie
was a really talented singer, the one that killed herself.
She was also named Ronnie. As a matter of fact.

Her personality was so strong that we called my brother
Ronnie Green differentiated because there was only one Ronnie. But
she was my best friend. We were born two weeks apart,
and we you know, it was the Watusi. It was
all that kind of teeny bopper music. I know, the

lyrics to like a million songs, those teeny bopper songs.
And then oh then you know guys, the cool guys
at Moses Brown there was this one guy, Joel'sas I think.

Speaker 2 (17:03):
Which is a private high school in the Rhode Island.

Speaker 3 (17:06):
Yeah, it's where the which you know, which those who
could afford it, My friends, a lot of them went
to the private school. It was a girls was Lincoln
and the boys was Moses Brown and Wheeler. But Joel's
Auce I think he still plays around. Have you ever
heard that name?

Speaker 2 (17:23):
Oh yeah, Joelsas wrote too Long at the Fear, the
opening song on the second side of the second Bonnie
Right album. Loved that song.

Speaker 3 (17:30):
No, really, Joel.

Speaker 2 (17:32):
That's wonderful about Joel Sauce and musicians cos s Absolutely,
I've heard from him a couple of times.

Speaker 3 (17:39):
Oh my god. Well, I don't know if you'd remember me,
but he went to Moses Brown and he was a
friend of my boyfriend David Leech's, and so you know,
he was the barefoot kid with a guitar, you see,
And we would go to clubs and stuff, and I
was at the first row of the Newport Jazz Festival
with David. David was a huge music lover and of

jazz and he you know, when I lived with him
in Chicago. I can't remember exactly the details, but we
saw like Mangus or somebody, you know, really important jazz people.
I was so stoned all the time though. I just
don't remember the details unfortunately, but I know we did
go to clubs and black clubs and hear black musicians.

But you know, he took me to the Newport Jazz Festival.
We sat in the first row. You know.

Speaker 2 (18:33):
Okay, you're in college when the Beatles hit? How did
you first hear the Beatles? Into? What impact did they
have for you and your friends?

Speaker 3 (18:45):
Well? I didn't have any friends at college.

Speaker 2 (18:47):
But wait, let's just slow that you were living at
home or living in the dorm.

Speaker 3 (18:51):
Oh, I lived well, first of all, they had this
sort of dorm for townies, which I was that it was.
It was just a shithole. Now it's the like Vegan dorm.
You know. It was this old funky house, so they
would they let the towny stay there. And then after
a semester they let me. They gave me a room

at the actual college with others, you know, with four
three other girls. And the next year after that I
had a single. I mean, I rose very quickly at
the university, but I didn't have any friends really, and
I don't. I don't think music was. I know that

my one friend, one girl I did know, was really
into Dylan, but I wasn't at that point. But the
Beatles definitely, you know. I just remember which album was
Rubber Soul that was later, wasn't it.

Speaker 2 (19:52):
Yeah, Rubber Soul was sixty five, So.

Speaker 3 (19:55):
When did they show up? Sixty four?

Speaker 2 (19:57):
They showed up in January of sixty four, and Rever
Seoul was the end of sixty five. Then Revolver was
sixty six, and Sergeant Pepper.

Speaker 3 (20:07):
Was Yeah, no, yeah, I remember, I want to hold
your hand and all that. Sure, Yeah, I love it it, Okay?

Speaker 2 (20:14):
How come you had no friends? Usually people go to
college and make friends.

Speaker 3 (20:19):
Hmm. It just wasn't my scene. I didn't like it
very much the first year. I didn't the girls were
too preppy or something. I just didn't attach. And I
was very serious about school, you know, classes and things,

and you know, I had this kind of you know,
I wore jeans and black sweaters and black boots and
had an art board and went down the hill to
Rizdy to take courses. I was kind of a beatnik,
and so I I just wasn't, you know, I think
I went to a football game once and had a

date once, you know, it went to a fraternity party.
But I didn't like it. I just didn't like it. It
wasn't my scene. And I kept my Providence friends and
that actually led to you know, I was friends with
my boyfriend David. One of his friends at Moses Brown
was the Raymond Patriarch Junior. Raymond Patriarch Junior was the

son of the head of the New England mafia, Raymond
Patriarch Senior.

Speaker 2 (21:27):
So you know, they did a whole podcast about that.
What do you mean about the patriarchis he did? Oh? Absolutely?

Speaker 3 (21:36):
Oh my god?

Speaker 2 (21:36):
A few years ago. You know why my podcast Who
Knows Why the people started doing there were multiple seasons
about the Patriarch family. You did no, I mean I
I listened to it. I didn't do it.

Speaker 3 (21:50):
Oh you didn't do it. But there was one yes, Ah,
I say, well, you know, the Godfather book hadn't come
out yet. The movie of course hadn't come out yet.
But I was I didn't know my grandfather was a
small time gangster. But I was just so fascinated and
kind of excited by the whole scene, you know, because

Raymond Junior, who's a friend of my boyfriend. You know,
I got friends with his girlfriend, Rosemary Scanlon, and she
lived near Brown. So I just escaped Brown and went
and stayed with her down the hill with her and
her roommate, you know, in one room or something. You know,
she and ray Junior used to go into the closet

and have sex in there, and I wrote about it.
That was my first short story. Actually it was my
second short story, but nobody you know, I wrote this
pretty good short story that got me, you know, I
became the editor of the literary magazine. And they read
it at this huge convocation of blonde girls. Do you

understand I was understand. I keep saying that to you,
but you do understand. But I was alienated. I would
say I was scared alienated. So I pretended and I
guess maybe I was cool, you know, maybe I was hip.

Speaker 2 (23:15):
It's possible, okay, if they read it at this convocation.
Did you envision yourself becoming a writer.

Speaker 3 (23:24):
Yes, But then there was this magazine contest that Mademoiselle
magazine had a contest, so I entered it with this story,
you know, and when they read it in front of
three hundred people that it was an editor from the
New Yorker that came up and read it. It wasn't

some schmuck off the street, you know what I mean.
So it was really a big deal. So I sent
it off to the the Mademoiselle contest and I didn't win,
so I just gave it up as an idea.

Speaker 2 (24:00):
Interesting. Okay, you've had these high points in your career.
Did Brown ever track you down after the fact to speak,
to give money, to give an award or anything like that.

Speaker 3 (24:13):
Yes, I can't remember the award, but I did go
up there. Mitch was with me. I just remember it
because of the traffic jam was terrible. But I, you know,
I gave some kind of seminar and then the minute
I had any money at all, I gave them ten
thousand dollars. And that to me was just a lot
of money because I come, you know, my family, my father,

he lived in the future. There was debt, it was
credit card debt. There was no money at all. But
we lived very well somehow, you know, in the nice
house with beautiful furniture, nice friends and all that kind
of thing. And everyone knew, you know, we had no money.
But I don't know. So ten thousand dollars was you know,

that's what he made a year. My father made ten
dollars a year in the fifties, Sure he did, And
so I gave them. And then we went mentioned and
I went to some event at the Goggenheim. And you know,
now when we go to events at Iowa, we're a
big deal because we give them. I don't even want
to say how much, you know what.

Speaker 2 (25:22):
I mean, everything the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the.

Speaker 3 (25:24):
Iowa Writers Worship, but also the University of Iowa Public
Institution because and a lot of it is because Brown
was like, you know, fa fong gul. You know, I'll
show you. And also they have a huge endowment. They
didn't really need my ten thousand dollars, and they certainly don't.

They don't need my money now either. But Iowa does
you know, Irack can use it?

Speaker 2 (25:53):
Okay? When you went to Brown, did your father pay
or did you get any help from Brown?

Speaker 3 (25:58):
I got a scholar ship from the state of one
thousand dollars a year. The tuition was that it covered
a intuition, and I think my father paid for the dorm.
He did, he paid for the dorm I worked. Also,
I worked in a factory in the summer. I worked

at you know, I wasn't an intern somewhere with no pay.
I was a waitress or I was working. I like
to work. I like them. I like them. I like
waitressing because you pick up the money off the table.
Maybe you don't anymore, but I just like the cash
aspect to it.

Speaker 2 (26:38):
Okay, you graduate from college, although you ultimately go to
the vineyard. I think you said, what was your intention?
What was your plan after graduating from college?

Speaker 3 (26:51):
Well, I don't know. We stayed on a vineyard till November.

Speaker 2 (26:54):
So, well that's way past the season.

Speaker 3 (26:58):
Yeah, it is kind of past the season. And he
became a cook, so we lived upstairs in the restaurant
Louise Tate King. This kind of it was fun. And
then we moved to Boston. I thought I would go
into publishing, you know, so I did. I got a
job at Houghton Mifflin. That's a big house in Boston,

publishing house. And I got a job in the production department,
like with like figures and spreadsheets and stuff. I don't
even know what I was doing, but I took a
detour and I went and I checked out the editorial
department because that's sort of what I was aiming for.
This was an entry level job, and it just looked
like a drag. It looked like a drag, you know,

I was it was. It was you know, sixty seven.
It was you know, something was in the air, you know,
and it was too like straight. The men didn't appeal
to me. Nobody looked at me. Actually that was part
of it. Those men, they didn't even look up from
their desks, and they were all men behind those desks.

So I think I left my boyfriend. He worked at
a restaurant, managing a restaurant. I think I can't remember
if I waited. No, I was at my hoton Mifflin.
So he was working at the restaurant where I used
to waitress years ago before that. But he cheated on me.
He didn't come home one night, and he married that
girl and had four children with her. So it was

good for him because I didn't have good, pure intentions
towards him. Men functioned in my life as kind of
tickets out. I mean, I'm burying my soul to you
a little bit. But that's how I went to Cali.
I didn't go to California on my own. You know,
A man took me to New Poor Jazz Festival. You know,

a man put the headphones on my head and played
the records and chose the records. And so I had
music through men, and I had transportation through men. Or
I wouldn't go to cities alone, you know, I would go.

Speaker 2 (29:05):
Well, was it more that you saw the opportunity or
that you were fearful?

Speaker 3 (29:14):
Both? Although I did go to New York by myself,
I did, No, that's bullshit. I went to New York
by myself.

Speaker 2 (29:23):
I did, Okay, your boyfriend cheats on you. You're working
it out, love Beflynn.

Speaker 3 (29:27):
Oh well, first I had an affair with a guy
across the hall, and then I went home to Providence,
and it was December. This all took place like a month,
because then when you're young, time is very slow, you
know what I mean. A lot happens, like so much
happened in just nineteen sixty seven. In nineteen sixty eight,
you probably experienced that. You're vaguely my general. I think

you're my husband's generation. Actually, so you know, I don't
think it was that much different. It's still Vietnam, and
of Vietnam when you were coming up he wasted. Yeah,
so time was slow, and so I went back to Providence.
I played mel Brooks's two thousand year Old Man continually

on my Hi Fi on my turntable for like a week,
maybe more. You know, I just played that record over
and over again. I can't tell you why. I don't
have any idea, but then I was ready. I felt better. Oh,
my parents had given me luggage as a graduation president.

I guess that was their sense of humor. But it
was also very useful, you know, this blue American tourist set.
So I packed that up and I went down to
the Martha Washington Hotel for Women because I had read
about it in a book in Marjorie Morning Star. I mean,
this is this That's what got me. You know, that's
how sort of in cohateed and goalless. I was, oh, yeah,

i'll be like that, you know, I'll go to live
in in New York. And I forgot the part about
where she moves to Scarsdale and Mary's a doctor, you know,
I just got to the New York part. And I
went to New York and I rented one apartment and
then another apartment. I was there again. It was just
nine months, but it was a lifetime, you know. And
I got a job. I went to a temp agency.

I knew one person in New York, a girl that
I did know at Brown Pembroke. She lived in the
singles dorm next door to me, and she was the
one that liked Dylan and she remained a figure in
my life for a long time. But we don't, for
one reason or another, speak anymore. I'll speak to her,
but I think she's mad at me. But I knew

her in New York. But I also, oh, I just
remember some people came to a party that she gave
me and I went home with them to Brooklyn. I
knew this person later in life too, Vicky Robin and
Mark Ledgerd. I think they were married at that point.
Maybe anyway, I was at their house and they put
on my head earphones and it was Frank Zappa right

ime for that first record, and they said, you just
got to listen to this, you know. I think they
got me stoned, you know, and they made me listen
to this thing, and that was life changing. You know
what's this now? You know?

Speaker 2 (32:26):
Well, I mean that first double album for weak out.
You didn't try to call me in trouble coming every day.
There was a subversiveness, a sense of humor, and an
attitude that we rarely see, certainly in music or any
mainstream movies. But okay, you're in New York. No was
Susie Susie cream cheese shirt shirt?

Speaker 3 (32:46):
That was I remember. I can't remember what I ate
for dinner, not any any dinner for for like five years.
I was talking to my husband about that. Today. I
can't remember what David and I ate, you know, oh
we never cooked. We must have eaten something. But I
remember Susie Kuzzy cream Cheese and all the words to

all the songs because the music was so you know,
David would come through town, he'd come through New York
and take me to stuff. We went to the Fillmore East,
so Janice Joplin, you know that was my girl music.
That's what I liked.

Speaker 2 (33:24):
So you're in New York City and you get a job.

Speaker 3 (33:27):
Yeah, I got a job for work. I was well,
I was sent on three. I wanted to be an
editorial assistant because I had a liberal arts education and
so and you know, writing was like I wouldn't even
think about that. But they sent me to two advertising agencies,

and they sent me to Marvel Comics. You know, I
was the closest they came to a book and I
was hired. I didn't like the advertising agency and one
of them didn't like me, but they but Stanley hired me,
and phlo Steinberg was leaving. She she liked me, and

she introduced me to Stand and he took me on.
So I was with him. I was his you know,
his office was across the hall, like five feet away,
and I would answer the phone, you know. And I
was supposed to also communicate with fans, the fan club.
You know. I didn't like comics, so I didn't really

care what they said or but I suppose I did
my job. I don't remember. Really. It was kind of stupid.
But the people were nice, you know, they were square,
they were really square, and New York was square, and
I felt, again I didn't belong there. It was like
at Pembroke. I just you know, felt alienated, I guess,
but I wasn't unhappy. I just didn't It wasn't going

to work for me. It wasn't what I wanted.

Speaker 2 (34:54):
Oh, okay, is that a theme throughout your life that
you're alienated or you still alien today.

Speaker 3 (35:01):
I think alienated's probably the wrong word. Just gosh, here
I am supposed to be good with words. Just trying
to find myself. My parents were right, you know, where
did I fit in? Where do I belong? I saw
Rolling Stone magazine and I thought, well, that looks like

fun Boy. They're having fun out there on the Bay Area.

Speaker 2 (35:30):
Well before we get there, you're working for stan Lee.
You go to Canada with your boyfriend and then you
just never go back.

Speaker 3 (35:38):
Yeah, yeah, that was bad. And this nice little apartment
on Bleeker Street, one room with like wal to well
cockroaches but beams in the ceilings. I hung a swing,
I had a fireplace. It was kind of cool. And
my parents helped me furniture. We got a trundle bed
and that was about it for furniture. But and I

got a cat, and David came through and he wanted
to go to Canada. And we went up to Canada
and we had a weekend there was I had never
been to a foreign country and they were like talking
French and stuff in Montreal. It blew my mind. And
you know that we stayed in a place that had
a sink in the room, in the bedroom that was
so exotic. And then it was time to go home.

He had to go back to Chicago, to the University
of Chicago where he was a student, and I had
to go back to my job in New York. We
went to the airport and they wouldn't take my check.
Hit my check, they wouldn't take his check. He didn't
want to use his father's credit card because his father
would know that he had bought me a plane ticket somewhere,

you know. So he said, well, you want to come
with me? And so I said, yeah, I do want
to go. So I went, I went. I guess. I
called Stan on Monday. This was a Sunday, and I
called on Monday from Chicago because I think it's very
close to Montreal, Chicago, right and.

Speaker 2 (37:08):
Not really no, pretty far, but okay, like what.

Speaker 3 (37:12):
Like twelve hours Yeah, yeah, okay, So I called it,
you know. So we drove and on Monday, when I
was supposed to go to work, I called Stan and
I told him I got hung up and I wasn't
going to come to work. And he he just he said,
because usually he just was very everything had an explanation point.

He was very effusive, but he was like, you got
hung up. What does that even mean?

Speaker 1 (37:40):
You know?

Speaker 3 (37:41):
And I just said, he said, you're not coming back
at all? I said no. I called my parents and
I told him I wasn't going back. And the cat was, Oh,
the cat was with somebody else by the one friend
I had, Tory, And would they pick up the cat
and the bundle bed and take them back to Providence?

And they did. That's the kind of parents they were.
They I don't know, I don't know. They were very
upset that I was living with David. What am I
going to tell my friends? You know? That kind of thing.
My mother said, because people didn't do that then at all.
It was just starting I expose. But they did that.

They were they were amused. I think I think it
just they loved that I was living. That's the feeling. Listen.
I don't know. I can't go into their heads.

Speaker 2 (38:35):
I don't.

Speaker 3 (38:36):
They never chastised me for they just went down. They
borrowed a friend's car of station wagon, drove it three
and a half hours to New York, picked up the
trundle bed and the cat. These are Jews who now
own a cat which was not done, and a black
and white cat. They knew some tuty and they kept
that cat and loved that cat.

Speaker 2 (39:02):
Did you go to Chicago? How do you end up
in California?

Speaker 3 (39:05):
Well? I was there. David, my boyfriend from Providence, was
a rich man's son, and he had just enough money
to live. He had enough money to buy lapsing sou
jong tea and pot and had a great car, you know,
a Firebird convertible remember those. Of course, first cart had
was even better. It was like a Chevy and pallet

was red with you know, the back wings and things.
A convertible just a tool around of that thing. But
when we went out to California in the Firebird, but
it was in Chicago the Firebird, I guess. We took
the Firebird from Montreal down to Chicago. And that's a
whole other story. Why he had to stay in school

that winter because he was just pretending to go to
graduate school. He used the money from graduate school to
pay lawyers because putting some pot in my mailbox in
New York City, he got arrested, was discovered, got arrested anyway,
So he had to go back to Chicago and pretend

to be going to graduate school, and I went with
him and I got a job. I was George Schultz's secretary,
you know who that is. I know, and David as
a rich man's son who didn't work at all. Ever,
he couldn't believe that I could go out in the
morning and come home and have a job, you know,

but I couldn't. I couldn't lead his life. It drove
me nuts, you know, to do nothing. And I wanted
to have my own money. I didn't have anything I had.
He used to joke about me that all I had
was a toothbrush and a pair of underpants, and that
was true, you know, I had like two skirts. I
didn't care. I just didn't care. I was just was

I an alienator, a loner? I don't know. Oh, I
won't tell my mother. I would tell my mother I'm
not like the other girls, and she would say, what
do you mean? Are you a lesbian? You know, because
you know that was her I guess that was what
she was afraid of, and maybe today I would have been,

but I said, no, it's not that they're all. All
they want is to get married. And I didn't want
my mother's life. I didn't want to spend my life
cooking dinner. I just didn't want to do it. So
what is that is that alienation? Is that because there's
a lot of.

Speaker 2 (41:33):
Things going on, it's the era alienation really could be separate.
But how long are you in Chicago before you get to.

Speaker 3 (41:40):
Northern nine months?

Speaker 2 (41:42):
And then how do you end? What's the motivation for
the two of you to move to California?

Speaker 3 (41:46):
Well, we didn't move to California. We got in the car. Well,
we did move. We didn't have any He had stuff,
actually had some things shipped out. I believe, yes, he
did furniture did of anything. We got in the car.
I think it took us six weeks to drive out
to California. It was a six week drive, you know,

it could take two days, but we went. That was
the thing about David and about being with them, is
that we went through Carbondale and grooved on the you know,
waterfalls there, and then we went to New Mexico and
stayed there for a week. And I had never camped,
you know, out We camped in the Hemez Mountains. We

grazed naked by a hot spring. There was a watercrest
growing and we grazed, stoned out of her mind. So
there was with another couple. There was no there was
no sex with the other couple or anything like that.
But we were just free. We were hippies. You know,
I had never shot in the woods. I didn't know

that was possible. It just you know, David was he's
gone now. He died, you know, he died of a
heart attack. But he he he was a philosopher, you know.
It was a sad, unrealized human being who was nonetheless

very interesting and fun and imaginative in terms of like
he took the back roads. He took the back roads.
And I went with him on the back roads in
the car, in the in the in the Firebird convertible,
and we stopped in New Mexico and and camped in

the mountains and met, you know, people who had been drunk,
you know, been heroin addicts actually, who had an opera
house in Cirios outside of Santa Fe. It was just
it was so exciting, all that shit, you know, because
communes were happening, it was starting, you know. And then
so we went to l A first because he because

he knew some people in la We stayed at their
house older people, you know, grown ups got I you know,
was what was his name, Murray Golden. He directed television shows.
And he said to me, what do you want in
your life? And I told him, and it was exactly
what happened. You know, I became a writer. I told

him I wanted to be a writer. So I must
have had it in my head, you know, I wrote
my short stories were really good at Brown, So you know,
I did have an idea that I would do that.
And I told Murray, who no one had really asked me,
I don't think, but you know he was. He was

directing television shows, so that was you know, I didn't
know you could do that, and I didn't know you
could get a house like that, you know on mulhulland
Drive and everything. That appealed to me a great deal.
And I returned to it later at life. But meanwhile,
David and I went up the coast, you know that
Route one in California, which I'm sure you know right
of course, of course, yeah, And we stopped in the

woods right outside of Big Her and we pulled the
car in to smoke a joint. You know, David was
always smoking a joint, and it was beautiful, you know,
was below with the redwoods in this little grove. And
I found a four leaf clover and I'm here. I

am moving to California and to find a four leaf
clover and to be stoned at the same time. You know,
what more could a girl want? You know, I was
still alienated is the wrong word. But I was lost
or shy or I could hardly speak. I didn't speak.
I didn't speak. Now I don't shut up, But then

I didn't talk. You know, David talked and he didn't
talk much. He didn't really I want to talk. He
wanted to groove. He wanted to eat Sarah leave palm
cake and drink laugh saying sudjong tea and smoke pot
and later cocaine. That's what happened to him. I'm digressing

wildly here.

Speaker 2 (46:09):
You end up in the Bay Area.

Speaker 3 (46:11):
We drove, but he knew people in the Bay Area.
He knew people. He did so and those and people
came and stayed with us in a little apartment on
University Avenue in Fox Court. Is really wonderful place, beautiful place.

But you know it's just one room in a kitchen,
but high enough to put a loft bed in, so
David had a friend build it. You know, he didn't
build it. He had a friend built the loft that
we slept in. But I got a job down at
his lordships in the Marena wearing a little tu two
you know, waitressing, but wearing a tutu in a little

push up bra and a little cap, you know, an
apron like a servant. And I did that for a
long time. You know. I learned how to make jewelry
and belly dance. I took belly dance lesson. Sorry, what
was the sixties? You know it was nineteen sixty nine.

Speaker 2 (47:15):
How'd you end up at Rolling Stone?

Speaker 3 (47:17):
Well, my friend Tory, the one friend I had that
loved Dylan and lived in the next room at a
single weird girl's dorm, said what are you doing with
your life? From? And you know, what are you doing?
She was getting married, So, you know, she initiated a

flurry of communication. She was on the ladder up in
the publishing world, and she later became, you know, she
was an agent in that segment of it, and she
became she had her own agency at the end of things.
But then she was working for a fellow named Alan Rinsler,
and he had just come to found Straight Arrow Books,

which was the book division of rolling Stone, and she said,
at least go be around it. You know, you wanted
to be in that world. Just go and talk to
Alan and see if he's got anything for you to
do in the office. So I did. I borrowed David's car,
and I went across the water, you know, across the
Bay Bridge, and parked the car on Third Street. Because

rolling Stone was in this industrial area. I don't know
what it is now, but it was in this brick
you know, it had been some kind of factory or something.
It was so cool. And I went up there and
I walked out. Oh no, Alan said, I'll set up
a meeting with Yawn Winner. Why don't you try writing?
Have you ever thought of that? Tory said, you were

a good writer. So that's how it happened. I mean
that happens in life, right, It's not how it goes.
But then when you get the chance, you have to
be able to produce. That's what happened in time. You
have to be half the goods as it were, you know,
or have somebody at least put up with you until
you proved you had the goods. So I went back

to Berkeley, and you know, and I made a box
to go into this. I made a box with all
my life in it, you know, my my Marvel comic books,
my magazine that I edited, the literary magazine from Brown
that I had a story and all that kind of thing,

and some cookies, and I sent it to Yan. Did
I send it or drop it off or something? Anyway,
I went in there to talk to y on winter
and I left with an assignment. You know, I left
with an assignment.

Speaker 2 (49:47):
Well, you know it's in the book. Did he just
spontaneously say write something? Or did you have to convince them?

Speaker 3 (49:54):
No? No, no, he said he. I don't know. I
think he was very impressed with the Brown thing. See,
my parents were right. He was impressed. You know, he
sort of got this prep school lockjaw tone when he
spoke about it, very eastern sort of thing that you

could see that he was impressed by that. So I
think that got his attention. I don't think he cared
about the box very much. And I don't think he
cared about my long legs very much either. I mean,
he came out later as gay, and so he just didn't.
You know, he didn't approach me that way. You know,

he didn't have any I didn't get a feeling that
he looked at me as a female, which was fine.
I wasn't that super aware of that sort of thing anyway.
But anyway, I left. I left with an assignment because
he said, you should write. Can you write something about
Marvel Comics? I always said, what was it like to

work at Marvel Comics? That's what he said, because that
was in the box. That's how it started. He said,
what was it like to work at Marvel Comics? So
I said, I don't know. They were kind of square,
you know. Whatever I said was interesting enough to him
or funny enough that he thought, okay, you know, because

he could see that I had been a writer and
that I had been an editor and all this sort
of thing. And I guess Alan and Rinsler told him
that I was a good writer at Brown and so
I left with an assignment, and I was just I
couldn't believe it. You know. I drove home. I get home,
David's there with this friend of his that's legally blind

was his name. He's dead now too. But and this
girl who didn't speak she was so stoned. The whole
room was like full of you know, pot smoke. It
was just like this cloud of pot smoke walking into
the room. I was so excited to have this assignment.
It was just like a amazing to me. But it
was uncool to show any evidence of excitement. Do you understand?

Absolutely it was not done to get to get an assignment.
These people were just cooler than that or something. You know,
work was not valued.

Speaker 2 (52:23):
You write this piece, it takes a long time to
come out. Then you go to New Mexico to talk
to David Hopper about the last David. Of course it's Dennis.
That's the first thing that I remember reading that you wrote.
So Hopper had just come off Easy Rider, he had

Free Reign. Ultimately, the last movie was a disaster. No
one knew what he was doing. Now there you go
down to New Mexico and have an adventure, tell us
about that, and you.

Speaker 3 (53:00):
Know it's a cult. It's a big cult movie. Now
the last pictures I've ever seen a movie? No, I
haven't either, No, and I didn't dig at me. You know,
it was just well, if I had done another piece
before that, I went and did a piece about the
bee gees of just a little tiny piece. But this
was my first assignment to get on a plane with

Annie Leebervit. She was just starting off there the same
as me, but a different type than me, well.

Speaker 2 (53:31):
Just a little bit slower because you go into the
How would you describe her type?

Speaker 3 (53:36):
Oh, well, you know, she was an army brat. She
was six feet tall. She wore like size eleven boots.
She sort of strode through life very singular. But as
an army brat, I think she was used to being
in different situations. She didn't need to please anyone. She

was just very unto herself, very contained. That was my
experience of her. And I was just like probably needy,
you know, emotional or just not not even emotional, just unexpressive, uptight, scared,
But she was much more at ease. But I endured

this very uncomfortable scene at Hopper's house. I was and
I'd been in that sort of scene before where I
was with a lot of really hip people and scared,
mute practically, but bearing it just curious, and in this

instance I was going to gain something from it because
I was going to write about it. So I had
my tape recorder Oh, it's one of those, he said,
you know, and then he started really he was so stoned.
I don't know what he was taking. They were passing
run some sort of bag full of ground up mushrooms.
You know. Everybody was just completely stoned. It was it

was Kit Carson's movie and Larry Schiller. You know those guys, right,
So that's who They were doing a documentary about Dennis
Hopper's making of the Last movie. And Dennis Hopper was
just really boring and boorish and and I've never really

been around a Hollywood scene, and it was ugly and scary,
and it was actually got so uncomfortable. What was it?
I got so uncomfortable with it? Oh, I know that
Dennis Hopper. And and immensuacious is that the word? You know,

the guy that kind of looked after him. They were
just so cruel to this one guy who was down
there was a junket, so there was all the cream
of the underground press, but its representative Rolling Stone. I
was like the cream de la creme, you know, And
I just wished to witness an act of cruelty that

they just were mean to this. I guess it was
a pr guy about his girlfriend, and they did this
joke in front of all the journalists, you know, like,
can I ask you a favor? I just was wondering,
Bill or whatever the kid's name was, if you would
mind leaving your secretary girlfriend with me for the night.

And he didn't know what to say, and he said,
I don't know where is she? And he and Dennis
Hopper said she's out there in her car getting her things.
It was a done deal, you see, And so everyone
laughed and I freaked out and I went out into
the desert. I don't know how I thought I was

going to get home, because he had he lived in
free To Dodge's house. Isn't it the person and Mabel
Dodge Freedom, Well, it was d H. Lawrence's house. That's
where he lived when he lived in New Mexico with
free To Dodge, Mabel Dodge something and so, you know,

and as a literature major, I was just like really
taken with that. But it was the opposite of that,
or maybe it was like that. I don't know, But anyway,
I was in the middle of nowhere and I went
out into the desert at night, and Kit Carson followed
me and he gave me a ride back to the motel.
Annie had already left because she was smart. She could

see she didn't have to do anything else. She'd already
got her pictures. Although Larry Shuley was critical of her
picture taking in that instance, she was just starting off
in her career. But so she shared a motel room.
She was back to the motel room. So he gave
me a ride, and I just wrote about it. I

wrote exactly what happened all of that that I've just
told you and more, because you know, the pieces were
you paid by the word, and they were from five
thousand to ten thousand words, so you could get some money,
you know, because it was ten cents a word. My
price went up from five cents to ten cents a word.
At that point, maybe you'd have a thousand dollars. But

I never had that much money at once, so that
was really something.

Speaker 2 (58:23):
Okay, a couple of things. Did you live off the
money you were making from Rolling Stone? Was it enough?

Speaker 3 (58:28):
Oh? Yeah, you didn't need anything? Then? Remember and I
broke up with my boyfriend David. I left, and it
got a little room up in the hills in somebody's
house to other people, you know, it wasn't hippie commune
or anything. We just shared this really nice house, a funky, funky,

funky house on a stream above the campus on tamil
Pias Road. Really beautiful, I mean, in my room was beautiful.
And up in that room, Kit Carson, who took me
home that night, you know who took me back to
the motel that night and dropped me off. He became
a friend, and he was at Joan Didion's house in

Malibu and he called me. He said, I have someone
here who read your piece on Dennis Hopper and she
wanted you to know how much she liked it. And
you know, I had June Didions all, you know, I
had her books, and it was just that was the
most wonderful thing that ever happened to me. Really, that

and that in the sopranos, right at the highlights.

Speaker 2 (59:37):
But your pieces were a little different from the standard
fear and that you weren't sick a fantic, You were
somewhat from a distance. You weren't buying into the bs.
Would that be an accurate description.

Speaker 3 (59:54):
Yeah, Irony, you know, to be an ironist, I called
it alienating. But isn't the writer always outside of things?
Looking in always, you know, an observer. And so it's
more that I was that kind of person. I was
raised that way. You know. We didn't we didn't speak.

We watched, we watched it, We took it all in.
You know. I was an observer. I was an observer
and so and it's not pleasant to be that person.
You want to be part of things. I mean, that's
the thing is Annie could really be part of things
much later, to her detriment, because she became she went
on the bus, if you know what I mean, And

she came out of it okay, but for a while
there she was lost in it. I could. I always
had to be apart from it, and that was my thing.
You know. Leon Winner and his book, you know, he
had that book come out a while ago. Was it
a memoir? I think it was, yeah, And I wasn't

going to buy it, but I looked in the index.
I wasn't, but he mentioned me twice, so I bought it,
you know, and he called me relentless. So I guess
that's what I was. You know.

Speaker 2 (01:01:19):
So, what are a couple of other things you wrote
for Rolling Stone?

Speaker 3 (01:01:24):
Well, the Marvel piece became a cover that was a
good piece, and I wrote, Uh, I just flew out
of my head. Oh, I wrote, you know, I was
in a book called the Mind Fuckers, along with the
piece of David Felton and David Dalton's they wrote pieces
on mel Lyman, uh and these gurus, you know, mel

Lyman and Manson. But I wrote the you know, comic relief,
ironic funny stuff, you know about Victor Bronco, who's like
the Colonel Sanders of the Commune me I think that's
what we called him. And so that was collected in
a book called mind Fuckers, published by Straight or Oppress.
But of course nobody could buy a book called mind Fuckers,

and they disguised it on the cover with this kind
of German type, so you couldn't even read it. You know.
It's just like I know this guy out here now
called Bob Lipsite. I get his name confused with yours.
Do you know who he is. He's a sports the
sports guy. Yeah, yeah, the sports writer. He's out here.
It's Shelter Island, that's where I live now, and you know,
among other places. But he wrote a book with Dick

Gregory years ago called Nigger And yeah, now you know
I can't even I have to hide it when the
cleaning crew comes, you know what I mean, because I
don't want to like of Knox anyone. Actually, it's just
on the shelf. I don't think anyone notices it. I
finally took it out and said, fuck it. You know
that's what it's called them. But it's just you're not

even supposed to say that word. It pains me to
say it, so mind fuckers. Was that kind of bad mistake?

Speaker 2 (01:03:03):
You know?

Speaker 3 (01:03:03):
But I got a call from England just the other
day wanting to interview with me about that book. You know,
it still has a life because then after we came
out with that book, Jim Jones happened, and these these
scors were a precursor to that. So it didn't surprise

me at all. You know that Manson was pretty horrible,
but you know, the others were not nearly as odious.
And I did some other stuff too, but nothing. Oh,
I did Black Sabbath. You know, they just sick me
on things to be funny, and finally I did the
Kennedy story.

Speaker 2 (01:03:45):
Well, before you get there, were you part of the
roving club? Did you go into the office or were
you separate?

Speaker 3 (01:03:52):
M you know, at one point, no, it was separate.
But at one point Johan and that's why, you know,
he he just wasn't sexist at all. He wanted me
there and he he invited me to come to the
editorial meeting, which was all those men, and he set

up a desk and he brought the lamp himself, right,
you know, outside of this, you know, in the in
the bullpen with the secretary and stuff. But you know,
I didn't have my own cubicle. And I mean David
Felton was, you know, an editor there, and he only
had a tiny cubicle. Nobody had these offices. Only Yahn
had and it wasn't even that fancy either. But so

I was there, but I didn't like it at the
editorial meeting. I didn't like it. I don't like the
table that exists in comedy in television. I just don't
like that jockeying for attention and haha stuff. I just
I wasn't going to make it in that context.

Speaker 2 (01:04:53):
Well, one of the other things you talk about was
the sexual element. There were people were married but sleeping
with other people. Was that the nature of Rolling Stone
or was it just the times?

Speaker 3 (01:05:06):
I think it was the Times, don't you Yeah, but
I'm talking to you. I don't know what were you doing. Look,
you know, Jan gave me from I thought he would
be my editor. You know, I don't know why I
thought that, because he had because he was the one
I talked to. But he gave me to David Felton

across the way. He introduced me, and that was pretty
much it. You know. But David Felton's family, his wife
was down in Los Angeles, and so I, you know,
I began to have a relationship, shall we say, with
David Felton. I was a single myself, and he didn't
seem to uh mind that he was cheating on this

family or he just they were very separate. It was
a very separate deal and I didn't really know than
how sort of you know, he had substance problems with
alcohol and stuff. I wasn't aware of that. I just
wasn't aware of it. So you know that that got

worse as time went on, and it did for a
lot of people that I knew at that point. I
was never for some reason, I'm just not that kind
of an addict. Drugs were just not you know. I
remember at one point in Mexico, I got a hold
of a hundred vallium and I took them, you know,
week after week. You know, so I did. I like Valium.

Thank goodness, nobody offered me heroin. I probably would have
loved it. But I just wasn't that cool. I just wasn't.
I wasn't really that. I wasn't that cool. I was
I was, you know, valium cool.

Speaker 2 (01:06:52):
Okay, it ends Rolling Stone with the Kennedy story. Tell
us that story.

Speaker 3 (01:06:58):
I guess it was Yon's idea that I should go
and interview the children of Robert Kennedy. I don't think
he said much more than that, but he wanted the Kennedys,
you know, And if I had written this story, he
wouldn't have been able to be friends with Jackie. So
but it wasn't her kids. It was the other kids.
But even still, you know, so I left the younger
ones alone. I figured, you know, you can't be going

after you know, elementary school children, but the ones in college,
in the ones of college age, I did pursue. I
don't even know what the idea was. I guess you wren't.
And why he would send me, of all people, because
of course I was going to find out like if
they were you know, drugiaes or you know, I was
going to get the dirt on them. They didn't particularly well.

Joe actually Joe was a kid, Joe, right, the one
who was in the accident that killed the girl. He
was willing to be interviewed. And we met in San Francisco,
and I knew it would be nervous, so I would.
I had a tape recorder in my pocket book, and
we went for a long walk all over in the

hills of San Francisco, and we got to the marina
and he turned to me and he said, do you sail?
It was just it was perfect, you know, do I sail?
You know, I have like fifty dollars you know, out sale.
But that's who they were. They were, you know, very

privileged kids ran amok in that place that they have
on the is it the vineyard?

Speaker 2 (01:08:32):

Speaker 3 (01:08:33):
No, in the cape.

Speaker 2 (01:08:34):
Hyanna's port was where.

Speaker 3 (01:08:36):
Uh, Hyena's port, right, that's where the house was. You know.
They kind of ran wild around there. And then I
got home, of course, and I was going to transcribe
the tape, because that's what I did. I transcribed the
tapes and I used things pretty much verbatim that I
got from those tapes. But the tape was all traffic

noise in the pounding against my leg of so I
don't have it. All I remember is that he said,
do you sail? And it was kind of opaque as
a human being. And then I went to Harvard where
the girl was what's her name, Catherine, Catherine, I guess, yeah,

and yeah, Catherine Kennedy. And I waited her, you know,
I accosted her in her dorm room hallway. It was
so obnoxious. Oh god, I just cringe. And she was
this patient she could be, and she finally said, look,
I just can't do this, and she took me into
her room. I forget. I just it was never really
prepared very much for interviews. I just wanted to, you know,
see what happened. I was kind of a slob, and so,

you know, I just that was my m O. I
just experienced, had the experience, and then I wrote about it.
I wasn't a slab, that was what I did. And
you know, I was kind of disarming, so people would
just blab and that's that would be my modus OPERENDI
but that it just seemed so kind of harm lesson
at shy or something. So anyway, she got rid of me,

and then I I cost it. I waited for Robert
Kennedy Jr. Outside his dorm room. Now Robert Kennedy Junr.
Is the one who's running for president.

Speaker 2 (01:10:16):
I know we're going to get to that.

Speaker 3 (01:10:18):
I cannot believe it. It's just who he became is so bizarre.
That skin and that stutter or something. I don't know
what happened to him. He just is like calcified in
some way. He was just this like really handsome, tall
hippie kid with long hair and jeans. And it was

and here I was a writer for Rolling Stone, like
you saw in Almost Famous, you know, kind of this
loose girl with a short skirt. I don't remember what
I was wearing, but probably something like that. I mean,
my nickname it Marvel Comics was Legs, So you can
kind of imagine what my feature, best feature was in
those days. But we went down. He said, I have

to meet a guy for you know, then we can talk.
And so we went down to right off Harvard Square
in front of the Hazen's Diner, to that corner there,
and he scored some die lauded, which is you know,
I had an operation recently and it gave me some

of that stuff. It's very heavy. I don't know why
anyone would take it recreationally, but people like that stuff.
So we went back to his dorm room and he
had this waterbed on the floor, and he had the
bust of his father on the credenza, and he had

falconry equipment on the wall. That's falconry equipment. What's that
falconry equipment? You know what? Who? And so naturally I
ended up spending the night and and this is really
my I mean, my husband doesn't like any of the

stuff about what happened when I was on the loose
because I spent like five days with David Cassidy touring
in New York and in Wayne and Maine, Lewiston, Maine,
was at someplace in Maine. You know, it was just
on my own. Nothing happened with David Cassidy. But maybe

it happened with somebody else there, but maybe a roadie
or something. But my husband really doesn't like this part
of the book. It doesn't want to know about this stuff.

Speaker 2 (01:12:49):
Okay, but let's let's let's zero what you did have
sex with RFK Junior. I did, Okay, what was going
through your mind?

Speaker 3 (01:13:07):
What do you mean?

Speaker 2 (01:13:08):
I mean you're in a situation. Okay, yeah, and you
know that on one hand, you're in this situation, haven't urged,
but you also established you're an observer and you know
this is compromising, So there's a choice involved. You're an
intelligent person. You can't see so well, I don't know.
It just happened, yeah, kind of happened. But you were thinking.

Speaker 3 (01:13:32):
Now, I think that it was I frankly think in
hindsight and even maybe at the time it was journalistic
instinct that I would learn something about this clan and
I did.

Speaker 2 (01:13:47):
Okay, But you did something, Okay, so then it's over.

Speaker 3 (01:13:53):
Do you I learned the source? I think of their
of their general uh self, you know, confidence and cockiness,
So what is it? Giant? You know? Remember this one
person anyway? Just you know, you know what they say
about Pete Davidson. I can't say it, you know, okay, okay,

but I did the article, but maybe I don't even
know if I did.

Speaker 2 (01:14:21):
You know, But did you see this as all? Because
ultimately it does become an issue? You see this as
all is a great story, but this is going to
fuck up the article.

Speaker 3 (01:14:32):
You know. It wasn't just that. It wasn't just that
it was everything that I had to say about those children,
about the drug taking. It was assassin job. I didn't
want to expose the that tragic family and these young people,

these college aged people, to that kind of notice. It
was really because I couldn't I have written about that.
Maybe I did it so that I couldn't write about it.
Maybe I did subconsciously. It's possible, but I don't think
I was thinking that far ahead.

Speaker 2 (01:15:09):
But whatever happens there that ends up ending your tenure
Rolling Stone. So why don't you tell us that?

Speaker 3 (01:15:17):
Well, I didn't write the story because I couldn't write
the story without telling that. Right, Well, if I'm so honest,
you know, if i'm you know, and that's what I think.
I wanted the book to be honest, and it was
for the most part. And there were things that I
left out to protect myself, but not much, not much,

but something some persons, just one big thing about me
that I didn't want to talk is no, it is,
It isn't it was. It was just because it was
the reason that Annie. Annie didn't like it didn't like
me because of it. But it just really that I

had nose job when I was sixteen, And you know,
I always thought I would write about it, because I
didn't put it in the book because I didn't want
because I was ashamed. I mean, now I'm telling you said,
you go deep, this is it. Okay, that's it.

Speaker 2 (01:16:20):
Okay, As I say, I'm glad you told me, because
one's imagined it should much wilder than that.

Speaker 3 (01:16:28):
No, No, it's really just it really is just that
I was ashamed that. You know, my parents, they just
was afraid that I looked like my father, do you
know what I mean? My mother had this little nose.
She was a model, you know, a fashion model and
beautiful and beautiful, hungarian, little nose, straight nose, and I

had my father's nose.

Speaker 2 (01:16:52):
You know.

Speaker 3 (01:16:52):
It wasn't like Lilian's Hellman's nose anything, or Annie's nose,
you know. But when Annie heard that, maybe she even
asked me, she just lost respect for me, and it
was fairly painful, and I didn't want to. I didn't
put that in the book, and I felt.

Speaker 2 (01:17:11):
How old were you when you had your nose jobs?

Speaker 3 (01:17:13):
Sixteen? I just turned seventeen.

Speaker 2 (01:17:16):
Did it change your life at all?

Speaker 3 (01:17:18):
Probably? I think that who knows what would have happened
if I had to suffer that note. Maybe I would
have stayed in Providence and been a real writer, a
fiction writer. Maybe I would have been really great. Do
you know what I mean? Maybe?

Speaker 2 (01:17:33):
Yeah, I know what you mean. But at this point,
you know, I guess that you know. Now we live
in the era of ozembic and you see these women
who've lost a very significant amount of weight on TikTok
and they say, you know, some express all this confidence,
and people say they get plastic surgery for self confidence whatever. Well,
people treat them differently. Did you find that people treat them?

Speaker 3 (01:17:56):
Yes? Absolutely, yes, I wanted you know, the doctor of
my parents, who had no money, took me down to
New York City and I had the most expensive nose
job you could possibly buy, because they wanted it to
be really good. And so was doctor ALFREDX, who invented
the Afch method, and he had an office on Park
Avenue and Australia Austrian accent, I guess our German as angels,

tell me, why do you want to have this operation?
He said? A sixteen year old girl, and I said
I want to be pretty, you know. I mean if
I had said I want to be an axe morder,
he probably would have also done it. You know, I
just looked kind of a thing is that It's like, well,
don't you think you're pretty? You're perfectly I mean, any

any mother or anybody, you know, anybody would say, well,
you're beautiful the way you are. Isn't that what people
say now, you know? And so I'll never know what
I would have looked like, this is not my face.
And you're like Marlo Thomas, you know, God bless her whatever,

or you know that little nose doesn't change over time.
I mean, I'll go on about this for an hour.
You don't want me to, but it's a huge subject
for me, and I always thought I would write about it,
but I haven't.

Speaker 2 (01:19:12):
Wait. Wait, the huge subject is the nose job or
cosmetic surgery.

Speaker 3 (01:19:17):
No, the nose job, cosmetic surgery. Who gives a ship?
I mean, you have a facelift, God bless you know.
It's just that when you go around fucking around with
something like your nose, you change your face to the
world and it's a damage that you can't undo. You
and you don't. You don't. I didn't grow into myself.

It was a way of escaping myself and my parents
and my father colluded, he didn't, you know. And they
did this in the advice of a friend of his,
theirs from New York City, you know who. He said,
Robin's so bright, but with that nose on her face,
you know, she, you know, that will really be a

hindrance for her. This radiologist, he was a doctor, you know,
from New York City, a friend of theirs that moved
to Providence, whose wife later committed suicide in the attic,
you know, And because he was having an affair with
you know. I mean, this is the person that my
parents listened to. I didn't have like Annie had a
spine enough, because I did. I wanted to be pretty.

I wanted to look like Natalie, would you know?

Speaker 2 (01:20:29):
Okay, So just to be clear, the motivation for the
nose job came from you or came from your parents.
And if you could snap your fingers now, would you
or would you have not gotten a nose job?

Speaker 3 (01:20:44):
I think that's an impossible question to answer, really, but no,
I wouldn't have if I had it to do over again. No,
because I don't. I see pictures of myself and I
feel like tender towards that person. She I don't look
that bad. I don't think. I don't know I should.
I have the pictures, I have my medical pictures. I
don't have any straight ant on. I don't have frontal pictures,

so I can't age them, which I would love to do.
It probably look like you, you know, I would look
more like what I was supposed to look like or something.
I just think I did that girl a disservice.

Speaker 2 (01:21:23):
Okay, just staying on something you said with your husband
disapproving of you commenting about your prior life, especially involving
sexual activity. Yeah, this is not the nineteen fifties. Never
mind the nineteen forties. We all have a sexual past.
Everybody we've been involved with has had multiple partners. Except

for one person. Everybody who I've had a relationship with
had an abortion. I mean, this is in all our histories.
Why do you think he is anxious about it?

Speaker 3 (01:22:05):
I just don't think he finds it very admirable that
I that I was so loose, or he just doesn't
like to hear about it, and he didn't like it
to be so public and he he had. He aside
from that, is not that engaged in the book, has

never said about the writing or anything like that. Nothing.

Speaker 2 (01:22:37):
You've expressed numerous times your Jewish background. Your husband is
not Jewish. Do you think a Jewish guy would react differently.

Speaker 3 (01:22:48):
I have no idea. I don't know. That's you know,
this is yeah maybe maybe, I don't know. I don't know.
David was my Jewish guy, and he was really only
half Jewish, the other half was Portuguese.

Speaker 2 (01:23:07):
So you had you know, you're someone who has had boyfriends,
so all of your boyfriends were not Jewish, or just
certain ones were and certain ones weren't.

Speaker 3 (01:23:19):
Well, David was my Jewish boyfriend. There was a pharmacist's son,
Albert Toadman, who liked me at high school, who I
could have had a future with as a pharmacist wife.
He was Jewish, Albert Toba. But I didn't have that
many boyfriends.

Speaker 2 (01:23:37):
I'm just talking. I'm not quantifying. It's just you referenced
certain people. But didn't you get the message from the
moment you grew up the how to marry a Jewish boy?

Speaker 3 (01:23:47):
Oh? Sure, well, you're not supposed to go outside the tribe.

Speaker 2 (01:23:52):
Okay, but let's put a bow on it. How does it?

Speaker 3 (01:23:55):
You know, I mean, Mitch is very who was an
odd choice for me off the you know, just off
from left field, you know, a Catholic working you know,
the father was a factory worker. But with whole backstory.
But you know what was I going to say? Just oh,

I know, and it's just a stupid story. My mother
and I was telling you before about how we were
all in like the ponds in their game and this
kind of race to succeed. My mother was walking in
Providence down to Wayland Square and she ran into the
woman who said, and this was like in the nineties,

maybe it was in the thousands, actually in the early
two thousands, and Robin never married, did she? The woman said,
And my mother said, well, actually she just got married
last week, because I'm married. I married Mitch much much later,
you know, I married I knew I met him in
seventy seven or seventy six, I think maybe seventy six,

and we married in two thousand and two or three.

Speaker 2 (01:25:13):
Okay, there's a lot of stuff going there, but we
got a time. Sorry, we'll get back to it. But
how does it end with Yan and rolling stone.

Speaker 3 (01:25:22):
Oh, well, he was pissed off. You know. I didn't
whack up much expenses, but there were some expenses, but
nothing like one Hunter was or anything like that. But
he wanted the piece. He wanted a piece. And we
were in Israel. Jan was there with Max Polewski, who

was dedicating a wing of the museum to his parents.
Max was one of the people who funded the magazine
at some point, wealthy and made money in computers early on.
And we were at this nightclub. I slip with you
on too, you know, so.

Speaker 2 (01:26:05):
But so.

Speaker 3 (01:26:07):
Or at this nightclub we went outside for a smoke
and he said, are you going to give me the
piece on the Kennedy's And I said, no, I guess not.
I guess I'm not going to, you know. And he said, well,
I'm going to have to take you off the masthead And
I said, okay, I mean I was ready to move on.
You know, that's how I move on. I've noticed that

pattern in my life. I don't I usually get fired.
I've been fired most time, you know, like three or four,
three times that I can remember at the moment I
get fired.

Speaker 2 (01:26:40):
Okay, So then you go to the Iowa Writers'.

Speaker 3 (01:26:42):
Workshop, well, I devolved a little, you know, I wrote
for different magazines. I hung around Berkeley for a couple
of years after that, and I wrote an article for
Rolling Stone after that. He you know, he would let
me write for them. He just took me off the
mast head. It was like the sergeant losing his stripes
or something. But I wrote, you know, a piece on

nitrous oxide that I just loved doing, and some other things.
And I wrote for other magazines too, you know, and
all that. But my personal life, you know, I was
alone in the world. David had married, and David felt
in my married lover, you know, that ended, and so

I went to Ioway. It sounded cushy, you know, and
it was also where I felt safe last. I felt
good in college in a way work wise, do you
know what I mean. It's a you know, just to
go and read books. It's a good thing to do.
So I started my life again. And when I met Mitch,
I was his teacher. He was just out of the
Vietnam War, and you know, he didn't go to the war,

but he was in the army and the gi Bill
and he came to my class and that's how I
met him. In nineteen I think seventy six.

Speaker 2 (01:27:56):
Okay, But going to the Iowa Writer's Workshop good or bad?

Speaker 3 (01:28:02):
Oh? Good? Because because because I could start my life
there again. I could start my life there again. That's
all I mean. It was just a wonderful place to be.
And you know, you know that there once was an

ugly duckling with feathers all something in brown blah blah blah,
and it's a swan. You know. I loved that movie.
And I loved being around writers because then I did belong.

Speaker 2 (01:28:37):
You know.

Speaker 3 (01:28:38):
It wasn't like being at Pembroke, where I didn't belong
with all those blonde girls. At Iowa, everyone was fucked
up or everyone was a writer. Everyone wanted to be
a writer, so there was a commonality and a basis
for conversation and hanging out and having you know, deep,
deep kind of fun.

Speaker 2 (01:29:00):
You know, did you see The Girls arc about Can
I guess the character's name was going to the Iowa
Writer's Workshop?

Speaker 3 (01:29:13):
Oh? In The Girls? I guess, so yeah, I don't
know if I don't remember.

Speaker 2 (01:29:17):
I mean, you go to the Iowa Writer's Workshop. It
is probably the most difficult writing program to get into.
And there's a lot of the tearing a part of
one's writing, and you end up with a certain style
in many cases, which is not my favorite, where it's
all about rewriting in the sense become very dense as

to the paragraph. You know, you'd already had a history writing.
Did you feel any constriction, feeling like you were shoehorned
into a style you may not have liked?

Speaker 3 (01:29:49):
No, not at all. No I I no I.

Speaker 2 (01:29:55):
You know.

Speaker 3 (01:29:58):
John Hawks was my teacher, and he actually had to
pull a string to get me into Iowa because Alan
Ganis thought my writing was thin. I heard later, But
you know I rose there too. I became a teaching
writing fellow. No. I wrote very conventional short stories, and

I wrote just enough to get my MFA. I wasn't
going to be a writer. I wasn't going to be
that kind of writer. No, But you know, and there
were teachers who were much more avant garde, like Riiseland Drexler,
and they made fun of more conventional things. Not my stuff,
but this guy, John Folsey's stuff. He wrote a conventional

short story, which was the only thing. And now they
published constantly in The New Yorker and everywhere else in books.
But then to get something in the New York was huge,
and John Falsey got something in the New Yorker and
that's what brought him out to Hollywood. And he's the
one who hired me in television years later. So I
defended his short story in class against that kind of

intrusion because I thought it was a really good short story.
It wasn't really good short story, good enough to get
into New Yorker and good enough to get him a
life in the Hollywood, you know, career.

Speaker 2 (01:31:25):
So you ultimately leave Iowa, you come to la and
once again you're doing the equivalent of like minimum wage jobs.

Speaker 3 (01:31:34):
Yeah, what else was going to do? I didn't have
any money. I went with Mitch again with a man.
Didn't want to go by myself, you know, And yeah
we got we didn't have any money. We had thirteen
hundred dollars, I said, saved my money. I worked in
a hospital in Iowa. I mean, even after Rolling Stone,

I was waitressing mid you know, graveyard shift at the
Copper Penny on University Avenue. But I didn't mind. I
didn't mind.

Speaker 2 (01:32:09):
Well, I mean, men, you know, if you listen to
Deborah tan And, who wrote a definitive book about all this.
You know, you just don't understand. Men tend to be
more linear ascensions. So if a man has a big
job and then, as you know, goes to a minimum
wage job, their ego is crushed. But that was not
your experience.

Speaker 3 (01:32:29):
No, because women aren't you know, especially my generation, we
weren't expected. Nothing was expected of us, nothing to shut up,
you know. But men were trained to They had to
have the job and they had to support the family.
And that's what a man did. So sure, you can't
be fucking around. You got to go get a career.

Speaker 2 (01:32:52):
Okay, how do you ultimately get a job in television?

Speaker 3 (01:32:58):
Well, there were people that really sue it directly and
this is their passion, and they write tempt they write
spec scripts, and they go after it and they trust,
you know, they work, and they get a job working
on a show as a secretary or something like that,
an assistant, and they worked their way. I just fell
into it the same way I fell into Rolling Stone.

John Folsey from Iowa had just created a show. I
was writing. I was made this friend in la I
was writing. You know, I had a job as a
I finally got a job working for Harold Hayes, the
great Esquire editor, a brilliant, wonderful, fantastic man, and he

gave me. He took me in. You know, he liked
something I wrote. I wrote him something as a kind
of calling card, and they put it in the magazine
and he hired me. It gave me a column. So
I was working there as an editor at California Magazine
and my friend Ruth Reischel took me in and she
was the restaurant reviewer at the La Times, and she

knew that I was a good writer because a friend
of mine told her that, and she hired me to
be a second string restaurant reviewer. So John Folsey, that
I had known at Iowa, this is like seven or
eight years after Mitch and I went to La he
read one of my restaurant reviews told his partner in writing,

Joshua Brand, she'd be good to write for our show.
She's a really good writer because it was a show
that was well, it was a show about a family
who was that kind of conventional family story writing that
I like to do. And so so it was because
of that restaurant review that he brought me in and

had josh meet me and They gave me a chance
to write episode one of a show called Year in
the Life with Richard Kylie and Sarah Jessica Parker at
sixty years old, and you know, even Mary's sat was
in the she was in the miniseries that won an Emmy.
It was really, you know, the beginning of a kind
of quality television. And so I got to I got

to write the first episode of when it went to series,
and it was terrible, and uh, John said, I know
to Josh, I know she can do it. And they
had me in and they said, we want updike. That's
what we want the tone. And because I had a

literature background, I knew what updyke was. Do you know
what I mean? I knew, I understand what they were
asking of me. And so I was able to deliver
an updike in with with that kind of humor. I
gave them some dyke and ship and it was episode
one a Year in the Life. And then I worked
from then on. I went from you know Josh and John.

Speaker 2 (01:35:55):

Speaker 3 (01:35:56):
John particularly was like, do you believe how much money?
Or he was very I mean, I had a nice
life without the money, you know, I had a nice
little apartment and I had split up at that point
for a while, but for years, but I had a
nice little apartment. I loved my job with Harold Hayes,
although he died and so then it became problematic. But

the magazine became an unhappy place to be, or maybe
he was fired before he died. But but I was
happy in my life, you know, at forty thousand dollars
a year. But going from that to the kind of
television money was a big, you know, big leap. I
was forty forty years old by that, you know, and

so you know, that was the beginning of the life
that I have now.

Speaker 2 (01:36:49):
So where did it go? From that show?

Speaker 3 (01:36:53):
I was a year in the life was canceled after
a year because the Networks was so stupid. They had
they had a that was a winner, but it only
lasted a year to replace it. I went from there to, oh,
David Chase had a show called Almost Grown about music,

and so I went and interviewed with David. And it
was during the strike, and we had lunch and a
Ventura Boulevard, you know, I was at this restaurant of
Ventura Boulevard and David walks in and I think, oh fuck,
he's like the most miserable looking person I've ever seen

in my life, just so dour and oh Jesus. And
I'm sitting there and there's no place to run, and
he comes and he sits with me, and within ten
minutes we were laughing so hard we had tears streaming
down our cheeks. He was just like, so funny and
so smart. It's just wonderful. So I went to work
for him, and that show was canceled after fourteen episodes,

but god, it was fun. You know, It's with Tim
Daly and Eve Gordon, and it had musical cues. David
was really into music. I mean, have you talked to
him at all, He's not so into music. Music is
such a big part of what he does all of
the show, well sopranos, especially practical music. He likes to

put practical music. It isn't like scores. So this was
a show where musical cues brought this couple who was
divorcing back to certain periods in their lives, and so
you would go back into that period in the film,
you know, flashbacks cued by music that was playing on
the radio or wherever the music was playing. The character

would start thinking about that time, and so you would
have a whole plot at that time when they were
happy maybe or stuff that happened back then with Eve
and I can't remember the character's names, but Tim, Daly
and Gordon, and then you would be back at the present,
and that experience of going back with somehow inform on

the present. It was a really good show. It's such
a wonderful experience to work with him, to work with
David and you know, and in his interviews he does
say that it was a conversation we had that had
a lot to do with his writing the Sopranos when
we when I worked on that show, we became friends.

Speaker 2 (01:39:27):
Be a specific conversation, Yeah.

Speaker 3 (01:39:30):
You know, his mother had come to visit him and
he and also in interviews he also says that his
wife has always told him he should write about his mother.
So but he told them just recently, they're doing a documentary.
Alex Gibney's doing a documentary for HBO, and he talked
to me and Mitch and he told me that David

had said that he referred to that conversation that we
had in the office. We had this great office and
a lot at universal, just me and this other guy
and David would come over and hang out and I
and his mother. He was complaining about his mother and
I said, it's just so amazing to me. I see
you take on these powerful men, these suits over in

the Black Tower over there, and you just reduce them
to you know, Gerbils and your mother. It just reduces
you to to like a little Gerbil. And it's just
it's such a dichotomy to me, just like it's you know.
And so that is a germ of what Tony Soprano is.
He had this gangster thing in the drawer, but it

was about a powerful man who had mother issues. I suppose,
you know, not mother issues so much just as a
looney mother, you know, difficult mother.

Speaker 2 (01:40:45):
Okay, so that show only last year? Then what next?

Speaker 3 (01:40:49):
Well then, because in their wisdom, CBS gave me my
own show. Here I am three years in the business,
so they paired me with and my agent was Elliot Webb.
You know who's the agent of Gary Trudeau. He was
like Sid Kibbets in the cartoon script. That's that's was Elliott.
He's still around somewhere, but Elliott. But I think, but

they paired me with Doug Kramer, who had you know,
he and Aaron Spelling did the Love Boat, and I'm like,
what am I doing with this guy? This is wrong,
this is bad. He's like, come on, it's your own show.
It's six in the summertime, it's a great opportunity, blah
blah blah. And it was just it was a disaster.
You know, Doug Kramer had a much different sensibility than

I did, and it just wasn't going to work. We did,
We made six of these things. I think it was
a short order like that for the summer and it
just was a disaster for various reasons.

Speaker 2 (01:41:50):
Did it every hear? Yeah?

Speaker 3 (01:41:52):
I did. My mother was like, what is this? What
happened here? This isn't You're not here anywhere in This
was awful, But there was one It just didn't work.
And so the good news was that at the same time,
Josh and John Folsey and Brand had created Northern Exposure

as a summer show for CBS another and that show
was going and because my show failed, I got to
go on that show with them to see what I mean,
you know, I had the six in the Summer that
was gone. They had a fall an order for you know,
the coming season, and so they hired me to go

on Northern Exposure and then I was there five years.
I was there longer than Josh and John. You know.
David Chase came on at one point when Josh and
John went off to do commercials and movies and stuff.
So that's really what happened to me. I mean, Northern
Exposure was real. It was wonderful. And then I was

having trouble at work and Mitch started we started seeing
each other again, or really we started working together a
little bit. I was having trouble and Mitch, you know,
was a really good writer, and I remembered that from
my days. He was my student. But I needed ideas.
I needed to come in with ideas, and Mitch had

three or I had two and I had one, but
they all want Emmy's, do you know what I mean?
They were really good ideas. It kind of saved my ass.
At Northern Exposure. We started writing together, me and Mitch,
and then of course one thing led to another. So
we did that for five years.

Speaker 2 (01:43:31):
Okay, that show, David Chase took over the lead character changed.
You were there in both halves. Yeah, it was very
different as if you were. What was it like working
for the show David?

Speaker 3 (01:43:45):
Well, David hated the show. He had been in another
Josh and John show called I'll Fly Away, you know,
very earnest civil rights drama with Sam Waterston, and he
thought that nor the exposure was just awful. What are
you saying that the characters parcticularly come out of the
TV said it lick your face? You know? How was

David's humor? But he came on the show anyway because
it was his first really big payday. Frankly, I think
I think that's my sense of it, and I think
that's true. But you know, it's not unusual either. So
it came on the show and that's what happened, and
he wrecked as far as I was concerned. But I

don't know. We did some fun stuff even in the
last couple of years, so I didn't like it much.
That's kind of what happened in the Sopranos too. It
kind of ran out for me. I didn't really like
what it became.

Speaker 2 (01:44:42):
How did it change? And what didn't you like?

Speaker 3 (01:44:45):
What the Sopranos are? Yeah, well, you know, when I started,
Mitch and I were the first people brought on after
the pilot. You know, David call. We had been working
with him. He didn't know whether the show was going
to go, and we had been working with him at
his office, which was a garage of his house in

Santa Monica, and developing some other shows and talking. We
had read Sopranos. He had several drafts, one for the
one for the networks, and one for you know, the
not networks, and they were all they were all really
good and really wonderful. And so David made the pilot
for Sopranos, and and he aired the pilot. He paid

for the you know, the show. I think it was
on a Sony lot in Culver City, maybe, yeah, And
so he you know, he had food and the lobby
for you know, the Italian food, and every we all
went to the show and it was the pilot was wonderful,
it was great. Mitch and I were working at uh

Party of five, which was not a good match for us,
and David called one night and asked me and Mitch,
if the show went, if we'd come and work on it.
Because he knew us from Northern Exposure. He knew our
writing and work, and he knew me from his own show,
and so nothing happened. This was I think in the summertime,

and then in December, was right before Christmas vacation. We
were at work and we were getting notes from the
bosses at Party of Five, notes on a script that
we had written, and the secretary, which was which it
was called an assistant, opened the door and said, there's
a Tommy Soprano on the phone for you. That was

Tony's name before the network made him change it, or
maybe he anyway, he and the Amy and Chris, the
bosses said you know somebody like that, and they knew
from the name it was, and Mitch and I knew.
At that point we were saved that we were going
to get to go to New York and we're going
to do this show. And they let us go from

Party of Five because it was like we were going
into nowhere. We took a half pay cut to go
on the show. We did it for fun. We just
did it for fun. We just loved it, and we
went there. We made them. We wrote them all and
filled them all and cast them all, and David edited
them all and did the post before they aired. So

we had this like pure experience of just this experience
of doing something for fun. You know, it wasn't about
the money. It was just about the show, and everyone
felt that way. The crew used to wait for the
scripts to come out to read the scripts. This is
very unusual because they were so funny and so compelling

and so interesting. Something was happening, but we didn't. So
we get back and Elliott says to us, we get
back to LA because this is all in New York
and New Jersey. Elliott says, so, now you've had your
little artistic experience, you have to have to get a
real job. And so we did. We tried to get
a job, you know, all these soulless, miserable interviews, and

I don't think we took a job. I can't remember.
But the the thing aired in a basement, a sub basement.
There was our premiere in January, after the year that
we spent making it. It was just really June to January.
I guess it happens pretty fast television. In January, we

had the premiere in the sub basement of Tower Records
and Times Square. But you know, because Stevie van Zant
was there, Bruce Springsteen was there, so it had a
little Jewish going on a little buzz. It was exciting
to have a premier in New York and so we
watch it with people and they're coming out. We're in
the lobby, like you know, you see this about Broadway shows.

The people that are coming out. We invited friends to this.
We liked it so much, and they were beaming friends.
Ruth is one of them, My friend that gave me
the job in LA She was then working in New
York as the New York Times restaurant critic, editor of
Gourmet or something, but she did all that. But anyway,
they were beaming her and Michael and everyone was just like,

loved this show, you know, and we knew from that moment.
You know, we had our after party and John's pizza
around the corner. It was like freezy coal that we
slept around the corner and had pizza. It was very
it was very nothing, you know, it was just a
little little camp of us. You know, it was really something.

And then that was that after that, right.

Speaker 2 (01:49:40):
Okay, many series. The pilot is the first episode. What
happened with the pilot of the Sopranos, Well.

Speaker 3 (01:49:48):
That was the pilot that everyone saw on the Cellar.
No one had seen it at that point.

Speaker 2 (01:49:54):
Okay, so the pilot was the first episode.

Speaker 3 (01:49:57):
Oh yeah, and then Liz and I came on the
second episode and you know, stayed for six years.

Speaker 2 (01:50:04):
Okay, so at this point in time, Sex and the
City had launched, but that had it really blew up
after being after the Sopranos. Ultimately they'd had dream on
new series on cable, premium cable. We're in not really
a big deal. I remember getting an email from somebody saying,
you got to watch this show, and this is it

A and R guy in the music business, you know.
And I recorded it back in the VHS did when
I watched it when I woke up on a Saturday
at like eleven o'clock, and as soon as it started
off with the Alabama three track, It's like, wow, I'm
hooked here, right And then, you know, the first year
it was a big cult thing. You know, it grew

over time, so everywhere you went said, don't go to
the movies, watch the Sopranos. So what was the experience
like from the inside once it aired.

Speaker 3 (01:51:05):
Well, I mean it started at night in the basement.
You know, it was wonderful. What's happened the reviews were spectacular.
The one guy down in Florida, of course, I remember
that one. They didn't like it, but everyone else just
went nuts, you know that they called it. You know,

I can't I'm tired. I guess Ballzakian something compared it
to Ballsack or some shit. But it was wonderful. It
was just, you know, it was wonderful to love something
so much and have it responded to that way. We
were all having so much fun. And David said at dinner,

you know, we were out of dinner before it air,
and he said, if this doesn't work, that's it for me.
I'm out of television. He hated television. He wanted to
be a movie writer. So and we just we really
didn't know what was going to happen. And then that happened.
But I always say, if Colin Bine had happened or
shootings and that show had come out after that, people

would have been disgusted by the show. That it's so
much the Veltin Shop and it's so much what's going
on that people had that it came at a time
when it could be loved. I do believe that, I
do believe that if there had been that kind of
gun violence, you know, in January instead of April. It

would have been a much different experience for people.

Speaker 2 (01:52:37):
Now you and Mitch are listed as executive producers. Is
that from episode one?

Speaker 3 (01:52:43):
No, we started as I guess co executive producers. Yeah,
and then we we were in a situation where we
had to renew our contract I think every year, so
you know, part of that negotiat would be beside the money,
the title, you know, And then the negotiation wasn't going

well I guess in the third year, maybe the second year,
and we got a great offer NBC for a lot
of money, and so HBO had to match that price
and they did. You know, It's like a miracle. So
so it was like that, you know, it was just
was lucky and great. But mostly I have to tell

you that it was so much fun in that writing room.
It was fun when we read around the table, when
the actors would come in for every episode and sit
around the table. And the first episode, I guess it
was the second episode, you know, after the pilot, Lorraine
brack I said, look at us, We're all Italians. Because
everybody was Italian except for Nancy Marshawan and me and

Mitch you know, everyone was Italian. It was just it
was great fun.

Speaker 2 (01:53:57):
Okay, if David Chase came up with the idea, he
does the pilot, he brings you on board. Who comes
up with the ideas for every episode? How do you
decide who's going to write it? How involved are you
in the overall direction of the show or are you

just writing certain episodes.

Speaker 3 (01:54:20):
Well, it began with a bunch of There was me
and Mitch and a bunch of people in la We met, well,
Mitch and David and I met in a restaurant in
the beginning before the offices opened up that we could
all meet and and David was hiring writers, and he
hired you know, television writers and people who were around

to be at that table to see who could you know,
who could work in the room the whole thing. It
was in the editing suite of Oliver Stone's office in
Santa Monica. I forget he had just an Nixon or something.
And so we're back there and there's a lot of
us around the table. Frank runs Zuli, who Mitch calls

the mariner of the show because Frank had been you know,
I think is it Whitey Bulger was he the Boston guy.
But you know, Frank had been Spider, he had been
that person in the Social Club in Boston, so he
knew this world. And he's a crazy, fantastic writer. So
he was around the table and there were a bunch

of other writers, but it was me. It was just
a few of us that went to New York with David.
Frank couldn't go because he had four children in la
and he didn't want to leave. But it was me
and Mitch and a couple other writers. Not Terry Winter
didn't come on until later. I think Jason Cahill was
one of those original ones, and maybe there was another one.

But you sit in a room, you start at ten
in the morning. Lunch is brought in, really good lunches
because David really likes to eat. So it would be
like Viila Pacatta, you know, from the real Italian restaurant.
And in Queens there was nobody out there and Queen's
at that point, no buildings, nothing. The Silver Cup was
a bread factory and that's where we had our offices,

very modest to begin with and they became huge, but
we just you're in the writing room, you're on the
table and you're just David would have the arc of
the season on the board, you know, he had he
knew what the arc of that season was. That the
first season would concern the mother and the plot against him,

so we had that vague arc. But also each episode
had to stand alone, David would say, like a little movie.
So even though while you were serving the larger story
and put pushing things in that direction, you'd still have
to have a different episode every week, and you'd all

you'd all work to develop ideas, you know, from your
own experience, or you'd come up with ideas and pitch them.
But not like in a comedy room where you're talking
all the time and making jokes and jocking for attention.
This was more a lot of sitting or a lot

a lot of sitting around not talking. So when we
had somebody finally Matt Weiner came in and I think
the fourth or fifth year from comedy, he wouldn't shut
up because he was used to that kind of atmosphere.
But in our room, it was mostly sitting around until
somebody said something that triggered some other thought from some
other person. So it was a kind of organic creative process,

and this would be every day from ten until seven
in the room. You could go take a phone call
or something, but that was it, you know, you had
lunch at that table, and then at some point in
talking about an episode, you'd have your three stories. That
television is pretty much structured of A, B and C stories,

and each story has like a certain number of beats
in a more for HBO because there was no commercial,
so we had actually fifty three or sixty pages, so
say the A story would have twenty beats, beats meaning
scenes that would tell the story. And so you'd have
your story and you'd go to the board. David would

usually go to the board with a piece of chalk.
Is this what you're asking? Yes, yes, keep going this
is this is the creative process. And so David would
go to the board and he'd write down the beats
of the story. He was really good at especially once
you knew once like I could be specific about the

college story because that was just such a I just
remember that how that process when we came up with
the college and I think that that happened in La
who hadn't gone to New York yet when we did college. Yeah,
I think that's true. David had this idea that he
wanted to send Tony on a college tour because that's

a funny situation. Yeah, it was in LA. It's a
funny situation to begin with, to have a gangster going
to these you know, institutions of hire learning and all
that with his daughter. So, but you needed something to happen,
and you know, it couldn't just be that. There had
to be something had to happen. You know, it couldn't

just be driving around. I mean, you could get plenty
of humor out of that, but you don't have a story.
So Frank win Zouli said, Tony sees somebody that turned
a rat, who's you know, who's in the witness protection
program in New Hampshire. Boom, there's your story. Now you

have your story. That's it. See you get it. And
so once David knew and David said, you know, I yes,
I was, Yes, that's what I was thinking. But you know,
Frank is the one who said, because once somebody tells
you something like that, it may may have been in
your in the cloud up there, but that was it.

That was the story, that was like what was going
to happen, And the whole thing just fell in from there,
and David went to the board like I think right
then boom boo boom. He did all the beats of
the story. And then there was another story. There was
you know, what's her name? Carmela is at home with

a little boy and she has that flirtation with the priest.
So Mitch and I went home, and at home we
wrote the beats to that story separate, you know, because
we were going to do that. We did that story.
It was David and I forget the name of another
writer who didn't stay with the show, but he wrote
the show with that person, and it's decided just like

who's who's up, you know, it's like who's kind of
turned it is? Who suited to the story? I think
David would probably decide. He ran the show. It was
very hands on kind of guy. He worked so hard,
he was so good at it, and so Jim McManus,
that's who it was. So he and David wrote College

and that was the only show that HBO ever gave
us a note on. That's how great it was to
work with them, because you know, in the network somebody said,
it's like being pecked to death by ducks, you know,
they just pick it. Why does he do that?

Speaker 2 (02:01:32):
Why did they?

Speaker 3 (02:01:33):
Why does that nothing from HBO? They just they gave
all the money you wanted, and they gave permission. But
they didn't want Tony to kill this guy because that
was a big step for the star of the show
to go to commit murder. So David did it was
the only time, you know, it was the only note.

But David heard it, and he made a scene where
that the rat that Tony's going to kill almost gets
a beat on Tony to kill him. Do you know
what I mean, So that you know that this is
a dangerous guy who spotted Tony. So now Tony kind
of has no choice or something. You know. I can't

remember if Tony knew the guy was trying to kill him,
but the audience did. I can't remember that part. But
that's the process, you know. And and you know the
show where it wasn't the first year, but the show
where where Paulie and and as Michael Imperial is Christopher Peons. Yeah,

Pine Barrens there in the woods. You know, we held
that that episode for a year because it didn't find
the place in the season somehow. What was I going
to say about it. Oh, you know, we all broke
that story in the room, you know, so you could
sit there and now you know, you're sitting there with

these really funny people, really funny smart people, what fun
and you're trying to think what could happen out there
in the woods, you know, and you know, you know
Christopher loses a shoe and then he makes a sho
He's going to make a shoe out of a carpet.
But it's that kind of creative stuff where you go
like fiction writing, where you actually go into the scene,

you know, and you're there playing really seeing what's there,
what you can fuck around with, you know, and you
could do anything on that show. You know. I remember
when you know, when Ralphie killed the stripper. I remember
that process, you know, and that was like, we needed
a story where Ralphie has to do you know, we

had to get rid of you know, Ralfie was going
to die one way or the other, so he has
to do something just oh, I know, David didn't want
any like cuddly gangsters. He wanted these people to be shits,
you know. So so then you know, so somebody says, well,
Ralphie kills a dog, kills a stripper's dog, and we're like, no,

you can't. You can't be killing a dog on television,
just so you lose the audience with that. So Mick says, well,
what about if he kills the stripper. Oh, that's fine,
you know, you can kill the stripper. I mean, frankly,
I don't think in today's PC atmosphere, I don't know
if anything ever got out about the conversations in that room.

You know, there were no governors on any of our motors,
you know what I mean. Everyone got to play and
and and just be their worst. It's fun, you know.
It was funny because you could say anything, and but
you did edit yourself. You know, you didn't kill a dog,

although later we did kill a dog. And then House
of Cards or whatever that show was, they really killed
a dog. So I guess that tampoo went too.

Speaker 2 (02:04:58):
It's still a rough one. But let's stay with the
Pine Bearings, which was a phenomenal episode. Always bothered me
that the Russian never reappeared.

Speaker 3 (02:05:09):
The worst part about that episode was that at one
point the director, and I think it was Colder who
directed it, maybe not, I can't remember who directed it,
but he did a shot that was a point of
view from a tree looking down. Do you understand he
put a camera up looking down that gave the impression

that it was from the point of view of the
Russian and that the Russian had lived, which was just wrong.
It was just a really wrong. It really bumped. You know,
I'm not critical about much, but I remember thinking, this
is a mistake. He should not have stayed in the picture,
because it's kind of absurd to think that the guy
would reappear. You know, he was shot in the head.

Speaker 2 (02:05:56):
I say, that's what I think.

Speaker 3 (02:05:59):
It's hilarious show.

Speaker 2 (02:06:01):
Okay, So the episodes were pretty fleshed out before someone
went away and wrote them.

Speaker 3 (02:06:08):
Oh god, yes, you break them. You have okay, you
want to know what really happens. So there's like an
A story of B story, C story, sometimes a D story.
You take the beats, you type them up. Somebody types
them up right. Then she or he brings the type
of beats into the into the conference room where we

sit our entire lives away, and I take a scissor
me because I like to do this, I cut each
piece of paper so that now there are strips which
each other beats. So now I have to marry like
forty pieces of paper together in order, you know, to
make an arc, to make a shape of a story.

But I was good at that. I like to I'm
good at structure, do you know what I mean? And
everything was already done so, and then you have all
the little strips of paper arranged in the proper order,
you know, one, two, three, four by sixt seventy eight,
you know, like that, You take some scotch tape. This
is very technical, and you lay it over the pieces

of paper so that they're all, you know, together, and
then you can give them back to the assistant so
that he can type them up. And that's your outline, right,
very very it's.

Speaker 2 (02:07:26):
Pretty fleshed out before you write it.

Speaker 3 (02:07:28):
Oh completely, yes, But that's that's only half the story.
It still takes three weeks to do the script because
you have to think about how to serve the scene
that you've said is going to happen. In other words,
you know, you know what's you know what the point

of the scene is, but you don't know the dialogue.
You don't know what I mean, you know lots of
things about it, but you still have to write it.
Not being very articulate, but no, I get it.

Speaker 2 (02:08:03):
Okay, the writer's room are you are the people writing
scripts while the writer's room still takes place?

Speaker 3 (02:08:10):
Or yes, you take your outline and you go home,
and then after you finish the script, you go with
your script. Well, Mitch and I would split up and
he would one of us would stay in the room,
but one of us would would participate in costume in

all of the meetings that go with each episode. You
meet with costumes, you meet with, set design, you meet with.
Casting is like huge. It takes a lot of time
and it's the most fun probably of anything on earth.
So you cast your show and David is there through
it all. So when something important is going on, like

those meetings, he will leave the story room and go
and participate in the meeting with the writer and you know,
the chief of that department, whatever the department is, like costumes,
et cetera.

Speaker 2 (02:09:05):
Let me be very specific. If there are ten episodes,
let's say, are all ten episodes laid out, and then
everybody retweets and writes in this process, So people are
still working out episodes while somebody's back home right in it?

Speaker 3 (02:09:21):
Oh yeah, yeah, I mean you're up against it all
the time. You know, it takes like probably I can't remember,
it's like five weeks to go from the story room
to filming. But it's a you know, it's a demanding situation.

That's one of the reasons David would take so long
between seasons. You know, you go off to France and
rest because because you're up against it all the time,
you know, and also sopranos. You know, we were in
Silver Cup, we were in Queen's We had to load
you know, we filmed half the time. I'm in New Jersey.
You had to load the trucks up, take them through Manhattan,

then go through a tunnel over a bridge into New
Jersey and be set up to film at six in
the morning. So you're filming till midnight. You're lucky if
you get six hours. It goes like that. You know,
it was just your life. It's your life for those months.
But you're not always on the set, meaning me, you're

in the story room a lot, and you get really
sick of that. You're glad to go on the set,
and you get really sick of that, You're glad to
go back in this story room and.

Speaker 2 (02:10:36):
Being an executive producer is that just the title and
compensation or did it actually mean anything?

Speaker 3 (02:10:46):
Well, being a title and compensation is very meaningful, But it.

Speaker 2 (02:10:52):
Didn't change your responsibilities, is my point.

Speaker 3 (02:10:59):
Well, I don't know everybody in that room pretty much
at the end, wasn't exactly because you know, I think
Terry became one and Matt probably two. You know, there
were only few people in the room, you know, the
people that came with us from LA, they didn't stay.
It was me and then Terry came. It was me

and Mitch and David. Me and mentioned David and Terry.
And maybe sometimes there would be freelance writers who'd come,
and sometimes there would be writers, and maybe there were
writers who were more there. I can't remember, you know,
it's a long time ago. But you know, I don't
want to hurt anyone's feelings. You know, when Frank would
weigh in from LA, but he was only there for

the first two or three years. But there weren't many
people in the room. No, you know.

Speaker 2 (02:11:50):
Okay, So how does it end for you and Mitch
with the sopranos.

Speaker 3 (02:11:56):
As per usual? I guess it's my charming, massive aggressive way.
I just became disaffected. I didn't like what was happening
in the room anymore. I didn't like all the gangster stuff.
The thing became so much about gangsters and so much
about silly guide jokes, and and Matt and David would

talk about French foreign films until I just wanted to
just scream, and I just wasn't enjoying myself. But rather
than you know, David had this meeting after after season
five where he called us all out on a Sunday.
We went, we went of to uh it wasn't Matt
wasn't there, but it was Terry Winter and Me and Mitch,

David and his wife was there with him. He called
us there on Sunday to have a meeting and he said,
does anyone have it? Because does anyone have it in
them to continue? Or have we done it? Because of
HBO is backed up to the money truck to David's house.
You know what I mean. They're just good to do anything,

and so do you how do you all feel? And
Terry Winter's arm shoots up and it's like, yeah, I
can do it. And once that happens, you know, and
you're sitting there and I'm sitting there and I'm thinking,
I really don't want to do this anymore. But how
can I leave this? You know, how can I leave
this show that I love, the money that I love.

I just didn't. I didn't have the I didn't say,
you know what, I'm done. I didn't. I stayed, but
I was done. And you know, that's a lesson that
I probably won't pay attention to if it ever happens again,
I'll do the same thing because I wanted to stay,

but I but I really I don't think my heart
was in it. And I just was not part of
it anymore. The David had it started to kind of
hate on me. I'd seen it happen with other people,
but I think I brought a lot of it on myself.
So that's what happened. It was just personal and it

was just icky, and oh he brought these other people
on that we'd worked with before. It just felt the
tenor of the thing was changing. It wasn't very happy,
and that is one thing that you don't want in
your life. And it's me when I'm not happy. And
so he fired me. He didn't fire Mitch, but he
fired me.

Speaker 2 (02:14:28):
But Mitch left with you.

Speaker 3 (02:14:30):
Oh yeah, Mitch wasn't gonna State without me.

Speaker 2 (02:14:33):
But this was the final season, correct.

Speaker 3 (02:14:35):
Well, the season was split up in a couple of
pieces because it was six it was season six. There
were six seasons. But you know, I think the last
part of the sixth season is what I missed, you know,
the last six episodes or something. Yeah, David was afraid
that I was going to sue him or something, you

were going to You're going to hit him because you know,
I said to him, I've seen you have this problem,
you know, with a couple of women on the show,
and he slammed the table so hard. I jumped and said,
this has nothing to do with your being a woman.
And I think it just occurred to me at that
moment that he had probably talked to his HBO about

this and they wanted to not be sued, you know,
for you know, and I had said something about him
and women. But I you know, I wasn't going to sue.
I was just wanted to get out of there. I
was devastating. Mitch and I it was awful to take
our box and leave, you know, a few meager belongings

and leave. I mean, what David said was that I
couldn't didn't get the show that our writing was no
good and forward anymore, and he didn't like it. That's
that was the basis on which he fired me. And
so we left and we went We felt really bad,
you know, relieved bad, and we went to Gettysburg because

Mitch is like a history major and he's been to
all of the president's houses and stuff, and we knew
if we went to Gettysburg that they would have had
it worse than us Gettysburg. So that's I love Mitch
for that. You know, He's taken me all kinds of
places where I would never have gone for good reasons

that he took me there. But anyway, that's what we
did the weekend that we were fired. And you know, David,
I didn't I would see him on the picket line
or something and turned my back on him and just
you know, act like drama queen. But fourteen years later
he called me on the phone. Do you know who

this is? Yes, I know who it is, And he
wanted to tell me that he'd been reading some of
the almost grown scripts and he just wanted to tell me,
you know that I'd written fourteen years before or whatever
it was, and he just wanted to tell me what
a good writer he thought I was. So it was

his way of making them you know, Amend's or something.
I don't know what it was. I haven't talked to
him since, but that's how that's how it ended. And
Mitch said, you know, it's really remarkable that he called you.
It's actually kind of a victory for you in a way.

He said, just don't be a jerk about it.

Speaker 2 (02:17:32):
Okay, so the final season, you work on the first half,
you don't work on the second half. Do you watch
the second half? It is too painful to watch?

Speaker 3 (02:17:43):
It isn't painful. I just I was sick of it.
I was sick of the gangsters running over heads, popping
like melons. I just didn't like that part of it.
I like the family part, and that had part had
pretty much played out. By then, We've done everything we could.
You know that great episode where they get the house
in New Jersey, This happens Lee's house. We don't all

the family stuff. It was over for me.

Speaker 2 (02:18:09):
Okay, then I have to ask. One of my favorite
things is when Meadows being punished and Tony says, well,
you know, why don't you come up with the idea
just take away my gas credit card, and then she
gets on the phone and tells her friend, Oh, man,
I got them. So I got my parents so snowed.

I just love that.

Speaker 3 (02:18:31):
I don't remember that. That's so funny.

Speaker 2 (02:18:34):
So it was the family stuff that made it great.
But you did eventually watch the final episodes.

Speaker 3 (02:18:40):
I did. I watched the end of it. I just
watched that last scene.

Speaker 2 (02:18:45):
I think, I don't really care, but I got to ask,
what did you think the last scene represented.

Speaker 3 (02:18:51):
About Tony's future? Yeah, it was my idea that we
should always live with anxiety in Tony's stomach. That's that
was my feeling, and I would have maybe represented it differently,
but I think that I think the effect that it

had on me when I watched that last scene is
that you just feel that anxiety, that constant terror that
he felt the character. And you know, when I describe
what happened to me there, the atmosphere had become toxic
in some way. You know that the show, I don't

think it did Jim that many favors either the character.

Speaker 2 (02:19:38):
Okay, you're done. How long are you depressed and licking
your wounds till you do whatever?

Speaker 3 (02:19:48):
Well? Ah, I know we have a couple houses now three.
Actually we created a show called Blue Bloods, and we
had been pitched many things in many shows, because when
you call off a show like Sopranos, I'm sorry if
the sound is weird, my voice is so from all right,

everybody wants you, you know, even though you've been fired.
People got over that very quickly. But so we had
lots of things that we could have done. We could
have done the Americans, we could have run that show,
or maybe we could have We were kind of offered
to look at it. It looked too hard to me,
you know, it looked like I couldn't be so hard.

I couldn't wrap my hand around it. But friends went
to work on it was a wonderful show. But we
were pitched the show. Elliott called and he said, just
listen to this pitch. You'll hate it. Just do me
a favor. I owe this person a favor. Just listen.
And it was Leonard Goldberg, who was also part of
that like you know our in spelling world. But Leonard

gets on the phone and we were in our living
room in New York City, me and Mitch because we
moved to New York by then. Do the Sopranos, and
we lived there. We stayed and he pictures us this
family drama that's a cop show, and he kind of
had it. It was like a thirty second pitch and

Mitch and I just looked at each other and said
and called Elliott and said tell him we'll do it,
because we knew we could do it. We knew how
to do it, we saw it, we knew it was
a good idea. I don't know why nobody thought of
that it sooner, because it's a great idea and we
knew we could do it. I went on, you know,
I would the press tours. I would say things like

to just infuriate David. Probably. I got tired of writing
the anti hero and I wanted to see what it
was to be a hero. And that was kind of true.
I mean, my problem was that the hero turned out
to be Tom Sellick, and then when we got him
to come back to television to be on the show,
it very quickly became his show, not my show, ye,

and that that was untenable for me.

Speaker 2 (02:22:05):
And when you move on from there, so.

Speaker 3 (02:22:07):
We were fired from there too. So we were fired
after a year because I couldn't get along with Tom
But by then we owned a piece of the show
because by then, you know, writer could do that, right.
So that's so the show is in its fourteenth year.
We have created by credit. God bless Leonard Goldberg, who's
now you know, he's dead. What's a nice way to

saying it. He's passed on, right, He's dead, he's gone.

Speaker 2 (02:22:33):
But so.

Speaker 3 (02:22:36):
He gave us created by credit because we did create it.
You know, it wasn't that nailed down in terms of
what city or any of that stuff, but it was
his idea. But we so we and we owned a
piece of it. Still we enjoy the benefits of having started,
having created the show. And you know, we sold our
ownership position and bought this house and the one in

Saint John.

Speaker 2 (02:23:01):
And where's the third house?

Speaker 3 (02:23:04):
I have a little apartment in the city.

Speaker 2 (02:23:06):
And then you're off of that show? Do you say
you're done? What do you do?

Speaker 3 (02:23:16):
Oh? I wrote my book? Okay, oh no, Because a
girl that I knew back then had become a literary agent.
I had lunch with her and she said, you're not
doing anything. This is what you should do. She worked
at Rolling Stone in the office then in the old days.
So she said you know, and so that's what happened.
I wrote the book, and I loved the book, and

I felt just about it what you felt about So
it was so wonderful to read what you had written.
It meant everything to me.

Speaker 2 (02:23:48):
Well, the funny thing about it is I get anxious
before doing these, and occasionally it involves a book that
I've read month, two months, three months before, and I
have to ski, you know, I skim the book just
out of anxiety. And I was thinking about it with
your book, and I said, I don't I remember everything

in the book like it really had that much impact
upon me. And there was similar sensibility, similar alienation. I
don't have children this week go on and on forever.
But okay, let's stay with the Sopranos for a minute.
You know, we've just had the strike, et cetera. When
you do something that's network television, there's all kinds of

residuals involved. At this point with something like HBO and
the Sopranos, is there any ongoing compensation?

Speaker 3 (02:24:39):
Oh sure, yeah, yeah, just those green envelopes come and
just cheers you right up. You know, sure, you know,
we get residuals, We got foreign sales, We've got royalties. Royalty,
oh you know, royalties. You know, we make a living
this way. You know, it keeps it keeps this thing going.

As much says, it costs a lot of money to
have money, you know. So yeah, we have these houses.
They're not you know, they're they're just they're they're wonderful
each they're wonderful places. All three of them were wonderful.
So yeah, but now you know, I'm miserable because I'm

not working.

Speaker 2 (02:25:25):
So there you go, and there's any plans.

Speaker 3 (02:25:29):
To work, Well, you got me thinking about it again.
You know, I got to you know, people have wanted
to adapt the book into some kind of TV or
dramatic form. And somebody gave me a call about it
from your what you wrote, but I don't see it.

Speaker 2 (02:25:49):
I don't see it either.

Speaker 3 (02:25:51):
Oh good, oh good, thank you, because I you know,
if somebody tried and it was so stupid, it was this.
I mean, she's she's a wonderful girl. Who who tried?
But you know she'd have this writer and basically writers
like running around with a notepad or recording device. There's
nothing dramatic there. It's not like you know, this person

wanted me to watch Daisy Jones and the six do
something like that. Well, that'd be fine, but that's you know,
that's got the advantage of having performance, you know, music
in it. So no matter what you think of it,
at least it had something.

Speaker 2 (02:26:31):
Okay, this is a tough question because it veers on sexism,
and I will be criticized. But what about thinking about
having children something you ever wanted, something you missed, something
you never wanted.

Speaker 3 (02:26:45):
My strength tried to get me to confront this when
I was forty, and I just couldn't do it. I
just couldn't confront it. Even I'm sorry, I don't have children.
I have a niece and nephew who fulfilled that for
me and have children of their own, so I get
all the pleasure of that. I don't know who. Somebody

was saying they don't know who's going to take care
of them when they're old. I don't really care, you
know about that. So it's just I'm sorry I didn't.
You know, people really seem to go nuts over it
and love it.

Speaker 2 (02:27:19):
You know.

Speaker 3 (02:27:20):
I saw John Legend on Voice last night, and you
know he said he never cried much until he had children,
you know, because there's so much love there, and I'm
sorry I missed that. Yeah, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I
wish Yeah, I regret.

Speaker 2 (02:27:36):
Are you a big consumer of films or television at
this point?

Speaker 3 (02:27:43):
I watched The Voice. I've watched The Voice. I like
the I like to see those singers. I just don't,
you know. And you'd think I'd get sick of it,
but I just don't. I love the I love the coaches.
I love how they coach. It's like really watching a
creative process. I really enjoyed. There was this other show

about people would come and pitch their songs. I loved
that show. I wish they would come and do it again.
It was another reality show. I forget the name of it.

Speaker 2 (02:28:14):
But that's kind of funny because that's not a show
you made.

Speaker 3 (02:28:22):
Oh, I don't watch Blue Blood's either, you know, I just.

Speaker 2 (02:28:27):
You know it's funny. Mary kay Place told me the
same thing. She watches The Voice, too, So maybe there's
some element there.

Speaker 3 (02:28:35):
Oh I knew I liked that woman. Yeah, I do
love it. But I don't think I want to write
another television show. I don't know what to do. Frankly,
I don't. It's horrible. Actually, these periods in my life.
I mean I've had follow periods, but this one takes long,
long one.

Speaker 2 (02:28:55):
So what eats up your time?

Speaker 3 (02:29:00):
Well, we have a country house now, so I've become
you know, in the summertime, I did a lot of weading.
That's w E E D I en G. The rest
is reading, watching shitty television and no just reading weading,

just nothing.

Speaker 2 (02:29:24):
What do you read right now?

Speaker 3 (02:29:26):
I'm into David Sedaris, who's a great companion, and I
read a wonderful novel recently. I don't read fiction anymore much.
I just don't care about it. So it depends. I
was reading the Bokov's memoir, you know, I picked that up.

I had a library library full of books here that
I haven't read, so I'll just pick one up and
read it. Whatever it is.

Speaker 2 (02:29:55):
Now, you have the three houses, you have a husband,
We had you know, COVID, which made everything different. But
how social are you at this point in your life.

Speaker 3 (02:30:11):
Compared to watch? Compared to you, I don't know.

Speaker 2 (02:30:15):
I mean, are you the type of person who's emailing
and calling friends all the time going out?

Speaker 3 (02:30:19):
Are you more of a homebody? And it's like I'm
a homebody. We have a lot of friends when we
go to the city. We can't go to the city
much because our dog is seventeen and a half plus,
so we really are stuck here in the country with him,
cleaning up after him and taking care of him, and
we can't travel. We can't go to Paris, we can't

do any of that stuff. So we're just basically here
on Shelter Island. We have really good friends here that
we've made. We bought the house right before COVID, and
right we bought the house in Saint John right before COVID.
It's just lucked out that way, so we spent COVID
in both places, which was perfect because and you know, yeah,
so we've just been out here in the country and

I sold the place in the city and got a
smaller place in the city. But we can't go there
because it's the dog. Can't be there. It's too hard
to have him there.

Speaker 2 (02:31:12):
One point of cleanup. And it's funny we're talking about
the dog. You sold your interest in Blue Bloods. Yeah,
this is a big thing in the music business. You
sold your interest. Did you sell it back to the
owners or to a party?

Speaker 3 (02:31:28):
No owners?

Speaker 2 (02:31:30):
Was it?

Speaker 3 (02:31:31):
God? Yeah, I think with CBS, right. I think they
came to somebody at ICM with an offer. We don't
have children, and so you know, it would have been
a very valuable thing to you know, it's a lot
of points less because I got fired after the first year.

We would have a few more if I hadn't, but
a significant amount and if it would have been a
great thing to leave. But we just decided to take
the money. And it's good we did because of COVID,
because if COVID had happened, the networks, you know, they
would have said, like they would have said, oh, we're

not making any money now, there's no money. They wouldn't
even give you the dribs and drags that they had
to start giving us. So this was enough money so
that we could change that would be meaningful. In other words,
we could buy a summer house, which was meant to be,
and we could buy the place we'd been renting for years,
a very modest house in Saint John, but beautiful. You know,

we're renting it. And so it just happened that people
who were we rented it from, we're selling it. So
we bought it. You know, it's nothing, it's you know,
it's not like a manner in Scotland or something. You know,
none of it is very grand, but it's just pretty great,
you know. But still you have I've been painting, you know,
I started life as a kind of artist. So I've

been painting. So I have a painting studio. But this
summer I came down with a case of cancer. So
I really spent August and September dealing with that. So
that was a surprise. You know, I'm seventy eight years old,
so there was no reason that I would for me

to think that I would escape this kind of thing.
But they found, quite by accident, a small leision on
my lung, in my lung which turned out after a
biopsy to be cancer. I have a wonderful doctor at
Mount Sinai, and he went in there and took it out.

But still it was major surgery. And I had never
had an experience like this, and so I look at myself.
I'm so pale. I couldn't swim or anything, do you
know what I mean. It really wiped me out. So
I did paint. I'm not quite back, so I may
paint again. I may. I have a studio here with

you know, the paints and the easel in it. I
might put right, I moved some of the furniture from
New York City, and I might get a couch and
go up there with my computer, you know, write something.
But I just don't know what to write.

Speaker 2 (02:34:17):

Speaker 3 (02:34:17):
I was going to write about my nose job, but
just said so dreadful. I just.

Speaker 2 (02:34:24):
You know, I can't talk about what you feel internally.
But I have not read that book.

Speaker 3 (02:34:31):
Which book, the nose job book. You know, a friend
out here is a psychoanalyst and he, you know, he
has these patients, women you know, have had, has a
couple of them, and they come to him and obviously
they have nose jobs. But he can't b broach the subject.
But they don't bring it up. So it is like

this weird subject. And I wrote my thesis actually at
IOWA is titled straight Nose, and it was a story
about my nose job. But it's so self pitying and yucky.
I just don't know how to do it.

Speaker 2 (02:35:10):
You know, I'm not telling you what to do, and
I can't read about.

Speaker 3 (02:35:12):
But I wish you would, would you could.

Speaker 2 (02:35:15):
You well believe me, I got that instinct. I can
tell you what to do all day long. But the
point is, people have plastics. You know, it's one thing
if you're in an accident or something. People who have
elective surgery, cosmetic surgery, they are always hourly positive about it.
Always they say they gave them confidence, the results were good.

You never you might hear someone say I got a
bad nose job, bad boob job, whatever, you do. Hear
those stories, but everyone says how great it is. Not
to mention the fact that people get older and then
they go on a run of plastic surgery, just like
people go on a run of tattoos. So the questions
you raise have never been raised in public, you know.

So for me, that's a fascinating subject. Having had family
members who got those jobs. Believe me, I've heard their story.
They have never expressed any regret. If anything, they tell
other people to get one.

Speaker 3 (02:36:16):
Maybe they're mentally healthy human beings.

Speaker 2 (02:36:19):
Nobody's mentally healthy.

Speaker 3 (02:36:20):
Do you have to think of that? No, I don't know.
If I had a daughter and I have counsels, one
person specifically, do not want she got a nose job,
and now she's so ordinary, you know, and she was
so young when she got it. She's going off to college.
You know, she wanted to be pretty. And you know

you look at like Piedro Amaldebobar. However, you say it
that woman in the Spanish movies with this sernazola, you
know that's your face.

Speaker 2 (02:36:53):
How about the woman in Fouda. First season of Fouda?

Speaker 3 (02:36:57):
Can I watch that?

Speaker 2 (02:37:00):
You know, I don't know what kind of show you like?

Speaker 3 (02:37:02):

Speaker 2 (02:37:03):
Just Fauta is great. It's an action show, very visceral,
and every season is good. If I'm talking about the
best shows on streaming television, you know you're talking about
Happy Valley, but the latest season wasn't as good as
the early stuff. You're talking about the French show The
Bureau the Fota is great, but later than that. And

you know, the conventional wisdom is the Danes in these
relas make the best television, and I would pretty much
agree with that.

Speaker 3 (02:37:35):
Yeah. No, we went to Copenhagen and did a show
with somebody there. You know, we tried to do the
American version, so we had that deal. We did do that,
and you know, they support their artists over there. All
of the artists over there want to come to La experience.

Speaker 2 (02:37:53):
You know, there's this phenomenal show on Netflix. They just
put out a prequel. Did you watch under Cover on Netflix?

Speaker 3 (02:38:01):
Now? Should I see? You know?

Speaker 2 (02:38:03):
As I say, this is a little difficult because it
veers on your past history in that it is a
dope dealer. It's a Belgian show, Belgian Dutch collaboration. But
the lead actor is unique. I mean Tony Soprano evidenced

and intelligence. This guy does not. This guy streetsmart It's
far from dumb, and it's slow and it's tense, whereas
the Soprano's more action. So you start by watching Undercover.
There are three seasons of Undercover, Okay, Then there is
a prequel movie called Ferry fe r r y, then

two weeks ago or you know, whenever it's people listen
to this. At the beginning of November, they launched a
prequel series called Ferry The Series. But it turns me
on is in Hens City anxiety. You rarely get that
in television. Have you seen the Bureau? No, the Bureau,

the Bureau. I mean you got to pay for some channel,
I forget. No, we got a lot of stuff, but
this is one of those unique channels. I don't know
whether it's Mega Hurtz or Sundance now or something. But
and this is a legendary show. But at times it's quiet.
It's so intense. And in this latest series of Ferry,

there are a couple of episodes that are so intense
and they don't do the obvious thing. It's it's really good.

Speaker 3 (02:39:39):
Okay, I've written all this down.

Speaker 2 (02:39:42):
You know, I could go on and on streaming television.
I do not find film satisfying anymore. It's, you know, forget.

Speaker 3 (02:39:50):
The do what do you watch? I just watching my
gizmo in bed. Mitch. Mitch has a big TV down here,
but I do it.

Speaker 2 (02:39:57):
Okay, you know, just you know, we got a Samsung
television in two thousand and seven that was astoundingly good.
And four years ago my girlfriend, who watches a lot
of televisions, I want to get a new TV, said no,
this TV is so good. Blah blah blah blah blah blah.
We got this TV that is the standard, the one

that everybody has at Hollywood. This lgo led mind blowing, wow,
mind blowing.

Speaker 3 (02:40:28):
It's like not in a week goes by. When Mitch
just says it wants a new TV, It's like, get it.

Speaker 2 (02:40:35):
Quest Now there's a Sony. You know, now there's a
it used to be forever that was the standard and
that's what everybody has. There's a competitive Sony now. But
the differences are you know, when you watch in four K,
which is only you know, a six percent difference, it's
just mind blowing. I mean, as I say, I didn't

want a new TV. You know, it's under two thousand
dollars if you want sixty five or less if you
want to. It's like anything. When you go to like
seventy five, you pay an extra grand, but of course
get the biggest size you can. I watch a certain
amount of stuff on the iPad too. I find it
very intimate. But then you know, these screens are big

enough that it's like watching the movie. That's all it is.
But I'm hearing from people all day long. There's so
many opportunities. But to sit in front of the flat
screen and get this is another thing makes me crazy.
The week by week stuff. It's just fucking insane to
marinate in a series. I just probably the thing I
like to do most other than go skiing.

Speaker 3 (02:41:39):

Speaker 2 (02:41:41):
It is a separate conversation, Robin, I think it is.

Speaker 3 (02:41:45):
You're not gonna get very far talking.

Speaker 2 (02:41:48):
Okay, I'm gonna let the audience off. The look so
Rob and I want to thank you so much for
taking your time to talk to me and my audience.

Speaker 3 (02:41:57):
Well, it's been really fun.

Speaker 2 (02:42:01):
Until next time. This is Bob left sids
Advertise With Us

Popular Podcasts

Dateline NBC
The Nikki Glaser Podcast

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

Every week comedian and infamous roaster Nikki Glaser provides a fun, fast-paced, and brutally honest look into current pop-culture and her own personal life.

Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.