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We met Marsha Mason!

Last week we had the privilege of attending a live podcast recording of "Live at the Lortel" in the West Village where the guest was four-time Oscar nominee Marsha Mason. While a good portion of the interview focused on her new play "Little Gem" and her deep devotion to the stage, all of her Oscar nominated performances got at least some airtime. (She never intended to be a film actress but then Cinderella Liberty kind of fell into her lap). 

The piece of the interview we found most fascinating was hearing her talk about her work on Chapter Two...

Though that 1979 movie was obviously about her marriage to Neil Simon, she said that she never felt like she was playing herself and approached the role like any other. It was very abstract to her in a way. We were thinking about Chapter Two quite a lot after Fosse/Verdon wrapped because of the portrayal of the death of Neil Simon's first wife, Joan (played beautifully by Aya Cash). Neil Simon's part in the miniseries faded after that but in real life that time period was also quite dramatic for him so consider Chapter Two a retrofitted sequel. Controversially the playwright/screenwriter married Marsha Mason just three months after Joan's death probably while she was in rehearsals for Simon's play The Good Doctor on Broadway. 

Chapter Two was actually the first Marsha Mason movie we ever saw (sometime in the 80s on VHS) after which we backtracked to see the others. 

Chapter Two reunited Marsha Mason with her first screen co-star James Caan.

The podcast will be available in a week's time at the link up top. The end of the episode will be a series of audience questions so you might hear our unfocused question about attending the Oscars four times.

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Reader Comments (17)

Ask her to join the supporting actress smackdown panel!

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

Always liked Marsha a lot. She had a nice but way-too-short run of stardom, like all-too-many actresses.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Brad -- if i had had quality alone time with her I would have but it was more of a quick meet & greet.

August 14, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Simon/Mason? I'm in!

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Mason was one of *the* leading ladies of the '70s who, like Jill Clayburgh (RIP), is strangely under-celebrated today. Hers is an underrated talent, warm and winning (see also: the terrific, sadly forgotten Max Dugan Returns), and I often think of Kathleen Turner's impersonation of Mason in Moonlight and Valentino (*another* overlooked gem).

Will the fake (TFE) Marsha Mason please chime in?

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Lovely read.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Mareko - I have never impersonated anyone, dear.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

OMG this is the culmination of my years on this site! Yes!

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMarsha Mason

Marsha is one of the best we’ve ever had. She understands the art of acting.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

A terrific performer. Wish we saw more of her.

A friend of mine who works for the Shakespeare Company in DC got the chance to work with her closely when she did a play there, I think Mrs. Warren's Profession but I'm not positive, and said she was an absolute doll. Friendly, funny and a real pro.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

She's in one of my favorite movies, The Goodbye Girl, and yes, I think I can call her one of my favorites. Funny, just realized some of my most beloved
actresses - like Mason, Arthur, Harlow, Monroe, Lamarr, Lake, Lombard, Sidney, Bennett - had a short career/stardom (for a variety of reasons).

August 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGwen

Neat - I'll look forward to listening to that one. I wasn't familiar with the Live at the Lortel series until this post, so I listened to the one with Jackie Hoffman yesterday, and that was as funny and wide-ranging as I could have hoped for.

August 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

@Kathleen, ha! Depiction? ;-)

August 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMareko


August 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Carden

She was Patricia Heaton's Mom on "The Middle", a very funny series.

She's also from my hometown of St. Louis, and has a star on the Walk of Fame there.

Also really liked her as one of Dad's Girlfriend's Sherry on "Frasier".

August 15, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

forever--Love her on The Middle! The Mother's Day episode from one of the early seasons is gold--seeing Marsha driving wine while dancing to Barry Manilow--Yaaasss!

August 15, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

What a wonderful piece about one of my favorite actresses of the 70’s. I watch The Goodbye Girl every time it’s on TCM! While she was always absolutely brilliant in parts that required sardonic humor (Neil Simon), I also found her compelling in dramas like Cinderella Liberty and Heartbreak Ridge. And while she didn’t win the Oscar for any of her 4 nominations, she did receive 2 Golden Globe awards. I thoroughly enjoyed her as Sherry on Frasier in the 90’s and wished she would have been permanently added to that cast – her turn of a comedic line would have been perfect for that show. She’s one of those actresses that I hope will get offered that incredible role later in life (either lead or supporting) and would win the Oscar.
“No, I love actors. As long as they stay up on the stage where they belong. But you put them down in real life and the whole world gets screwed up.” – Paula McFadden

August 15, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersteve16

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