Went to see the movie Priscilla last weekend. It was very different from the Elvis blockbuster of last year. Priscilla was the Steak to the Sizzle known as Elvis.
Apparently, the musician was talented, tormented and totally whacked (on drugs and out of his mind) most days. What he portrayed in public and how he made so many millions were diametrically different from the real person he was.
I’ll bet you even read some of the coverage around Matthew Perry over the last few weeks. The Hollywood guy who led a separate life in and out of rehab. Wanted to be known for helping fellow addicts, NOT as 1/6th of the Friends combo.
This week, I was emailed the following story about a writer interviewing a very famous Hollywood actress.
“I think the most vulgar thing about Hollywood is the way it believes its own gossip,” she told me that day. “I know a lot of men fantasize about me; that’s how Hollywood gossip becomes Hollywood history.”
“Is that why you want to write a book?” I asked warily. “You want to put the record straight?”
“I’m broke, honey. I either write the book or sell the jewels.” I was surprised at the frankness with which she admitted it. “And I’m kinda sentimental about the jewels,” she added.
She spoke about her third marriage.
“Frank and I had been married barely a couple of years. The marriage was obviously unravelling even then. I’m just surprised it lasted as long as it did. It was a bad time for Frank. Poor darling, he was so insecure. He was broke. He didn’t have a job. He was hanging on to his place in Palm Springs by the skin of his teeth. It was the last real asset he had.
If he’d lost that, it would have been the end of the line for him. He had made a lot of enemies in his good years before the bobby-soxers found somebody new to throw their panties at. Nobody wanted to be around him. There were no hangers-on. He didn’t amuse them anymore. He couldn’t lift a check. There was nobody but me. He had burned most of his bridges with the press. There was a catalogue of disasters: His voice had gone. MGM had let him go. His agent had let him go. So had CBS.
On top of all that, the poor bastard suffered a hemorrhage of his vocal cords and couldn’t talk, let alone sing, for about six weeks. That’s when I saw through those people. I saw through Hollywood. Naive little country girl that I was, I saw through all the phoniness, all the crap.”
If you are of a certain age, you’ll immediately recognize the name of the lady who spoke. Ava Gardner. At her peak, she was the reigning pin-up model and sex goddess. The husband she was referring to was Frank Sinatra, the most popular and best-selling singer of his time. He used to attract hordes of screaming, swooning adolescent girls.
So, how come I am sharing three stories about Hollywood stars?
And my point is
Because even today, we, the mere cogs in society, remain fascinated by the rich and famous. And we, the ones with no influence, power, wealth and fame, need to understand that the grass is NEVER greener on the other side. Like all things, there is a cost attached to fame.
And even the people in our lives who we think have it amazingly easy have issues.
Human beings are absolutely brilliant at hiding their problems and showcasing their triumphs (both real and manufactured). They are increasingly afraid to let their hair down for fear of being judged harshly. Both men and women. Yes, both.
So next time you think you are not enough, could you take a pause? And breathe. You are normal, sane and flawsomely imperfect. NOBODY has it better than you. But lots of somebodies have it worse.
Can you spread more of what you’ve got around? Because THAT is what is needed. More now than ever before.