Julie Newmar may have been in a movie or two…or over 25 of them. She may have even appeared in countless notable television shows. But isn’t that the norm for any bornand- bred, true-blooded American from Los Angeles, California? No, Julie Newmar is a powerhouse. Born Julie Newmeyer, the golden-haired businesswoman, dancer, actress and singer, is an icon. She surely was never afraid to strut her fiscally-insured legs into the cut-throat industry as an Amazonian sex symbol, inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s film ‘To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar’ and as a mother and wife. From the Marilyn Monroe/Jayne Mansfield-type roles in such films as ‘The Rookie’ and ‘The Maltese Bippy’ to her sense of humour enthralling the role of Catwoman in the ‘Batman’ series and as a modeling sensation in her ripe 60s, Newmar is an unstoppable bull raging into the red curtain of fame, with an inner-beauty befitting her outer.
Brett Bailey had the privilege of tapping into the mind behind the machine, a peek into Newmar’s roots as well as her words of wisdom. She’s been in the spotlight for the majority of her life and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
What inspired you to start performing?
It was my delightful mother.
What’s your secret to a healthy long lifestyle in showbiz?
Be serious about being funny. And have fun with all the rest.
Some may say that life is a performance. Do you feel you are always performing?
Yes, but I try to get paid.
What is your favorite role of all time?
The Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland. ‘Off with their heads!...’ But then again Helena Bonham Carter was out of this world.
So I heard your mother was Helen Jesmer, a Ziegfeld Follies girl. How did growing up with her influence you?
She gave me the career that life didn’t give her. I was lucky that way.
Are your sexy legs really insured for 10 million dollars?
Yes, but not in the event of theft.
You have created some of the most iconic moments in fashion and culture. How does it feel to be a living legend?
I walk fast.
Judy Garland once said, "If I’m a living legend, then why am I so lonely?" Do you feel the spotlight is a lonely place to be?
Of course, but legends are dead people anyway. The inner spotlight is the one I’ve always relied on. When you see everyone you meet as a star, your light shines brightly.
How was it working with Thierry Mugler at the peak of his creative legacy?
He is Mr. Renaissance...absolute sensuality. His name is...perpetuity.
‘To Wong Foo… Julie Newmar’.....Wow, so major! How did this happen?
It is in the movie. Douglas Carter Beane, the author, played by Patrick Swayze, noticed a photograph of me on the wall of a Chinese restaurant....
When I’m dancing, I’m able to channel a special place where I’m free of all fear, judgments, anger and sadness. Do you have a similar release when performing?
Yes. If you work like hell to prepare and rehearse nonstop, then and only then does a performance seem effortless in the way you describe.
Do you feel you live in another dimension a different universe?
No, but other people think I do.
What do you feel is the key to being a fashion icon? Do you follow trends? How do you go about selecting the perfect ‘Julie Newmar look’?
The ‘Julie Newmar look’ is currently being revamped. The gold hair is growing out platinum. There will be other changes, intuitively I’ll know. I am entering a powerful new state of being Julie. I like hats.
Would you say you are dressing up for yourself, meaning dressing for pleasure?
I always dress for pleasure. Doesn’t everybody?
What do the words ‘glamour’ and ‘regal’ mean to you?
In all honesty, glamour takes hours because it should appear effortless. For appearances, one must always be in the moment and genuinely interested in the other person.
Are you a bad girl?
Oh yes, I’m so very very good, I’m bad.
What turns you on in a man?
Spontaneity, class and good principles.
You recently wrote the 2011 book ‘The Conscious Catwoman Explains Life on Earth’. What is your book about?
‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ plus 70 of the best pictures of me.
Besides being a living legend, mother, icon, muse, realtor and Catwoman, what is next for you?
I’m in love with the newness of life.
A woman of few words, this iconic celeb is not known for her appearance in the scandalous world of tabloids, but for her accomplishments and style with which she takes on every trade imaginable. And Schön! could not be more thrilled!
Interview by Brett Bailey
Editor / Melissa Kahan
Images / Courtesy of Julie Newmar