Here’s the talk I gave last week at the opening of the Hollywood Museum’s new exhibit, Reel to Reel: Portrayals and Perceptions of Gays in Hollywood. The showcase, featuring photos, costumes, props and imagery, runs through Wednesday, July 20 at the Museum on Highland near Hollywood.
When I found out why they invited me to welcome you to the LGBT exhibit, I was told that at one point or another most of you in this room had dressed up as me.
I am touched. You have good taste. Or you screwed up somewhere!
I am always grateful to have the support of the LGBT community.
We all know that it took the dress designer, the lighting man, the casting guy, the director, the producer, my dance partner — most of them gay — to let little me take a bow.
I am grateful to you, therefore, to be standing here.
I must confess, I am not a feminist. I was given too much. I’ve never had to assert myself.
As you know, we women can have 50 orgasms to your three. Darlings! God made it better than equal.
In life, there’s nothing to prove. Just do your homework and show up.
And by the way, in my next life I shall be a woman.
Even if I were just the “trinket” in this attraction, I have to tell you, that word “icon” sticks in my throat!
However, once I have humbled myself, well, we might have more fun if I asked the question: What’s it like to be a sex symbol?
To tell you the truth, it’s almost a free ride.
Hmmmm! . . . 60 years later, it still feels good.
What do I think is the most important thing in life now?
Lighting. Darlings, never be photographed without “flash.” The more light, the better. And if you don’t look good, don’t leave the house.
As for the paparazzi, they make normal movie stars look like Peter Dinklage. Our legs look like pinball machines.
Gentlemen . . . Do what Marlene Dietrich told you to do:
Get down on your knees with those cameras.
Women, these days, don’t wear stockings. Without stockings,
most women look like aging halibuts.
You know what the best era for clothes was? The wartime 40’s. Best length of skirt — to the knee. The legs look beautiful, not too exposed, too much or too little.
Shoulders — built out just a little . . . makes the waist look small.
Shoes. Did you know that open-toed shoes make the feet appear three sizes smaller? And what a nice heel height they had then!
Hair? Think Rita Hayworth. Adorable hats. I love hats.
This is my Gangsta Suit (I was wearing a pinstripe suit) — a 1970s version of the 1940s.
Wear what you want! I wear black when I don’t want to be seen and red for you know what.
I prefer Classics. I don’t like to look dated. Everyone has a camera these days.
Do you want to know why my Catwoman costume is in the Smithsonian and copied so much?
When I was a young girl, around age 11, I was almost 6 feet tall. Being made fun of for your height — “How’s the weather, up there?” — or even being “admired” for what I was not . . . yet . . . made me uncomfortable.
So I figured out that two straight lines appeared taller than two curvy lines (the lines being of the same length). So then I figured that if I sewed (they taught sewing in junior high school in those days)
an indented waistline in all my clothing (including bathing suits and leotards), people wouldn’t make fun of me. And it worked.
I got a different reaction. It didn’t hurt anymore. I put the wind behind my back. They were for me, not against me.
Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and I were born with
a VISCERAL AGITATION with IMPERFECTION.
I used to think it was annoying!
Let’s get back to sex. You all know what the subtext of an actor’s script is?
It’s what the actor is thinking under the written dialogue.
Well, 9/10ths of my thoughts were sexual. Not as a come-on.
Thoughts have power. It was this free space to be in. Being where the power lies, where something good is about to happen! Ecstasy! It’s where you want to be.
It makes you glow. You’re in the zone!
So, before you enter a room, a restaurant, or walk on stage, breathe.
Think the word “love.” You can’t be hurt. You don’t have to
con anybody and it doesn’t matter what happens.
That’s it folks. Have a nice evening. I love you.
To watch the talks from that evening (they saved mine for the end), go to: https://www.facebook.com/TheHollywoodMuseum/videos/vb.279735290892/10153694669825893/?type=2&theater