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13th March 2013

In two days I’m off to the Sun Valley Film Festival, I am quite excited as our film THE YELLOW WALLPAPER is in competition there. (See photo opposite and click it to see the entry page.) There will screenings, meetings and parties. The last time I spent any real time in Sun valley was during a crisis in my personal life and I fled there to be with old partner David Hemmings, who was living there during that period of his life. He welcomed me with open and caring arms, put me up in the condo that he and his current wife owned and generally calmed me down and introduced me to the town and Jack Hemingway (interesting family!). What I did not not know was that he was going though his own crisis, marital (as usual with David), but worse he had just been put on some kind of drug...that could kill him if he took a drink. Now whether David was a real alcoholic I dont know...he was a funny kind drinker, who really liked it. He was never nasty or cruel, something I associate with alcoholism, he just enjoyed it. In our early days all the men drank in show business. After a show or at the end of shooting you would just retire to a pub/bar, unwind and tell stories. I dont think people realised in those days quite the damage alcohol did, so many got addicted and couldn’t stop. And it was sort of glamorous. There were so many famous and admired actors that did it (and paid for it) Spencer Tracy, Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter Finch all gone now and of course Peter O’Toole. Peter is, thank goodness, still with us, but I think he gave it up and anyway he seems to have the constitution of an ox.

Serious women drinkers were less well known and of course less admired. Although I do remember meeting Sarah Churchill actress and daughter of the Great Man, when David H was doing a play with her. I thought she was interesting and talented, although clearly almost permanently drunk.

Anyway to get back to Sun Valley and David...the time when I went there in the ’90’s, poor David was terrified lest a drop of alcohol touch his lips as he had been told he could die if it did. I dont think he would have died, but we actors have a high sense of drama...and we spent much of our time asking if any food we were about to eat was laced with alcohol. In the end humour got the best of us and we had a good laugh about it. This prescription drug did not last long I hasten to add.

Living in the States, I am astonished at the amount of prescription drug commercials there are, promising a cure for all our ills, feelings of happiness, relief from name it the drug companies will give it to you. Six months later another commercial comes along saying if you took such and such drug, this lawyer will help you to sue, as the aforementioned drug has been proved to be harmful and dangerous and you may be entitled to an amazing settlement....and so the merry go round goes on. I think this generation is wildly overmedicated and we should stop it. But the pharmaceutical companies are so big and powerful, just like the food industries...ever heard of Monsanto?

I have seen THE YELLOW WALLPAPER so many times now, I cant judge it. But the local Public Television Station likes it and will show it, so it must be OK. Sometimes you see something you’ve just done and you’re too close to it. I saw a bit of THE SYSTEM (AKA THE GIRL GETTERS) recently and I realised how good we were. What a ghastly title THE GIRL GETTERS is, but the great and the good in Hollywood, thought the real title was too subtle and the public wouldn’t “get” it, so they picked a really stupid title, with which to hit the public on the head. Thank goodness people are more sensible now...would you know what ARGO was about if you did not know? Or SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK?

More anon dear friends

Here is a link to the  ZZUB Fest Interview   I did last year.

I gave this interview in early November 2012 and it covers much of my career and activities over the years. It was shown exclusively at the first ZZUB Fest 2012 ( in Wolverhampton where they also screened the film, 'Night of the Big Heat' featuring me alongside Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. The interview will also be screened at Portmeiricon, the 'The Prisoner' convention organised by Six Of One The Prisoner Appreciation Society, on March 15th 2013 held at Portmeirion, North Wales (left) which is where much of the live action of The Prisoner was filmed.

Further shorter clips from the interview will soon be online at as soundbite documentaries.

All content copyright Jane Merrow