You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

McDonough celebrates healthy body, career

GOOD MORNING: “I feel my life is back — it’s been a battle,” Mary McDonough says with a sigh of relief. Audiences saw signs of her recovery last Sunday on “A Walton Easter,” but there’s more to come. McDonough, who has lupus, will be seen on the May 1 “ER” seg as a lupus-afflicted patient who receives a kidney transplant from her brother (played by Gabriel Mick). “I was glad to play someone who has lupus,” she told me. “Fortunately, I have non-organ affected lupus.” McDonough believes she became afflicted by the disease as a result of having breast implants 10 years ago. She admits having them “for vanity; it was totally my fault.” She became ill and kept working “but it (lupus) took its toll on my health.” She had the implants taken out three years ago and has been on a campaign to educate women nationwide about the dangers and risks, etc. “I now look and feel much better. But it took a toll on my life — my marriage (she was divorced) — and my 4-year-old daughter could have some of the second-generation symptoms, but not necessarily lupus.” Sadly, she says, “There’s not a lot of empathy for women who did it. ‘Oh, you’re vain’ is the comment.” She’s also completed an indie film, “One of Those Nights,” which she says is the “most risque, sexiest role I’ve ever played — and I never got that kind of role offer when I had big boobs!” But, she notes, director Lina Shanklin “told me she didn’t hire me for my boobs, but for my talent.” The movie, which co-stars Jared Seide and Orson Bean, “sneaks” April 30. … McDonough, who started on “The Waltons” when she was 10 (and 20 when it wound), says she and co-star John Warmsley are now hoping to produce a “Waltons” special as a tribute to Earl Hamner. “All of us want to do more (‘Waltons’),” Mary says. They have all remained close friends through the years, especially McDonough and Richard Thomas.

A LITTLE CROSS-POLLINATION here by Diane English: for the finale of “Ink,” which stars Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, English will write in guestar Candice Bergen as “Murphy Brown.” “Ink” has three segs left to film for the season, and as Danson notes, “Here I am 49 years old, sitting with my fingers crossed” — of course waiting for word on renewal from CBS in May. No matter what happens, Danson takes the summer off to spend it with the children. Well, most of the summer: he has a couple of cameos in pix for pals, Tom Hanks (DreamWorks’ “Saving Private Ryan”) and Saul Rubinek (directing “Tom and Jerry” with Joan Mantegna, Charles Durning and William Macy). These cameos won’t take Danson away too long from vacationing at Martha’s Vineyard, where he can look out at the ocean that he helps keep alive. First, at the BevWilshire on April 9, the American Oceans Campaign (which Danson launched) will present its Partners Awards to Woody Harrelson, Castle Rock’s Alan Horn and environmentalist Cindy Harrell-Horn. Sting has agreed to entertain, as has Bill Maher, who will m.c. The public is invited to attend (and contribute, of course) to help this cause, which Danson tells me is making progress, with 30 bills pending in Sacramento and D.C. “I’m most excited,” Danson admits, “about the reaching out by several big businesses,” which are supporting ways to help the environment. … The Anti-Defamation League honors the late Fred Zinnemann with the ADL/Fred Zinnemann Human Relations Film Award, to be given annually “in recognition of a feature or documentary dealing with a human-relations theme”. … Past honoree Oprah Winfrey presents Camille and Bill Cosby with an Essence Award April 4 at the Theater in Madison Square Garden. Stevie Wonder will sing an original song to the Cosbys.

NEIL SIMON ADMITS HE HAD 37 pages of “The Odd Couple 2” “sitting in the drawer” for 10 years. Jack Lemmon, on the “12 Angry Men” set, first revealed to me Feb. 27 that plans were off for him and Walter Matthau to reteam in the third “Grumpy Old Men” “until the budget can be trimmed” for the Italy-set sequel. Then “Odd Couple 2” came to life, as reported in Daily Variety Monday. Howard W. Koch, producer of the first “Couple,” had been trying unsuccessfully to get Paramount to OK that sequel, despite the initial’s tremendous success — and knowing that Simon would again script! It was Koch’s constant desire to get the sequel made and he discussed it often. Simon says Bob Cort and Dave Madden will produce. What about Koch? “That’s Paramount’s decision,” Simon said. “I feel terrible for him.” Matthau says he told Sherry Lansing to get Koch; “She told me she’d look into it,” said Walter. Koch didn’t know about the decision or the pic’s new life until he read it in these pages. He was philosophical and gentlemanly: he has two years to go on his record, successful Par pact. Incidentally, for the original “Odd Couple,” Matthau says he received $300,000, Lemmon, $1 million — and 10% of the gross. Both were represented by the William Morris Agency at the time. They’ll get a lot more today.

More Voices

  • Contract Placeholder Business

    WGA, Agents Face Tough Issues on New Franchise Pact (Column)

    The Writers Guild of America and the major talent agencies are seven weeks away from a deadline that could force film and TV writers to choose between their agents and their union. This is a battle that has been brewing for a year but few in the industry saw coming until a few weeks ago. [...]

  • FX Confronts Streaming Thanks to Disney

    Kicking and Screaming, FX Is Forced to Confront Future in the Stream (Column)

    During his network’s presentation at the winter Television Critics Assn. press tour, FX chief John Landgraf made waves — and headlines — by mounting perhaps his most direct criticism yet of Netflix. Landgraf, whose briefings to the press tend to rely heavily on data about the volume of shows with which FX’s competitors flood the [...]

  • Longtime TV Editor Recalls Working for

    How a Bad Director Can Spoil the Show (Guest Column)

    I have been blessed with editing some of TV’s greatest shows, working with some of the industry’s greatest minds. “The Wonder Years,” “Arrested Development,” “The Office,” “Scrubs,” “Pushing Daisies” and, most recently, “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” I have earned an Emmy, ACE Eddie Awards, and many nominations. Related Nielsen Forms Addressable TV Ad Group [...]

  • Stock market Stock buyback

    Stock Buybacks Leave Firms Without Funds to Invest in Future (Column)

    Corporate giants on the S&P 500 have spent more than $720 billion during the past year on stock buybacks. Media and entertainment firms account for only a fraction of that spending, but even $1 million spent on share repurchases seems a foolhardy expenditure at this transformational moment for the industry. Related Nielsen Forms Addressable TV [...]

  • Hollywood Has Come Far With Diversity

    An Insider's Look at Hollywood's Diversity Efforts and How Far It Still Needs to Go

    I am a white man working in Hollywood. I grew up in Beverlywood, an all-white, predominantly Jewish, Los Angeles neighborhood sandwiched between 20th Century Fox Studios and MGM, where my elementary school had only one black student. Related Nielsen Forms Addressable TV Ad Group After Buying Sorenson Media's Assets for $11.25 Million The Most Memorable Oscar [...]

  • Venice Film Festival A Star is

    How Venice, Toronto and Telluride Festivals Stole Cannes' Luster (Column)

    In all the years I’ve been attending film festivals, I have never seen a lineup that looked as good on paper as Venice’s did this fall, boasting new films by Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”), Damien Chazelle (“First Man”), Paul Greengrass (“22 July”), Mike Leigh (“Peterloo”) and the Coen brothers (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”) in competition, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content