From the Files of Jack Stalnaker

"The Meeker Museum is a non-profit, non-existent organization dedicated to the pursuit of inner peace through movie stars."

One benefit of Web publication is the relative ease with which readers can respond. Jack Stalnaker of Houston saw my Weld "think"-piece and emailed indications that he'd actually done research into the subject. Moved by my lazy whimper of desire, Jack was then kind enough to copy and physmail a huge stack of Weldiana from which I've culled the following excerpts.

Jack's other unhealthy obsessions include Ralph Meeker, Diane Varsi, and Carroll Baker. What exquisite taste! Let's hope he continues to move the Meeker Museum's collection on-line for the benefit of our children and our children's children.

Miscellaneous Gossip and Tempting Debris

All quoted from Mr. Jack Stalnaker:

Witnesses, Expert and Otherwise

Circle of Violence Tuesday Weld's mother: "Why, if it hadn't been for Patty Duke, I might have starved to death -- that's how much help Tuesday has been. [It was all right] until she started telling everyone I was dead. I didn't like being called dead." Something in Common


All quotes from Tuesday Weld, all in response to reporters.

Why she rejected Lolita: "I didn't have to play it. I was Lolita."

On the beginning of her career, age 3: "Mama tried to turn my brother and sisters into models too, but they preferred swimming. But me, I was the backward child, and I took to modeling immediately. Anything to escape."

"When I was 9, I had a breakdown, which disappointed Mama a great deal. But I made a comeback when I was 10. I was in and out of several schools, but I never really went. There were no rules then in New York protecting working children. I was doing television shows as well as modeling, and instead of going to school, I used to do what they called correspondence, which meant that if I was working, I'd just write in and say I had jobs. Even when I didn't have jobs, I'd get up in the morning and say, 'Goodbye, Mama, I'm going to school,' and then I'd head for the Village and get drunk. I started drinking heavily when I was about 10 years old."

"I made my first suicide attempt when I was 12. I had fallen in love with a homosexual and when it didn't work out, I felt hurt. [...] A bottle of aspirin, a bottle of sleeping pills, and a bottle of gin. I was sure that would do the trick, but Mama came in and found me. I was in a coma for a long time and I lost my hearing, my vision and several other things. When I recovered, I decided that I should try to get some help, but Mama didn't think I needed analysis."

"You're crazy! Do you think I want a success? I refused to do Bonnie and Clyde because I was nursing, but also because down deep I knew it was going to be a huge success. [...] I like the particular position I've been in all these years, with people wanting to save me from the awful films I've been in. I'm happy being a legend. I think the Tuesday Weld cult is a very nice thing."

"All these lost people I do, Maria Wyeth, saying 'Nothing applies.' That's bullshit! No, forget the bull, one syllable's better. Everything applies! I am not Maria Wyeth, or Katherine in Goodbar, or any of these schleps!"

"Once I wanted to study, so I had an interview with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. It was horrendous. He asked me these stock questions. I hate stock questions. He said, 'Who's your favorite actor?' I said, 'Constance Ford.' He said, 'Who?' Very sarcastically. I don't have favorites, I don't think about actors, she just seemed to me good. Obviously, that was not the right answer. I guess the Actors Studio is OK for people who want to act all the time, so when they're not working they can put on their own plays, keep acting -- well, I don't want that. I want to act some part I like, and then stop."

"... when my house burned down, in one of those Hollywood Hills fires, I just took my little girl, Tasha, and traveled. Flew, went by boat, everywhere, without purpose or direction. We went to France. I don't know anybody in France. I was looking for a totally new existence. I didn't find one."

"I love the cult thing. Love it! Why? It's fun. And it has endurance. When you're that [a "cult goddess"], you don't have to do anything to keep being it! You don't have to work, it's better you don't, great, know what I mean?"

"I think that from here on, I should be paid to do interviews. And do them myself. I should be sent the questions, and write the answers. I mean, an interview isn't going to get me a job, or make me act well, it's of no use. I mean, can you make me a star?"

"My mother's ambition? Look, when a kid starts working at three, that matter's pretty self-evident, isn't it? Like Lenny Bruce: I was seventeen then, doing Wild in the Country with Elvis, and I loved Lenny very passionately, and he was fabulous, and we could really play. Next question: hmm?"

Why did she turn down Rosemary's Baby? "Do you really care? Because they asked me to test for it, and will not test.... To test is the ultimate humiliation. No, not quite: my daughter was very young then. Do you know what it is like, stuck in a house all day with an infant? Monstrous! Did you ever have to talk to a five-year-old, day in, day out? I did! I was suddenly playing this wife role, cooking, cleaning, mothering, it was worse than testing!"

"I got bored after a while with analysis, with me-me-me. Could that be one of the purposes of it, you get so bored with self-absorption? Enough, already, getting yourself together is preferable. It is so uncomfortable, all those personal things you're supposed to say, except I never did, I never opened up totally."

"So you've got an ego, so what? That's okay. I got very angry today at the hairdresser, because he thought I was Sandra Dee."

"If I'm a symbol of something, I guess it's... independence. Okay, now what else could we talk about?"

"I don't like interviews because your brain can be picked. That isn't nice anywhere -- even in a living room."

Two American kids spraying the best they can   "He walked into a room and everything stopped. Elvis was just so physically beautiful that even if he didn't have any talent... just his face, just his presence. And he was funny, charming, and complicated, but he didn't wear it on his sleeve. You didn't see that he was complicated. You saw great needs."

On needing to keep the refrigerator door open: "I like everything open. Everything. I don't like shut doors. I like to see. In the kitchen, I like to see all the spices, all the food. [...] I wasn't really aware of it until people complained. It was completely unconscious. I would hear, 'Could you please shut that door! We're gonna lose all the ice.'"

"When I'm working I never need an entourage or anyone with me. Time has no meaning; I don't notice how many weeks or days go by. I'm so totally absorbed that I really like to be alone. Actually, it's not only when I'm working; I like to be alone in general. I have a hunger for it. I eat up silence."

Lucy Saroyan, in Interview: What drove her into virtual hiding after having such a public adolescence?
"I think it was a Buick."

"I had gone to Catalina and I couldn't get back -- no boat would take me. When I finally did get back, where my house had been was just about four or five piles of ashes. And I was walking through it, thinking, Am I walking through my daughter?"

On Gregory Peck (co-star in I Walk the Line): "We had to do a love scene in bed and it showed my bare back. I wasn't nude or anything, maybe a half-slip, I don't remember exactly, but I was as nude as possible. And he got into the bed with his pants and his shoes on. Now they weren't moccasins. They were big clunky businessman's shoes, laced up, you know. With socks, and... what more can I say."