At one point, Jackie Susann was a bigger author than God, as she liked to remind people. Her roman-a-cleft-chin Valley of the Dolls outsold the bible for a lot of the saucy ’60s. And the self-promotional and stylish cranker-outer of best sellers still just won’t die. I just saw a Fringe Festival play called See How Beautiful I Am: The Return of Jackie Susann, all the way from the U.K., in which Debora Weston plays Jackie, getting up from her deathbed to tell her alternately sad and triumphant life in anecdotes. It’s your usual let-me-stand-here-and-randomly-relay-my-story type of show and the writing is too cute, but Weston keeps things moving nicely and you are reminded of some fun sexual revelations. To wit:
*As a child, Jackie was obsessed with her “sissy” and used to put penises on dolls and fuck herself with them. (Talk about a valley and some dolls!)
*She and Ethel Merman were very—I mean VERY—close. As Jackie elegantly puts it in the play, “I’m talking about pussy-eating dykes.”
*Jackie also dove on Coco Chanel’s haute-couture crotch. Was Coco loco for lezzies? As the designer herself said, “I’m successful, and success makes its own rules.”
* Jackie dabbled in men too, schtupping a succession of Jewish comics like Eddie Cantor. They were bad in bed, but made her laugh—probaby because they were bad in bed. But sexually, Jackie was not obsessed with any sissies. (Except maybe her husband?)
*Jackie tried to get the line “Neely cummily entered the shower” into Valley of the Dolls, but the editor said “cummily” isn’t a word. I guess HE was straight!