Maureen Stapleton was the pinchably pudgy, heavy-drinking, brilliant actress who copped Tonys and an Oscar.
According to Dick Van Dyke‘s recent memoir, she also wanted a Dick.
At a dinner party for the 1963 movie of Bye Bye Birdie, in which Maureen played Dick’s mom, the actress made her intentions known.
As she lay on the floor, completely toasted, Dick said to Maureen, “Wouldn’t you like to sit in a chair?”
“I’d tell you where I’d like to sit,” replied the actress, “but your wife’s here.”
Years later, the two star-crossed trophy winners reunited for the film The Runner Stumbles, shot in the cozy rural town of Roslyn, Washington.
Maureen was up to her own tricks, which often involved boozing it up and trying to land a trick.
Van Dyke says some townspeople blanched when they overheard this exchange outside Maureen’s trailer:
Dick: “I’m going to get coffee. Do you want anything?”
Maureen: “I want you to come in here and fool around with me.”
“Consider it a mercy mission.”
Alas for her, it was mission impossible.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 27, 2011