The child-model-turned-sex-kitten-turned-great-actress, an Oscar nominee for Looking For Mr. Goodbar, has always had a tangled relationship with fame.
In the 1960s, she turned down Bonnie and Clyde because, “Do you think I want a success?” (And also, more sensibly, she was nursing at the time.)
She was insulted when asked to test for Rosemary’s Baby. She also passed on major roles in Cactus Flower and True Grit.
And she’s said through the years that she likes being a cult who people always tried to rescue from awful films; she was comfortable in that legendary position because even if you don’t work, your cult still glows.
Well, I just caught up with If It’s Tuesday…I Must Be Dead, the blistering 2003 memoir by the actress’s mom, Yosene Ker Weld. (The title refers to the fact that Tuesday once told an interviewer that her mom was dead, though she wasn’t at the time.)
Mama’s bio in the front of the book tips you off to what’s to come:
“Married to an abusive alcoholic husband who hated kids and had been married three times previously, she managed to have three children (Sally, David, Tuesday), only to be neglected, discarded, and ignored by all three of them in their adult years.
“As an elderly woman, Yosene was forced to supplement her income by babysitting for various celebrities in Hollywood, much to the chagrin and embarrassment of her daughter Tuesday. She lived alone in Los Angeles, while her daughter refused to support or help her out. Tuesday continued the verbal /mental abuse towards her mother until her dying day.”
The book was written by Samuel Veta, who was the personal assistant of Dudley Moore (who married Tuesday) and who’s also been known as a masseur and photographer.
As for Tuesday’s side of the story, she said she had a breakdown at nine, started boozing at 10, and attempted suicide at 12, none of which seemed to get the right response from mama.
Then again, Tuesday often spun fanciful tales in interviews, not wanting to reveal too much of herself. Then again, her mama helped create her.
It’s fascinating dark-side-of-Hollywood stuff after all these years. I just wonder how Tuesday feels today, now that mama is gone and the cult still glows.
Anyway, the best visual in the book is of a statue called “Mother and Kids,” done by Yosene. The caption: “Her three children standing in defiance with their feet on top of their mother, as she lies curled up on the ground. Also titled 3 Feet Under.”
The best dish is that, according to the long-suffering Yosene, Tuesday’s first husband–who was Roddy McDowall’s secretary–also happened to be Roddy’s lover.
Lord love a dick.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 27, 2012