I met my new friend, Ruth McDaniels, at a virtual event. She had begun a campaign for a city council seat in Harlem and it an introduction to she and her local artist friend, Flash. It was just a year ago, only days after George Floyd was killed, and Ruth was asked to share with the group of all white women, her thoughts on this devastation.
To say this was a tough Zoom event would be an understatement. To hear Ruth recall her reaction as she was mid-trauma, is to hear her honest truth. I realized why her campaign handle is “tRuth.” To hear her describe her path — from “having a child as a child”, to her continuing education both on the street as a peace officer, and in the classroom, to hear her heart break a little in talking about those same streets — is to hear the truth that we all must embrace.
This is not a preachy podcast but she does thank the Lord. Ruth knows from gratitude. And grit. This is a bright, candid, compassionate, loud, sensitive and funny woman who cannot help but help, and who cannot stop giving, right down to the food from her own plate, inspiring people to pitch in too.
In celebration of Ruth McDaniels, and in honor of the life and sacrifice of George Floyd and too many others lost, this is Quite a Living, Episode 7.
Note: This is not a political ad or endorsement. To support Ruth, please visit www.friendsofruthmcdaniels.com or follow her on Instagram at @ruthmcdaniels52 (even though, as she says, “I have no idea why that Instagram picked the number 52…not 42…not 11…” )
In the fabulous ’80s one of my best friends, Peggy Goff Bottger, and I each moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Thanks to that friendship I met, and often stayed at the home of, her sister – singer/actor/author Gloria Loring. Gloria was glamorous, inspiring, and a bonafide celebrity. They were heady times for me…meeting other soap stars (one of which she was dating, which you’ll hear her talk about), going to a Halloween party at the home of her ex-husband Alan Thicke (I will never forget arriving in my Bette Midler costume and making divots in his backyard from my high heels….) and yes, even babysitting occasionally for her sons Brennan, and now star in his own right, Robin Thicke.
But I learned a lot of life lessons from Gloria — and Peggy — exposed to her spiritual side, as I watched her marry her next love and teach us about yoga. I even got some cooking lessons along the way. Peggy and I had many adventures in the 80s/90s of Los Angeles — from traveling together to standing up as her maid of honor — and that spiritual side served us well as we talked about her beliefs as she bravely fought a terminal illness.
This is a paean to inheriting new friends and never forgetting the old ones… while remembering always It’s Quite a Living.
For Gloria Loring, whom you might know as the singer of the hit song, Friends & Lovers, sung with Carl Anderson, or you might know her as Liz Chandler on Days of Our Lives. She is also the co-composer of the theme songs for Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life. Since her start as a professional singer at age 16 she’s sung on the Emmy Awards, The Johnny Carson Show, The Golden Globes, even The Academy Awards.
Imagine how flipped out I was when Peggy had me deliver a singing telegram for Gloria for her going away party when she was leaving Days of Our Lives! Apparently to hear Glo tell it in this conversation my “performance” was more memorable to me than her! But we do take many other walks down memory lane — discussing her path from the early days, like her appearance in a classic Carol Burnett show skit (see link in resources) to her current role as “Nana” and the surprise of being a chart topping singer mid-retirement!
So, to Peggy, thanks for adding your family to mine, from your children Emma and Ian, to Gloria and my former “charges” Brennan and Robin.
Here are some shots from the “family album”:
Bumping into Eduardo in Texas while carrying Gloria’s book about coincidences…
Amy Hill has been a mom for twenty years in real life, and even longer in her acting life: from Grandma Kim (All American Girl), Mama Tohru (Jackie Chan Adventures), Ah-Mah Jasmine Lee (The Life and Times of Juniper Lee), Mah Mah (American Dad!) to even being ON the hit comedy, “Mom“. But she’s also had another 150+ acting credits not tied to that title both in live-action and animated films – like Lourdes Chan on Crazy Ex-Girfriend (and its 1.5 million views on its hit promo video), and Sue in 50 First Dates. And it all started, sort of, when she burst on to the scene by winning The Gong Show.
But that’s another story. And, yes, it’s one Amy tells in this episode of It’s Quite a Living.
I met Amy in the ’80s when she was already established in the San Francisco acting and voiceover scene I was just breaking into. And some four decades later, on a visit to her home in Hawaii, where she is co-staring as Kumu on the hit reboot of Magnum, P.I., we talked about how she got into acting, her film roles, and what emerged for her in the process of writing her hit one-woman show, Tokyo Bound. Aside from reminiscing about acrylic nails and trying to get an agent, she shares more serious experiences as a Finnish/Japanese American and her experience as a multi-racial actress. We also talk about commitment and making the right choice, like her adoption of her daughter, Penelope.
You’ll love Amy as much as I do when you hear about:
Amy’s experience of going to Japan, understanding its culture, her origin, and her mom’s roots
Why the name “Tokyo Bound”
A love letter from her mom
Meditation and commitment
Her big break in Scrooged
Coming up with her daughter’s name, Penelope
Amy’s “I knew it moments.”
All the masks are off in this transparent and candid conversation with Amy Hill.
Deborah Burns and I basically reenacted that line from “Pretty Woman” when we met over hors d’oeuvres at an industry event: “What happens when (s)he rescues the princess? (S)he rescues him right back!” We bonded over boredom and brie and traded business cards. The kind of exchange that means well, but ends up in the card pile of good intentions.
But fate stepped in and just several days later we each showed up at a totally unrelated cocktail party! And that was the beginning of another relationship with a friend in high places. Deborah, after all, is what I aspire to: the former Chief Innovation Officer of major magazines, such as Elle Decor and Metropolitan Home…turned memoirist and corporate consultant!
Her book, Saturday’s Child, revolves around her evolution from dancing around her emotionally distanced mother with surrogate mothers in the form of two spinster aunts.
My story is one of an emotionally present mother who departed this earth too soon, followed by attempted mothering from two back to back step-mothers.
Let the bonding continue. But some 25 years after her own mother’s passing, Deborah’s epiphanies took the form of beautifully crafted a-ha moments interspersed with humor and insights we can all relate to. Learn how she also learned about “Skirting the Rules” which she’s encouraging others to do, too! I recorded this episode in my home just before we were all staying in our own homes. And, pre-pandemic there was Hollywood buzz for its movie-worthiness, which can hopefully get resurrected.
Either way, expect to hear more from Deborah; as mentioned there’s more in the making from the mind of this marketer-turned-author. And enjoy the conversation. I sure did.